Diagnosed 13 years ago: My Story

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Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
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  • #40244
    Terra
    Participant

    Hi Everyone,

    While browsing through the forum, I noticed that many people who have posted are new users. Maybe it will bring a bit of relief to hear from a somewhat veteran who was diagnosed about 14 years ago.

    I was in my early twenties when it showed up (35 now). I know that around the time I was in a women’s studies class and we were reading, The Ethical Slut and other books. I was toying with the idea of casual relationships because a long-term one just didn’t seem in the cards for me. Regardless of this notion, I was always on the look out for a keeper and I really thought I found that one in the person who, I believe (but honestly can’t be sure) gave me herpes. Enter the university campus bartender.

    He was older, from a small town near where I grew up, gave people warm hugs, and when that yelling-profanities-at-no-one-in-particular man dropped his gloves, he was the friendly guy who gave them back to him. He was charming.

    He was also uncannily neglectful. He’d forget dates, leave me waiting for long periods of time, appear that he was trying to let me loose, and when I would confront him directly about it he would hotly deny it all and assure me he had no intention of blowing me off. I couldn’t make heads or tails out of his strange behavior.

    I did have sex with him without protection. I had asked him about whether he was clean. He proudly declared that he was clean stating that he does check-ups regularly and so I trusted him and I trusted that piece of knowledge (my doctor had later informed me that they don’t test for herpes – perhaps you need the actual symptoms present to be diagnosed?)

    TO be fair, maybe it wasn’t him. But there weren’t many others, and it was after seeing him that I had my first outbreak.

    My friend accompanied me to the doctor. I had a ready shoulder to cry on. I was scared of not being able to have a child. That was my one big fear.

    I don’t want to go on too long, but just to say that, yes, things do get better. Having herpes has guided me to taking better care of myself. I eat well, I aim to sleep well, I have been working on prioritizing soothing myself during stressful situations. I got married and have been together with my spouse for 12 years now.

    I should say to those of you worried about your future in dating, that even though I found my long-term partner pretty quickly (we actually got married at the 10-year mark) that I had told 2 other men that I had the diagnosis who still chose to sleep with me and wanted to be in a relationship with me. There was one bad situation where I hastily slept with someone and disclosed after the fact. I am not proud of that one, and honestly I don’t know what happened after – whether or not he contracted the virus. He was not angry at me surprisingly. Even though, in shame, I deleted him as a Facebook friend. Recently, while still holding onto guilt, I spied on his account and saw him smiling with a baby, so I figured things turned out alright for him.

    As far as disclosure goes: My parents know, both my sister know, my husband knows and two friends know. I did not tell them all at once and I did hesitate to tell my one sister who I felt would be the most judgmental. I like to think that with every person I tell I help break the stigma. At the moment I am careful with whom I disclose, but wouldn’t it be great when the day arises when people can disclose with 0 shame? I sometimes like to imagine that if people with herpes all wore a certain color of shirt all on the same day, we’d all breathe a sigh of relief to see the sheer number of people who have it. Its a bit of a shame really that people keep quiet. It really does perpetuate the stigma. I have been thinking of including one more friend now in the loop. It can take a while to disclose. I think that is 100% ok.

    What as brought me to writing here and why I have turned to Kelly’s book is because I’ve had a long spell of outbreaks only recently which has turned me into a paranoid person thinking I will continue to keep getting them. To make matters worse, its a time when I am trying to conceive. I can see that my past fears about herpes and pregnancy has been stressing me out as well as my growing age (I am 35). I am trying my best to surrender to whatever may be, while in turn making some adjustments to my demanding work schedule and my diet.

    I want to encourage people who have been recently diagnosed to keep your chin up and to work towards a peaceful relationship with your herpes. You have to live with each other to some extent (even when its dormant!) so why not agree to get along? I know that may seem radical to some, but honestly, herpes is not the disgrace it is presented as in sex ed classes in grade 6. I personally find the imagination that others have to be stronger than reality. After the first outbreak and with subsequent ones, it does calm down quite a bit. It can lead you to live a healthier life and to make better choices.

    To all suffering out there, know that there are many many others who have been walking your path and it is not a sentence, there is a lot of room for things to get a lot better. Courage my friends. 🙂

    #40250
    blue9423
    Participant

    Thank you for this

    #40256
    Kay
    Participant

    Thank you for this. I’ve needed to hear these words from someone who’s been through it. Being diagnosed in your early twenties makes it feel like the future isn’t clear and it’s so nice to hear your story and experiences. I always wish I could talk to someone who’s been through it and has positive things to say about where they are in life now. Thank you thank you ❤️

    #40291
    Jinian
    Participant

    Thank you for sharing this post. ❤

    #40306
    Tam
    Participant

    Thanks for sharing ❤️ This really makes the future look promising.

    #40386
    Danny
    Participant

    Thank you – you have no idea how much your kind words help ❤️❤️❤️

    #40391
    ciaobella275
    Participant

    Thank you so much for sharing. This means a lot. I would be interested in knowing how diet changes are helping you. Thank you for sharing your journey again, and I wish you all the best as you start your family.

    #40397
    Elaina
    Participant

    Thank you!

    #40577
    Simone
    Participant

    Thank you so much for this

    #40580
    Leighleigh
    Participant

    This gave me some hope! Thank you ❤️

    #40622
    PerfectlyImperfect
    Participant

    Thank you so much for sharing this really helped turn my day around !

    #40646
    kamijw
    Participant

    Thank you for sharing. I too, had the initial thought and negative stigma of Herpes, then I get it. It took me getting it, to research and realize how common it is and manageable. Hoping for a success story like yours 🙂

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