To a dreamer, a believer, a survivor: About a year ago, I was diagnosed with Herpes Simplex-2. While the diagnosis and emotions that come with it were overwhelming at the time, I knew I could get through it. The summer continued on and I was distracted and busy traveling. Later in the fall, life started to slow down, and I was left with my mind, my raw emotional feelings, and my reality. I was left feeling speechless, almost numb, and similar to when other horrible events have occurred in my life. I’ve had close family members pass away, and there is a grieving process that people go through when they encounter death, and sometimes you don’t know what that process is until you go through it. I hate to compare having herpes with death, but my journey over the last year has felt like a grieving process, grieving the loss of something, some way of life I once knew. I started going to a local counselor in the fall to not only address and truly recognize this new diagnosis in my life, but to really understand the feelings that were coming up from deep within me to the surface with full force. I couldn’t ignore these feelings any longer, feelings I have had for a long time, but had never been forced to pay this much attention to, until now. I didn’t realize to what extent poor self-image, lack of confidence, and overall insecurities impacted my life until then. I worked through a lot in those 2 months, knowing I was doing powerful work that would change my life, but work that also felt hard, sobering and depressing. How had I arrived here? Where would this take me? Would this diagnosis continue to define me?
I read Dr. Kelly’s book, Live, Love and Thrive, also in the fall, giving me great knowledge and information about where to go from here. Life after diagnosis. While it was encouraging to know that someone else had this diagnosis and had moved beyond it, my diagnosis had become just that to me, a sort of cancer that was now the dictator of my life, the one directing the show and in the wrong direction, or so it seemed.
January, the beginning of a new year, brought new hope. I finished up my counseling sessions, knowing that was all I could do for now, that I learned a lot about myself, and that I needed a break. I started feeling more alive and decided to live by the word ‘inspire’ for the year as my guiding focus. I knew I needed to find inspiration from within, and that I needed to search no further than myself. The thinking and good intentions behind all of this were great, but felt almost forced at times. I struggled to live within this positivity every day, and to truly own it.
My mom, an incredible woman in my life, had been the one to give me Dr. Kelly’s book, and for me, it was almost like divine intervention. Dr. Kelly and her book always caught my interest when I needed to pick it up from time to time to re-balance, and so one day after picking up her book, I simply knew I needed to reach out to her. I knew that I needed to know more about herpes, I needed to connect with a female who understood what I was going through, talk to someone real and not just through words on paper, and delve into this manner in a new and profound way.
Working with Dr. Kelly was exactly what I needed. First, I am a spiritual person and I remember during our first session, feeling overcome with relief, literally to the point of tears, and a wave of peaceful vulnerability coming over me. She got straight into my soul, breaking down the biggest barrier I had been putting up: disconnection from my spirituality, disconnection from God, and therefore disconnection from other relationships in my life. What became so simple in those few first minutes with Dr. Kelly, was that I could hand it over, that I was not alone, that my creation, my being, is bigger than my “diagnosis.” Dr. Kelly has a great balance of being soft and compassionate, and strong in her conviction to help others, to truly be able to hear what they need and to break it down for them.
I am always thinking, sometimes about too many things at once and too quickly, and Dr. Kelly has helped by breaking these components down for me, refocusing what is at the heart of it all. I love how she guides by asking questions and allows me to take ownership of what direction I want the session to go in, or what I want my purpose to be for the session.
Calling in a specific intention after meditating with her, is grounding and purposeful. As a teacher myself, I can appreciate when someone is a good teacher, and it truly is an art. Teaching requires the ability to relay information to others, but more than that, to know what information needs to be relayed. In order to do this, you must know your student, what successes your student has had, what obstacles hold them back, and then, how to break down those barriers for furthered success.
Dr. Kelly is an amazing teacher, one who knows her clients, treating them as individual souls and creations, each having their own success and own hardships. She has an amazing sense for people and how to connect to people. Never once when I’ve talked to her on the phone, did I feel that I am not with her in person. She has a gift to connect with people not just on a human level, but a spiritual level.
Putting the help I’ve gotten from Dr. Kelly into words is challenging, as the work I’ve done with her is not just the outcome of it, but the entire process, all too hard to sum up or minimize into words. Dr. Kelly has given me tools and strategies to walk away with every time we talk, to apply and implement into my life immediately. But what’s even better, is that these strategies become implemented by Dr. Kelly’s knowledge and by myself; us discussing and processing together. These are conversations, broken down into what we both feel could be useful for my life, and strategies that I know are actually feasible for where I am and for who I am. The amount of self-love and worth that I have gained through this process is so large it is immeasurable. I can say that I have gotten to a place where I know what truly matters. It’s not my diagnosis, it’s not what others think or say about herpes, it’s not how herpes has made me feel ashamed and less than, it’s how I perceive myself. I am stronger in my faith, not just spiritually, but in the faith I have in myself to live the life I am supposed to live, and to not let one word, ‘herpes,’ define who I am.
Herpes is a part of my journey, but herpes is not me. My creation, my being, has powerful intentions that I wish to fulfill, and this was just a springboard to launch me into all that I can become. Dr. Kelly got me to the place where I can say that, but further, to a place where I actually believe that. It’s been more than an honor and a blessing to work with Dr. Kelly; she’s touching and inspiring women’s lives through her courage and wisdom, and I couldn’t feel more gratitude for her presence in mine.
With love, grace, and gratitude,