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Struggling with the "What now" question.

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I am 21 a junior in college about to get a bachelor in forensic science. Ive only had two sexual partners and my current ive been in a relationship with for a year and half. The other was a one time thing when I was 17. I have been under a lot of stress with family matters (terminally ill mother), my job, and juggling college full time among this. My gyno said this likely triggered my initial outbreak (first one ever). I had cold sores as a kid but never suspected genital herpes to be something I would face. Im on an antiviral fighting my first outbreak as I type my story. My diagnosis was just this month.. Monday August 1st. Reading on this website, other stories has helped me be rational, but I am struggling with my emotions about facing this disease. For the first two days I did nothing but cry, I suffer from anxiety disorder, so the news of having H set off attack after attack. Other times I was rational and realized my life is NOT over; I have a boyfriend who loves me and said he will stick by me. Without placing blame he believes he gave it to me, BUT did not know he had it. We read guys can have lesser symptoms and what minor symptoms can be missed. We believe what we thought was nothing may have been an outbreak. This is why he believe he gave it to me. He had not big bad OB, but the more we thought about how i got it or if i gave it him we though of the one time he had signs but we brushed them off as sites said he had one bump (we really believed it was a pimple). This might not be it but it was just one instance we thought of.


We both tested negative prior to dating but neither of us were tested for herpes (my local clinics do not test for it unless you have an outbreak is what I was told). This is how i found out neither of us were tested for HSV, only other STD/STI's. Neither of us blames the other, but we are trying to get in with out local health departments cause I do not have insurance so I have to wait for an available appointment at my local health department. As my first OB is starting to heal I am trying not to stress, which is hard with anxiety, to keep from making it worse. When I get an appointment I will be doing the test to determine what type of H I have down there. We both had cold sores as children so I know that will show as positive (or so I was told). Day to day I struggle with coming to terms with H. What do I do now? What if I have more outbreaks? How am I gonna stop stressing to not cause more OB's? While the rational part of brain says listen to what I researched and the support on here I read; I cannot shut off the anxiety. I am experiencing the nerve pain, I didn't know that could be a symptom until I read and researched to find out Im not crazy and it can cause nerve pain. I hope this goes away with my OB.


My immediate family knows they are supportive but only so much as they do not understand fully what this means for me. My boyfriend while comforting doesn't like to talk about it cause he worries about our health. Telling my family took some of the stigma off of H for me. When the doctor said I had H all I could think or feel was why me.. I felt dirty, untouchable, like I had some horrible secret; I felt the stigma... I joined this site shortly after reading about it and some of the posts on the forum. I knew i could benefit from the support and community. I knew keeping it a secret would only make me depressed. I feel a little relief already just typing this and sharing my story.


To anyone who reads this thank you,


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@MissRealist FWIW, I think you're handling this exceptionally well and I can tell you're a very grounded and resilient person. The feelings you're experiencing now are to be expected and it will get so much better, I promise. I'm so glad to hear sharing your feelings is helping. Reading your post helps me, too. Love and hugs to you!

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@optimist First off thank you for replying. I cannot figure out what FWIW means, if you wouldn't mind explaining lol. Thank you hearing that im taking this well makes me feel as though I can pull through this. Im looking out for my bright side or for it to get better, but I do believe you. I know it varies by person, but how long did it take for it to get better for you? Telling people, like you, does take the stigma off and im happy reading my post helps you too! I want to be able to help others one day, but I know I must get through my battle first. Love and hugs in return! Best wishes.


P.s. any advice on how to help my boyfriend? Like I said he is super supportive, but holds in his emotions and stresses himself out. I know and am used to him not being an open book about emotions, but I worry. I was just hoping someone had an idea of how to help him out?

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@MissRealist. I believe FWIW is "For what it's worth".


They are correct, you will have a positive HSV1 test because you get cold sores.


One way to look at this is that you already have experience with herpes. You probably don't remember your first outbreak orally, but I'm guessing your body has it pretty much under control at this point. Maybe a random cold sore when your sick or overly stressed? The exact same thing will happen with your genital infection. It is the exact same type of virus. You're body will adjust and your symptoms will fade and eventually you'll forget you have it other than once in awhile when you have an outbreak. And even then, it will be a minor thing.


Since you are already in a committed relationship, and you both could very well have something genitally going on, it really isn't going to impact you at this point. If it ends up that you have genital HSV1, then nothing has to change for you guys, since you both have oral HSV1.


As for your boyfriend, maybe he processes things differently and just needs time. There are some guys on the forum, do you think he'd like to join?

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@MMissouri, Thank you for clarifying, that makes a lot of since "for what its worth". and sorry this ended up being long. It helped explaining everything below.


I do try to think about it that way in terms of I had oral HSV at one point so this is like that. I think how bad my first OB is, is one of the reasons im having a hard time staying positive. I know stressing does not help but im already worried about triggers. I read that sex and shaving can cause symptoms. I know they are different for everyone but it scares me cause I have shaved for over 5 years (i just don't like hair down there on me personally). So I don't know where to start when I heal up. How do you ease your stress over this? I seemed to have stressed so much I might have triggered a cold sore. which also made me panic. I can't win for losing in the symptoms department..


I am going to wait till im better for sex, my boyfriend does not seemed phased relationship wise. Which im glad cause i panicked over having to tell him my diagnosis. I hoping after he gets tested and is positive for at least oral HSV-1 that he may consider this site. He seems to fall into the stigma belief that he has this dirty secret and he must tell no one. That is his choice not to tell and I respect that but my immediate family knows about me so they guessed about him. He accepted me needing to tell them to relieve my stigma and the depressive state I was going into. Im really hoping its HSV-1 down there for me. We have having trouble finding a clinic to test him the health department wont because he has no visible symptoms despite me testing positive by culture and having a bad OB. This was beyond frustrating for us. I have talked to my gyno who diagnosed me visually and she said they will so now we need an appointment.


Im giving him time without showing my worry over him, I do not want to add stress to him. But he is stressing so much over a new job and now this he has some hair loss. Anytime I need it he comforts me earnestly ( i can tell he is not lying) as he says he is here for me and wont let this ruin our relationship or anything. But at the same time he is so stressed out about our health now that its causing him physical symptoms. I stay strong in front of him to hopefully help him relax about this and see it'll be okay.


Your words helped, hearing from someone else that yes I was infected with and do carry HSV-1 because I had cold sores as a kid, so this is like that helped. It takes it form being my thought to being a fact and helps me get through the days. Im trying really hard to stay positive and rational, but emotionally im struggling each day is different. When symptoms are bad or the nerve pain hits hard I get upset and anxiety creeps in. Thank you for your advice ill give him more time then offer this site and tell him how its already been helping me.






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My first outbreak was horrible. I didn't know what was going on and thought I was just sore from sex itself. And then we had sex again, and the next day I couldn't even walk upright. I was doubled over in pain from my lymph nodes and my genitals were literally on fire.


I've never had an outbreak like that since.


If I can give you any advice it would be learn what it is just by experiencing it. And I say this because when I was diagnosed, we didn't have these types of forums and shared information. And I've noticed that people who are newly diagnosed come onto these websites and the internet and get 50 (exaggerated there lol) different types of possible herpes symptoms and they triple their anxiety about their outbreaks. And what they should be avoiding, doing, etc. Sometimes too much information is overwhelming and not a good thing. They have even come up with a name for it.. cyberchondria lol.


Do get educated on the stats and how common this really is. Focus on information that will relieve your anxiety, not increase it. If something is seriously bothering you, then look into it. But otherwise, just take care of yourself. Keep yourself in good spirits. Honestly, a lot of the (genital) herpes anguish is mental. If you can come to terms with your diagnosis, you've won over half the battle.

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My OB started small we thought it was a UTI but then all of sudden over three day it became hell that when we went to my gyno. Im glad to hear you have not had another that was that bad. I initially came here because research did ease my mind versus wondering what now, but like you said when I read about triggers i now am already worrying about that. I will take a step back and try to go day by day and not worry about shaving or sex which I cannot do right now anyway. I did not know they had a name for it lol, but im sure you can safely say that what happened.


I am glad today we have these forums because my doctor while helpful couldn't give m e peace of mind other then it would be okay and if i have repeated OB's then we will get me on a daily antiviral. I found the CDC website and it was informative about stats and facts about having H.


I will definitely take a step back to take this as it happens cause I know worrying caused me more harm then good. Sharing my story and asking questions as they arise has helped, but randomly searching did make me over react to things that one may not affect me and two I can't do right this moment. If you don't mind me asking I do see you respond to a lot of posts and you did just state you didn't have these types of forums; how long have you been diagnosed and living with H? I heard on here, from the doctor, and the CDC site, it gets better with time, which will vary by person, but is interesting. I read that its due to antibodies we build up over time. Thanks for the info and teaching me a new term so I can avoid doing that!

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@MissRealist In answer to one of your questions, it took me maybe 10 weeks to get through the heavy emotions and various stages of grief and shift to a less emotional, more forward-looking and hopeful perspective. But as you suggested, it's different for everyone.


As for how to help your boyfriend, IMO, you're doing all you can in being there for him and being supportive. Beyond that, I really can't say. Everyone processes things differently and what works well for one person may not work well for someone else.

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I've had this since 1999. LOL. I stumbled onto this forum when I starting thinking about getting a divorce. I wanted to prepare myself for disclosing. But even being someone that has had this for years, I started doing exactly what I told you to avoid. I ran out and bough l-lysine. Starting cutting back on food I love to eat. Start spazzing about my RLS feeling at night being nerve pain. Started questioning every bump that appeared in other areas. Then one day i took a break, because I realized I was more stressed out and paranoid coming to the forum than I was before I found it. I came back because I do love the general support of the group and the sharing of information. I post a lot because if I can help one person through their diagnosis, then the carpal tunnel is worth it, ha!


As for my outbreaks. I don't know if I have them anymore. If I do my symptoms are so slight I don't notice them. At most I get an itchy feeling in the area, no bumps that I notice. I just assume the itching is a warning and that is the time I'd need to be careful.


I was like you and in a relationship when I was diagnosed. He had HSV1 orally, and I had a genital outbreak (I don't know what type). We just took it in stride and continued on. We eventually married, had three daughters (I took valtrex the last few weeks of each pregnancy), and stayed together 20 years.

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I am glad im not the only one that did that then lol. I am interested in type testing mostly because we know we both would be HSV-1 positive from having cold sores in the past but I don't know if that's what type is down there, though it seems the most likely. I do believe your amount of time would make you veteran for H. I have stopped worrying about what foods I can eat or shaving. If i find a trigger I will deal with it then, but worrying only made me worse.


I am sure the pain i feel is nerve pain from it it comes and goes but I never had it before this OB, it doesn't stress me out but its weird and sucks at times. I asked my doctor just to see if it could of been from this, like the OB triggered it, and she said yes. When it acts up the nerves affected are only on my lower back, butt, and mostly back of thighs. when she said it would more then likely triggered by my OB I just decided it was nothing to worry about and she said it should go away with the OB. I do hope so but other then that stressing over what is doesn't help like stressing over the other stuff did.


I am sure you have helped many and even though I haven't been a member long I am glad you came back. Your support is never wasted, and i hope one day to help others like I am being helped on this site! It is nice to read success stories on the site.

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