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RegularGuy

First Day and Trying to Stay Upbeat

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My girlfriend and I talked plenty about how we felt about our situation, and what we would do about it now. We also talked about how we want things to be in the future, and our fears associated with it.

We tend to keep these conversations matter of fact, and let them be done when they are done. We have really strong communication, which makes that stuff really easy. It might not be as simple for others, but it is worth the effort. If your s/o is reserved about that stuff, let them be.

If you bring up the conversation, but they resist, demonstrate patience.

Fear regarding long term commitment comes and goes. Wanting children is the same way.

Maybe today isn't a good day to bring up the American dream, but maybe tomorrow will be.

The trick is to put the shoe on the other foot, and really try to feel what they are feeling. A little empathy goes a long way. Just don't be surprised if you realize the other person genuinely feels a lot of anxiety about the future. Herpes can have that effect sometimes, but it's temporary.

 

To answer your question more directly, we both have felt doubt, and have both been so supportive and caring that the doubts have been dissolved. That is an ongoing process, I think. Not solely reserved to doubt regarding herpes, but a lot of other things as well.

 

You are right that God hasn't left you hanging. You have someone to lean on a little, and someone to show some compassion for. That's definitely something to be grateful for, even if it doesn't work out long term. At very least, it can help you to see that your actions and decisions matter to other people, and that you have many desirable qualities.

 

I won't dance around the issue, though. Herpes can be a deal breaker for some people.

It doesn't make you any better or worse. It only effects those you are with in that way if they decide that you aren't the one, and they haven't finished searching.

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Update on my second out break:

I still haven't been to the doctor, which isn't a good decision on my part in the long run, but I have some good reasons to enjoy things while I can that I won't discuss here.

In general if you find yourself in my position as I have stated with this second out break which may actually be something much more serious, definitely go to the doctor right away.

 

TMI:

I had a pair of sores show up in a visible location the other day. So I know I am having herpes symptoms. I think I might have something else going on at the same time which is causing bleeding in my stool. Considering that it is either just herpes or something very serious, I am timing going to the doctor to fall between some very important events coming up in my near future. One I wish to enjoy regardless of my mortality, and the other which may or may not become inconsequential if I do get some bad news. Nuff said, don't ask.

 

Focusing on the purpose of this site,

Herpes round two has been much longer an ordeal than the first, it seems. Odd, because the first was much more painful, yet this time the pain is very persistent. It is effecting my mood, and my girlfriend notices the difference. I have explained all to her, and she remains shockingly supportive and wonderful.

Seriously grateful!

It won't last forever.

More depressing is the possibility that it may be cancerous, as is likely based on consistent family history of colon cancer between ages 30 and 50. Literally every single relative so far. So I see no reason it should not be surgically removed just as easily, but the possibility that it may have metastasized already is unnerving.

Case and point though, herpes is no longer the biggest factor in my day to day, even during out break. So, believe that it will be the same for you, regardless of circumstances.

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I know you are high risk for colon cancer so please keep us updated of any future developments. Also keep in mind that hemorrhoids and anal fissures can have the symptoms you're experience. So maybe not herpes or cancer. Again, keep us posted.

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Well my out break has definitely cleared by now, but I am still seeing blood in my stool.

Definitely something bigger going on, as it's been an issue for several weeks.

I'm going to do the thing I was going to do, then schedule an appointment with my doctor for some potentially bad news, then I'm going to get whatever it turns out to be straightened out.

The good news is that I have decided not to be mad about it, or afraid of what might happen. Cuz no matter what, I have a lot of really good times I will get to enjoy anyway.

I am beginning to think it might turn out to be nothing to sweat. I've had very life threatening problems before, and accepted my time is possibly very short. The great thing about really accepting that is I get to look at every situation differently than I did when I was younger.

Everything that happens and everyone you meet is an opportunity. Doing good things doesn't always need to be profound, it can be small, and it can be less than what someone may have been expecting out of you. But you get to enjoy knowing that things were a little better because you were here, and at very least, you did what you thought was right.

I might just stick around for a long time. Chances seem likely of that, so I'm not trying to be overly dramatic here. I'm just putting some thoughts down to remind myself to keep at it.

I feel great about the way things have shaped up for me, herpes included. Yeah, believe that if you can!

I want to be able to live knowing that anger and self pity are temporary and optional to me, because I'm so lucky to be in that position. Many people don't get a choice.

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Update on how Herpes has changed things for me:

 

I thought I might have had a blister forming after I shaved yesterday. Turned out to be a razor bump that healed itself in a few hours. So, that was a little anxiety inducing. Something to straighten out in my head, but I wasn't about to call out of work or cancel plans, so that's progress.

 

So far since being diagnosed I have accomplished:

Raise at work

College degree

Finished writing my book

 

So far herpes has stopped me from:

Feeling 100% confident in my birthday suit

Liking seeing my reflection occasionally

Enjoying the ability to be attracted to someone without guilt or shame

 

I still deal with the negative occasionally. It's becoming lees and less a problem, but it's there.

I get mad when herpes interferes with my self image, and my sexuality.

I hope that one day I will learn to set that aside.

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Congratulations on your college degree, raise at work and completing your book @RegularGuy! Woop! Woop!

 

I am also always anxious before and after shaving hahahah (so much that I am thinking about lazer hair removal). I wonder if that would help.

 

Yes I hate we when herpes interferes with my sexuality (argh!).

 

I am currently doing my end of semester exams (so obviously stress levels are over the roof) and I can feel my second outbreak coming (second this month imagine even when on suppressive acyclovir medication. My first outbreak this month was at the beginning of the exam period and came with my monthly period, the blisters did not hurt even when I pee'd but the itching during the first two days was out of this world. I was riding my biking and bouncing on my seat hahahah).

 

I usually try to stay upbeat but my heart broke a little when I saw a blister this morning. This is the last week of exams so looking forward to the end of the week, my blisters healing and my trip to Portugal next week.

 

May we always have find the strength to deal with the wave of negative emotions when they come over us.

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It has been a very fast 5 months since my first post.

 

What I thought was a second outbreak turns out to be hemorrhoids, which I am actually glad about. It means I didn't spread the virus accidentally by shaving my pubic hair.

And it's not colon cancer, so that's another win.

Hemorrhoids suck though, so be sure to clench that booty when you power lift, because I'm certain that's what caused the problem.

 

While I'm on the medical topic, my blood pressure is still higher than what it should be.

Could be genetics there, too. But, I'm adjusting the ol diet anyway. No meed to have a stroke, I can think of better ways to meet cute nurses, haha!

 

Other than the minor medical quandaries, life is a pretty huge win this year.

I have so much to be grateful for, and I have kept up finding ways to help people close to me.

I have found a new goal in that pursuit. I think I can be more than just a decent guy. I'm going to try to be the kind of person who brightens other's day just a little. It's not impossible, but very much outside my nature. I am very much a "live and let live" type. We'll see how it goes.

 

And I found an editor for my book!

Woo!

One step closer to the goal of getting the damn thing published.

 

Thanks again to the people who have offered support in my coping with herpes. It truly has not stopped me from doing any of the things I need to do in order to feel accomplished!

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Thanks for the update! I have a hemorrhoid from childbirth and it's caused more issues than HSV. Also, you don't have to worry about spreading it to yourself anally. I thought that at first too and was so nervous about it but once it's in the genitals anywhere in the boxer shorts area is fair game. So you cant spread it from your penis to your anus. If you have it genitally you have it anywhere in the boxer shorts area. You might have already said this but do you know what type you have? And you found out about it while in a relationship, right? Are you still with the same girl? Is she the one who gave it to you? Just curious. Thanks!

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To answer your questions:

I have hsv-1

I did contract it from my girlfriend, and we are still together. She didn't know, as many people don't. She had a "test for everything" situation with her doctor, who (as is sadly often the case) didn't test for herpes.

You're right, hemorrhoids are much more problematic than herpes.

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I'm in the same boat. So far nothing has been confirmed but I had a visual diagnosis and a negative IgG. So the assumption is that my husband is an asymptomatic carrier.

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Yeah, it's pretty common to have hsv-1 and not know it.

I struggled with a lot of anger and suspicion toward my girlfriend for a while, but she has always been so caring and supportive that I eventually realized it is entirely likely that she never knew until after I tested positive and she got herself tested specifically for herpes.

It has caused both of us to be very considerate toward each other regarding self image and sexuality because we both understand that the other has some occasional issues regarding those things.

Still, I recognize that we are both good for each other, and do a lot to help the other be a better person, simply by demonstrating some support and compassion. Herpes has become a minor footnote in our relationship and I'm really glad for that.

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Funny how life works sometimes. Herpes is a non issue for us too. It's brought us closer together. We've always had a good relationship but going through something that requires a lot of outward trust and compassion has definitely reaffirmed those traits between us. At the end of the day herpes is such a miniscule price to pay to be with my stellar husband.

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I know just what you mean. I'm glad to know that you have a good relationship.

As my girlfriend put it when I first found out my diagnosis,

"It would be a shame to end things just because of herpes. If it ends, ot ends because we were not good for each other." And I extended that to, "And as long as we are good for each other, I want to try to stick together."

It was a really inspiring thing, not that it was anything unique or profound, but that we saw a relationship as an easy thing. Just try.

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Update still month 5:

 

The supposed second out break was just a case of hemorrhoids. This is the price I pay for being old and out of shape and thinking I could push myself on the squat rack like I'm 25, haha!

Weightlifters, clench that booty and breathe!

The good news is it's healing up, so I'm lucky. It could have been worse if I had kept lifting and ignored the doctor. For now, I'm keeping the weights low and focused on cardio. The treadmill is the bulk of my exercise now, and that's probably better for long term health than big plates on a big bar. I still want to lift again, but it's not a bad thing.

You may have read that my blood pressure was kind of high. Cardio will help.

 

If you are interested in some advice on exercise, great!

Get on the treadmill. Resist the urge to set the incline and grab the handles, that will only slow your progress. Instead, focus on setting a heart rate goal. 80 beats per minute for 5, 10, or 15 minutes is a great spot to start if you are in need of some rehabilitation from injury (or having a desk job, as is my case, haha!) 100 BPM for 10 minutes is a great goal to hit, that will tax your diaphragm, legs, metabolism, and vascular system to keep oxygen flowing and remove lactic acid. If you are an average joe or jane, with no complicating factors and good overall health, this will get you results. The end goal should be based on your age and general health. Young, healthy individuals can usually expect to work up to heart rates over 120BPM for 10min, that's where sweat and exhaustion should start becoming normal for you and you will probably feel the desire to push yourself in total run time / distance.

As for distance, set small goals. At first, just walking a half mile might feel taxing. That's okay. Focus on keeping your heart rate where you want it.

If you know you can run pretty well, shoot for a mile. Set an easy pace and time yourself. Use that benchmark and how you feel afterward to gauge your next run.

Personally, I am 30 and shooting for a 10:30min 1.5mile run. It's not superhuman, but it has taken me about a year to get there. My heart rate is still higher at the finish than I want it to be. So, I switch it up. Some days I go slower for longer. Some days I start with a sprint and go shorter.

 

Things are looking up for me this year. Herpes really isn't much of a thing. I go entire days without thinking about it, and I haven't been down about it in a couple of weeks! Woo!

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Yeah, I take 1000mg valacyclovir daily.

It may contribute to my higher than ideal blood pressure, but I am taking the simple steps it takes to control that.

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6 months update:

Life is normal!

 

I am bringing together years of striving for goals and dreams this year. Herpes hasn't gotten in the way of any of it!

 

I am still capable, desirable, kind and good. Just like I knew I would keep being, despite my diagnosis.

 

My blood pressure is coming back into normal levels, my relationship is moving along really well, my work is becoming easier, and my hobbies are still a source of fun.

Super grateful for all of those things!

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7 months, apparently.

I'm not sure how accurate my count is anymore. And that's a good thing.

 

Want to know what is a bigger deal than herpes for me right now?

It might put the whole virus into perspective.

1. Moving. It's stressful.

2. I have to work a couple of extra shifts when I'd really rather chill and work on my book some more. Got some ideas for revisions, so no that's a thing.

3. Just saw a trailer for a movie that has similar components to my book. Now the anxiety monkey that rides my back all day is trying to convince me that there is no more room in the market for my story. Actively trying to defeat point 2 without negating the stress? Clever, Mr. Anxiety Monkey. Clever.

 

Yeah, seriously that's all a bigger deal to me these days than Herpes.

That's progress! I'm really glad that I got the help I needed to pull myself together and keep living as hard as I can!

 

All this may sound like bragging, but I do have a good point to make:

You can get to feel like yourself again. You can enjoy the things that you have always enjoyed. You can go back to worrying about "nornal" stuff.

Talk to someone about what's getting to you. Just knowing someone read / heard what you have to say can be really helpful.

Take it easy on yourself when you need some slack. Perfection isn't a thing that actually exists, it's a goal to shoot for sometimes. If you are struggling to like yourself, now is probably not the time to try to be perfect.

Be hard on yourself when you need to be. That contradicts the last point, but it's true. If you have to drag your self kicking and screaming towards your recovery / self acceptance, do it.

Be good to other people. They won't always be super grateful, but a small amount of feeling like you did a good thing can help pull you out of a slump.

Be good to yourself. Do things that make your life go the way you want it to. That might be as simple as remembering to run the dishwasher at the end of the day, or as complex as hounding yourself to chase achievement at work / school / hobbies. If you know what you need, what will help give you that x-factor to help you wake up in a positive mood in the morning, do it. Be proud that you can do it.

 

That all sounds like the usual rigamarole, but there is no secret to it. There is no trick, magic spell, or voodoo to it.

Life is about that slow, incremental progress. It might not feel like you gain a lot of ground every day.But when I look back 7 months, I am fortunate to get to feel like I have done good things and made lots of progress toward feeling that elusive contentment with how things are, and where they are going.

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8ish month update:

 

Life is seriously all about that slow, incremental progress. Anything worth while tends to be that way.

Learn one lesson.

Gain one skill.

Do it better next time.

Find another method.

Evaluate what you did, how it worked out and what you can do differently.

Once you know what to do, keep cranking at it until the damn thing is done.

 

I wish I could take my own advice better, haha!

I'm impatient, I change my mind 99% of the way to completion of a goal and I stomp my foot and pout about wanting things to be different.

But I do one thing right.

I refuse to lie to myself. I don't take excuses as justification for giving myself a break.

If I don't like my waistline, it's because I gave myself too much leeway on snacks and skipped out on the crunches. There is no two ways about it, whether age or genetics made it just a little harder this year than last.

That's how I treat myself in my own head.

It might be tyrannical. It might be a little harsh. To some.

But for me, it's just what I need.

There is a fearful, weak, sorry sack of lazy garbage lurking deep within me. He occasionally tries to justify initiating an argument with a loved one, or to justify cutting corners on the job.

I don't need to feel ashamed of it. That's a part of human nature.

I just need to identify when it's leading into some form of unhealthy or destructive train of thought. Then take action to get things back in line with how I choose for them to be.

 

Being diagnosed with herpes gave fuel to that part of me and it threatened to drag my entire syche down with it.

I was ashamed to think that way so readily.

The shame I felt over thinking that way fed the part of me that could undermine me.

 

What an epic battle against the perfect enemy, huh?

It's like the cliche battle against the evil twin from TV. Only it's not a cliche when you find your instincts and your fears turned into the most prevailant part of your mind. It's pretty depressing in reality.

 

How did I wrangle all that inner termoil into place again?

I'm not really sure I could put it into words.

I can give examples of my actions and my thoughts, but I can't describe the method or the mood.

Refusing to act on ideas formed by that unlikable part of me was a big factor in regaining my sense of self.

Idenifying what was an acceptable deciding factor and what was self-pity was another contributor.

 

It takes time to influence such a subconscious beast. It doesn't understand words, and it doesn't care much for reality. It turns reflexive thoughts into depressing notions and dreams into anxiety-feeding weirdness. Only consistent behavior and an intentional mindset can really have any effect when that part of your mind starts trying to make the decisions.

 

Even though the song is way over played and I actually kind of hate Incubus, their song "Drive" kind of hits the nail on the head.

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Hey, thanks for reading. It means a lot.

 

I'm having trouble trying to talk to my girlfriend about herpes recently.

It's not anything important, I just want to find the words to tell her that it still makes me hurt sometimes, but that doesn't have anything to do with her or our relationship.

I want to be able to seek some empathy without making her feel guilty or responsible. But it doesn't seem possible.

She does great at being super supportive and kind all the time. I don't want her to have to think about how her not knowing ahead of time caused me this kind of pain. She's so empathic, she'd be torn up about it all over again.

 

But I've been feeling shame lately.

I had the thought cross my mind again for the first time in a while, "Why exercise? you are permanently flawed. Why try to cover up your shame? You are not worthy of desire."

It's pretty lame to have those thoughts just inject themselves in an otherwise normal day.

It makes me angry that this kind of thinking interrupts what was once my very ritualistic exercise.

I get no piece of mind today from exercise. And I am somehow less myself for it.

Fuckin herpes taking away my sense of self.

I used to be able to smash this kind of doubt under huge amounts of exhaustion. My ritual used to be the only way I could cope sometimes.

I drag this stupid vurus and the psycholical baggage.

 

It won't last for more than a few minutes at a time anymore.

But I want to talk to my girlfriend about it without bringing the same kind of pain down on her.

Absolutely she deserves to be content over myself.

If I could think of a way to talk to her about it without dragging her down.

 

Shame, shame, shame.

I used to be overflowing with pride.

I still get to be most of the time. I just miss out on it sometimes.

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Well, it's been a few days and I haven't had that tough conversation with my girlfriend I had wanted to.

Fact is that I just stopped feeling like it was so important.

I will tackle that discussion eventually, but it really only manifests in my mind for a moment at a time, and not all that often. There is just so much more that is much more important to me.

I actually was able to work out without feeling shame. And I realize that I often do exercise without any inner turmoil. It's just occasional conflict, and not overpowering.

 

I'm beginning to cycle away from cardio and more into weightlifting again. Something that is very, very RegularGuy.

He didn't go anywhere. Just went through a phase of temporary stuff.

 

Also, I got to compare my blood pressure history with my dad. It's very similar in that his began to rise generally in his 30's, according to his memory. Either way, I will continue to compensate by cutting back on energy drinks and similar not so healthy habits.

 

There are things I can do. Good things and bad. Healthy things and unhealthy. Fun things and lame things.

 

Thanks to the RegularGuy of about 8 months ago for giving himself a chance to prove himself worthy. I would say in hindsight he was very worthy, if extremely foolish to doubt himself so badly, to judge himself so harshly.

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@RegularGuy Thank you for this detailed journey you've shared with us. ALL of the feelings you shared are feelings I'm currently going through, and reading your posts have been insightful, transparent, and in more ways uplifting. I am constantly "inside my head" thinking and talking things through with myself. Some days, I'm really able to pull through and others, it's down right hard to not think about anything else but the H. Even when I'm not thinking about IT, I'm thinking of the time before it, and what things would be like....which we all know isn't healthy.

 

I think what's really important for me personally right now, is that I allow myself the time to grieve and process, but then pick up from where I left off and continue the fight to live the best life I can!

 

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@HeyTotoro

Thanks for the kind words and thanks for reading.

I'm glad you're allowing yourself to have some good days and some not so great. It'll all settle into more good as time goes on. I'm also glad you are giving yourself permission to feel out the feelings and think the thoughts when you have to. Definitely important.

Try not to wait on picking up and moving on. Try to keep doing things the way you have always done as much as you can without breaking at the seams. I may have been able to push myself at work and other stuff, but I also had a huge amount of support from my family and my girlfriend at the same time. Anyone can reasonably throttle back and withdrawal a bit, even if they are lucky enough to have the kinds of support I have.

So take your time when you need to. Push yourself when you need to. But do it to earn back your own respect and appreciation, feeling like yourself is rooted very much in those things.

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I hit the gym today and really crushed it like I used to.

No shame, no holding back. The thought of herpes didn't even occur.

Damn that felt good.

I can still shape myself however I want. I can push myself to desparate levels of exhaustion and keep finding new wells of inner strength to tap into.

 

Not too long ago, I thougjt that was never going to happen again. It's rediculous to think that.

 

In other news, I moved into a new, nicer place. That was something I really wanted to do for a while and I finally found the right place to be. It's been really exciting and satisfying to take a step forward in my living situation, especially because I feel like I've worked so hard and been so dilligent in recognizing opportunities to earn a better lifestyle.

It's really rewarding to look back and see a resilient, tenacious self making sound decisions to open doors and win what I wanted to have.

The best part is knowing I can keep doing it. And even if something terrible happens, I think I would meet adversity or tragedy with strength, determination and satisfaction in knowing I really honestly did things to the best of my ability.

 

That's what I get from these late night gym sessions. Satisfaction and inspiration through introspection.

 

For those who might read this:

Do that for yourself. Find a way to gain that kind of pride and self appreciation. It makes the good times more enjoyable and the hard times a little easier.

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