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Leo

Mourning the death of the girl I used to be.

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29, female. Living in Miami. Recently diagnosed with HSV2.

 

It’s been a rough week to say the least. I’ve cried so much I’m surprised my body can still produce tears. In what feels like the blink of an eye, I’ve transformed from this once vivacious, independent, successful woman, to a shell of the person I feel I used to be.

 

I’ve always been outgoing — true “Leo” personality. The girl who had a million friends, was always the one to provide a shoulder to lean on and all the advice in the world, and super successful in my career at such a young age. Admittedly, I was a force to be reckoned with— a true perfectionist who never settled for less. And here I am now feeling as though I’ve lost everything. I’ve become a “victim” to an arbitrary stigma—a stigma that while I know is unfair after I’ve researched all the facts, etc., is still a stigma none-the-less that isn’t showing any evidence of disappearing. (despite wonderful efforts I’ve witnessed from this community alone.)

 

It still HURTS. And sucks. I’M NOT THIS PERSON.

 

I don’t recognize myself right now. I need to get out of my bed of self-loathing, but I can’t. I don’t want this to be my reality. I don’t want to admit it. I keep praying that this is a dream I’m going to wake up from. As I type this I realize how dramatic it sounds, but this wasn’t supposed to happen to me! These weren’t supposed to be the cards dealt to me. I know there are SO many worse things that could have happened to me, and for that I’m grateful. But I can’t help but scream at the unfairness of it all. No one deserves to be dealt an incurable virus, and in my case I’m furious that it’s the result of a rendezvous I took part in, in order to “get over” a douchebag ex of mine who did me so wrong. If anyone deserves this HE DOES. Why did it have to happen to me??

 

I’m lucky to have supportive friends and family in my corner, and I’ve been using them as a sounding board as much as I can. But as soon as I’m alone with my own thoughts, I completely break down. I’ll have bursts of moments where I feel like I may be able to stay positive, and navigate this disease and the rest of my life with confidence, but then I’ll hear a story of how another close friend of mine is engaged and moving forward with a happy life, and I can’t help but be fearful that I’ve now caused my life to stand completely still.

 

I’m terrified at the thought of the day I decide to re-enter the dating scene —a scene I used to own. My friends would always joke that I needed to write a book detailing all of my crazy stories and encounters over the years, and now it looks as though this new chapter should be the book’s forward — a warning that we’re not invincible, and that you shouldn’t be so trusting of those you don’t know so well. It’s an awful realization to come to terms with.

 

Vulnerability has never been a friend of mine, and now I need to figure out how to befriend it and utilize it to my advantage. Sharing something so intimate about myself scares the shit out of me. I can’t help but wonder if I’m still going to be desirable. If I’m going to be “worth the risk,” no matter how small, to someone I’m getting to know. I’m afraid my personality and charm can only get me so far. The dating world is scary enough. Throw in the fact that I live in Miami, where the Bumble game runs rampant. There’s so much “opportunity” here when it comes to dating, and I’m heartbroken at the thought that I may be considered damaged goods. The idea that there are great people out there who may love me regardless is not lost on me, but this isn’t an obstacle I want to climb. I know I’m an amazing catch despite “this,” but the fact that I now have to test that truth with thick skin and an optimistic heart is terrifying.

 

I miss the girl I used to be. That fearless girl. Right now it feels as though she’s gone for good, and I never thought it was truly possible to attend your own funeral.

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You haven't spontaneously become someone different. And you are capable of all of the same things you have always been.

Leo can still kill it at work. Leo can still make a group of friend crack up laughing, or convince them to go to her favorite bar instead of the other one. Leo can still chase that dream of the bigger role in her company, and she would do just as great a job at it, if given the chance!

I understand a lot of your disappointment, your shame, and your fear.

I always have held myself to an unattainable standard.

Before herpes, I never met a single problem I couldn't smash through with will power and determination.

When I found out, I thought I had lost my ability to feel off stress to gain success, for fear that the stress would trigger out breaks.

I thought for sure that my business trip would be a major failure, because I would be able to take the lack of sleep, being put on the spot, and my weaknesses exposed while simultaneously dealing with my first out break.

I thought my girlfriend would definitely leave me.

I thought I'd have to withdraw from college because I wouldn't be able to handle additional deadlines.

I thought I might shoot myself, because RegularGuy was dead anyway, and I didn't have the will to live like a RegularPoorSap.

 

But I was completely, unbelievably wrong about all of that.

I smashed my buisness trip, and it was actually even more stressful than anything I had done before. I was thrown to the wolves, a witch hunt ensued to find someone to fire. All of my weaknesses were pointed out, stepped on, and my career threatened.

And I was still recovering from my first out break.

In the end, I freaking killed that trip. That trip became the reason I earned the raise I asked for!

At the same time, I was writing my final essays and taking my final exams for my degree. And I freaking smashed those, too!

At the same time, my girlfriend was suffering doubt and fear like I was, and we kept communication as a priority, were brutally honest about our thoughts and feelings, and she decided not to ditch me before we even really got our heads wrapped around the problem. At least, if she would have left, it wouldn't have been just because of herpes.

 

Not because I am some incredible, indestructible force. But because herpes had absolutely zero influence on my ability to tackle the goals I needed to tackle and achieve what I have always been working toward.

 

It will go exactly the same for you, Leo.

You are too much yourself to spontaneously become something else against your will!

 

Sorry to hear you've joined the club.

Welcome to the community.

If you find yourself struggling to steer your thoughts away from negative stuff, reach out.

If you have questions or confessions, we won't judge as a rule.

 

I can't wait to read that you've ripped yourself away from your bed, thrown yourself back into the world, and re-taken your pride. Cuz what is a Leo without their pride anyway?

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@regularguy, I've said it before and I'll say it again. You. Are. A. Rockstar!

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@regularguy Thank you so much for your beautiful, kind words. It seriously made me cry, and it was the type of encouragement I needed right now. I know this is going to be an interesting journey to say the least, and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to overcome it like I’ve handled so many other obstacles before. ❤️

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It's hard at first, but over time it will get better. It becomes Normal, don't feel like u need to be in a bubble. It was so hard for me too at first. Found out in July hsv2 .. the first is the worst.. u panic at first with anything Nd every thing.. had. Small o.b. last week I use tea tree oil and it went away in no time. I wasn't even sure if it was it at first.. everyone is diffrent.. but it's not the end of the world. Hang in there like my eyes Re with this small screen T this hr of the night. Please excuse my typos. U will come back stronger when the shock fads.. u haven't but that will. Don't give up u got this!

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@leo I feel the exact same as I recently had my first HSV-2 outbreak, and although it was pretty minor it still leaves a lot of uncertainty for my future and the dreaded conversations I'll have to have with every single guy I might want to sleep with. My world kinda shifted in those first few days after finding the outbreak, I cried a lot and maybe I will some more as it's still new to me. The funny thing is I think I contracted it the exact same way as you, while trying to get over my ex with someone new. And I'm 25 so I feel your pain. 20s are supposed to be fun times only, and mid-way through I hit this roadblock. But what has really been helping me is finding out how common herpes really is. And the fact that 80-90% of people with oral/genital herpes never even show symptoms and therefore never know they have it. And the fact that the majority (67%) of humans on earth have some form of herpes (and most of them are just unknowingly passing it around as they don't even know they are infected). It's a tricky virus whose sole purpose is to just latch onto any human body it can find. And since you are human, it found you too. But the good news is there are so so many people who have herpes. You can easily find boyfriends, soulmates, casual hookups by diving a bit deeper into the community of it all. I know it might sound crazy and scary and ridiculous, but hey, we are all human and we all make mistakes. People are people whether they carry a sometimes active/mostly dormant/or always dormant virus in their body or not. And don't feel too bad if you get rejected by someone who is "clean", as they may very well have the same virus living dormant in their body too and just not know it. So don't let their "ew you're gross" attitude ruin your confidence, because first, why would you want someone who only sees a virus when they look at you having any part in your life anyway? And second, you'll come to see that many people choose to be ignorant when it comes to STIs, especially herpes. And the more you educate yourself on the matter, the more turned off you'll be by people who choose to remain ignorant. You will in fact end up forming much more amazing and deeply connected relationships for the sole fact that, it will take someone who truly loves you and sees how special you are that will want to commit to you. I'm not saying you can't enjoy casual hook-ups, but when it comes to finding a life partner, that person will definitely be pretty damn special and heavily devoted to you. Sending lots of love and I'm here if you need me!

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Leo how were you diagnosed with HSV2 (swab or blood test) and do you have symptoms.

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Hey, we all would be interested in hearing how things are going for you.

Hoping to hear good news, but if things are still rough, we'll be here for you.

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It’s been a while. And I figured it was time I share an update. Though, I embarrassingly admit that today, I am just as lost as I was the day I wrote my original post.

 

At the time of my post, I was awaiting paper confirmation of my diagnosis - which to me felt so pointless...another bruise adding insult to injury. I would have 1000% bet my life savings on the reality of a life with herpes being my fate. Why was the paper necessary?

 

The doctor at the urgent care clinic I tearfully went into that week also strongly suspected herpes. She said “this is an open sore, there is nothing here to lance. This could be herpes. We need to give you a test.” Again, I seemed textbook. I am insanely in tune with my own body. I’m scientific by nature and to me, all facts pointed straight to herpes. The only thing she questioned was the fact that I had a single sore, and not a cluster of blisters. She told me, and of course after all my own research I also know, that it’s possible for your first outbreak to be a single sore, but it’s not the most common scenario. (Especially if you already have hsv 1, which I do orally, I’ve had it for many years) We all know of course that with herpes, no two cases tend to be the same. So again, I questioned why “this paper confirmation” was necessary. I knew I was positive.

 

The doctor did not do a swab. Instead, she ordered an IGG blood test. At the time of the test, it had been 17 weeks since the last time I had sex. More than 4 months post possible exposure. More than enough time, according to all the experts, for a conclusive diagnosis.

 

The day after I wrote my initial post, I received my results...I tested negative for HSV 2.

 

I would be lying if I said I didn’t cry out loud with relief. I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel silly and stupid for making my post to you guys without having “those paper results.” I would be lying if I said I didn’t immediately celebrate with drinks all the while doing the sign of the cross and promising god that I would make smarter decisions and commit to abstinence in light of all of this...I told myself I learned a valuable lesson here.

 

And then, exactly a month later, another bump popped up. And turned into an open sore. It mimicked the exact scenario as the first bump, though the location was different, and it’s now been two months and it’s left a hard bump in its place. I’m not sure if the bump is a scar, or if it’s a cyst under the skin. All I know is that it’s left me right where I was in the beginning. I’m questioning everything. And I truly, today, have no idea whether or not I have genital herpes.

 

I’ve convinced myself that maybe my test was a false negative. That maybe, just maybe, I’m that 5% that the test misses. Am I crazy? Because I feel absolutely insane. I haven’t yet gone back to the doctor for further testing. I’m honestly scared to. I haven’t been dating or having sex, but I’ve been self monitoring, trying to see if another bump might pop up again, so that I can get a swab and conclusive diagnosis. I questioned whether or not I could also have hsv 1 genitally along with orally, but everything I’ve read from Terri Warren suggests that’s nearly impossible. Plus, my antibody count for hsv 1 was 52, crazy high, so I doubt I also contracted it genitally.

 

Has anyone else experienced anything similar? I’m beyond confused and upset by it all. I’m praying I’m truly negative, but I’m ready to face the music if I’m not. I just want to know once and for all what the truth is. Would you guys trust the IGG at 17 weeks? Or do you think further testing needs to be done?

 

I’d now do anything for confirmation results on paper.

 

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Well, I went and mine was negative as well it was until a cultural was done on the 1st day of the liason that I tested positive. I pray yours is true that you are negative. Its hard to deal with but reading some of these post have really helped me.

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@mstanya1234 at how many weeks did you test negative via blood?

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Get tested again and get a final diagnosis. If not, you'll drive yourself mad with What Ifs.

I had sex in June 2017 - didn't test blood positive until January 2018. Didn't break out until November after blood test negative in Oct and Nov 2017. Culture/swab test came back positive.

Point is, I have no clear answer either and no man I slept with thus far is admitting to having HSV2. It took my 4 months of hell to get ahead of my first break out even though it was never super crazy. But even getting myself off gave me a break out. It took loads of meds and different meds. No natural therapies worked, only made it worse.

I am currently on suppressives, had sex twice, gotten off about 5 times and so far... back in business. Keep in mind however I'm 5 months out.

 

I find that once the initial break out passes, it's easier. KNOWING my truth also mattered so I could mentally move on. Knowledge is Power, do not run from it, embrace it and Move On. Time will heal.

 

Take care and stay in the game and stay Real and Present!

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It takes time. There are stages. Grieving the life you once lived which is now forever different, coming to terms with all the changes, finding new ways to love yourself and your body again, and finally accepting. You'll be a vivacious, spirited, beautiful woman again. I promise you. As weird as it is. Since I was diagnosed..... my quality of life has greatly increased. Yeah telling a potential partner I have herpes fucking sucks, and outbreaks suck worse, but it puts EVERYTHING into perspective. Give it time. Keep coming here for support. Everything will be okay babe.

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@Leo

You shouldn't feel like you did anything wrong in reaching out. You needed to talk about things, and you did a good thing by talking.

It's really great that you had a chance to celebrate health at one point. You will again, I know it.

Of course, keeping in touch with your doctor and getting things figured out is a good way to calm the rollercoaster you are going through. It is definitely what I would choose, personally.

In the meantime, calm yourself when you need to by remembering that it could be caused by something very benign, and stress can create health problems. But also find comfort in knowing that no matter the diagnosis, you will be the same great person you are.

You have a powerful level of insight and I'm sure that it comes hand in hand with many other good qualities. Try to focus on putting those qualities to work for yourself and to do some good things. Try not to let fear and anxiety get you down.

You seem like you are trying to do all the things you need to in order to keep your sanity and your life on track. Keep it up!

 

There is nothing wrong with abstaining for a while as you work through some internal struggles. But don't let it become a way to punish yourself. Hurry up and get this nailed down so you can start regaining your sense of security and normalcy.

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@Leo, I am feeling similar after being diagnosed about a month ago. Like I will never be exactly the same person I used to be, just a lesser version. At the same time logically I understand that it's ridiculous to let this condition change our perception of ourselves. I have hope that with time I will be able to shift my mindset and see this as not a big deal that has no reflection on who I am as a person or on my worth, and I hope that for you too.

 

As for your negative test result, you could have genital HSV-1, so if you were only tested for 2, that could be why. Also, I read that there is actually a 30% chance for false negatives, not 5%. Plus, it can take around 3 months for the antibodies to build up enough in your body to show up on the test. In other words, especially if you're still having symptoms, you might want to get tested again and make sure you're getting tested for both strains.

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