I haven't posted here in a while, but I got an outbreak this week (first in about 2 years!) and it made me think about how much this forum helped me when I was first diagnosed. So I figured I'd pop in and give everyone an update...
Five years ago I was diagnosed with HSV 2, which at the time seemed like the end of the world. After the initial shock, I started using Positive Singles, which was a really good way for me to ease back into dating. There were a few relationships, then eventually I began to venture outside PS and dated a few people I met the good old fashioned way: social events, work, friends, etc. Telling was never easy, but I was incredibly lucky in that I never really had a bad experience telling. Some were even funny (Me: I have herpes. Ex: I'm 30 and live with my parents).
Then 2 years ago I ran into an old friend and we unexpectedly hit it off. When the time came to tell, he couldn't have handled it better. We used condoms for a while, then about a year in, decided to stop. I'm on antivirals and after my first year, my outbreaks had been spaced further and further apart. We did have a scare really early on in our relationship when we were still using condoms. He came over and just seemed bummed out. He eventually told me he was worried he'd gotten herpes from me. He described what it looked like and I began to get worried....then he showed it to me. He had horrible pus filled bumps and a rash all around, I remember feeling awful and thinking "OMG, this looks a million times worse than any outbreak I've ever had." I made him go to the clinic that day and we found...he had a staph infection. They did a swab just to be sure and sure enough...no herpes. The infection cleared up pretty quickly with antibiotics. We laugh about that day now.
A year into the relationship, we decided to stop using condoms and things have been great. He's never once made me feel bad about myself. I remember how often H popped into my mind the first few years after my diagnosis. Now ... it's rare it even comes to mind. We have a really great relationship and I've been incredibly lucky, I haven't had an outbreak in the 2 years we've been together...until this week. When I told him, he kind of shrugged, saying "I figured this would come up at some point. It's fine, if you want to talk about it, let me know, but I'm not worried about it." And that was that.
It's funny how easy things are with him, I'd always thought H would be some big dark cloud that would follow me around in each relationship. But these days, I rarely think about it. A few months back I changed from Valtrex to Acyclovir. I'm allergic to the blue dye one of the manufacturers uses in the Valtrex pills. The pharmacy ordered white coated pills for me, but it was becoming more and more of a pain for them to get the pills in, so I opted to switch. Initially I was annoyed to have to take the pills twice a day, but now I'm just used to it.
I was diagnosed with lupus earlier this year, which has been a tough adjustment. It's interesting to think back on some problems I had that I assumed were HSV related. Now I know they were likely lupus related. I'm count myself lucky the lupus hasn't caused more outbreaks. And throughout it all my boyfriend has been nothing but supportive ... he might be a keeper
So to those of you in the beginning stages of diagnoses, there will be a lot of ups and downs, but stick it out. Things do get easier and don't ever let anyone make you feel badly about yourself. I spent a long time beating myself up over my diagnosis and at the end of the day, I think I'm better for it. I'd be lying if I said HSV didn't change me. It has, but you know... I think I've changed for the better.