Having herpes does not mean your worth is less

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I read about the herpes whitlow on this site and towards the end itĀ asked for someone’s story or symptoms.

I’m now 33 yrs old and I was diagnosed with genital herpes at 19 yrs old. I wish we had had smartphones back then, a better way to research the virus and connect with others who also had it.

Let me express how AWFUL it was leading up to my diagnosis. Being as usually the first few breakouts can be the worst. (Which I didn’t know at the time) My symptoms started out as a urinary tract infection.

Although painful, I knew that some meds would do the trick and I’d be back to normal in a few days. Boy was I wrong. The pain didn’t cease in fact it steadily got worse. I couldn’t make it to work and peeing became a nightmare. My mom picked me up and we went to the ER. Because it such a severe urinary tract infection it was suspected I may have an STD. It’s been so long now I can’t exactly remember what they did, I think they swabbed my genitals and I believe they were testing for chlamydia. The strange part is one of the doctor’s mentioned the possibility of herpes, but obviously didn’t test me for it. Since I didn’t have chlamydia I was sent home in basically the same condition as I had came in.

Days were torture. I finally went to see a doctor. I think since the ER couldn’t or didn’t help me I didn’t think a doctor’s office visit could reap results. It was a female doctor and I sat there telling her my symptoms. My mom was in the room as well. And as the doc was writing down my symptoms I mentioned the ER doctor mentioning herpes and she stopped writing, and looked up at me with a concerned look on her face. A few minutes later, after a quick exam of my genitals, she confirmed I had herpes. A wave of shame and sadness swept over me and I remember my mom looking so sad for me. Even as I’m writing this now and recalling that day I am brought to tears.

The doctor gave me a few free samples of Zovirax. At the time I was uninsured and there wasn’t a generic med on the market for herpes. Within a day of taking the meds I was feeling so much better. Unfortunately the breakouts were frequent. For awhile I was able to get free samples until I moved down to TN. I didn’t have a car to get to the doctor and I didn’t have insurance so when I got a breakout it was HELL. The itching was maddening. I know this is going to sound gross but I want to be painfully honest to thoroughly explain my story. I would wear a thick pad and when the itching would become intolerable, and cold water and soap wasn’t sufficing, I would rub the pad vigorously on my privates which probably only exacerbated the situation, however it did bring some relief. The breakouts were so frequent my mom was kind enough to buy me a prescription of Zovirax (no refills) that cost her about $200. Eventually I was able to get to the pharmacy and buy a few at a time. It was awful. I believe $35 got me like 7 pills.

Besides the physical agony of herpes I was mentally fighting demons everyday. I felt like a leper. Whenever I was out in public I would look at people and know that I was DIFFERENT. I caught herpes from sex, although I never knew which lucky guy passed it on to me.

Promiscuity definitely aided in my illness. How would I ever be able to find someone who was willing to have sex with me again?? If I ever got pregnant would it affect my baby?

For years and years I went without meds. Eventually the breakouts became infrequent, but one time I had a full blown breakout and googled home remedies. There was some ridiculous concoction you were to rub into your genitals. It consisted of the over the counter cold sore medicine Abreeva and night time Tylenol cold medicine, in pill form. You mashed the pill into the Abreeva and rubbed it on your privates. It brought some relief although I suspect it was due more to the Abreeva than the cold medicine.

Even though the genital outbreaks were infrequent, the outbreaks that were frequent appeared on the palm of my right hand or on my right thigh. Jeans and band aids could help shield the thigh outbreaks, but the pain was awful. The palm of my right hand was the worst though. I’m right handed. Before a well formed blister appears a tingling and itching sensation would let me know trouble was on the way. Within a few hours little red bumps would appear, these would turn into the blisters but at first they’re just hard little bumps that hurt and itch. Sometimes I could actually help cease the outbreak by constantly applying rubbing alcohol to the area and of course it would over-dry the area, but again, sometimes it helped.

Through the internet, over the years, I’ve been able to do my own research on the virus. For a long time I was ashamed of myself for the stigma associated with the virus. And of course there are the jokes about herpes, and honestly, at this point in my life I can even get a good giggle out of a herpes joke. And since I’m not out announcing my situation then the jokes aren’t directed AT me. Let me assure you though, years ago when the word herpes came up, or a joke, I would get an awful, depressed feeling. Time helps heal these wounds.

Throughout the years I had close friends confide in me that they had the virus. What few friends I confided in, well they ended up telling a few other friends and I was devastated. These people are still my friends today, after long conversations they convinced me they only told another person because that person had it and felt bad. I found this to be true. The ones who found out I had it had gone through terribly sad days just like me.

I have a daughter now. She’s almost two years old. Early in my pregnancy I had a breakout on my thigh. For precautions I was put on acyclovir twice a day during pregnancy. After discussing it with my doctor I felt completely confident having a vaginal delivery. I was not in a breakout, and hadn’t had one in many months. My delivery went perfect. The baby is fine.

These days I take acyclovir once a day, unless I’m having a breakout. If anyone has done their research then they know a series of things can lead up to a breakout. Stress, heat, your period, even sexual contact when there are no symptoms, or when your immune system is fighting a cold can contribute to a breakout. I have a big exam in a few weeks, I’m a bit stressed over it and I woke up this morning with my palm hot and itchy. The pain has gotten worse over the day so I took my second acyclovir pill a few hours ago. I will take 2 a day for the next 6 days.

I would love to help counsel people who suffer with this virus. I have come to accept my body and it’s imperfections, but that’s only my journey and it took years of depression and physical pain and finally overcoming all that and realizing that I’m not broken. If only I had had some comfort when I was first diagnosed.

People need to know that even though they may have herpes, that does not mean their worth is less. They can still have relationships, and kids, and friends.

—Brandy

Photo Credit: Pinterest Pin

Zovirax Ointment Rebate Coupons

Just want to let those who use Zovirax (Acyclovir) ointment that u can get a “rebate” coupon by going to www.zovirax.com/cold-sore-rebate-aspx

You DON’T have to fill out forms to mail…just print coupon and bring it to your drugstore when u get a refill. You will pay only $15. for up to a $50. co-pay thru your insurance company. A great deal! It expires at the end of this year.

I asked pharmacist how long the ointment is able to be kept before it is rendered no longer helpful. She said until 2015! You can see on the flap of the box it comes in a date-stamped area (not inked in…so u have to really look for it) and this is the REAL expiration date.

In fact, as an FYI “aside,” many meds can be kept and used beyond expiration dates IF they are stored per instructions…usually in cool, dry place, not in area where they are going to get too hot or cold. I got this information from a pharmacist and have read it online, as well. But if you have old meds laying around and want to properly dispose of them (and that means no flushing or putting them in trash), you can buy a plastic mailing bag at Walgreen’s for $2. which covers postage. Fill it up w/your old meds & pop it in your mailbox. Be SURE to leave the medication name on there but you can mark out your name if you wish. They will dispose of these meds so they aren’t found in our waters, which they have been.

Good luck and be well!

–C

Stay Amazing!

Hello, my name is C, and I’ve had herpes since the summer of 1987, at age 22.

I’ve been a member of PUP for a long time – over 5 years, I think. I mostly read, sometimes comment when inspired, and feel I have something positive to contribute. My heart aches for each and every new member who finds their way to this group, while simultaneously feeling relieved they were able to make it here to us! We have some of the most amazing moderators and knowledgeable contributors anywhere, people dedicated to educating, directing, advising, soothing, and just plain listening.

When I was first diagnosed, there was no such thing as the internet. The doctor gave me my diagnosis, gave me zovirax ointment, and told me to urinate in a tub of warm water. I think he gave me a pamphlet that said I had to tell prospective sexual partners, but that part is fuzzy. The only people I told was my one girlfriend who drove me to the doctor, and my cheating boyfriend. I never discussed it with either of them ever again. Over the years, my mother came to know – we don’t talk about it. I have one girlfriend I told when I was pregnant, only because she was my birthing coach – we don’t discuss it. The father of my daughter, well he had HSV2 already, and beyond the first “telling,” we didn’t discuss it. I’ve been with my current boyfriend for over 5 years, and I told him before we were intimate, and we’ve talked about it in passing 3 or 4 times over the years (he’s still negative).

I guess my point is that I don’t talk about having herpes, to anyone, other than on PUP. Over the past 23 years, I never talked to anyone about how it really made me feel – like everyone here at some point – ashamed, dirty, useless, unworthy, despondent, desperate, lonely, afraid, sad, angry, pathetic, etc. I’ve come to terms with my H over the years, have it all straight in my head, and it’s mostly a non-issue for me. I don’t hate the giver. I don’t like having H, but don’t have regrets that make me morose. It’s such a minute part of who I am.

I find it very neat that so many of you have friends you can talk to about how you feel about having herpes. You’re SO incredibly lucky to have them, and to have found PUP. If some of you are like I was, and don’t really feel like you have the sort of friendships that can support you during this difficult time, please come here often to get the encouragement you need to make it through your days.

Hugs all around!
Stay Amazing!

–C

Tis The Season I Guess

flying-leapIf you have a question about GlaxoSmithKline then you write and ask THEM your question. I am not affiliated with GlaxoSmithKline. You’re in a Tizzy because I’ve had genital herpes for almost 15 years and I have been proactive in sharing what has worked for me.

I don’t take anything at this point in time and haven’t really had to since my last child was born which was back in 2005. The time before I gave birth to her, I had another baby in 2003. My OBGYN recommended that I go on suppressive therapy the last 6 weeks of both of my pregnancies in order to make an honest attempt to suppress viral activity during labor and delivery so that I and both my girls would have the best chance possible of having a normal vaginal birth.

So SUE ME if that is what I took to suppress the virus. VALTREX. I’ll say it again… VALTREX. I took VALTREX to suppress the virus during the last 6 weeks of BOTH of my pregnancies. I believe the recommendation is to take 1,000 mg daily. There is Nothing wrong with that. My OBGYN recommended that to me and I can tell whoever I want to that it is VALTREX that I took.

You don’t like that I’m sharing what works for me. I get that. But it’s my journey and my experience. I have a right to share whatever it is that I want to. I don’t work for GlaxoSmithKline. I am me. I am contracted this virus almost 15 years ago. I’ve taken ZOVIRAX, FAMVIR, ACYCLOVIR and VALTREX. Out of ALL of the clinically proven herpes antivirals I find that FOR ME… VALTREX works the best. It’s Not my problem if you can’t stand that. I will continue to share my experiences with others. It’s called FREE SPEECH.

You go right ahead and forward my site to whoever you think you need to. I don’t have to put up with this type of harassment. If you continue to harass me and write to me I will continue to post factual e-mails including all personally identifiable information as to WHO is writing to me and threatening me with this ridiculousness. So be my guest. Report to your heart’s content. I have absolutely nothing to hide and I’m sure you see that my life is out there for all to read with regard to HERPES and what works FOR ME.

As for the clinically proven herpes antivirals… you know… the stuff that actually works to treat and suppress the herpes virus as well as reduce transmission by up to 50% along with reduction of asymptomatic shedding by about 95%… it’s not my responsibility to point you in the direction of the studies. You have access to the internet GOOGLE it. Furthermore… these herpes antivirals are antivirals for a reason. I’m sorry you don’t like that but that’s not my fault. It is what it is. If you don’t like GlaxoSmithKline’s clinically proven herpes antiviral VALTREX… take it up with THEM not ME.

This is just one example of the crud I have to deal with day in and day out. I’m Not going to put up with this type of harassment. I’m just Not. I don’t deserve it.

————————————————————
Name of sender: Meryl Squires
Email of sender: merylsquires@merixcorp.com
————————- COMMENTS ————————-
Are you paid by GlaxoSmithKline? New FTC regulations require disclosure. You do not cite any scientific proof yet you malign a product. Your site is being forwarded to regulatory attorneys.
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SITUATION UPDATE!!!

I’m beginning to understand why Meryl Squires aka: INTERNET BULLY is harassing and threatening me. She is pissed off that nobody has sent me anything nice to say about her snake oil over the counter stuff called Releev. You see, I have a comment and feedback page for people to post their own personal experiences using the stuff. I can’t help it if so far nobody has sent me anything positive to say about it. At this rate anybody sending me anything positive would be questionable at best since Meryl Squires has taken it upon herself to harass and BULLY me.

Take notes Ms. Squires. I don’t care who you are, how many degrees you have, or how qualified you think you are to berate and belittle me. I am an online volunteer patient advocate. I help people that have Herpes, HPV or any other STD. We offer support on my site, blog, and message board. My efforts are strictly to share support, PERSONAL EXPERIENCES, and to point people in the right direction when they can’t find what they are looking for.

I also point people in the direction of the Center for Disease Control, American Social Health Association, and the Food and Drug Administration. If you have a problem with the fact that people are not happy with your OTC product then you take it up with them and leave me out of it!

I do not work for GSK or any other Pharmaceutical Company. I have had herpes for 15 years now and I share what has personally worked for me. I make sure people know that there are clinically proven herpes antivirals out there that will not only reduce outbreaks but suppress them AND keep asymptomatic shedding reduced, too. I can’t help it that you don’t like that.

TOO BAD. NOT MY PROBLEM.