Occupation: Waitress, Student
OBs per year: Only one or two total, since diagnosed in April of 1998. I'm not quite sure, but I may have had a very mild OB a couple of months ago. It was nothing compared to my primary (which was HELL), so it could possibly have been a prodrome.
Prodrome: General body aches, almost as if having the flu, especially in legs and lower back, tingling and general discomfort in the genital area. I haven't had many of these, so I am not too adept at explaining or picking them out.
Method of control: When first diagnosed, I had the MD put me on Valtrex suppressively. After a couple of months, I became tired of taking pills everyday, so I quit. I had heard that type 1 is much less severe, so I took a risk and decided to find out how my body would handle the virus naturally.
For the past (almost) year, I have not taken any meds. I seem to be doing just fine. My diet is not incredibly healthy and I do not exercise as much as I should, so considering all this, I think I am doing fairly well.
My story: I had been with my boyfriend at the time for a little over a year. We were monogamous, and did not use protection all the time. He has type 1 orally, but we were ignorant not to think that it can be transmitted through oral sex. He felt a cold sore coming on (on his nose), but we still did not think anything of it. Sure enough, a week or so later, I developed what we thought was an allergic reaction to a new brand of condom we were using (we didn't use condoms all the time), and I went to the doctor to see what we could do. He took one look and said it looked like herpes. I was blindsided by this news, partly because no less than 3 months earlier, virtually the
same words came out of his mouth, but about genital warts. I didn't know what I was going to do. My boyfriend at the time was very supportive, considering I had gotten HPV (warts) from a guy I had sex with before him and wasn't diagnosed until over a year later. How was he going to handle this?
He was fairly supportive about the herpes, but we still did not know what it was for sure. A week later, my culture came back.........NEGATIVE. I had done a lot of research on the virus, so I knew how unreliable cultures can be. I demanded a blood test and it was typed as type 1.
Medical Experiences: Bad, bad, bad. I hate my doctor. He seems so uninformed. If I were not as resourceful as I am, I don't know where I would be today. #1........at least one of my pap smears came back FALSELY normal when I first had HPV. The lab he uses is unreliable. #2........I had to educate myself about the viruses, he did not offer me any information. #3........I had to demand a blood test. Knowing that cultures are not
reliable, he should not have wasted my time or money by doing one. #4.......I am the one who brought up suppressive therapy. It is his job to do that, explain the options, not mine! #5..........On my last visit to him, 6 months ago, (the first visit since all this stuff has gone wrong) he did not even bring up either of the viruses, have I had an OB, etc. What if I were having difficulties and was too embarrassed to bring it up? I am
seriously considering finding another doc, one who is more in tune with my needs. I feel so sorry for the ignorant people out there who do not educate themselves and are stuck w/ him as a doc!
Telling: I had a few good experiences with telling. The first was great. He was totally completely accepting. The second wasn't so great. He said he was okay with it but acted completely scared of me and would not tell me that he couldn't handle it. Since he goes to school in another state, we just grew apart. I guess its just easier that way. The third was a good experience too. We are dating, and I am seriously thinking about taking it to another level. I just have to get some things sorted out in my life and learn to love myself again before we can get more serious. The fourth was a good experience also. His ex girlfriend actually has herpes too, and he has type 1 orally. That isn't going anywhere though, because he is moving to the other side of the country soon. I have found that the more mature people are, the more accepting they can be.
This virus has changed me in many ways. I have had to learn to look at life from a totally different perspective. Dating is extremely difficult, but it seems to maybe be getting easier. I feel like I have to be in control of every situation in my life, or I feel very uncomfortable. I used to be a very open person, but now I don't feel I can, because people don't understand where I am coming from, and won't, until I tell them about the herpes and HPV, and well, that is a difficult step to take.