Name: MegAnn
Age : 28
Sex : F
Occupation: Writer/artist, gardener
Type: HSV II
Yr Infected: Wish I knew for sure- '90?
OB's per year: 6-10

Prodromes: Fatigue, killer neuralgia (shooting, stabbing pain on left side from butt muscles down the nerve all the way to the heel of my foot), tingling and or itching, possibly junk food cravings... I get confused between prodromes and PMS since they often occur simultaneously.

Method of Control: Diet, lots of sleep, multivitamin plus extra preventative measures/supplements five days before my period since that's outbreak danger time, which includes Vitamin A,E,C,B-complex, zinc lozenges, L-lysine, echinacea, and eating fish and potato meals (for extra lysine).

I just started doing this in a more methodical, organized manner, keeping track of when I need to step up the prevention, with improved results. I've tried homeopathy and Chinese medicine too (herbs and acupuncture) with mixed results. I didn't give the Chinese medicine a fair trial since at the time I couldn't afford ongoing therapy/medicine. Valerian root (an herbal supplement) seems to help with my painful
neuralgia and general herpes stress. It soothes the nervous system.

My Story: I have no idea who I got herpes from, but it probably was the first or second time I ever had sex. I think it was latent for a while, then BAM! I was floored for a month with a migraine, inability to urinate, severe viral symptoms, nerve pain.. It was horrendous, and I was misdiagnosed so I it spread from my genital area to my rectum during this time, while the doctor had me using steroid cream!! I was mortified, to
say the least, even though I wouldn't know exactly what I had until 4 years later, when I spotted a sore and a more competent doctor took a swab. The saddest thing was definitely the isolation-- the shame that prevented me from telling any of my friends or family. Wish I'd been connected to the HHP forum then.

Medical Experiences
: Most were terrible. Condescending, ill-informed medical "professionals" who didn't know what to do with my despair, or my mysterious "problems" that they couldn't diagnose. One doctor even yelled at me for coming in when she couldn't find anything wrong. The doctor who diagnosed me gave me no resources for support or treatment. I am still hopeful that there are good doctors out there who are also knowledgeable about herpes. I have a list of M.D. referrals that I plan to check out soon.

Telling: This is the good part! I have had all positive experiences. My past two partners (and my current) have taught me a lot about putting herpes in perspective, since they were all better at that than me. The people who I told had had friends or family with herpes, so they already had compassion. Fortunately I haven't given it to anyone yet. I don't tell partners until they already know me quite well. (But not so
well so they're at risk!)

Herpes has helped me slow down in relationships, so that they're pretty solid before sexual intercourse comes into the picture. In that sense herpes has been a blessing-- increasing my self-care. I recently told my sister and have just started telling some of my closer friends. Next will be my mother. That'll be a doozy -- yikes! I hope to eventually get to the point where I can be honest with most people close to me about my outbreaks when I'm feeling like crap! It's becoming a political issue for me. The silence and stigma around herpes wounded me badly when I was younger and desperately needed support, so why should I perpetuate it now by covering up and letting shame silence me? That's my theory. We'll see if I can put it into practice......