My Story of How I Got Herpes
Finding out you are diagnosed with an STD
Welcome to Life With Herpes, thank you for being here. Whether you were diagnosed or someone you know was, this podcast is a place for you to feel safe, to learn, to laugh and to be yourself. For our first show I am opening up about my story of how I got herpes and what it was like when I got the call from my doctor to tell me the news. You’ll hear all the emotions I felt, all the thoughts that went through my mind, what I did, and how the people I told responded. It’s real, it’s raw and it’s my story of how I got herpes here on episode 1 of Life with Herpes.
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As I’m sharing this show with you and my personal story I'm excited and scared at the same time! I never will forget where I was going, what I was wearing, all of the details from that moment. It was the Friday before the 4th of July in 2011 and it was hot in San Diego, where I lived at the time and still live. Previous to that I had just gone on vacation to Palm Springs with someone I was dating, and as we were leaving Palm Springs I didn't feel right. I had a pap smear scheduled for a few days later so I decided to wait until then. But the discomfort grew worse and worse, it became painful to wear anything but dresses. It hurt to sit down, thongs hurt if they rubbed at all, and jeans were excruciating to wear. I thought it was just a really bad yeast infection, not in a million years did I think it was herpes. So I saw my doctor, who didn’t think it looked like herpes but she did a test just in case. A few days later she called and told me it was in fact herpes. My mind was in shock, I couldn’t believe it. How could I get it from someone I knew, someone I was dating?! In my head I thought you got herpes from one night stands, from people who you didn't know and didn't trust. I knew and trusted the guy I was dating, we had gone to school together. I remember asking the doctor if I had had it for a long time. She said it was remotely possible, but usually, the incubation period is within a week so if you started feeling this towards the end of your vacation it's most likely from the new guy. After talking with the doctor and my best friend, I decided I would go visit the guy I had been in my most recent previous relationship. I went to see him and bravely told him in private that I had herpes and it was most likely from the guy I was currently dating but he should be checked, just in case. I was shaking so badly I could hardly walk, but I knew I had to tell him. He was, of course, scared and nervous, but he asked if I was okay. He told me I looked like I needed to sit down. I remember how concerned he was for my well-being, it was his primary concern. After meeting with him I went to back to work and to call past partners. But my thoughts always went back to feeling so scared that no one would ever love me again, at one point I sat on my office floor and cried hysterically. Later in the day I had to pick up my prescriptions for my herpes and for the yeast infection. Because my period had started that day (I was not feeling awesome as you can imagine), I also bought a bottle of wine, peanut M&Ms and a box of tampons. I was ready to go home and cry. I didn't go home though, I went to the guy's house who I was in a relationship with at the time. We had made plans for a date that night but when I got there he could tell something was wrong. I told him to sit down and I proceeded to tell him I had herpes. I was straight-faced and unemotional so I could get the words out. Then I tried to make light of it by joking about what other people must've thought of my purchases at the pharmacy with my wine, M&Ms, tampons and herpes medications! He said yeah the pharmacist must've thought you were a slut. He stood up and told me to get out of his house. He denied giving me herpes and was angry that I was even in his house with it (it being herpes). So I stood up with my M&Ms, tampons, and wine and was about to leave when he calmed down and said no just stay, let's get burritos and call it a night. It took him awhile to get tested, I think it was at least a month later when he did get the test done. I was at my aunt's house at a beach party when he texted me and said yes I have herpes too. I now know that's where I got herpes, and that’s my story. It feels good to share this with you and to be raw, naked and exposed. I hope it will help you get through your own experience with herpes. Thank you for being here on episode 1 of Life with Herpes!
Tweetable: “You are not a scarlet letter.” - Alexandra Harbushka
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