The Day I Got Diagnosed with Genital Herpes Was the Worst Day of My Life: Oh Sh*T Anniversary pt.5
It's Friday July 1st and this was the day that changed my everything. This was the day 11 years ago that I got diagnosed with genital herpes. I still have the dress that I was wearing when I was diagnosed with herpes so I thought I'd be fun to try it on.
If you can remember I had gone for my annual physical on Tuesday, so I was patiently awaiting my results. I was thinking that if I don't get a phone call by 3:00 then I'll have to call the doctors because otherwise it's a holiday weekend with the 4th being on Monday and everyone will be going home early to start the BBQ.
Well, it was around 2:00 pm when my blackberry rang. Yes, I had a blackberry and had not yet switched over to the iPhone. I was driving in La Jolla not to far from the house where I grew up. I looked down and there was the blocked number calling. I knew immediately it was my doctor. I answered confidently, like that was going to make a difference. I remember it exactly! She said, yeah I hate to tell you but your results came back and you have genital HSV2 herpes. She then went on to say that she was sorry about my situation. Then she went into doctor mode saying that I'd have it for life, this was something I'd have to disclose to future partners and she called in the prescription of valacyclovir to my pharmacy. Also, she mentioned that I had a pretty bad yeast infection, and that my pap came back with some abnormal cells so I'd need to come back in for more biopsy. She made sure I was okay before she hung up the phone and then wished me a happy weekend.
I can remember thinking awesome! Genital herpes, a really bad yeast infection, and HPV. Awesome. I can't remember if my best friend Julie called me at that moment or if I called her but somehow we connected - On my really cool blackberry, of course. I don't think I had shed a tear yet and was somehow able to get through the diagnosis with her. She comforted me and had the best advice. She had had some health issues in the past where she had to disclosed to people she dated. Her recommendation was call them immediately because you are going through the trauma and are in the moment. If you wait weeks or months to call them then you are no longer in the shock phase and your call can sound disheartened or like an afterthought.
So that is what I did. I decided to go back pretty far with guys I dated. I knew that herpes could have been dormant in my system and that maybe it was from some really past partners. I also felt that if someone had called the guy I got herpes from, then maybe I wouldn't have it. Like in a way of paying it forward. Just giving a PSA to get tested often and if you test positive for something then you need to let people know.
The first guy I told was by pure happenstance that I was right down the street from where he worked. And not only that but I found a parking spot right in front too. For those of you that live by the beach know parking anywhere near the beach is hard especially on a Friday afternoon, in the summer on the 4th of July weekend. So there I was in my little blue silk dress walking into his office. It was at that point I started shaking and the emotions were starting to get to me. I disclosed in person and he was actually really supportive and caring. He wanted to make sure I was fine and wanted to know if I needed anything. I have to say that when I disclosed to others I got the exact opposite. Like I said, I went back pretty far because I wanted to make sure that they got tested and were aware that I had it. One guy told me that there was no way it was him because he'd never sleep with anyone like that and that he always used protection (I wish you could see me rolling my eyes while I'm typing this). Other responses were thanks for letting me know and I'll get tested.
I want to get to the best response of all time but before we do that I have more to fill you in on. So I went back to my office to finish up work and button everything up before the holiday weekend. I guess the weight of finding out I had an incurable STI was weighing heavy on me. My colleague, who was Bill, my now husband asked me if I was feeling okay. I think I had lost all the color in my face and was running on adrenaline. I then collapsed in Bill's office and started crying hysterical on his office floor. I couldn't keep the emotions in any longer and I just cried and cried and cried. I told Bill everything about being diagnosed and how I had been disclosing to my past partners and how one of them is telling me I was irresponsible and so on. Bill let me cry and then comforted me by saying to me that he considered me family and that if there was anything I needed he'd be there for me. It was really sweet because he called me over the long weekend to check on me too.
My last disclosure was with the guy who I was dating. We had plans that night to eat burritos and watch a movie. I decided that I wanted to do that disclosure in person because hard news is always better handled in person. So on my way home I stopped at the pharmacy to pickup my valacyclovir, my prescription for my yeast infection, I had also started my period so I needed some tampons. Then I also purchased the worst thing I could have done at that time, but I had no idea. I got a bottle of my favourite wine at the time, wait for it...Manage a Trois Merlot and peanut M&Ms. I can so remember walking up to the counter to talk to the pharmacist about valacyclovir and then paying for all my prescriptions and my provisions. My eyes were I'm sure by now puffy and you could tell I'd been crying.
Now let's get to the winner of disclosures. I go to the guys house I'm dating with my peanut M&Ms, wine and I was shaking. I mean shaking. I had to look like I'd been hit by a truck. I put the wine on the kitchen counter and he immediately asked me what's wrong. I said we need to talk. I then told him that I was diagnosed with genital herpes and that he needed to get tested. He immediately lost it on me. He called me disgusting names and belittled me. He told me to get out of his house immediately because I was so disgusting. I grabbed my wine and M&Ms and turned around and started to leave. I can't remember if I made it to my car but he then apologized and said let's go get burritos. I turned around and said okay. We spend the night eating burritos, drinking my manage a Manage a Trois and eating the M&Ms. I think it was the worst night of my life.
So I have an announcement for you. We've been celebrating my Oh Shit Anniversary by providing you all with education and also giving you a little look into my life and what it was like being diagnosed with herpes. Going through this emotional week and reliving everything it reminded me of what it was like feeling alone and what it was like to be diagnosed. That feeling is awful and that is something that I don't want you all to go through. So this Friday July 1st through Monday the 4th of July I'm offering the toolkits, Tell your Partner and Herpes Outbreak Toolkit for 50% off if you purchase an emergency call. So the total cost would be $171. You get to do a 1:1 call with me and download the two toolkits that will walk you through being diagnosed.
Here's the link for you to learn more and purchase the toolkits.