My Fifth Cold Sore Ever and How We Support Each Other in Our Support Group Calls

As we gather each week for our support group, it never fails to amaze me how our conversations organically weave around different themes. Sometimes it's dating, rejection, diet – each sharing a piece of our lives. This time, I'm stepping into vulnerability to share my recent experience.

Let me take you to my Sunday. Picture this: a serene Sunday afternoon, watching my son splash in the bathtub when suddenly, I felt a tiny bump on my lip. Disbelief and panic struck. I had minutes before working on my facial routine, incorporating rose oil and face yoga, thinking that people who get oral outbreaks really need to be cautious when getting facials or doing face yoga. But there boom... I was getting a cold sore. HSV-1 had been a part of my life since 2003, with only a total of 4 outbreaks. Yet, here I was, witnessing an outbreak that seemed to grow exponentially. I want you to picture it was like lighter fluid had been given a match.

Instinct kicked in; I reached for my remedies – a red laser that had been gifted to me, lysine, and our amazing Lifesaver SPF lip balm. These tools gave me a semblance of control over the outbreak. You see, lysine, an essential amino acid, is a crucial part of my daily routine. It's believed to limit the availability of arginine, potentially reducing the virus's ability to replicate. Meanwhile, our lip balm, a blend of natural ingredients like coconut oil, cocoa butter, CBD, and lysine, worked wonders topically.

But beyond the physical pain, it's the emotional turmoil that hits hard. Despite living with this for years, the outbreak shook my confidence. It's that feeling when you think everyone notices the blemish, judging and speculating. The emotional rollercoaster exhausts me – from questioning the past kiss that transmitted the virus to worrying about inadvertently passing it to my husband and son.

Interestingly, this experience taught me more than just outbreak management. I realized the stress triggers that exacerbate outbreaks. I have recently taken up cold plunges in hopes for the benefits but clearly my body had other ideas about this. It was about 15 minutes after getting out of my 45 degree pool that this outbreak had appeared. My fight or flight had been stressed to the max and I just added to it. It was almost like the herpes virus just said to my body, "here hold my beer". The joke was on me and I had triggered my outbreak. Let's use this as reminder that our bodies react to stress differently, sometimes causing unexpected setbacks.

More significantly, I'm using this outbreak to look inwards. Why do I place such emphasis on external appearances? Why harbor resentment towards the person from a past date that I went on when I was 20 and home from collage? Herpes forces us to confront ourselves, uncovering layers we may have avoided.

This journey isn't sought after, nor is it celebrated. Yet, it's a teacher, revealing our inner struggles and areas for growth. My recent setback unveiled my body's stress responses and prompted self-reflection, teaching me to acknowledge and address deeper emotions.

But here's what's crucial: you're not alone. Our community stands together, offering support and understanding. Your journey may be different, but the emotions are shared. I'm here, acknowledging your struggles and sending love your way.

Remember, setbacks are opportunities for growth. Embrace your journey, learn from it, and know that our community is a safe space for discussion and support.


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