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  • Writer's picturecocodensmore

Happy seven-month Herpesversary to me!

April 17, 2022

Happy seven-month Herpesversary to me! The tears are streaming this morning. I am so proud of me. I have never been so proud of me.

It’s been seven months since I read that positive HSV-2 diagnosis on my patient portal, in a hotel room in Portland with my mom inches away on the bed watching a Hallmark movie. I was immediately distraught, hysterical.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, alarmed.

“I just got some bad news about my kidneys,” I responded, exaggerating my lips through my sobs so she could understand me. She’s deaf. “We’ll have to leave in the morning. I’ll have to go into urgent care.”

“OK. I’m sorry,” she responded, without probing further, returning her eyes immediately to the fairytale playing out on the television screen.

I went into the bathroom, where she couldn’t hear me and couldn’t read my lips. And there was a lot of texting and phone calling and crying and shaking my fist at the ceiling and yelling at God, but mostly just hating on me. That whole sad story is covered in a previous blog post, so, I won’t recount it here, again. If I do, it will all be fresh and flay me open like it did that night.

The very very good news is, this morning, I have 1,950 views on my post, “A completely boring herpes educational blog post you should absolutely read anyway.” I reposted the link on some of the herpes subreddits a couple of days ago and have received multiple comments and personal emails. Comments and emails for which I can provide substantive, factual information, backed up by links from creditable sources. And comments and emails from folks with whom I can share my personal stories of fear, loathing, healing, and victory. And it hits me full on: I make a difference.

Once, I wrote I’m almost glad herpes happened to me, because I have the ability to write about the bad things, and my stories go out into the world and the people that really need to find them, find them. They come to know they are not alone, their experiences are not unique, and healing and recovery from self-hate and self-condemnation is entirely possible, and wholly probable, if they are able to set their will towards progress in a positive direction.

That’s the tricky piece, though, isn’t it? Not all of us are able to make that decision to change direction, to set our will and pursue a path to healing. Mental illness can thwart our every attempt towards wholeness.

I lived near death for decades, not because of the herpes, because of the mental illness. Thank Spirit, I was out the other side of the deepest dark when I received the herpes diagnosis. Even a year ago, herpes layered on top of bipolar might well have taken me down. But it didn’t. It hasn’t. Herpes Schmerpes.

Am I guaranteed I’ll proceed on this course of betterment? Nope. Absolutely not. No guarantees in life. None. Foolish to believe there are. But here I am. Right this moment. Putting one foot in front of the other.

I Persevere. And life goes on.




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