Yes, you read that title correctly.
No, neither of us are sneaking out of the window at night to go and catch some scandalous nookie on the side. Let’s face it; if anyone is sneaking anywhere, it’s off to the couch to stretch out and get a better night’s sleep, less two dogs and a six year old. Ain’t NOBODY got time for promiscuity in this house.
So, how does a woman, who has been with her husband for 10 years, suddenly get herpes…genital herpes, to be clear? I had the same question!
In all honesty, I thought it was a hemorrhoid flare up at first. You know, those awesome bodily gifts left to us lucky ones after one too many epidural-numbed pushes during the delivery of our spawn. All three of my kiddos seemed to want to leave me with those masterpieces of eternal suffering, so I chalked my discomfort up to that last month when things were feeling extraordinarily uncomfortable down south.
But wait, that pain and discomfort started to move into my nether regions. Swelling, cuts, and lesions followed shortly thereafter, and I was then convinced that I had some kind of horrible reaction to new laundry detergent or accidental latex encounter (I’m allergic to those puppies, too). I started taking Allegra and Benadryl to no avail.
A night or so later, I felt like my belly and insides of my legs was covered in a rash and the pain was shooting down the nerves in my legs like lightning bolts. I had my husband check my whole body and he didn’t see a single noticeable rash. SO. STRANGE.
I started Googling and one of the first things that came up with “nerve pain and tingling” was shingles. What?! Could I really get shingles down and around THERE? I made a doctor’s appointment that same afternoon.
Upon arriving at the doctor’s office and speaking with my doc’s medical assistant, she agreed that it might be shingles and assured me that it wouldn’t be the first time she had seen it rear its ugly face below the belt.
My doctor came in, I dropped my drawers, and within seconds of me putting my legs in the stirrups, she knew exactly what it was.
I’m married to the truest blue man on the planet and we’ve been together 10 years, I told her. Neither of us has ever had a discrepancy, so there must be a mistake.
But then…the light bulb turned on…he does get cold sores from time to time, and cold sores stem from HSV1. Could it be that I got it that way?
“Absolutely!” my doctor explained. HSV1 can be transmitted even when a flare-up is undetected and can morph into HSV2 (the genital kind). So there you have it, somewhere in the last 10 years, my husband accidentally gave me genital herpes. Thanks, jerk.
Supposedly, the first breakout is the worst. And I would say that “worst” is an understatement because those were two-and-a-half of the most painful weeks of my life. The cuts and sores sucked, but what was the most painful was the nerve pain all over my stomach and shooting down my legs. I rotated Tylenol and Motrin, religiously downed my antiviral medicine, and put cold packs between my legs whenever I had a chance to sit down.
So, knowing what I know now about this virus, I strongly feel like the stigma that hangs over it is complete BS.
Did you know you could have contracted it from a one-night stand in your 20s and never have a flare up until 20 years later? Were you aware that you could get it from your partner who’s had a cold sore once in your entire relationship? Did you know that more than 1 in 6 people in the United States have genital herpes? Did you know that you can have a flare up and never have one ever again? I clearly didn’t know ANY of this.
There is no reason to feel shameful if you have herpes or get herpes at some point in your life. I mean, did I make my husband feel bad and bat my “sad” eyes while talking him into booking a Disney World trip, since it was ultimately his “fault” that I was now an STD statistic? I sure did!
Also, just because you have HSV1 or HSV2, doesn’t mean your partner is doomed. There are plenty of couples who never end up passing it to the other. I, however, was not that lucky partner.
Comment below if you have any tips or tricks for #beatingtheburn during a flare up!