Been scrolling through, reading posts on this site for two days now. I'm 42, female, just came out of a decade of celibacy a year ago. Before that, I'd had 2 sex partners and never had a single cold sore or a yeast infection.
After coming out of celibacy, I sowed the wild oats I never sowed when I was young. Had 4 partners. But 2 months ago I met a great guy. Crazy about each other. Terrific sex. Best I've ever had.
Two weekends ago, his mustache rubbed a tiny spot raw on my lip. I put Neosporin on it. Nothing happened with it until Thursday of that week when it started to swell around the raw spot. Saturday I went to his house and the spot was getting larger. Never looked like a cold sore at all.
By Saturday night it was oozing clear liquid. Developed blotchy redness on chin and lower half of my face. Sunday on the hour drive home, I got a fever. Lymph nodes in my neck started to hurt.
By Sunday night, the red blotches on my face had turned into hives.
I took the entire week off from work while the hives on my face got worse and worse. They'd break open, ooze, and scab over with a honey-colored crust. I looked like cystic acne had covered my face from the nose down (and onto my neck) barely leaving any normal skin to peek through.
I also noticed a couple of small spots on my vulva/inner labia area that looked a little raw. I assumed it was "beard burn" from overzealous cunnilingus. No big, open wounds down there. Nothing blistered, oozing, or crusty.
Monday, I visited my M.D. Then she said it was impetigo, a highly contagious bacterial skin infection that mostly children get. Never heard of it. Prescribed antibiotic pills and cream. Said if it wasn't better by Wednesday I should come back.
Wednesday morning I was worse. She got me an appointment with a dermatologist for Friday.
Friday the young dermatologist said, "That's herpes."
I said, "No, my doctor said it's impetigo and sent me to you for a follow-up."
She got samples from 3 or 4 sores to send for tests. She glanced at my labia but didn't really get in there and get a good look (no samples).
I asked, "By herpes, do you mean the cold sore kind like everyone has? Or do you mean the kind where my life is never going to be the same again?"
She said, "Your life will be fine. Herpes isn't like what it used to be. It used to be the good kind and the bad kind, but now it's all just herpes."
She prescribed Valtrex twice daily, but was wishy-washy on whether I should just take it for a few week or take it forever. She decided on taking it for two weeks.
I happened to be seeing this doctor on her last day at this hospital, so she scheduled me for follow-up in 3 weeks with another doctor in her office.
She didn't say anything about HSV-1 vs. HSV-2. Didn't give me resources to learn more. Didn't give me any kind of paperwork to leave with other than a prescription.
I was stunned. I sat in the parking lot Googling on my phone and crying for 20 minutes, and then she called. She said, "I was just thinking about how your sores are so diffused on your face. That's unusual. That happens sometimes with HIV. You need to come back and go to the lab."
I went back inside and they drew blood.
I went to get my prescription. My eyes had been extremely sensitive to light for the last few days. I Googled again and saw info about herpes in eyes.
I left a message for the doctor. She called back while I was in the store. "Didn't we talk about your eyes?
I said, "No. Nothing about my eyes."
She said, "Oh. You're going to need to go to the emergency room right away. This could be serious."
I said, "My co-pay for the ER is $250. Is there any way I could go to Urgent Care? It's $75. I just can't afford a $250 co-pay."
She said she'd see if she could find an alternative. Within minutes, I was on my way to an ophthalmologist.
He said I had herpes (Herpes simplex keratitis) in one eye and dendrites. He said to take the Valtrex 3 times a day (instead of the 2 times it was prescribed).
So there you have it. Always a good girl, then freak-of-nature celibate girl, and once I rediscover sex and think I'm falling in love with a great guy -- BAM!
I feel angry, confused, worthless, lonely, ugly.
Everyone still thinks it's impetigo and that's the story I am sticking with.
Boyfriend has not seen me at all. Haven't told him the big bad info. I've been home from work the entire week. Sent photos to some friends and to my boss to make sure boss would know I was not playing around and really couldn't come to work.
Today I had a meltdown because of the stress of everything, plus all of the Googling and reading, plus wondering if my life will ever be the same, plus the thought of going back to the celibate life is killing me. I love sex. I love this guy. I went from Googling engagement rings to Googling herpes.
1. I have no idea whether it's HSV-1 or HSV-2. I guess I'll find out when the swab tests and blood tests are complete. I still think it's possible that I have an incredibly bad case of impetigo.
2. I don't think I have anything in my genitals. It was like a couple of mini skinned spots. I've done that to myself accidentally when shaving down there. It very well could have been from his beard.
3. I'm not convinced this is HSV in my eye. Five months ago, I was diagnosed with keratitis after removing a contact lens when my eye was super-dry, and it caused irritation. The eye doctor said I needed more lubrication on my eye and I started using drops. Since that time, I've done it again twice -- yanked a lens off when my eye was too dry when I knew I should have used drops before trying. And I had just irritated my eye again a few days before this ophthalmologist looked at me. He didn't do anything to confirm HSV. The dermatologist called and told him I was diagnosed with HSV and I was having light sensitivity. He did an eye exam, and saw dendrites, but wouldn't he have seen that because of my bad habit of removing contacts when my eye was too dry, even if HSV was not a factor in this whole thing?
I'm trying my best not to slip back into depression about this. Yesterday was really difficult. Today is Saturday, the day after I saw the dermatologist who diagnosed me just by looking at me, and it's been a very difficult day.
I can't tell my parents. They'll be judgmental and tell me I have been sinful and caused this to happen. I can't tell my siblings. I can't tell my friends.
I can't even tell my boyfriend. By the time I see him again -- this coming weekend at the very earliest would make it two weeks since the tiny spot that was rubbed raw on my lip by his mustache starting to swell up and ooze, which we joked about and said I had a fat lip. Maybe I will have healed enough to see him by then. Maybe not.
For now, I'm taking the medication, keeping the massive wounds on my face covered with antibiotic ointment, walking around the house crying so much that my face is wet not only from the antibiotics but also from constant tears.
Now I sit and wait for the test results and then I'll see if my life is going to fall apart. I'm just praying it was a bad case of impetigo and the young dermatologist was too eager to diagnose just by sight.
Thanks for reading. And thanks for the great posts here. They're truly helpful.