HSV Testing – Cautionary Tale

Apologies for 2 weeks without a post and this one being posted a few times without being completed. I did need a break though. My mental health needed to be focused on my “escape” and spending time with those who love me. On to the topic of the post now.

After ending my relationship, I went to a routine doctor’s visit. Given the split, my general physician recommended a full STD screening. I agreed, I figured what harm could it do. A week and a half later I get a call from my doctor with my results. On this call she stated, “you are a little positive for HSV 2.” HSV 2 or otherwise known as genital herpes is something I had tested negative for in the past, during my relationship. It is incurable. I was upset. Her way of consoling me was to tell me that pretty much everyone has it these days….

As a former researcher, you bet I educated myself. My findings were appalling.

  • Most doctors only know the basics about it and do not know of all the testing methods.
  • Not everyone has it, estimated that 25% of the sexually active population in the US are carriers.
  • Unfortunately some people believe they have it due to poor testing options. The 2 most affordable and common tests (the IGG and IGM) are VERY inaccurate, to the point of why are they even used.
  • The most accurate tests are if you have an active breakout to test or the Gold Standard, which I paid almost $500 in the end, only done by University of Washington.
  • Oh, those people who have false-positives and never got further testing… Some of them may have gone on to HSV positive dating websites and now really have it.

I communicated this to my doctor… She did very little to help me and her nurse made me feel as though it wasn’t worth her precious time. So I contacted my midwife, who a friend and her mom had helped me find. My midwife reassured me of everything I researched being true and was happy to help me get the gold standard test.
As I stated, I paid a lot of money for the Western Blot test, the gold standard in HSV testing, from the University of Washington. If you find yourself with a positive HSV result and it is a low positive, below 3.5 magnitude, then press your doctor for further testing.

I am negative for HSV 1 and HSV 2. After doing more research, I knew I had to be. I had no symptoms, my ex tested negative, and my false-positive results from the IGG were in a range that put me of having only a 10% chance of being positive.

The key part of this experience were my doctors. My general physician was really unkind about it and clearly did not know enough to be giving out this test. My midwife on the other hand was amazing. She consoled me, was educated about the inaccuracy of the IGG and IGM, and very willing to learn about and help me get the Western blot. It was all about the right doctor.

Uncertainty

A lot of my life right now feels uncertain. I will be moving in less than 2 weeks. I have only one Christmas present purchased for my niece (well 3 if you count a care package and my Reddit Secret Santa). I am waiting to hear back from an interview. I was rejected from half a dozen jobs this week.

I know that I have wonderful family and friends supporting me right now. I know I have a place to go no matter what happens. I know I need to get the rest of my sh*t packed up. My hope is that life comes together the way it always has in the past.

So bare with me… I may f*ck up a bit on posting.

The Value of Outside Perspective

Through the divorce process most people have been very supportive. They focus more on my mental health, listened when I really needed it and offered me a place to getaway to. My inner circle, as I call them, have advised me on the day to day stuff and how how I can take care of myself. Thank you, A, L, A, P, L and K.

They made me realize I wish I would have opened up to more people years ago about how I was being spoken to and treated. When I first entered this relationship, I was young and excited, but also knew I did not not have the full capacity to maintain a relationship in graduate school. A lot was asked of me and I gave more than I had. I also was made to feel that if I talked to others it would be hurtful since it could affect their opinion of him. That right there was a red flag.

It does not hurt to have a diverse set of perspectives on your personal situation, but know that you make the final decision. Talk to people that you value their opinion and deeply trust. While major issues should be discussed between you and your partner first, a poor impression can be a wake-up call if you are being honest about the situation.

Gratitude

With Thanksgiving this week, and I usually try to do something big within my practice of gratitude. However, this year with how tough things have been. I want to write about the importance of this everyday practice of mine.

Appreciation can have a big impact on your relationship with someone. Even when its just in a customer service transaction. Here are just a few reddit posts I have upvoted:

Spreading and receiving gratitude makes me feel good and connected to those I love and care about. It impacts all the areas of your life: family, friends, colleagues, neighbors and community. I did not grow up with all this gratitude, but when I saw first hand in early adulthood the power of it, it had to become a practice. I feel like it comes more naturally out of me now.

Reflecting on the recent events of my life, lack of appreciation greatly led to the end of my relationship, the lies uncovered were the guillotine as they made the lack of love so apparent. Showing appreciation could have turned things around… for a time, but in the end I feel I am better off not in that relationship. There were many other issues I was blind to. This year, I am working on appreciating myself and seeing all the love I already have in my life.

If I Believed in Signs

I feel like through this divorce process things that I feel are coincidental are slapping me in the face left and right. Mainly because of being in this situation I am noticing things that relate to how I am feeling and what I am thinking. If I believed in signs who knows what I would be doing right now, most likely making poor or rash decisions.

Here is the thing with signs, yes it may seem like they are telling you to do something or make a particular decision, BUT coincidence are common. Also, if you are in a crazy time in life, you are just going to notice that kind of sh*t. The probability that a “sign” will happen is highly likely then. I studied physics and therefore statistics, they are merely accidental happenings occurring all the time and are in no way related to major life choices you are making.

However, for fun… let us look over the signs I have noticed as I am going through this big life change.

  • Colorado ads have popped up everywhere I go and suddenly we have had a lot of visitors from Colorado at the museum, from the exact day things turned for the worst in my relationship. I have desired to live in Colorado since Summer 2008 when I had an internship in Boulder. Every time I go back to Colorado I yearn to be there.
  • Music that so perfectly expresses how I feel has been releasing, such as Sam Smith’s How do you sleep?, Post Malone’s Goodbyes and Selena Gomez’s Lose You to Love Me.
  • A lot of people from my past (friends, professors, colleagues, etc.) are experiencing break ups and posting things on social media that directly related to the issues my partner and I had.
  • My wedding band fell apart. It had a wood inlay with resin over it to keep it secure. Within a week of the events that made my life feel like it was imploding, the resin popped all around the ring and the wood started shifting. The weekend before I broke up with my partner it just fell out.
  • My fertility got the all clear from my doctor (which I did not tell my partner about) when my partner began to make statements like, “I guess we should get started on having kids because we are behind everyone else, ” and “Well, we need to have kids so that someone can take care of us when we get old.” Not valid reasons to have children, but he could have also been scared. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
  • A now friend who considered me, “just a hook up,” added me on Snapchat around the time I started considering divorce (end of May). Coincidentally he has connected with me in some way every time I was on the verge of breaking up with my partner. He also lives in Colorado, yet another coincidence.

What does all this mean? Nothing. It just makes you think. Thinking is good. None of this made the decision for me. This process is not easy and following signs make it all the more stressful. Love from friends and family is essential for moving forward and I highly recommend as many hugs as possible. Hugs make me feel like the problems are melting away.

Hiking Turned Spontaneous Drive

Last Sunday, I figured I would hike Storm King Mountain since it was on my list and I could pass by the Beacon farmers market to get the brilliant goat cheese. Turns out, on can not turn off to the trail head from the South bound side of Route 9W. I had to drive 3 miles to the next exit and I found myself at the West Point visitor center and museum… They are not actually in West Point by the way. West Point does have restrictions for going there, as they should. I figured I should check it out what I can since I am here. No regrets. I live for adventures like this.

West Point is nestled at a bend on the West bank of the Hudson river where you can not see it coming up for New York. That is what makes it such an ingenious spot to place a military academy. There is a brief history on their website if you want to know more.

Its free. The visitors center really gives you an idea about going to school there, while the museum displays objects and artifacts of the US army’s history. The basement is where you find the big guns and crafty weaponry. It was a quick side trip.

I got back on the road to get back to Storm King Mountain. Turned out to be a historically significant site. The Freedom Road, “The route traveled by the 52 American hostages from Stewart airport to West Point after their release from captivity in Iran January 25, 1981.” Honestly, I thought… It was the 1980s… Why did they not just get in a car? Turns out, they were on buses and Route 9W was part of the path they took.

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The hike was beautiful as it was the last weekend to catch a glimpse of that gorgeous Fall foliage. I also got to do some bouldering. The views were amazing. It can be a quick hike too, if you do not stop as often as I did to drop your jaw.

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Post hike I was starving and thanked my past self for hiding an RXbar in my Camelbak, but I also stopped by a farm stand for a classic NY Apple Cider donut. That and the sandwich I picked up were the perfect end to the day.

Motivation

First… sorry I did not complete the last post before it posted. It is complete now, with pictures. I probably could go into more detail, but it was a great trip and much needed!

Now to this post… I feel like I have talked about how I am self motivated person before… like early on when I wrote more about fitness. However, you also have to be motivated to move forward in life. Sometimes you just have to just do the difficult task and all the others seem so much easier.

I have an appointment tomorrow with a divorce lawyer. I needed to do this. Cohabitation post break up is not healthy. While I am looking and applying for jobs… I need a break from this. Its intense at times.

It was difficult and hurt my former partner, but it needs to be done. We both need to move forward so we can heal. The sooner the better. Also, if I move to my location of choice *hint… mountains, f*ck loads of them* then it should be easier to get interviews and get a job. I just have to be wise and spend at least 6 hours a day searching and applying for jobs. I could do it… its scary, but I could do it.

#BlessedToBeASelfMotivator

Extended Weekend in Michigan

My second post that I did not complete, but was posted… oops!

I went to University of Michigan for graduate school and therefore lived in Ann Arbor for 4 years. No regrets. I love Michigan, not just the school, but the state. It is a beautiful and unique place full of sports and gorgeous scenery 😉

I have been planning a trip back for years. I left in 2013 and my excuse for why I did not come back sooner… lame. I let someone else impact my actions, not anymore.

I landed earlier in the day and explored Detroit with my friend from High School that met up with me there. Eastern Market is amazing. Bell Isle has crazy views of Detroit and Windsor.

 

I went to Theatre Bizarre to see a friend who was preforming and enjoy a relatively crazy night out in one of my favorite cities. I have fallen for a new band, Bella’s Bartok, and may try to see a full show here in NY state before I leave.

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The view of Detroit from the Masonic temple is gorgeous…

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Day 2 was sent in Ann Arbor, taking my friend around campus and meeting up with a couple of my dear friends from graduate school. Just had to stop a Sweetwaters, Zingerman’s, Sidetrack and Busch’s… 🙂

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My last day was spent applying for a job through my cellphone… let me tell you… editing your resume and writing a cover letter and definitely be done via your mobile. Then we road tripped to Hell, MI and Frankenmuth, MI and I need to go back. Michigan has a plethora of adorable towns. Go, you will not regret it.

The day ended with my favorite sushi roll ever, the Phoenix roll at UMI sushi in Ann Arbor. The roll of my dreams the last 6 years.

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See you again soon Michigan…

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A Journey in the Northeast US

I surprised a friend last weekend that I will see again today. He was doing a bike ride with our other friend who current lives only 2 hours from me. Of course, I turned this trip into a journey. I made a couple stops before getting to Williamstown, MA for the surprise.

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I enjoy drinking herbal tea, especially when it gets chilly and because I can not have caffeine due to heart issues. Traditional Medicinals and Celestial Seasonings are my favorite brands because they make crazy delicious and nurturing teas. However, with living in the Hudson Valley now, I have been told I need to check out Harney & Son’s. It is local here, though you can find it on the shelves at Target around the nation.

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Harney & Son’s is located in Millerton, NY, adorable town. I picked up a new favorite tea cup, a couple herbal teas for myself and a gift for my friend who was so kind to let me crash the last night of the guys weekend. After my tea excursion and grabbing a chai for the road, I went for a hike at Bash Bish Falls. It was a quick one, 20 min total for me. The falls were gorgeous though and I got a great workout back up to the parking lot.

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Next was surprising A a week early at Trail House Kitchen & Bar in North Adams, MA. He looked quite confused, but his hug was filled with all the love I needed. I miss the days in graduate school where we had deep conversations and he would test how much of a light weight I am. Needless to say, I was drunk not too far into the evening. BTW, this beer and the apple cider drink the other A concocted for me were brilliant.

 

 

We had a grand adult slumber party of games and catching up. It was exactly what I needed after a rough week. The next morning we grabbed breakfast and enjoyed the baby laughs before A had to hit the road back to Michigan. The other A, his baby and I took a trip up to the highest point in Massachusetts, Greylock. It was peak Fall foliage and breathe taking. After lunch, I made my way back down to the Hudson Valley.

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Striving to Heal in a Challenging Time

I am trying to spend as much time with friends as possible, as I have no family in the area and most of my support system lives in the Midwest. I am so lucky to have friends here. My ex does not, and it shows in how they are taking this.

People care about me and I want to make sure I return to being the human I feel they deserve to have as a comrade. I love sharing in their moments of joy, spending quality time together, and being there for them. I love them, oh so much. I set up an appointment with a therapist.

It will be a very good thing. I enjoy working on myself and I have never had the individual attention to fully do so. And with things still blowing up… I need to start with this. Then start the divorce process and I leave. I can not fully heal in this place. So leaving is a must.

I will be back to see the beautiful souls who have done what feels like everything for me the last few months, I am talking to you A. I was meant to come here to meet you. Thank you can not express how blessed I feel to have you as a friend. I love you.

I noticed I have a lot of close friends with A names… Maybe I should start believing in signs. Off to see 2 close A name friends from grad school tomorrow. I can not wait to scare the crap out of A… *sneaky grin* I have to make it back home to my A-girl too, her hugs bring me back to life. The A’s have me… and some M’s, some K’s, a L and a P. #SoCryptic #IAmLoved