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National Cervical Cancer Coalition


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 4:36 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:34 pm
Posts: 17
Hello all,

I was just wondering if anyone has come up with a good coping strategy for dealing with a GW infection.

I've read as much information as I can digest, and I understand the reduced risk surrounding future partners and infectability, once the lesions are gone.

I also understand that almost everyone will have a HPV infection in their lifetime. However, this is hard to reconcile with an actual manifestation in the form of GW versus an undetected infection that self-resolves. In other words, ignorance, for most people, is bliss, but if you're unlucky enough to show symptoms, you're saddled with the guilt, fears, stigma etc. that come along with having an incurable STD.

My current dilemma is finding and utilizing a coping strategy for dealing with my diagnosis (although if any of you have read my earlier thread with Fredo, it's unclear if I do indeed have GW, or if it's something else). For the sake of my sanity, I have to assume that I do indeed have GW, and I'm on my way to clearing it through cryo and my own body's immune system.

My question is -- how do I get past the hurdle of telling future partners? I'm terrified of the rejection/branding, and I feel that I'm just going to open myself up to a world of hurt once I trust someone enough to discuss this with them. (By the way, I've read the post about the British study, which says that most partners reacted better than expected, and I've read the other posts about disclosure.)

I just need a way to get past this and stop worrying so much, because I can not accept a course of action that involves not telling future partners (even though three (!) doctors have told me not to worry about disclosure). To put it simply, if I didn't have GW, I would want someone to tell me about a past diagnosis, no matter how remote the risk, so I could make an informed decision.

So, help me out here guys (and girls). Give me something to latch on to -- a mantra, an affirmation, a new way of looking at this. I need the help, because my life hasn't been the same since my diagnosis a couple of months ago.

Thank you all,

~Max~


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 5:29 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 5:40 pm
Posts: 17
Hi Max,

My diagnosis was high risk HPV, not GW, and I'm female, but I think overall the feelings you describe were very similar to mine for the first 6 months or so after I got the news. The 'my life hasn't been the same since the diagnosis' really rang true. It took me a good 4-5 months to really wrap my head around things, rationalize it all in my head, and get back to a normal life without thoughts of HPV constantly lurking in the back of my head. Even though I was already in a relationship (and he is almost certainly the source of the HPV), I found getting up the courage to tell my boyfriend later that day was a bit difficult. I think the anticipation was much, much worse than the actual event. I'd say to just be sure that you have your information straight and that you give them truthful but positive statistics. For example, that the vast, vast majority of people who are sexually active will have an HPV infection at some point, and the vast, vast majority of those will never have any problems or even know they were exposed. Even for those of us who do know, typically the problems resolve eventually, and usually pretty quickly. With GW, it's pretty possible that you won't have had actual warts in a while, which probably lowers the transmission possibility, so be sure to mention that too. Let them know that the reason you bring it up is because you care about them, are serious about the relationship, and want them to make informed decisions regarding their body and the relationship. As a woman, I would really have appreciated that, and I would have actually come away with a positive impression of your character and the 'trust factor' in the relationship, since it was voluntary disclosure of something so sensitive and personal (and something I'd personally also appreciate being informed about, even if the risk to me was negligible).

One of the things that helped me was to just remind myself that anyone I'd want to consider having a serious, long-term relationship with would hear me out, consider the facts, and make a decision with me about our sex life/future. As much as it would have ruined my day (ok, probably week) if he would have reacted badly, in the long run I would have known I was better off finding someone who accepted me and who I could enjoy life with without always thinking/feeling guilty about HPV. I hate to sound like I'm giving a self-esteem pep talk, but I think in the end it was truly my self-esteem and self-image that needed a bit of a boost and time to recover from the news. HPV isn't who you are, and it doesn't define you as a person. It's an impersonal virus that doesn't play favorites or care about your future. It's just an aspect of your life now to be taken in stride and hopefully thought of rarely! Once I really got my head around those things, I think it was a huge step forward. I was able to look to the future and make plans again realizing that life would go on with or without HPV tagging along, and I didn't want to miss out. Best of luck to you.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 9:42 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:34 pm
Posts: 17
thebear:

Thank you so much for your advice. I'm going to take it to heart.

Just one question: For someone such as myself, who was diagnosed with gw by one doctor, had a biopsy performed which showed cell changes, but didn't show hpv effect, and had a second, more experienced doctor tell me that it likely wasn't gw, would you still want to know? In other words, given those facts, if I were your potential partner, is this something that you would want to know? Or, do you think that, on these facts, I would be opening up the proverbial can of worms for no good reason?

I think I probably know the answer, but your perspective would be great to hear.

Thanks again,

Max

p.s. - I think that was three questions :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:17 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 5:40 pm
Posts: 17
Hi again. Sorry for the extreme delay in responding - a lot happening in life right now. :) From what you said, it sounds like your diagnosis wasn't even a sure thing. In both cases, it looks like HPV involvement wasn't really confirmed or even suspected in the second case. I obviously can't speak for all women or for your individual situation, but it sounds like you may not even have anything certain to discuss. If you told me that exact scenario, I'd probably come to the same conclusion as if there had been HPV involvement (that it wasn't a big deal), but it really does sound like you may not have much to report. I think you could sleep just fine at night not disclosing, if that makes sense, but if it is going to cause you emotional distress or guilt, just go ahead and let her know and see where it goes. It sounds like whatever was going on may not have even been HPV related, and as long as you aren't having active outbreaks, the chance of transmission is greatly reduced even if it was. I'd say either way, no matter what you choose to do, always encourage your future lady friend to get regular gyn exams. That's the best way to catch any problems she may have, whether or not they're HPV related!

Hope you've been having an easier time coping since last time you posted!


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