Mark of the Chosen

I still have the scar of the first breakout. I was five years old. This rash emerged from my skin. Blistered and crack its way to the surface. It birthed itself on the right side of my forehead. Then it spread and spiraled itself away down, wrapping itself around my eye, and it nearly dug deep in the corners. Doctors said that it was the Shingles Virus. 1 out of 100 children apparently get it. I was the lucky one. The vaccine that plunged itself into my skin was live one, and it became the virus that nearly ate parts of my skin away.
For the last 17 years I have been telling people, I have Shingles, but they look at me like I am crazy. They tell me only older people get it, and that what I have is not what I think it is.
I’m allergic to the sun. When my skin is exposed to the sun for long periods of time I get blisters. And these blisters are bunched together and they are usually filled with fluid. I like to think of them as star clusters. They form constellations that I call Irritation. Some I call Itch. Most I call pain. But these breakouts are never as bad as the first. Though, some actually make it into my eyes, and then it turns red. But those are the rare find: Potential Blindness. I just found out my sensitivity to light is a potential cause of having Shingles, something I just read. How close to the stars I feel.
I began to wonder myself if what I actually was the Shingles. I brought it up to my pediatrician once. She said what I have is not Shingles, but something else entirely. Mystified, I asked what it could be. Maybe a breakthrough in science. New virus. New disease. I sat on the edge of the seat, inching closer and closer to finally figure out what this curse is. She muttered, “I don’t know.”
Shingles, as in the virus and not the roofing, appears as a line or a strip of blisters that emerge on the skin on various parts of the body, mainly the torso. Hm. Not so similar in appearance, and not in location. I still call what is in my body Shingles, because that is all I know.
When I get stressed or sick, and my immune system is weakened, I get a breakout then, too. Usually, I can feel it coming. That’s when I take a pill that I’m supposed to take everyday for the rest of my life (I don’t). May cause dizziness. The times where it is tough is when it comes appears near my mouth. And then it splits my lip after it disappears. I hate it most when it is near there, because then it becomes difficult to hide. It’s ugly and revolting, and I refuse to accept its apart of me. I keep hoping that one day it will just simply evaporate from my nervous system.
My most recent breakout happened not too long ago. I went to the doctor, because I was out of pills and needed a refill. The doctor I spoke was nice and intelligent. She came in telling me all sorts of information I had no idea about, but then she said that doesn’t think what I have is Shingles. Where have I heard that before? She told me she thinks it is something called: Herpes Simplex. First time hearing that.
Herpes Simplex Virus is an infection that causes herpes. Herpes can appear on various parts of the body, more commonly the genitals or mouth. But what about the right side of the face? There are two, HSV-1 and HSV-2. One is for the face and one is for the genitals respectively. I finally felt like I had some answers. The doctors asked me if it was okay to take a sample, and we may be able to figure out exactly what this infection on my face is.
Days went by and I was contacted. The sample did not work because the breakout was already in its healing stages and became a scab and crusty. No more fluid. She said the only way to find out is to come back to her when a break out is still in its gooey and wet form, but it is up to me, because she would not blame if I didn’t go back to her.
The only way to finally end this once, and for all is to embrace whatever has been living inside me. I have to, or else all of the fighting was for nothing. Not to be overdramatic, but it is excruciating whenever there is a break out. And to finally find out what this could be, is life changing. So, here I am, waiting for it to make its return. Hopefully, it hears my beckon, the first and the last.

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