This episode features 49 year old Rich Mancuso who participated in a clinical trial to relieve his severe herpes symptoms. His book, 'Asking for a Friend', tells the story of surviving herpes and receiving a functional cure* from a vaccine.
Rich shares his experience contracting HSV-2 in his early 20's and how it was possibly mistaken for a yeast infection by a dissmissive doctor, then after some irritation on the butt cheek, it was confirmed to in fact be HSV-2 by a sarcastic doctor.
In this episode, I wanted to give Rich a safe space to share his story as well as promote his book without giving too much away. This episode runs long as we anticipated, but there are a lot of nuggets in here that are useful to not only the herpes community, but also to the non-herpes community. We discuss stress and its relation to herpes outbreaks, a different perception of suicide having more to do with loss of control than selfishness and shame and how it prevents us from testing new forms of treatment here in the US.
There are many reviews on the book, Rich addresses some of those in this episode, mainly the absence of advocacy for sexual assault survivors which we touch on near the end of this episode towards the one hour mark. *Trigger warning as there is mention of the word rape here.
One massive takeaway here is a butchered lighthouse analogy I never get exactly the same way twice when I bring it up. People who are 'out' about their condition allow themselves to be approached by those wandering in the dark who feel lost. The more of those people out there, the more people living in silence/shame are able to come out of that place and be a resource to those surrounding them and shed their light on their world to make more lighthouses. If every person with herpes was a resource to their circle, there would be so much less shame behind it and the stigma would crumble. I understand right now that may not work for everyone for various reasons, but it helps SOMEONE to know they have someone to come to when they are diagnosed, or when they meet someone who is. In my case, I've found that helping other people has helped me way more than I think it has the people I helped. . . . . Yeah that sentence looks weird, but I know what I was trying to say.
For more info on Rich and his book, visit: www.askingforafriend.us Twitter: @RationalVaxxer and Facebook he's just Rich Mancuso.
Thanks to Pig and Pickle St. Louis for supporting the podcast. They're located at 5513 Pershing Ave. here in St. Louis. Check them out online at www.pigandpickleeatery.com and follow them on instagram @pigandpicklestl.
I'm on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and Reddit @HonMyChest. Please keep those reviews coming. The podcast is growing and we're being useful to those outside the community by being a safe place for them to access resources when they're ready. Thanks for listening!