I've probably had close to a thousand of them in my lifetime. Sometimes there is just one, and sometimes there are several. I have two right now and when I look in the mirror that is all I see. I am so conscious of them that I assume that is all anyone else sees. I feel Ugly. Diseased. Untouchable. They are cold sores.
I began getting them in grade school. Just look at the yearly pictures. There they are! Medications for them were few and ineffective. I had continual chapped lips from touching them with my tongue, hoping to dry them up quickly. In high school mean kids would tease me about them. I heard the words "venereal disease" whispered behind my back. With snickers.
I've heard that chocolate and nuts lower lysine in your body which makes you more susceptible. Maybe. Maybe not. I've tried taking lysine, lysine-rich foods, avoiding nuts and chocolate. (What kind of a life is that?) When I feel the tingle of one starting I get out Abreve, which is supposed to clear them up faster. Maybe.
Lately I've been getting them inside my nose. No one knows I have them, but they are much more painful and slow to clear up.
I don't know which stage is worse. The tingling feeling isn't painful, but my spirit sags when I know that for a week or two I will feel unpresentable, disfigured, a disease suspect. (Keep your distance!) The scabby stage is ugly, and when they crack and bleed, the stinging is intense.
It seems that some people never get them. It seems to me that MOST people never get them. It seems to me that it is because I am taking on the share of cold sores for dozens of people, so they don't have to suffer. I doubt that any of them appreciate what I am doing for them. I am losing perspective...
I am plagued.