Coping with a Cold Sore

I have an appointment in two days to see a dermatologist. The reason I’m going there is that of a sore I have on my lip that has been there for nearly two months. It is the oddest thing! It didn’t come on as a cold sore does typically. There was no itchy or tingling sensation in the area before the sore developed. There was no inflammation with the usual redness and swelling. There were no clusters of cold, painful vesicles, but rather one big blister that has remained to this day. If it is indeed a cold sore, I wonder why there was no crusting, healing, and post scab that usually come seven to ten days after a cold sore outbreak.

What irks me is that I have this sore in the first place. As a teenager, I had a cold sore about once every two months. Those times were very embarrassing, and I did all I could to avoid being seen. I even went so far as calling in sick, so I wouldn’t be seen by my classmates while I had a cold sore. This embarrassment followed me into my professional life later. Whenever I had a bad cold sore, I used my sick days at work to avoid being seen. I stayed at home. I wouldn’t even go out to the store, preferring to eat fast food from a drive-through. I didn’t want to be seen with a hideous cold sore on my lip. Then I learned about Acyclovir.

I first used Acyclovir as an ointment. A doctor told me that it would help reduce the duration a cold sore lasted. It seemed to do that, but not by much. It shortened the healing time by no more than a couple of days. Still, that was something, and I eventually got the drug in a pill form, too. I felt that treating the virus from the inside and the outside would prove to give me the best results. Because I started taking the pills as soon as I felt the onset of a cold sore, that itchy or tingling feeling, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I could actually prevent the sores.

Contrary to what the doctors at the time were telling me, I discovered that by taking a 500-milligram Acyclovir pill when I felt a cold sore coming on, I prevented it from happening, sending the process into remission. Several years later, I began reading online that some doctors had started prescribing the drug as prevention against the cold sore herpes simplex virus. In other words, the medical community caught up to what I already knew. I realize that this “prevention” didn’t work for everyone, but it was working for more than just me.

For several years, I haven’t had a cold sore. The reason is that I take Acyclovir, 800-milligram tablets, as soon as I feel one coming on. That was working fine, until now. This current one came on quickly, without any warning. As soon as I saw it, I immediately started taking Acyclovir, a lot of it. As the days passed, I noticed that the sore wasn’t going away. Realizing that the Acyclovir hadn’t affected it, I started tapering off of the drug. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve taken only one tablet every other day. I hope that the doctor I see tomorrow will be able to give me something that will heal the sore. Luckily, it is toward the inside of my lip and isn’t very big. That way, I can walk about without people noticing it. I’m only self-conscious of it when I am speaking close to someone, with my mouth being open enough for the person to see. Ironically, at forty-three years old I am still embarrassed by a cold sore, especially because I have so many other physical problems to worry about.

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