Hi everyone, my name is Jacob and I would like to share my “genital warts story”. I decided to take this step, share with you everything that I went through, especially because at the time when I had this infection, I felt very lonely, as if I was the only guy in town who was going through it. At the time I had so many thoughts in my head, like “why do I deserve this?”, and “no one will ever want to touch me again” and I am willing to do anything to make sure other people don’t get into the position that I was at at the time – especially mentally. It just isn’t worth it.
I am a 25-year-old from San Francisco, a homosexual, who likes to have a good time. My story began two years ago. As I was showering, I felt a small growth around my anus. At first I thought nothing of it, perhaps a small crease in the skin, but as time passed and a few weeks went by, I noticed that this small thing had grown more and more. At the time, I was seeing a new guy, and I was really afraid that he would notice “that thing” growing on that area. I am pretty shy about my sex life as it is, but when I took notice of this wart, I became even shyer. Days passed, I still wasn’t sure what was going on there, but I didn’t think about going to a doctor. One day, while hanging out at my boyfriend’s house, he suddenly said “You know you’ve got something strange back there, right?”
That’s it… at that moment, hysteria set in. If he noticed it, there must be something wrong. I made up some excuse and went home immediately, and logged on to the internet. At first I looked up “anal bump” but found nothing. Then I looked up ”anal growth” and what I found was really scary. After a half hour of being sure that my fate was to die a painful death from anal cancer, I noticed the word “Condyloma”. I found out it was a small wart that shows up on the penis or the anus for men, and that it is always caused by a sexually transmitted infection called “Papilloma”. Me?! An STD?! How the hell did this happen? I am always so careful, always use a condom, and always living in constant fear of AIDS, and if it is an STD, how come I’ve never heard of it? I decided I have to find a picture of this Condyloma, to see if this was what I had. I looked up “Condyloma pictures” and “pictures of genital warts” and I was appalled. Scary picture of people with growths the size of mountains on their skin. Well, at that point I decided I have to see what was growing back there. I took a small mirror and start to fold myself, until I found an angle where I could see something. What I saw was like small extra piece of skin, maybe an inch big, far from what was in those scary pictures. Actually, I found a close-up picture of a woman with a few genital warts on her vagina, and they looked more or less like what I had. The next day I already visited my dermatologist.
When I visited my dermatologist, whom I know from different sun spots that I had removed and pimple creams she used to give me, I felt really uncomfortable. How will I tell her what I have? I decided to count to three and say it… One, two, three. “Listen, this is a bit uncomfortable for me, but…” then she cut me off and told me with a smirk “Well? What do you have growing on it?” Well, I thought, at least the ice was broken a bit. ‘It’s not really on it, more in the back…” I told her. “Show me. Don’t be uncomfortable about it.” I lay down on my stomach, taking off my pants and boxers a bit for her to see. She immediately saw what it was, and said the first thing that had relaxed me since my hysteria started – “this? That’s nothing, Condyloma, everyone’s got that, I’ll burn it for you in a second.” Everyone? What? How? If everyone’s got it, how come I’ve never heard of it? Anyways, she took this pistol-looking thing that shoots out liquid Nitrogen, aimed it at my butt, and… pressed.
OUCH, that was cold. For a few seconds, I could feel nothing but the cold. After a few seconds it started to hurt, as if she had poked me with a needle. Discomfortable, but not horribly so.
That’s it, I put my boxers and pants back up, preparing to leave. But before I did, she told me to take note that it doesn’t come back, because the little buggers tend to do that. She was so right. Anyways, she told me to have my boyfriend checked out because these things don’t usually show up in only one of the partners.
The rest of that day was normal for me. I felt a small discomfort in my butt but nothing more, and even went to the gym. After a few days that wart disappeared all by itself. When I came home and met up with my boyfriend, I suddenly noticed that he also has a few tiny warts, even smaller than I had, but on his penis. Wow, I thought, how come I didn’t see this before. The next day, I took him to my dermatologist, who enjoyed the “I told you so.” He yelled like a madman as she burnt off his warts. His warts disappeared in a few days as well, but after a few months they came back. By that point, he had contacted a private practice in LA that removes genital warts with laser, and got the warts removed there. According to him, the experience wasn’t thrilling.
We kept going out. From that time on, I would check myself every day to make sure the wart didn’t come back. Check? More like feel up that area in the shower to see if anything’s off. About a month after the first time I had my warts removed, I felt them come back.
I went back to my dermatologist again and told her we better check it out. She said, “Don’t worry; if it comes back we’ll burn it off again.” She checked me out and told me that this time the warts were different – there were many of them and they are too deep inside. Shit… what now? Immediately, those pictures from the internet came back to me.
She referred me to a proctologist-surgeon, who she said would remove it in a different method – by laser or some type of electric needle, but I would have to be anesthetized for it. I started looking for a surgeon who would do it for me with laser. Laser always sounds better, doesn’t it? I found a doctor who works out of a private practice down in San Jose who could do it for me. Not too bad. I went down there in my car, lied to the attending clerk that my dermatologist said I could get in without an appointment, and went in to see him. He checked me out, and said he could remove everything that was going on down there with laser, and that I need to reserve an operating room in the one of the hospitals in the city. I was happy and sad at the same time. On one hand, those nasty warts came back big time. One the other hand, I found a doctor who could get the operation done with a laser. But then, I found out that my insurance company could only secure an appointment for an operating room in eight months.
What?!?!! Eight months?!?! I won’t walk around with those nasty things for another week!!! What do you mean eight weeks?!?!?! I hung up the phone with the rude clerk. I was back at square one. No doctor, no laser, no hospital, no style, just Condyloma and genital warts. Eeww!
Frustration. Utter frustration. Suddenly I felt so alone. I didn’t want to tell my parents, they’ll just start with their whole “why did you choose this disgusting lifestyle?” routine that I’ve gotten used to by now. I was so ashamed. I didn’t want to talk to any friend about it. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was carrying a sexually transmitted disease, and definitely not that I had a weird growth on my butt. Only my boyfriend knew, and I didn’t even feel like talking to him about it.
With the last inkling of strength I had in my body, I called my insurance company’s appointment center for a proctologist’s (ass doctor) number. This time I called beforehand, didn’t just show up like last time, and actually talked the attending clerk into letting me see him as soon as possible. Within a few minutes I was already in the waiting room, where they let me lose my cool for an hour and a half. The doctor checked me out. Yes, it was the third doctor who had looked at my butt in the last three days, so I probably won’t be shy again anytime soon.
The doctor said he could operate on me, but with an electric needle, not a laser. He said he operates in a private hospital in downtown San Francisco, that he would get me an appointment ASAP, and that he’s already performed this operation on millions of people, including the person waiting outside the door now. So much for medical confidentiality! By the way, I still see the man that had been waiting outside the door around the city or in parties, and I always think about the fate that we share.
The operation was set for two weeks later. Not fast enough for me, but it’ll do.
On the day of the operation, I got to the hospital at 7:00 AM. I came with the guy I was seeing, even though at the time I felt that is was not meant to be. I was so nervous in the surgery waiting room. We waited outside for two and a half hours before they let us in to an inpatient room. I wore these silly pajamas, the kind that looks like a dress that when you put on the whole back and bottom are showing. After another hour of waiting, I was given a pill against anxiety, and let into the operating room. The anesthesiologist gave me two options – local or general anesthesia. Of course, I preferred the general anesthesia. Who wants to be awake through this nightmare? But then, the anesthesiologist explained to me that if I choose general anesthesia, I will wake up in pain, whereas with local anesthesia the numbness gradually retreats. I chose the local anesthesia. I can’t imagine anything worse than waking up in an unknown location and in pain.
I went into the operating room, which was chilled to a cool forty degrees under, where they lay me down on the operating table stomach-down. The lower part of my body was numbed and I couldn’t move my feet. The doctor, whom I’d met before showed up and wished me good luck. He took the device that he was about to use and started fiddling back there. I didn’t feel anything but a strange feeling as if someone was lightly playing with my butt. A few seconds later, this buzzing sound came on, and the smell of burnt flesh spread through the room. It took me a few seconds to realize that the burnt smell was coming from my butt.
After a short few minutes, I was transferred to the recovery room, where every few minutes a nurse came in to check up on the anesthesia. She did so by asking me to try to move my toes, the first ten minutes unsuccessfully. It was quite scary, I felt so helpless not being able to move my feet at all.
After the anesthesia had partly passed and I managed to move my legs somewhat, I was transferred to the inpatient room, where the boyfriend was waiting… I was still foggy from what I had just been through, in this state between sitting and laying on the bed, staring aimlessly at the wall and feeling sorry for myself. At least I wasn’t completely alone anymore. After a few minutes we both fell asleep, me on the bed, and him on the chair. When I woke up and hour later, there was an obvious discomfort where the surgery had been performed. The pain was getting stronger. A male nurse who was working there, who was clearly part of the same community as me, gave me a painkiller to ease the pain. The nurse came back a few minutes later, and in a quick movement put a rolled gauze pad in my behind. Another person fooling around there… I’m really not going to be shy anymore.
At 2 PM, I was discharged from the hospital and just barely managed to walk to my ride back uptown. Before he let me go, the doctor told me that I would feel pain, and that I should take a painkiller from time to time to reduce them, to try not to eat vegetables and fibers so I wouldn’t have to go to the bathroom much, and to buy Paraffin oil in the pharmacy to ease the secretions. When I got home with my man, I did nothing but lie in bed and stare at the ceiling. As I expected, he fell asleep in two minutes, and I was left with my thoughts, suffering from dull and annoying pain. By evening-time the pain had become unbearable. Well, not unbearable in the “really strong pain” sense of the word, but “I’ll go crazy in a second if this pain continues.” So, I thought of an original idea – I took the bottle of whiskey that I had lying around my home and started chugging it down until I got a little tipsy. I can’t recommend alcohol to people who’re in pain, but I admit that’s what I did, and it actually helped.
At ten o’clock the big disaster happened, the moment I had feared. I had to go to the bathroom. I don’t know if you want to know what someone who has just had anal surgery feels like when he has to poop, and you can ask anyone who has had surgery for hemorrhoids, but believe me, it’s not pretty. It’s much worse than not pretty. It hurts like hell. I sat in my bathroom and just cried. The terrible physical pain and the sinking feeling of ‘how did I get to this point?’ broke me down. The terrible pain continued for no less than forty five minutes, and in that time I managed to cry, swears, take two painkillers, and chug down a few shots of whiskey.
After the pains, the shame returned. Suddenly this new awareness hit me, that until an unknown date when my body will immune itself from this virus, I will be infectious to any man who had sexual contact with me, exposed to the terrible suffering I went through that day and the last period. The guy I was seeing had already made peace with this information, but I felt very trapped. He knows and accepts (well, there’s a chance I caught the virus from him, so shame on him if he didn’t). But what about the future? I already know I want to end this relationship soon, but what shall I do after? I won’t be able to fool around with anyone? How do you deal with that? Am I supposed to warn any man I want to go out with, “hey listen, I’m a carrier”?
Somehow, that night, the picture of the nurse from the department where I had been hospitalized came to me. He’s gay, he works there, I’m sure he’ll know what to tell me. The next day, I called the department and asked to talk to him. He was busy and they promised me he would call back. He did, seven hours later (but that’s okay, it’s not his job to comfort to various patients with sex infections.) I let him into my dilemma – how should I feel about being contagious? After a few minutes he just told me, “Why are you troubling yourself with something that half of San Francisco is walking around with anyways? Everyone’s got it anyways, some people grow warts and some don’t, but everyone has this virus anyways.” I told the nurse thanks and hung up. It wasn’t the most responsible advice for him to give me, and I wasn’t feeling better.
The first week after the surgery was a nightmare. I was suffering from pains, which were getting more tolerable as time was going by, mainly while I was in the bathroom. It had gotten to the point where if I needed to go, I popped a painkiller, waited a few minutes, and just then went in. The pain was unbearable for thirty minutes afterwards, so I would just lie in my bed in pain afterwards. The pain became bearable two weeks after the surgery, and completely disappeared about a month later.
About two months after my surgery I summoned the courage to break up with my boyfriend. I was relieved, but that’s not part of my genital warts story.
Three months after the surgery, the warts came back. Yeah.
When I got my checkup with the operating doctor, he found two new genital warts. He told me they were on a relatively external part of the anus so I could get them removed with a laser at a gynecologist. I left his office in mild depression again, reminded of the crazy pain I had felt last time I had warts removed. On the way home, I called up for an appointment with the gynecologist. How low can you go? A man setting up a gynecologist appointment. So ashamed.
My wart removal appointment was a month later. This time I showed up alone. I got a small shot, lay down on the bed, and I was outside in five minutes.
It wasn’t anything like what I went through last time, thanks to the warts being on the outside. I felt some discomfort on the bathroom for a week, but two weeks later I was functioning normally again.
It’s been calm ever since….
Half a year later, I went for a checkup with the doctor, which was negative. Today, it’s been almost two years since the first time I noticed the “extra skin” growth, and almost a year that everything’s back to normal. I figure my body has finally immunized itself to this annoying virus, and that I will be okay.
I think at this point I want to return to what I wrote in the beginning of this story, the reason I am writing this story and publish it to the world. I want people to know that when they find out that they have a Condyloma genital wart it’s not the end of the world. Since I went through this story, I’ve heard of many girls who discovered warts on their vaginas, and guys who found out that they have warts on their penis or anus and went through the same suffering that I went through. And when I’m talking about suffering, I mean the mental suffering, which is much worse than the physical.
When I look back at everything that I went through, I realize I totally went out of proportion. The depression that I was in for a long time was unnecessary. It’s true that the treatments I went through were discomfortable, but the whole feeling of being disgusted by myself, and the horrible fear of infecting other people was simply not justified.
Guys, you have to understand, this virus is going around and infecting everyone. Guys and girls. There are two ways to avoid infection – abstinence or vaccine. For the guy and girls reading my story, I strongly recommend that you get yourself vaccinated if you haven’t already.. Don’t forget that 90% from those that are exposed to this virus will never see any outwardly symptoms and any Condyloma warts. And even if you are unlucky, and belong to the other 10%, it’s not so bad. Go to the doctor, hope it will be quick. It’s definitely not as bad as you think it is.