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We’re about to write a sentence with four words that you would never usually put together – ‘sexually transmitted disease’ and ‘blessing.’
However, for one woman from Las Vegas, it was a case of divine intervention after she contracted herpes in 2011.
Alexandra Harbushka caught the disease from someone she was dating at the time and was struggling with her alcohol intake, binge-eating and poor finances.
Alexandra suffers from both oral and genital herpes, and it is particularly painful around her private parts, Mail Online reports.
Despite her painful condition, the Sin City native is now remarkably upbeat and believes herpes has helped to turn her life around.
But it was quite a lengthy process for Alexandra to accept her diagnosis after a long battle in her mental recovery from a state of depression.
“I was being a responsible adult. So, when this happened to me, it was absolutely devastating, crushing and suffocating.
“It took me two years before I came to terms with it. I was turning 30 and I thought, ‘I can't stay like this, I need to figure this out',” she said.
“I felt like Eeyore from Winnie The Pooh. I cried every day, I just couldn't seem to get out of this fog.
“I thought, ‘I have to change this.’ I was living with my parents, I needed to fix my finances, I needed to change my lifestyle. I needed to work on the mindset of self-acceptance and self-confidence.”
She now has a much healthier diet, limiting her drinking and the amount of junk food she consumes. Additionally, Alex has posted TikTok videos about the STI and started the company Life With Herpes to raise awareness of the disease.
Alexandra has since gotten married, and the couple have had a son together.
“I believe that God was giving me messages along the way that I wasn't on my path. I wasn't being who I was meant to be,' she said in a recent TikTok video.
“Finally, God gave me herpes so I would wake up, listen and make changes. I think God was showing me that my life wasn't the one I was meant to be living, but he had to show me that through a physical manifestation.
“I think there is a shock value to saying herpes is a blessing. We can look at things like a victim or we can look at them as a wake-up call.
“If we look at it like these changes improved my life and shaped me into the person that I am now, then it's a blessing.
“Even though getting herpes is something nobody wants to go through, this was an important phase of my life.
“Getting herpes was a blessing in my life because it allowed me to focus on who I am and learn to love myself and grow with confidence," she said.