LA actor-writer-singer Matt Ford who contracted monkeypox talked to John & Ken just hours after being medically cleared.
I began to notice lesions on my shoulders, my legs, my hands and my feet. Three appeared on my face. They start out small and once they get bigger, they become itchy and irritable. Then, you have to wait for them to burst, scab over and eventually fall off.
The lesions in sensitive areas were severely painful. It was a constant, dull, sore pain with frequent harsh jabs if I moved the wrong way or irritated them.
It got so bad that I wasn't able to sleep through the night, so I had to be prescribed narcotic pain killers. Even after 50mg of Tramadol, plus the maximum dose of paracetamol and ibuprofen that I could take concurrently, and ointments to try and ease more painful lesions, it was just enough for me to go to sleep. It definitely didn't negate all of the pain.
There were multiple days where it was so painful or I was just so out of it from lack of sleep that I wasn't able to work. That persisted until the very end of June, when some lesions began to heal and scab over.
Now, it's a waiting game. When all my spots fully scab over and fall off I won't have to isolate anymore—but being alone is becoming more and more difficult. On Friday July 1, things felt really tough, it was two weeks since I learned I had been exposed to the virus and I was still isolating. It's a much longer game than COVID-19 in terms of isolation, and quarantine can drive you crazy.
At the end of June; I made a TikTok video about the disease because I felt I had an obligation to try and warn people. The most painful part of my infection coincided with Pride Month and because this disease is mainly impacting queer men, I was really concerned.
I may be one of the first Americans to speak publicly about monkeypox, but I am by no means the first person to get it. After speaking out on social media, swathes of people from the U.S. and globally, who are suffering quietly with this condition, came forward to tell me about their own experiences.
pic courtesy of Matt Ford/Justin Clynes Studio