What happens when the doctor tells you are HIV+?
What now, am I going to die? Where do I turn, am I alone, what’s next, what will people say about me? These are just a few of the questions I ask myself the day I went to the doctor. My family doctor didn’t know a lot about treating HIV, but did get me scheduled to see a specialist. In the meantime, which I had to meet with the state department of health, my first thought I would be branded with an HIV on my forehead. Was I ever wrong, Turned out that was the first positive step I had?
There was no stigma, we only talked about me. I was sent away feeling a lot better about myself. I made contact with Jeff the Leader of the PITCH group in Cedar Rapids. He told me about the wellness summit, at first I was going to pass because I didn’t know a lot about this. Only being diagnosed for a month, I was still in shock.
I am so glad that I went. Right from the beginning when I walked into the room, I could feel the love. When you hear reports that HIV isn’t just a gay disease, it is true, there were men and women from all walks of life that shared one common thing, and we are all HIV+.
One of the best things I got out of this was, understanding my inter-strength. This helped me in so many ways. Not starting my meds yet I got so many tips that the doctors couldn’t tell you. We talked about stigma, I have not had my first taste of it yet, but when I do I can go back to the one of the sessions and remember what we talked about.
We had a work shop called the round table that was the most beneficial workshop, it allowed us to ask questions that you would be afraid to ask your doctor, and not to be judged, because everyone has been there or will be there. How to have HIV and love your family, is easier what I learned was that I have a loving supporting family, and how to love them back. Not only did we have workshops but we had fun time, I made my fist card for my partner, we learned about yoga (and no you don’t end up looking like a pretzel) to put it all together everything.
Well it has been a little less than 6 months since I found out I was positive. I have started my meds about two months ago, I was put on Atripila, I was told the side effects would last about a month or so, and luckily mine was very minor. I just had some realistic dreams that I didn’t know if I was dreaming or awake. I know what kind of food I can eat later in the night before I take my meds. On a good note, I couldn’t gain weight no matter what I did. Well I have gained close to 20 pounds; I have more energy than I have in a long time. I’m riding my bike about 30-40 miles a week, working on the house, working full time, and still have family time. I refuse to give into the diseases, and will be taking my life back the way I want it.
I have made new friends, through the PITCH group and consider them my new family. I can’t wait till the next wellness summit. I want to be able to help other people that have the same problems that I had coming into this. And to offer my help that everyone offered to me.