Life for me and how I saw the world changed three years ago in April 2015. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just put my pre-k students on the bus to go home, when I came back to my classroom and checked my phone (a habit of mine to make sure my teenaged daughter or my sister had not texted me). Instead of my usual notification I had a voice mail notification. It was my doctor who left a message to call her back. Not thinking anything of it because I had went to the doctor the week before because I wasn’t feeling well thinking that it was probably my sinuses. Instead I got the most devasting news that crushed me; news that nobody wants to get over the phone. It was news that I had tested positive for HIV. My doctor’s voice was not comforting at all and a very business as usual tone. All I could think about while on the phone was what does this mean, what will happen to my future and my family. All I got was I have referred you to a center for infectious disease.
After getting off the phone I sat in my chair for what felt like hours feeling numb (it was actually only thirty minutes). Driving home I was overcome with so many fears and questions that were left uncomforted and unanswered. I was unable to even share this information with my family until weeks later and after I had developed pneumonia. I felt crushed and heartbroken to tell my family because not only was my life turned upside down but their lives would also be turned upside down.
When it came time for my first appointment at the center for infectious diseases I was not judged but greeted with genuine love and hugs which made me feel at ease. The nurses and doctors answered me and my family’s questions (no matter how dumb I thought they might be) and comforted our fears that we had about my health. The case manger there was a tremendous help with getting me information and helping fill out paperwork for agencies that helped me to be able to pay for my medicine which even with insurance the copay was still expensive. My road to recovery and healing was because of the care and nurturing that I not only received from my family but from the nurses, doctors, case manager and even the receptionist who greeted me with love.