Who are you? Are you nobody too?
I should introduce myself. I'm Imnobody. I'm not a famous person, I'm not rich, I don't have lots of influence. So Imnobody. Just like everyone else. When I found out I tested positive I felt as if my world ended, as if my world just became smaller than the head of a pin. I'm out here alone, dying. I can't tell anyone, I have no one, I am alone and dying and I'm scared to death. My life has just ended.
Everything I read is about Long Term Survivors (LTS). What it's like to grow old with it. The things no one considered because no one expected them to live this long. Well that won't be me. I'm out here alone, dying… right! Why isn't there a newcomers' club?
Am I the only person to get this in like forever? Was I the only idiot? I will never be an LTS. I'm scared to death and I'm out here alone, dying. Does no one see me, hear me? Help! Help! Don't you know I'm dying?!?!
This is the conversation I have had in my head since April 24, 2016 when I received the news in my doctor's office. While he reassured me this is now a manageable condition, much like diabetes, that I would survive, my mind was screaming, my heart was pounding so loud it was deafening and then suddenly there was no air in the room and no sound. Where do I go from here?
I'm a single Mom, 55 years old. I have 2 wonderful sons, one is 31 and grown with 4 daughters and a wonderful wife, and the other one is 17 on the autistic spectrum for emotional disorders, super smart and is my gentle giant. I have a 10 pound cat whose name is Leo but we all refer to as Fatty (but that's a story for another day), I have a dog who is a nervous wreck, whose name is Ted. I work in computers, but my education is in adolescent psychology and I have a good job. I have a social circle and I'm hoping to become a gym rat or my aged version of one.
So after living this life for one year, what do I know? I know if I am compliant with my medication and remain undetectable, my virus is untransmittable. I know I will get sick, I will get a cold or sinus infection and the like. I know I should do everything to keep myself healthy, take my medication, get a flu shot, Hep A and B series vaccine, Pneumonia vaccine and let my Infectious Disease Doctor (ID Doc) know of any side effects and changes in my physical and mental health. Also I know this and this is the really big one, I know I am not alone, there are groups on social media, counseling and friends and family to help me through the tough times, the dark times, and the painful times.
So where do I stand now? Dealing with the psychology of the thing. The guilt. No I didn't give this to myself. I'm quite angry at "C" for passing it along, not that he purposely did this, but his past behavior put me at risk. Because he didn't clue me into his past behavior that might have given me pause about our sexual relationship. Because when I met him he said he was drug and disease free. Because I gave him my trust and he was unworthy. I'm mad at myself because I thought so little of my own safety that I didn't take precautions. Because he treated me better than I had been treated before, but it still wasn't good treatment, that little he gave made me feel like a queen and that I could trust him. He wouldn't do anything to hurt me. He is such a great guy he would never have had risky behavior so I'll be safe with him. I thought so little of myself and I lied to myself. So this is not all his fault. I take ownership of this as well. I have to because I cannot spend any of the time I have left in my life blaming someone else for my actions and let that hate and anger eat me up. That is the most unhealthy thing to do.
I didn't start my medication right away because my first doctor was not a proponent of getting me on drugs right away. After reading everything on the internet, and if it's on the internet you know it has to be true, I went to my primary doctor, Dr H and said I'm scared because I don't think I'm getting the best care from this ID Doc. He did some current research and said he felt I should be on meds and referred me to a friend of his. Dr K is the best!!! He double checked my tests, he talked to me, he calmed my fears, he put me on medication! The minute the first pill hit my tongue I felt a weight lift off me. So after 10 months on medication I am undetectable and my CD 4 count is climbing.
So now I deal with the psychology aspect of everyday life. The mental what ifs that at times cause a hard pause in my life, make me rethink my choices. If I ache at night, is that the virus destroying me from the inside out? Or is it because I mowed the front and back lawns after work? If I have a headache is it the virus destroying my brain? Or is it because I have suffered from migraines my entire life? If I forget my keys or why I entered a room, is it the virus destroying my mental capabilities? Or is it just normal aging or I was distracted by my cat? Keep small things small. Stay on my meds and keep my doctors appointments. Remember all these things hurt and were there prior to the virus.
Most days I just get up and take my meds and the rest of the day I don't think about it. I work, have dinner with friends, kiss my grand babies, hug my best friend and my life goes on. Much as it did prior to that day in April 2016. It's not to say I haven't had to make changes in my life but that is for another blog. Keep living life, don't stop just because of this, I have HIV, HIV doesn't have me!