Just a bag?

Submitted on Jun 2, 2011 by  joyaloyo

Definitely  “ No!”. I carry it and many of its kind every other day and for those that look at it,  a few beautiful words is all they may see and maybe for those that have an understanding of HIV, the red ribbon on the bag may catch their eye.

For me though, its more than just a bag but a reminder everyday that nothing I have been through has to keep me from my destiny as long as i have the right attitude.

These precious shoulder bags have encouraging words that give me hope, that let me know that because I have HIV I don’t have to sit around all defeated.  They help me to take control of my fears instead of letting them control me.

I remember about  2 years ago while pregnant with my then second child. I was just a few days away from my expected date of delivery (EDD) when I started experiencing sharp abdominal pain.  I thought I was in labor and decided to go to hospital. At the hospital the nurse did some check up as we waited for my doctor to arrive.  I noticed  her uneasiness and my answer came when she said “ I can't hear the fetal heartbeat”.  She immediately left to get someone for a second opinion which was no different. I knew my life would change in a moment but had to make a choice in which direction I wanted it to go. I told myself that I would be strong and silently prayed and started singing praise and worship songs.  You can never know how much strength and courage you can gain when faced with a difficult experience and you choose to stop and look fear in the face.   I said to myself that all will be well no  matter what happened I had lived with HIV and I knew I could take anything that came my way.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-image alignleft size-medium wp-image-891","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"300","height":"225","title":"joy_bag_image2","alt":""}}]]I was immediately rushed to theater for an emergency C-section. The doctor wanted to put me to sleep but I asked for an Epidural.  My pressure was checked and it was normal which was a surprise for the doctor and Nurses.  A few minutes later into the surgery my doctor exclaimed “oh, no!” I inquired whether it was a still birth to which he confirmed. I told him he had done his best so he had to save me and not lose two.  All those present in the room where amazed and remarked that they rarely saw such courage after a still birth.  While I was being stitched I asked to see my beautiful daughter Nkwanzi and said my good bye.

My recovery was fast and amazing because I helped myself.  From that experience I realized that our lives are not determined by what happens to us but how we react to what happens and the attitude we bring to life when faced with it.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-image alignleft size-medium wp-image-892","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"300","height":"225","title":"joy_bag_image3","alt":""}}]]I know a positive attitude can cause a chain reaction of positive thoughts and outcomes.  If I had chosen a negative attitude, I don’t want to imagine what my life would have been like.

And so with my HIV I have decided to focus on this journey with a positive attitude and not think of the destination.  I know the value of time and so I snatch, sieze and enjoy every moment and not procrastinate.

My bags and decorated affirmations which I hang all over my house help me to release my fears and doubts for I daily remind myself that these only keep me from experiencing life to its fullest.

Submitted by celina5000

Dear joyloyo; your bags are beautiful and inspiring. Your courage and faith in the face deep sorrow and loss leaves me speechless.

I live on the other side of the world, in Canada, and your spirit has touched my heart today.

I send you sympathy on the loss of your beautiful baby and I embrace your faith. peace, Gisele

Submitted by joyaloyo

Thank you Gisele. Am glad i touched your heart today. You see whenever am faced with a frightening experience I always remind myself of what an American Preacher Joel Osteen once said "that Fear may sound impressive and even look tough but truthfully there is really nothing to it. It may even look permanent but many a time its only temporary". So for me in those times when things in my life may be a little dark and cloudy my faith tells me that the sun will always shine each morning after the darkness of the night and its always just a matter of time before the clouds disappear and the sky is as clear and beautiful as its always been. And for me what better way than to have my bags constantly reminding me. Joy

Submitted by fifi

your faith and courage touched me,we really need to believe thatGod is in control he can never leave or forsake us.you were strong when you were experiencing a difficult time in your life but you didnt curse,lose hope or blame anyone instead you were strong to me thats big.keep well girl

Submitted by joyaloyo

Thank you Fifi. i always tell myself every day.
I'm too blessed to be stressed!
I'm too blessed to be worried!
I'm too blessed to be negative!
I'm too blessed to be upset!

and in this same faith i know everything happens for a reason some of which we may never understand but i know i will have another child sometime soon even if my last angel went to heaven.

Submitted by celina5000

I bought a bag yesterday. I'm going to fill it with beautiful gifts from the earth: stones, leaves , flowers.....and I'm going to write on it and paint all the reminders of the blessings I've been given. I'll use my favorite quotation, written by a mystic named LAO-TZU in the year 571. This line is as true today as it was all those centuries ago:

I have just three things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These are your greatest treasures.

peace, Gisele

Submitted by fifi

joy, am gratefull with what you have written. actually, am moved with what you have written. i need those bag coz i love the message on them, i think i'll buy myself a bag nd decorate it that way.
1 year and still counting, STILL SURVIVING
theres a scripture saying God will never give us mathata(problems) that we can not handle. he gave us this disease coz He knew we can handle it.
GOD BLESS YOU ALL, am 20 yrs old and positive. and am grateful that God still love me no matter what,
Twinkle twinkle little star
how I wander what you are,
as I see you grow so tall,
diamonds sparkling in your smile.

Little Angel flap your wings,
fly away in to your dreams,
singing songs of stars and moons,
dancing to the music of your heart.

Bringing love to my darker parts,
with a smile that shines brighter than any light.
bobe loves you very much

Submitted by joyaloyo

Hi Bobe,
Thanks for the poem it was such a beautiful piece. Like you said God doesn't give us more than we can handle and sometimes he will use our difficult situations to strengthen other people and let them know the beauty of the world we live in despite living with HIV. sometimes i tell myself it could be a blessing in disguise. There are so many things i probably would have taken for granted but have learn t to appreciate more. My sister i believe you will keep counting and continue to THRIVE and not just Survive.its only you that can stop! Be Blessed my dear!

Submitted by fifi

Oh sister, I love you. That strength that sometimes we don't know we have until we are shoved up against the wall. Yes. It's not how many times we fall down that determines our character; it's how many times we get up again. Connecting this way, we share our strength. It's good to not have to be strong alone. We can hold each other up in tough times.

Submitted by joyaloyo

Angie my dear,
I Love you too! I can testify that i have fallen many times but have managed to get up stronger each time. am glad i have people like you to let me know that i am not alone. God Bless you!

Submitted by fifi

Have been following your blog. Love your courage and resolve. And I want to meet you. I work, stay and live in Kampala. Please try and keep in touch.

Submitted by joyaloyo

Hullo Patrick,
Am glad i have touched a man's heart too. i just realised that many times because we are women we sometimes forget about you guys out there. just given me an idea for my next blog. i would definitely love to meet you. Be blessed my dear!

Submitted by fifi

"our lives are not determined by what happens to us but how we react to what happens and the attitude we bring to life when faced with it."

Well said... thank you

Submitted by linda1st

I hope you had a friend to help you through the loss, our strength is amazing....but compassion and kindness from others make good leaning posts. oxoxox's Linda

Submitted by fifi

just as it is said,even the experience of someone else can help.im encouraged by your strength gal.lol

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