So I got the e-mail last night from my doctor. My meds are still working. My viral load is still undetectable after a whole year. The meds are working. I’m still good to go in this world. I’m still fighting. I’m still going strong.
I never expected for it to last so long. I found out I was HIV positive back in 2008 and that time was chaotic and crazy, even if I didn’t know it was and when I almost died, I thought that would be the last Christmas I would ever get to spend. Then I got through my first bout with meningitis and I became an advocate and felt like I had to show a brave front since I was one of the few people who were public about their HIV status.
I didn’t take care of myself. I went off meds because I couldn’t handle the side effects and went on an experimental treatment without consulting with my doctors. Everything was fine but it was taking its toll on me and I didn’t know it at the time until I found myself battling with meningitis again. I almost died that second time. 2010. I almost didn’t make it.
Now, everything is so different. I take my pills. I’m finally taking care of myself and it’s four years since that time and I’m alive and well and kicking. Another year and I am still undetectable. Viral load is so low that it isn’t attacking my immune system. So, if my immune system is down, that’s all on me. That’s my fault now. And I won’t bring myself back there again.
HIV isn’t scary if you are willing to make the changes that are necessary. It is manageable. You just have to face it. You just have to deal with it. That’s it. You have to want it. And that normal life that all those advocates and doctors keep talking about can be yours. Really. It’s all up to you.