Twelve months ago I was extremely sick and hospitalised. What I thought to be a chest infection turned out to be PCP (an AIDS related pneumonia). It wasn’t until this time that I really paid any attention to HIV or my status.
It scared me. My virus had taken over my body and I thought it was close to the end.
Although I have lived with HIV since 2008, it has only been a year since I accepted HIV and not by choice, but force.
So in the year since this awakening, I have made many changes. I have learned to accept HIV. I have learned to live with it. That is not to say that all is well. NO.
The last year has been filled with memories, some good, some not so good and some bad. It was a year of change, of challenges and of awakening. A year that brought plenty of darkness into my life but also brought an abundance of light.
I honestly believed at the start of this new journey that it was already too late. It was the end for me. I wasn’t going to see another autumn, winter, spring or summer, another birthday, Christmas or New Year, my family, friends or even my beloved dog. I didn’t want to die. I wanted to live. It wasn’t time yet, I wasn’t ready. I wasted so much of my life ignoring my life that I needed a second chance.
Not knowing all I needed to know about treatments and medical advances with HIV, I was expecting the worse. At first reluctantly without a choice I had to allow people around me to take over. For too long before I did everything my way, my rules and my decisions. Now I had to trust someone else to do it for me.
The last year I have pulled through not because I made it, but because you made it for me and with me. I allowed you control of my direction and care. Today I am the better man I used to be because of it.
I’ve heard it said many times that when you face death, potentially life threatening circumstances or trauma, that you change in a way no one truly understands. You start to see things in a different light and learn very quickly to accept things and let life be life. Today I stand here and believe it to be true.
Today I no longer fear death. It’s no longer the end for me. I have a new vitality with a new energy and a new focus. Twelve months down the track, I am aware of what HIV is, means and how to live with it, not die with it. I have connected with other HIV like-minded groups and people. I have shared my journey through online blogs. I have opened myself to being open about the trials I have experienced and the journeys I have completed.
Although this last cycle of my life has continued to be filled with sadness that no one should endure, it has also been filled with love, acceptance, growth and awakening. It has been a year that would affect the most strong. I have lost friends to cancer, my beloved dog of 17 years passed away, my mother was hospitalised again with heart problems, I have been without someone to love and come home to and I have been recovering from a very weak immune system. Without the strength and support of some of my closest friends, I would have succumbed to the darkness but I have survived through it.
The most rewarding thing though is that I am still me, but my view has awakened a little more to what really is. My view on life has changed. My view on what I was, and what I should be, has changed. My view on allowing you closer to me has changed. But I am still the same person.
So far it's a year of highs and lows, of emotions, stress, anxieties and thought processes.
I'm not making any resolutions for the next chapter, nor will I be glad that this first chapter is closed. It is a passage of time, a point to reflect on the last period of time . .
I have loved, I have been loved
I have stalked, I have been stalked
I have turned away real friends; I have humbly returned their honour in my life
Obsessed over little things, forgotten about the big things
Paid too much attention to me and not enough to you
Hidden from reality, and paying the price for it
Had hope, lost hope
Desired so little, complacent on so much
Controlled everything, let go
And now I have . .
Opened myself to extended family, something I have never allowed myself to do, not from fear, but from lack of want.
Accepted that family is important both close and far, and given them the right to be that in my life
Allowed myself to be vulnerable and not capable, and have let you carry me when needed.
Allowed myself to grieve, and to rejoice
Taken back control over my destiny, and not let my environment control it.
Allow you the dignity you deserve in me
So the next chapter will be a continuation of the current chapter . . .
I will love
I will stalk
I will hope
I will allow
I will survive
I will let life be life and allow it to be what it is.
That is all