I remember thinking that it was a nightmare and I would soon wake up. My family sat around and mourned for me. We all thought I was dead. I remember my dad crying out "My precious baby girl!" That was the first night I ever saw my dad get drunk. We just couldn't cope with the news. My family cried like wounded animals and I was in a state of shock. I put the pieces together and now understood why I had been so very ill the last year. I had been hospitalized. I had shingles three times and my hair was falling out. I had rashes on my skin that itched sooo bad. I would lay in bed for months at a time, having no energy. It would take everything I had just to get a shower and put make-up on. Doctors told me it was stress. I knew it was something serious, but never imagined AIDS.
I went to an incredible Infectious Disease doctor who gave me my first ray of hope. He said it was no longer a death sentence, instead, a chronic disease and with a healthy lifestyle and medication, I could very easily live to be an old woman. WHAT? I was so excited. I had blood work done and my T-cell count was 15 at the time. My viral load was 750,000. I was almost dead.
I got on medical treatment and I have my life back now. I've enrolled in grad school, run with my two dogs, work, work out at the gym and enjoy life again. I'm even dating. If I can be brought back from near death......emotionally, spiritually and physically, then so can you! My outlook on life is this: love as you've never loved before, dance as though nobody's watching, be truthful regardless of the cost and trust in yourself as well and the Lord. I am lucky enough to have a supportive family, friends and a love of the Lord that gets me through this. I am not angry.... saddened, yes, but not angry. I have forgiven those that I feel have done me wrong as I know the Lord will forgive me of my sins. I look forward to keeping in touch with all of you so when I dance at my children's' weddings. I will know I HAVE LIVED LIFE!"
What I learned from all the people who are brave enough to share their stories is: a supportive surrounding is important, because no matter if you think that you are on the lowest point of your life, when people around you support you and give their love, everything will get better. So, remember to being supportive to whoever needs it, because sometimes it can help save someone else's life.