It took me several attempts at different combinations to find the one medicine that worked for me, that allowed my immune system to re-establish itself and that didn't give me terrible side effects. I am lucky that I only take one pill twice a day and I do not seem to have side effects. But I work very hard at making sure my body can cope with the undeniably toxic meds. I exercise five or six times a week, I drink buckets of clean water and I follow a strict diet of good foods. I think I amaze my positive and non-positive friends at how much energy I have, but it has a lot to do with willpower and determination. And to be honest, I love the way my body feels with all this exercising: strong and fit.
I am working for 'Positive Women' as the Support Worker; I have been in this position for 18 months now. It is a challenging and sometimes confronting role, but it feels good to be doing something for my community and I am surrounded by other HIV Positive people, so I have been able to normalize this illness as I can talk about it freely in my home and work life.
Being HIV positive still seems like a gift to me in many ways. It has given me my life; it has given me an appreciation of life and how precious it is. I believe that so many people walk through their lives without ever really living it, because they believe there are always tomorrows. For me, there may not be a tomorrow -or many more tomorrow- so I will wonder at today and see how special it is. I stop to smell the roses often, to watch the sunset and to tell those people around me who support me how special and loved they are. This is the positive side to being positive. I will face the negatives when they come my way and hopefully I will face them with grace."
Karen is now the very happy mother of a little girl. So, when life gives you lemons make sure you made lemonade! Keep the positivity around you and it will come back to you. Remember, you're the judge of your own happiness!