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Nineteen Years Ago

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Nineteen years ago today, my family doctor called me into his office and said, ďWell this isn't the kind of news I like to give anybody, but  . . . Ē He then proceeded to tell me I was looking at a life expectancy of six months or so. That was September 8, 1988.

I had clues for a long time that I was likely infected with HIV. The previous December I spent a month in Rehab in New Hampshire to get a handle on my alcohol and drug abuse and it was during a routine checkup there that they discovered swollen lymph nodes and told me to get tested for HIV as soon as I returned to Canada. A positive test there would have meant being deported back to Canada and missing treatment. So although I was somewhat prepared, it still shook me up Ė especially that prognosis. This was of course still the 1980s.

I very stubbornly and stupidly declined protease inhibitors for years, until November of 2002 when I collapsed in line at a checkout of a grocery store. My viral load was more than 500,000 at that point, and HIV had finally hijacked me, as my doctor put it. Now when I hear or read other peopleís stories about the meds back then, Iím kind of glad I held out, regardless of the result.

Iíve been taking Kaletra (lopinavir and ritonavir) with Combivir since then, and things have improved over time. My viral load remains undetectable and my CD4 counts are currently above 900.

Everyone handles life and life changes in their own way. I would say that during the past nineteen years (and with age Ė Iíll be 48 in December) my values and life priorities have changed, and to me thatís as it should be anyhow, HIV positive or not. Iím also more aware of the value of time and what I do with mine Ė what is important to spend time on and what isnít Ė and this is directly linked to reaching a level of honesty in me too. No more do I say yes when I really mean no, or the other way around. I donít tolerate that which is not genuine any longer, including people.

That six-month prognosis has become nineteen years now. Sometimes Iím glad no one can predict the future, doctor or otherwise.


I'm glad you're here.   :)

Thank you, Cindy.

Hey Daniel,

I agree.  I am often glad nobody can truly tell the future. I am glad yours did not go as the doctor planned and that you are here today.



Thank you, Mark.

Some days life is just baffling to me, but I guess as long as we are still breathing there's hope.

I see you are a hugger, so hereís a big one from me to you.


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