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Author Topic: My story  (Read 5984 times)

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Offline PositiveMom

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  • Posts: 9
My story
« on: October 16, 2007, 08:14:52 PM »
Well, I have finally joined something having to do with my disease.  It has been almost 10 years that I have been HIV positive.  I guess I should start by telling my story.

Back in 1996, I hit rock bottom.  I was 18 years old and addicted to heroin.

I grew up in a great family.  My father was a preacher, my mother was a stay at home mom.  I went to Christian school all the way up till I graduated high school.  My parents even wanted me to go to Bible college, but I only lasted 4 months there before I got kicked out for drinking.  From there I never went back home.  I moved from place to place and got involved with the wrong crowd.  Before long, I was experimenting with hard drugs and after a few months was completely addicted to both heroin and crack.  It was so weird, because I never looked the role.  I was your typical average looking white girl.  I didn't belong with my messed up junkie friends.  I always knew that I was worth more - that there was something more for me in life. 

I had only used needles a couple times, but I was using with a man I met in NA who had full blown aids.  He had been in prison for over 10 years, and somehow he sucked me in to the point that I was sleeping with him.  It was insane, but I was so messed up that I didn't refuse.  We even had shared needles at one point.  (I know, crazy, huh....?)

I found out that I was positive while at a program in Texas.  I was only 19 years old.  I had been clean for 4 months.   I left my life of drugs and the manipulative man (who later had OD'd and died anyway)  I was sent home from the program, because they were not able to take care of people with medical issues.  My parents took me in and I started working for my father in the office.  During that time, my aunt, my dad's youngest sister was dieing of full blown aids.  She struggled with drugs for most of her life.  We became very close.  I watched her slowly deteriorate over a 6 month period of time.  It was so scary, especially knowing that I too had the same disease.  After she died, I went into denial.  A few months later, I wound up going back to drugs down in Florida with an old friend of mine.  This time it wasn't heroin, it was crystal meth.  Wow... what an experience that was.  I hardly slept or ate for almost 5 months.  My brain started to hallucinate to the point of complete insanity.  It is even hard to think about it now, because of how horrible it was. That was pretty much the end for me.  Death was only a breath away, and every time I shot the next hit - I knew that it might be my last. 

I used to cry out to God to save me, to rescue me.  And finally, one day, I felt His strength and He gave me the motivation to walk away.  I literally walked several miles off of the farm where I was living in the middle of nowhere and got picked up be a cop on the side of a highway.  He brought me to a mental hospital where they kept me until my parents sent someone to pick me up and get me to the airport to come home.  I was emaciated, so thin and sunken.  My arms had scabs where I had inserted the needle over and over again.  I was a mess.  My parents didn't want much to do with me anymore, so they had pastor friend of theirs pick me up and I stayed with them until I had detoxed enough to go into another program. 

On Dec. 15th 1997, I was driven upstate NY to a home in Garrison, NY called the Walter Hoving Home.  I never thought in a million years that this place would be my Refuge, my Safe Haven.  But my 16 months in that program changed my life forever.  God met me there and completely changed who I had become.  He gave me hope and salvation.  I was able to deal with the issues of my past, emotional hurts, and forgiveness of those who had hurt me.  I slowly became the person that God had intended for me to be all along, without all the baggage.  I made some wonderful friends who I am still in touch with now.  But most importantly, I began my lifelong journey in having a relationship with Jesus Christ. 

I settled in New York.  I got involved with a wonderful church who knows all about my past and my HIV status.  They have accepted me and loved me through it.  I started my own business as an artist.  I married a wonderful man who is not HIV positive and we now have 2 beautiful and healthy children.  I even head up a Mommy & Me ministry for young mothers in my community. 

It has not always been easy.  I still struggle every day with having to take these toxic medications that make me so sick sometimes that I can't even eat.  But I will never stop being so grateful for the opportunity to live my life free of drugs and alcohol and now as a wife and mother.   I have been clean for many years, so sometimes it all seems so surreal.  But I never want to forget where I have come from and how easy it can be to go back.  It only takes one time of saying yes to something you shouldn't do. 

I have to be honest, I have been very hesitant about connecting with others who have this illness.  For a long time, I did not want to be reminded that I was different.  It was enough that I had to take medicine and then when it came time to have my children - I was nervous about them having it too.  But I have been struggling lately with my medicine.  I have been missing doses because of how sick I have been feeling.  So, I know that it is time for me to reach out and maybe even be an encouragement to another who might be struggling.   

I have to pay the consequences for my actions, but I don't need to live as if there is a death sentence over my life.  I hope that if there is anyone here in this forum who feels this way, that you might be encouraged.  There is so much hope for you.  God loves you so much.  He knows all that you are going through.  Call to Him and He will answer you.  He will give you peace in the midst of these hard and uncertain times. 

God bless you all, I look forward to getting to know all of you and sharing our hearts.

Offline emeraldize

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,350
Re: My story
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2007, 09:52:47 PM »
Hello and Welcome PM

Thank you for sharing your story. I feel as if I just sat with you in a coffee shop and just kept sipping and listening.

And, you've certainly found the right place to reach out to those with whom you share the disease and to, as you wrote, offer encouragement.

I don't have any meds advice, but there are a host of women and men within the whole of these forums who do. Don't limit yourself to this forum alone. Treatment and Side Effects or Living With are places to post your questions and concerns as well. Each forum has its purpose. Quite the buffet!

Glad you arrived so incredibly intact.

Best regards.
Em

Offline Blessed1974

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  • Posts: 92
  • Time waits for no one so don't dream life live it!
Re: My story
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2007, 10:14:58 PM »
Hi PM,

I just wanted to extend my welcome.  I haven't been here long but all the women here are very welcoming and they hold a world of information :)

Offline naftalim

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  • Posts: 102
Re: My story
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2007, 01:42:08 AM »
Your story in some way reminded me of the late author Primo Levi. He was a Holocaust survivor who wrote some very memorable books about that experience. What stands out in his books is not so much the horror and the carnage, but the humanity of the people it affected. I get the same feeling from your story. Good on you, and bless you. We see many stories here of depression, frustration,sadness and anger. Your story however is inspiring and most important, human.

Thanks

Offline BT65

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Re: My story
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2007, 05:37:20 AM »
Hey naftalim, I'm not sure if you're a woman or man, but I'm assuming you're  man from the pic and the fact that I don't see you posting in these "Positive Women threads.  If you're a man, take warning.  Posting here can get you timed out.

Anyway, PositiveMom, welcome to the forums.  I can relate to quite a bit you've talked about.  I was addicted to heroin when I was 16, and drinking.  But I did look the part.  I worked in as a stripper/hooker when I was 17 to support the habit.  I got clean in 1989.  I do believe in God; recovery gave me that gift back.  I went to private schools for the first 10 years of school, but quit the last private school I went to before they threw me out.  I could go on and on, but I do believe I posted in the introductions thread when I first started posting here.  Oh, what I was saying, I do believe in a Supreme Being; however, I don't preach to others, as I know some don't and I respect everyone's right to have their own belief.  No offense, just sayin'. 

Anyway, welcome and I hope to hear more from you!
Peace-
Betty
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: My story
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2007, 06:48:46 AM »
Just so everyone knows, Naftalim realised only after he posted that this thread was in the Women's forum (he must have got here through the "unread" page) and sent me an apology in a PM. I'm sure he'll be more careful next time. ;)

Hi PM, welcome to the forums. I'm glad you found us.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline PositiveMom

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  • Posts: 9
Thank you
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2007, 07:23:20 AM »
Thank you for the warm welcome.  I am very excited about getting involved here. 

Em, I was so blessed that you had felt as if we were in a coffee shop together chatting.  That made me feel so comfortable and welcomed.  I had some hesitation writing my story.  But I know that it was extremely healing for me, after so many years, to get it out. 

Thank you, thank you to everyone!!

Offline cjc

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  • Posts: 1,011
  • Sweet Girl
Re: My story
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2007, 07:53:13 AM »
Hello Positive Mom. thank you for sharing your story with us.  You are not the only one that has had problems with drugs or such things. i am sorry that you got the HIV but glad you found us and have a wonderful life now. Looking forward to hearing more from you.  Cristy

Offline emeraldize

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,350
Re: My story
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2007, 07:57:19 AM »
PM

Good morning. Glad to read writing your story had healing benefit for you. You've come through so many phases thus far, you should certainly have the experience of sharing your positive status with a group who understands.

Em


Offline Dragonette

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Re: My story
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2007, 09:36:31 AM »
Hi PM, & welcome to the forums!

well I left home when I was 14 and lived with a series of disgusting drug using men so we have something in common... a shady miserable past. Although I never injected drugs and my HIV infection has nothing to do with those times either. But those two differences I contribute to pure chance alone and not my being extra careful or smart, cos I wasn't...

So you're not alone in patching your life back together, although I am not religious (beleive in God yes, religious no, anyway not a Christian). I admire you for the long way you have come with everything not least this disease and your brave way of handling it. Specifically in the religious Christian society which is often percieved as narrow minded and cruel, showing again that generalizations are just that.

Please stick around and share more...
"If you keep one foot in yesterday, and one in tomorrow, you piss all over today". Betty Tacy

Offline HealthyMomma

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  • Posts: 128
Re: My story
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2007, 10:37:33 AM »
Welcome to the forums! You have been through alot! Big hugs~ Nicki :)

Offline catwoman

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Re: My story
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2007, 11:27:51 AM »
Welcome to our fold.  :)

Offline PositiveMom

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  • Posts: 9
Re: My story
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2007, 02:06:13 PM »
I just hopped on the computer, and see that more of you have written.  It makes me so excited to finally be able to talk with other women in my position.  I feel like this whole new world has opened up to me.

Dragonette, I am sorry that we have a similar past, but thank God that we have gotten past all of that and moved on.  I feel so bad that most Christians are viewed as narrow minded and cruel in your eyes.  I am so not like that at all and neither are the friends in my circle.  We are only humans like everyone else.  The thing that makes faith special, to me, has nothing to do with religion, just a relationship with God.  I like to keep it nice and simple. 

Anyway, I have to get back to work.  i just put my kiddies down for their afternoon nap, so I have to take advantage of the down time.  Much love to all of you guys.  Talk to you soon!!

Offline Dragonette

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Re: My story
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2007, 03:52:50 PM »
most Christians are viewed as narrow minded and cruel in your eyes. 

I never said that... I have no opinion on Christians personally. It was an unfortunate phrasing. I meant that I get the impression that Christians will not be tolerant or accept something like HIV, see the Catholic church etc. It is something I get from the media and not my personal opinion. And I said that I was glad to know that this is not always the case. Hope I made myself cleaer now.
"If you keep one foot in yesterday, and one in tomorrow, you piss all over today". Betty Tacy

Offline PositiveMom

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  • Posts: 9
Re: My story
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2007, 04:19:18 PM »
I am sorry, Dragonette, I misunderstood.  I hope there was no offense taken.  I totally understand what you mean about how media represents Christians.  It is funny, because when I was first diagnosed - I thought that I might not be accepted by the right winged people.  I think a lot has to do with their ignorance on the subject.  I am so grateful for my church who has instead embraced me and loved me.  My pastor is actually an ex drug addict and alcoholic himself.  Thanks for clarifying, again - I hope there was no offense taken. 

Offline Dragonette

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Re: My story
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2007, 04:21:17 PM »
That's funny I just sent you an apology while you wrote this, no harm done  :)

"If you keep one foot in yesterday, and one in tomorrow, you piss all over today". Betty Tacy

Offline PositiveMom

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Re: My story
« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2007, 04:24:28 PM »
No problem girl  :)  All is well!!

Offline BT65

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Re: My story
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2007, 05:46:21 AM »
The church that I go to is an "open and affirming" church.  The pastor is a lesbian, who's been with the same partner for several years.  Most of the folks who go there are LGBT.  There are some heteros that go there also.  The people who attend are also pretty much liberals.  The pastor never has a sermon on what you have to do, what you can't do etc.  She instead picks a topic like "forgiveness" or "being open to people from all walks of life" etc. and pretty much leaves it up to us what we do with it.  I've never attended a church like that, though there are a few churches in my area who are like that. 

Anyway, PM, I can relate to a lot of your story.  I hope you stick around.  Please join in with us in the "dating" thread.  You're more than welcome! ;)
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline noahsark

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  • Posts: 19
Re: My story
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2008, 10:07:12 PM »
hi, haven't posted in awhile-been busy in a poz way, gardening, having a pretty good Christmas for the first time in many years, and am enjoying not feeling depressed.  I also have a similar background and am a christian like you. I live in the bible belt and don't talk about my health-just try to keep to myself.  I would love to scream it out loud so all these ignorant people could see their prehistoric views on aids are ridiculous.  They really don't want to let go of their fears.  Any attempt I've made at divulging my status and taking a shot at education has always backfired.  I used to live in the deeper south where I taught aids 101 and was very active in public activities and speaking, those people were wonderful.  Now I live in a more upscale area with my family and my daughter in a:good" school and I've caused my daughter to be ostracized by being open and honest-trying to educate.  I love my 17 year old daughter and she is popular  a blessing to me, and morally and spiritually committed to pleasing God.  I still here the ignorant phrases, the cruel remarks and the growing number of poz cases because the people here refuse to learn the facts and think it'll never happen to them.  They think the govt. lies and mosquitoes carry it.  And I don't live too far from Atlanta where you'd think the intelligence there might trickle down here.  No chance.  Anyway, don't mask what you believe.  Those who understand your relationship with our Lord will be blessed by what you have to say. Those who don't have that relationship can never understand.  I think you know what I am saying.   Thankyou for not hiding the light that shines in you and remember the past has become irrelevant since you are a new creature in Christ.  God has thrown away your past as far as the east is from the west and can no longer see it.  Only use it to scare you enough to never repeat it.  Since I've become hiv poz, and put Christ as number 1 in my life I feel like he has made me #1 also.  I went on the trip of a life time, a missionary trip to China and worked with the underground church and even spoke with doctors about the coming epidemic what with legalized prostitution and the growing tourist attractions.  I was told they don't have it in their country and it will not be a problem..That was in 1999.  I guess they are eating their words now-unfortunately.  The greatest thing is that because of my diagnosis and others saw me to be so strong and Christ being all my strength, they wanted what I have-The special relationship you mentioned.  The greatest thing is to win souls for Christ and people came to me asking how I cope and then I share.  Because of my daughter I am putting my teaching/preaching on hold till the Lord opens another door where Samantha can live here not being afraid of discrimination.  She has suffered enough.  I am glad for your situation and I hope your children will never have to be ashamed.  God bless you, Lisa

 


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