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JR Gabbard:

Hi everybody!  I just wanted to stop by and catch you all up on what I've been up to.....

Last I told you, I had taken a temporary job as staff attorney.  It was a disaster.  I started off feeling great, but my energy waned really quickly.  After the first week, I had to cut out all of my other activities.  Then little things started going bad, like
peripheral neuropathy and random rashes, and always being tired.  By the third week I had the overwhelming feeling that I was running on empty, but That I needed to (and could) stick with it until the end of the assignment (it was a 3-month gig).  By the end of 6 weeks, I couldn't take it any longer.  So, I quit.  Then I spent the next month too sick to
get out of the house.

The job was part-time, 24 hrs a week over 3 days.  It was an attorney job, so stress was part of the equation, but it was the least stressful staff attorney position in the entire legal profession -- ability to accept or reject clients as I saw fit, fairly flexible hours -- yet it was too much for me.  And my solution to the problem, which was the only right choice for me to make, does not bode well for me getting another staff attorney job ever again.

I had lined up an internship with the local public defender, but I walked away from that one too.  There was no point in it any longer.  I'm not going to have that fabulous career as a trial attorney that I was so looking forward to.

That little staff attorney job represented the last 12 years of my life, and a journey that was inextricably linked to my struggle against AIDS.  It supplied me with an endless stream of short- and long-term goals, helped me overcome some pretty nasty personal demons (I used to have a paralyzing fear of public speaking--now I'm all about the razzle-dazzle), helped
me build self-confidence, and figure out how to make cockiness work to my advantage.  It lent me another layer of identity.

So, seeing that pass away plunged me into a little existential crisis.  Wasn't quite sure any more who I am or what I am doing.  And I definitely needed a new plan.  So I have spent the last few months working out answers to those questions. 

The results so far:

I am who I am, and I am I. (ponder it for a minute)  I'm the same me as before.  I just had a difficult choice presented to me, and I arrived at a difficult decision.  But all the parts of me that I built up pursuing "the law" are still a part of me.  I haven't suddenly become  afraid of public speaking again. I lost some self-confidence, but I'll get it back soon enough. I am still cocky and working it.  I'm still quick on my feet.  The personal demons that I've killed off are still dead.  What difference does it make that I'm not going to be another Perry Mason?  Very little, actually.

OK, I'm not thoroughly convinced of that last bit, although given my current trajectory, I'll get there.  But you've got to admit that I've have made a lot of progress, from feeling completely depressed and utterly worthless.  It is a process.

So, the new plan:  don't have one.  I'm going to play things by ear for a while and see what happens.  I'm using the time to fill in some gaps; I signed up for a community college web developer online class (intermediate html/xhtml and css) to learn how to code (see how logical I am!!).  I also invested the money from the job in a domain name and web hosting package, some software (Expressions Studio) and a nifty little PC (quad-core--zoom zoom zoom) and huge 22 in. monitor.  No, I am NOT a size queen.  The plan will work itself out online, in one way or another.

The most important thing I've done is that I signed up for a workshop through Shanti Project www.shanti.org, a local ASO.  It is called L.I.F.E. for Learning Immune Function Enhancement, and is based on psychoneuroimmunology.  I was first clued in to this stuff in the early 90's in an anatomy and physiology class I took.  PNI stresses the mind-body connection. LIFE teaches you how to move from disease progression to health progression.  This is not hynotherapy.  This is science-based.

I put together my old survival plan with the fundamentals I learned in that Anat and Phys class and other independent research that I did.  The LIFE program has all the latest research, and I figure it is the best possible place for me to be in while I am planning out the next 30-40 years of my life.

It will also be the starting point of the website I am working oh so hard to create (and loving it).  I'll keep you all posted on how it is progressing.  Nothing to see now though.

There you go, you're all caught up.  If anybody wants to check out my student site, the url should be in my signature.

TTFN,   JR

aztecan:
Taking it a day at a time sounds good to me. What else can we do?

Good to see you posting again.

HUGS,

Mark

BT65:
Sweetprince, you tried and you're continuining on with your life.  And you're happy.  That's what counts. 

I'm almost finished with a BS in psych.  I don't know if I'll ever do anything with the degree, but I can't plan that far ahead anymore, either. 

Glad to hear you're back with us and doing well.  Thanks for the update.
 Luv-
Betty

allanq:
JR,

Thanks for the update. I'm sorry for the bad times that you've gone through, but it looks like you haven't lost your spirit. I wish you the best of luck in all your new plans and projects.

Allan

JR Gabbard:

Mark--May I just say that one of the things that brightened my darkest days was the memory seeing you in chaps.  In fact, that memory is "brightening" me as I type this!!! XXOO

Allan--From what I've seen, life is an endless stream of good times and bad times seamlessly strung together.  You don't get one without the other.  But I did lose my spirit.  That's what led me to isolate myself from my friends here.  But you are right that I am getting it back, and at my own pace.

So, when are we going to get together for coffee?

Betty--Little known and closely guarded secret:  I was born and reared a Hoosier (Kokomo-Howard county).  I left right after high school ('81) because it wasn't really a healthy environment for a young gay man to thrive in.  I guess I miss it at times, mostly around 500 time, and in the early fall.  But I do not miss the frozen tundra of January and February.

Getting an education used to be about becoming a well-rounded human being, as opposed to putting together a good resume (to get a good job).  Even if you never use your Psych degree for its intended purpose, it will still be of value to you, if for no other reason than that you committed to a goal, accomplished it, and learned a thing or two along the way.

Look at my situation.  I have a butt-load of education (a law degree is a doctorate) that I won't be using for its strictly intended purpose.  Yes it is disappointing.  The higher you try to fly, the farther you have to fall.  But now that the disappointment is starting to fade, the next part of the process, the part where I get to decide exactly where I fit into this grand mosaic we call LIFE, is looking kind of cool.  And that is because I built up a strong personal foundation, with all of this unusable education.

The other thing that is going on with me right now is that I am re-adjusting some of my beliefs about HIV and fatality.  All the way through this process, and up until just recently, my plan included my death.  I couldn't see any other outcome of HIV infection, and my plans reflected that.  Now, I am willing to believe that I can live for another 30-40 years--into my 70's or 80's.  Its a scary proposition for someone who has spent his entire adult life not believing he would live more than another 3-4 years.  It is also a very exciting proposition, because once you stop seeing yourself as someone who is dying, and start seeing yourself as someone who is very much alive, endless possibilities come to light.  Living is the process of chosing the right possibility for you, and then working it.

So finish up that psych degree.  You'll use it in ways you haven't even dreamed of yet, even if you don't use it for a job.  BTW, where are you going?  If you answer IU-K, I will scream  ;D.

Everybody--Beliefs about HIV/Overcoming fatalism was this week's topic at the workshop I mentioned in my original post.  I'm going to make a separate thread on it by this weekend, but in the mean-time if a comment or question occurs to you that you might want me to address, PM me or pop it into this thread and I will try to accomodate.

Two long posts in a row--maybe I shouldn't pen up my emotions so much.  Makes me rather verbose, don't you find?   :o

Peace, out.  JR

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