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My Story

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On May 23rd 2012 at 3:15pm i was diagnosed as HIV +, i thought my life was over....

Id gotten a cold just before my birthday in April and brushed it off as a regular cold, went about my life as normal, i started losing weight, hot and cold flashes, the works, my partner kept telling me to go to the Dr but i kept telling him "Oh its just a cold". about a month of this went by and i wasn't feeling any better so May 23rd i woke up and was having trouble breathing just walking to the bathroom (a 7 ft walk from the bed) and decided OK ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. My moms a nurse and she and i figured i had pneumonia and i needed to take care of it asap.

I got dressed and told my partner before he left i was going to the ER then to work just as he was leaving for work in the next town over. He kissed my forehead and told me he loved me (little did i know it'd be the last time for a long time) and i left (dressed comfortably but highly inappropriate for the public, but it was 102 out and i didn't care).  I drove the local er and told them i had pneumonia and needed to see someone BC i was having trouble breathing. Answered the usual questions and they put me on O2 to help me breath. Made me spit in a cup and pee in another, did a chest x-ray and drew some blood for a multitude of tests (looking back i laugh at how bad i cringed when the nurse stuck me with the needle, i hated needles)

The nurse came back and told me that i was right, i had pneumonia (a pretty BAD case) and that my left lung was partially deflated and it was starting to fill with fluid, thank god i thought, but shortly after the DR comes back in, she looked sad, she sat down next to me and took my hand and literally wept, i knew something was wrong instantly, She told me i had tested + for HIV and would need to be transferred to the next city to a better hospital to treat the problems i was having (i later realized that she had NEVER had to give someone this type of news in her career, her humbling tears still warm my heart to this day)

I was shocked "HIV" i thought! what does this mean? am i going to die? OMG what about my partner, throwing their rules to the wind i grabbed my cell and called the plant where he worked directly and told the only person available that there was an emergency and i needed to speak to him, ASAP and waited for him to pick up. His voice was shaky and scared (as we had just been dealing with his dads stroke and im sure he was anticipating it to be a call about that not me). I just told him that he needed to leave work IMMEDIATELY and come to the ER back home, i sat there alone in that room for 25 mins, he came into the room and as soon as i saw his face, i just burst into tears (it was the first time id cried in front of him ever). He took my hand and i told him the diagnosis, he was stunned silent.

I asked the Dr to come back to talk with him and basically go back over it all again so i could hear it a 2nd time and he could understand it, the whole time i just sobbed. I was transferred to the next city in an ambulance. Long story short; HIV +, PCP Pneumonia, Partial Pleural Effusion of the Left Lung & Cryptococcal Meningitis. 

The first CDC doctor they sent me was a rather rude Chinese woman i barely understood who treated me more like a lab rat than a person, she refused to make eye contact, barely spoke decent English and rarely talked directly to me. Until one day she screwed up an order for my Ampho B and i almost went into cardiac arrest. When the air had cleared again and all was well, this Dr came into my room wanting me to try again even tho i was against it, she also made a few "unflattering remarks" about my sexual preference that i didn't care for even if she was doing her job. I called my patient care facilitator and demanded they give me a different CDC doctor (thats putting it nicely, i have a foul mouth and they put up with alot from me during that time). But i digress...

I was hospitalized 14 days, Thoracenthesis to re-inflate the lung, Bronchial Lavage to inspect my lung and "clean it out", plus they started me on Atripla. The first few nights with the Atripla was rough, the stuff knocked me out, but the dreams were PHENOMENAL, but i was only having fun dreams then, months later i was having vivid nightmares id rather not remember (the curse of having a creative and active imagination bites me in the ass again!)  Day 12 i realized i hadn't seen or heard from my partner at all since the day i told him, i called and he said he would come in asap BC "he needed to talk to me", long story short, he broke up with me and had moved out while i was in the hospital. Thanks Dick!

I returned home, depressed, alone, broke, unsure of how to go on, I have to admit i had my up days and my down days. The one thing i needed was him, his support, a hug, that was the thing i literally cried myself to sleep over for weeks, i just wanted human contact.  Thankfully my coworkers at the time were there for me when i couldn't take it anymore, they'd give me a place to go to get out of my house, feed me, give me a shoulder to cry on, I truly owe them for keeping me alive after my release. I returned to work and things weren't the same, i lasted about 2 months maybe on my own and had a severe nervous breakdown one day, the bills piling up, a job that didn't pay, loss of my partner etc etc.

My mom called a friend of mine and his partner who used to be my bosses at the bar, they always took VERY good care of us back then. He called and i was amidst my 4th full-blown sobbing-freakout that day and he managed to calm me down. I wrote a list of 5 things he told me to do before the month ended. 1. QUIT MY STUPID JOB 2. GET A STORAGE UNIT 3. SELL EVERYTHING I CAN THAT I DON'T WANT 4. PACK EVERYTHING ELSE 5. GET READY TO MOVE OUT BC they were coming to get me on the 30th to bring me home with them to their house.

Alot of time has passed since i left that house and moved in with them. Yes im still here now, been about 6-7 months, i found another job that i really like, im still sleeping on a twin mattress in the office and hit my storage unit up monthly to trade clothes or books or art supplies (whatever i may need for the month ahead). And i even speak to my ex on occasion, i know he feels remorse for how he reacted and he has apologized numerous times, we are not back together (yet) and living about 40 miles apart but still try and hangout or talk when we can. He claims he has been tested twice since then but both tests came back negative, granted i wasn't there so i have no proof that he actually HAS been tested. But he is finally starting to come back around.

I don't have much for a support group to go to around here, so i created one, just a few ppl i knew in the area who have it or knew someone who did, we would get together for drinks, play games, cookout, talk and was so happy when i found the forums on here 6 months ago (Thanks to a friend at one of these gatherings), the stories i read were like having one. Today i finally got the guts to go ahead and write my story out for all the others out there who are newly diagnosed to read, ya know to do my part, and maybe help someone else, the way y'all have helped me.

I thought my life has over, i had days i couldn't (or wouldn't) even get out of bed i was so depressed. But thanks to Ryan White, Medical Card, My new CDC Doc, My Family, Friends etc. i know im going to be OK

I live in Springfield, Illinois (home of Abe Lincoln "vampire hunter") in the 217 and have met the few but many ppl who also have this disease around here, Ive fast-tracked my way thru the info & resources our area has available and am always willing to talk to anyone, just as you all have been there for me :) Just know, newly diagnosed, you are not alone, wherever you are no matter how it may be for your story, YOU ARE LOVED and your life isn't over! Its just time to change and become a better version of yourself. Once you get thru the initial steps and come to terms with it, you will hardly even remember the bad days you have faced or may be facing.

Ive finally begun doing my homework on the subject, downloading books to my tablet to read and such, so i can help do more for the community around here. Im always looking for good books that others have read (i kinda prefer the ones with stories in them, but i also read the basic books on the topics) so feel free to msg me any u can recommend or if you want someone to talk to.

Peace & Much Love

Aaron B.
Officially Undetectable as of Christmas

what a great story !! thanks for sharing. great writing.
you're really strong and dealt with a lot. Sounds like you're bouncing back !!!

Good fot you! Your a strong one! Your life will be better than ever.but I wouldn't include the dick in it !

What a great story....cried my way through reading it to my neg partner.  Fantastic conclusion....people need to hear you. 

Hey, BDP2!  Welcome in, friend.  That was a terrific story, and thank you for sharing it.  Look forward to more from you in the future.


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