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Three and 1/2 years ago I met someone with AIDS
      #564 - 03/30/00 07:55 PM

Three and 1/2 years ago I met someone with AIDS. I was also in a
13 year relationship with someone else. I left the 13 year
relationship for someone with AIDS. Very frightening. I am HIV-.
This person was relatively healthy when we met. He was 10 years
older than me, but his spirit was 20 years younger. We had to
have been soulmates. Nothing in my life has ever felt so, so,
perfect. In January of last year (1997), after begining
antiretroviral therapy, his virus undetectable, and his t-cells
more htan doubling, he was diagnosed with malignant melanoma
(cancer) of the left lung. Two months later the doctors still
could not decide what to do; surgery would be risky, chemo or
radiation might be futile; it was now necessary to determine the
quality of his life with treatment or without. Before the doctors
could decide, he showed up at my job with a bad headache,
difficulty walking, and no memory of the earlier part of the day.
I rushed him to the ER. He was losing consciousness. CTScans
indicated a sever brain bleed. He now had the same cancer on the
right side of his brain - this was in April last year. He was in
and out of the hospital. He underwent radiation in June - it did
very little good. At the very beginning, I left my home, moved in
with him, remained working two part time jobs, and was in
graduate school. He needed full time care. All of his friends,
except for 3, withdrew from our lives. They didn't want to see
him deteriorate. I was left alone most of the time to care for
him around the clock while he remained bedbound and having
periodic seizures. We moved twice, once to an AIDS supportive
housing organization, and the last move was to a hospice home for
AIDS patients. By the time we moved to the hospice house, he
couldn't swallow, could barely speak, couldn't lift his limbs...
He died in my arms on December 20, 1997. If anyone ever considers
falling in love with someone who is HIV+, consider it very
deeply. It has the potential to be one of the most meaningful and
beautiful relationships you will ever have in this lifetime. I
recall most of our time when he was sick, scared, having
seizures, crying, etc. But what I'm finding, during this
incredible greiving time, is that slowly the good memories are
coming back. I remember him now with hair before the radiation
therapy. I remember the time we kissed on the mountain in the
moonlight while camping. I remember going to the state fair and
being so filled with joy at watching him scream with excitement
on the rides! If you ever consider falling in love with a person
with HIV, I can be the most beautiful thing you ever do. It hurts
so, so, incredibly bad; worse that I could ever imagine, but I
wouldn't have missed it for the world. Having had him in my life
was the most magical and heavenly experience I've ever had.

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