Bernadette Berzoza, Denver, Colo.; Diagnosed in 1989
Don't give up. Don't feel alone and ashamed. Reach out! If somebody reaches out to you, accept their support. Because people that reach out to you really do want to help. You don't have to give up!
That was my determination. I wasn't going to die. In the beginning I said I was going to be here for my kids. Then I said, no, I'm going to be here for my community, because they need to become aware and they need to be educated.
I think the scary part about it is the unknown. That was my big thing. I was so afraid about, "How's it going to be if I get sick? How's it going to be if I get sicker? How's it going to be if I die?"
I used to live day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year. Now I don't; I'm just like, "I'm going to live." If anything, live your life to the fullest. Don't let this disease take control of you, or your mind or who you are. Be who you are! It took me a long time to struggle and get to this point.