December 9, 2011
As an action-packed year for the HIV/AIDS community draws to a close, TheBody.com takes stock of 2011 in a new series of articles, "2011 HIV/AIDS Year in Review." Read the entire series here.
I know it's been quite some time since I posted an entry here. Admittedly, the content of my previous post was a bit on the gloomy side but the experience of writing it evolved into something surprisingly cathartic. I'm lucky to have lived to tell the tale and I am forever grateful that my days of running from the Devil are behind me.
It might make for a somewhat more interesting entry; to gripe about how I hate to take my meds every single night but then I remember the 25 million people who would have given everything they had to take the drugs modern science has provided me.
I could lament about how I fear having blood drawn or having to go to the doctor every four months and pay thousands of dollars a year out of pocket to test the chemistry of said blood but then I remember that my recent CD4 numbers are over 800, my cholesterol is lower now than it was before I started my HAART (thanks, Complera) and that in many ways I'm healthier than I was before HIV.
I could squawk about how I hate spending thousands of dollars each year for health insurance that covers virtually nothing because of a high deductible but then I realize that I'm healthy and strong enough to go to work and make the money required to make those monthly payments.
I could bitch about how HIV has kidnapped my libido but then I think about how lonely I was before I tested positive. I made have had plenty of action but I looked over potential mates for silly reasons, again and again. It's hard to admit but I'm almost certain, my man John would not have "got through" the wall I had built up around me if The Virus not left me as vulnerable as it did.
You may recall that I am an admitted, lifelong pessimist in recovery; so when I say that things have never been better, you really have no reason to doubt me. I'd even go as far as to say that if my life continued on the way that it was in November of 2007, before HIV, it would not be as rich and full of possibility, as it is right now. Wow. Did I just type that?
It's true. Exploring my "secret writer side" by doing this blog and returning to college might never have materialized if HIV hadn't rocked my world like it did. I had never written anything for public consumption until I did it here and I doubt I ever would have, if life hadn't thrown me this major curve.
I could go on but I think you get the point. For better or for worse, whether I asked for it or deserved it, contracting HIV has not been all bad. My friend Everett, a former counselor with Shanti, once told me that in all the interviews of HIV-positive people that he's done since 1997, that the one thing more of them say than anything else is that HIV made them look at the parts of their life that they had most been avoiding. The same is probably true of anyone with a potentially life threatening disease but I suppose that's the silver lining to the dark cloud that follows each of us, until there's a cure.
As we come to the end of 2011, I'm grateful for all of the good changes HIV has brought into my life and the much needed kick in the ass that it provided me. I know I'd much rather be HIV negative, but these days, I'm doing just fine.
"After testing HIV positive in 2007, I promised myself that I would make something "good" from all that I was handed. ... I have been so incredibly fortunate, I feel like I must pay it forward somehow. Maybe by sharing my experience, it will help those starting later in the game, on the fast track to HAART, or anyone that's feeling a bit isolated or 'stuck' with their diagnosis."
Read more of A Positive Spin, Philip's blog, on TheBody.com.
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