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My Lizzy, Me and HIV

Meet Elizabeth Schmidt, R.N., C.R.N.P., M.S.N., Who Works Out of Philadelphia Fight!

By Rev. Andrena Ingram

January 23, 2012

Rev. Andrena Ingram and Elizabeth Schmidt

When I was thinking about moving here about 10 years ago, to attend seminary, my first concern was: where am I going to receive medical care. I reached out to someone here, who referred me to Philadelphia Fight ... and I met Lizzy, and we have hung tough for almost 9 years!

My care originally began in Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx, and then I moved to GMHC (why, I don't remember) -- other than hearing GMHC was where it was at as far as medical leaps were being made. (Or it might've been the other way around -- seems so long ago.)

One thing about my medical treatment from the beginning is that if I am not "feeling" you after the first two or three visits, I will quickly request a change of doctors. I need to know that we are treating this "together," that you are gonna take time to explain how the medicines work, I need to know that you actually CARE about how I am feeling. Not just another body coming in to be treated.

But Lizzy? Oh! Oh! Oh, what a gal!

I LOVE her! Her knowledge is impeccable and thorough ... totally up on all medications coming down the pike. We always talk about the medicines that are currently available in case I begin developing a resistance to the ones I am currently on. We talk about what is going on in my life ... and we talk about things that have been going on with my body. She totally trusts the fact that I am so in-tune with my body (I'm sure that took a few visits for her to understand that), and listens to every little minor detail that may have happened during our last visit, and is quick to find an alternative if necessary.

But Lizzy? Oh! Oh! Oh, what a gal!

As sweet as she is, as understanding as she is ... she is very persistent! For 8 years she has been on me to get a mammogram done, as well as a colonoscopy. To this date, I have done neither. I know, I know!!! One of these days ...

As she felt around my lymph nodes in my neck ... she also felt around my shoulder blades, and commented: "when are you going to Siloam for some body work" ... "your body is soooo tight." And she is right. I will take her up on that. Siloam is a great place, with a lot of free resources for people living with HIV/AIDS. I really need to carve time in the calendar for myself. I'm getting there.

Oh! I didn't tell you that I came in for one of my appointments and Lizzy declared that she was moving her practice to another location, with a different organization. Gasp! Shock! and Horror! What? Are you serious? I could only look at her ... and then decided that wherever Lizzy went, there I would go also! And I did! She was there for a good while, before finally coming back to Philadelphia Fight ... of course, I followed right behind her.

... and here we are today ... me and my Lizzy!

"If you knew Lizzy, like I know Lizzy -- Oh! Oh! Oh, what a gal!"

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See Also
HIV Medications: When to Start and What to Take -- A Guide From
More Viewpoints and Personal Accounts on Choosing and Working With HIV Specialists

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Is the Ribbon Enough?

Rev. Andrena Ingram

Rev. Andrena Ingram

Reverend Andrena Ingram (also known as "Pastor Andrena" or "Pastor Ingram") has become a strong advocate for those living in the margins, as she once was. She is an activist in the HIV/AIDS arena, herself living openly and unabashedly with the HIV virus for over 22+ years.

Raised in South Jamaica, New York, Reverend Ingram served seven years of active duty in the U.S. Army. She would later move to the South Bronx, where she attended Transfiguration Lutheran Church with Pastor Heidi Neumark as her pastor and mentor -- empowering her to rise up out of herself and her life challenges, which seemed to her, at the time, insurmountable.

Reverend Ingram is a graduate of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, with a Master of Divinity. She has been the pastor of St. Michael's Lutheran Church on Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa., for the past four years.

Reverend Ingram can frequently be found speaking about HIV/AIDS, encouraging everyone "to know your status, get tested, and be informed." Silence = Death.

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