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Lynda Arnold

Get Outta My Head, You Crazy Virus!

Shaking It Off This World AIDS Day
November 29, 2014

My favorite song for this year is by Taylor Swift "Shake it Off." I love the music but I especially find the lyrics fitting. She sings about finding your own beat, doing your own thing, dancing to your own music and shaking it all off! Letting the players play and the haters hate! My future daughter-in-law and I went to the West Hollywood Halloween Carnival this year and she was both startled and upset by the small group of assembled protesters. She stopped to listen as they spewed their hatred and read their hideous poster board signs all as a slight drizzle started to rain down upon us. She wondered why I was not intrigued. I explained that I have been at plenty of events where they had gathered and they were old news. I learned to ignore them as most of the crowd was doing. Why give them the time of day. They were always present at the AIDS WALK as well. Their words were nothing I hadn't heard before; their methods were nothing new.

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So Very Thankful!
November 9, 2014

Moving on from October ... finally feeling better, glad to be home here in sunny California and starting to feel the seasons change! Yes we have them -- don't let people tell you otherwise! It's the month of thanks and I have a ton to be thankful for. I guess it was that coming-to-Jesus meeting in the hospital when my fevers were so high and I literally thought "OK, God, I'm not gonna make it am I?" Well, since I did make it out I have turned a new leaf. I'm taking my meds. My numbers are going up -- not quite undetectable but pretty darn close. Not sure I need to be and not gonna stress over it really. Doc is happy. I'm happy. Trying to see if I can stabilize off the Neupogen and clear the neutropenia. To rid myself of twice-weekly injections right now would be pretty cool!

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Checking Back in After My Long Hospitalizations
September 30, 2014

Wow, I've lost count of the days. Somewhere around 45-50 I realized that, gee, I had been hospitalized for a long time. I didn't even know hospitals kept you that long anymore; then just about that time that my reality became clear, I got transferred to another hospital which focused on rehab and short-term IV care. Then finally -- and I mean finally -- I went home. October is about to begin. When I entered the hospitals we were in August.

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Memory Loss Follow Up: Taking a Deeper Look
June 23, 2014

I had no intention of dwelling on my first piece about my memory loss. Yet I have been overwhelmed by the email response I have received from infected men and women literally from around the world. Readers have opened their hearts, minds and souls to me, most in search of understanding and compassion. People have written due to the stigma and embarrassment and fear that they face in the admittance of their own memory loss issues. I truly had no idea it was such a large issue affecting so many. I selfishly thought it only affected me :-) -- well not really of course, but on a really bad day that's exactly how I feel.

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Living With Memory Loss
May 19, 2014

Sometimes people ask me what's the worst part about having AIDS. Over the years my answer has changed dramatically depending which symptom I was facing or side effect from the medication was particularly cumbersome. Right now, however, the most debilitating in my mind is my horrific and progressive memory loss. I don't remember how long I truly have been battling this but I do know that in the past two years it has risen to a crisis in my mind. People try to make me feel better by paralleling my experience with theirs due to age or depression or menopause. It doesn't really help me. Most times it just makes me feel more distraught.

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Spring Has Sprung and Remembering My HIV Anniversary Date
April 27, 2014

I love Spring! It's my favorite time of the year. I actually find people to be a little friendlier: they smile more, they are more relaxed, their eyes are brighter, their steps are quicker, there's a lilt of happiness in their voice.

However, I'm not so sure it should be my favorite time. April 7th was the day I found out I was HIV positive.

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Lesson From the Freeways: Longtime HIV Survival and the Things Money Can't Replace
March 3, 2014

It's been said that you aren't a true Angeleno until you have your first traffic accident on our freeways. Well without having a true competition in our household, the fact remains that I beat my husband in this category by approximately six years. He was just indoctrinated this past week in his own five-car pile-up. Luckily in both our cases no one was seriously injured, but the sight of the ambulances, fire crews, police cars and navigating multiple cars to the side of the freeway in ongoing busy traffic is unnerving itself. Then there's the damage to the vehicles, the insurance claims, the inconvenience of repairs, rental cars and any out-of-pocket expenses. Needless to say it's a hell of a way to become a true Angeleno!

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We All Fall, and We All Get Up
January 14, 2014

2014. Wow. Just looking at that number in print can be astounding for many. For me truthfully it makes me both excited and just really really tired.

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Managing Stress Has Set Me Free!
December 20, 2013

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I adore the holidays. I love the music, the good will and the happy spirits. I like to plan and deliver the gifts that I give to my children. I participate in toy drives with a loving heart and I always try to remember what the season truly is about.

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Amid HIV Stigma and Negativity, Celebrating the 'Lollipops and Butterflies'
December 6, 2013

I remember a few years back when my oldest son had become quite a handful as he entered his teen years. In between his monosyllabic grunts and barely audible moans we were supposed to interpret his needs or better yet be amazingly adept mind-readers just to get through each 24-, no make that 12-hour, time period. He came out on the other side of those years OK and is doing really great. We as his parents wear our badges of bravery and show our scars proudly, especially in front of our 14-year-old son, as if to say, "you try any of that S**T, we have YOUR NUMBER ... Don't even think about it Bucko!!" So far, so good ... but really the parenting season has only just begun. It gets harder as they get older, we have found; don't let anyone convince you otherwise.

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More Personal Accounts of Women With HIV/AIDS

Get Outta My Head, You Crazy Virus!

Lynda Arnold

Lynda Arnold

Lynda Arnold, RN, BSN, MBA, was one of the first health care workers to go public after her occupational infection with HIV by an accidental needlestick in 1992. She successfully launched a nationwide campaign for safer needles in hospitals and medical facilities which resulted in the passage of federal legislation mandating the use of such devices in facilities nationwide to protect all health care workers from accidents such as hers. For many years she was a sought-after speaker on living with HIV/AIDS as well as health care worker safety issues, and she traveled the globe educating others. She garnered many awards, national distinctions, authored two children's books, and was the subject of an award-winning documentary. After the birth of her youngest son, Lynda chose to step away from the public eye and focus on raising her young family without the spotlight. As a blogger for, this marks her reentry into the public eye -- 20 years after her infection. She can be reached for further engagements, commentary and questions through her email.

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