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Managing Stress Has Set Me Free!

By Lynda Arnold

December 20, 2013

Lynda Arnold

Lynda Arnold

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.

Last year however my medication and all its adjustments got in the way of all of that for me. It was a rotten holiday season and a truly rotten Christmas. I prayed that I would never experience a time like that again. It affected my children, my husband and myself and robbed us of precious memories and the joy of one of the most delightful times of the year.

This year I am so happy to be able to finally realize that I can keep Christmas on track. It's not the HIV or advanced symptoms of AIDS or the drugs that can rob me of my pleasures, it's me. Little old me. If I control my stress levels and really monitor my exposures to stress in all areas of my life then I allow myself to find the moments that bring me not only peace and joy and hope and love, but calmness and tranquility as well. This in turn helps my immune system to fight harder against my virus. It helps me to stay more healthy and helps me to slowly battle the disease that slowly is trying to kill me. If I can control my stress, I know I will win.

I figured this out this year as I became a warrior in my own way. You see, I swear I have been tested, prodded, poked, scanned, examined, scoped, scraped, biopsied, magnetized and evaluated in every orifice in the last 21 years. Each time for the most part, although I have specific symptoms causing distress and upset, the real nasty urchins that cause alarms and emergencies are never found. My physicians are often left as confused and befuddled as I, the patient, am. As I learned how important controlling stress is for me, I can see that I can keep the nasty buggers just at bay -- just over the horizon where they can cause a trickle of alarm but are not strong enough to knock me down for good and count me out. That's the sign of a true warrior. I have learned this year -- yes 21 years too late, or maybe 21 years too early, who am I to really say -- to wear that badge with honor.

So this holiday season, I will be joyous, happy, laughing, smiling, sharing peace and love and harmony. I'll look toward 2014 with a few new goals -- that alone shows me that I am on a path to wellness; and last year and the six months prior to that are distant memories which thankfully my dementia will completely erase soon. This time there's no race against the clock to save them; HIV has my permission to vanquish those memories forever.

I hope that all of you share in the love, peace and joy in the holiday season that you celebrate. I wish you well on your own warrior journeys, for I know that times are tough; and when we falter, it's the getting back up part and the courage to try again and again and again that must be heard in our hearts and in our souls and in our brains. Celebrate those moments. It's those wins that matter most.

Until Next Time ...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Lynda

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