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Four Years and One Hell of a Ride

By Brian Ledford

February 23, 2014

Four years come and gone, and what a hell of a ride it has been.

Today, Feb 23, 2014 marks my four year anniversary of when I was officially diagnosed with HIV. Since then I have had plenty of ups and even more downs, and it has been a slow process but I am finally getting back to feeling more like myself.

At the beginning, I would not think about the future because I never saw myself as having one, but boy was that a lie. I always felt like everyone was lying when they said there was no reason I could not live a long, normal, and healthy life. I now know they were not. I just had to come to that realization in my own time and in my own way. To be blunt, I never thought in the beginning that I would still be here four years later to write this.

I remember sitting in the support group at Naval Medical Center Balboa and listening to my fellow peers talk about how they had been HIV-positive for 5+ years. I was always in awe of them for having the strength to fight this so long and that they seemed to be winning the fight. it just baffled me at the time how they seemed to be happy because I felt like I never would be again.

I have been writing about my experiences since the beginning just as a way to vent. It was mainly for myself and I was not that regular in keeping up with it.

It was not till my anniversary last year when I set down to write that I made the decision to kick it up a bit and take this to the next level.

This day in the past has always been kind of a downer day for me. I always just want to be left alone and not be bothered by anyone, but today I refuse to let myself get like that. I do not see today as a day of grief or remorse anymore, instead it will be a day of celebration. To celebrate that I am still here and that with each passing year I am becoming stronger and happier with the person I am becoming.

This past year I have seen the biggest change in myself. I have been given some great opportunities such as creating my own website and blogging for TheBody.com and they have allowed me to grow, and in my own small way help in the fight against HIV/AIDS. I have been able to be in contact with some great individuals in the community who have become part of the backbone to my support system. I also started medication, which I was scared of at first, bit in just a few months I reached an undetectable viral load. This is also for me another reason to celebrate.

So if this past year alone is any indication as to what my future has in store for me ... I am ready to embrace it with open arms. I am not saying it is going to be all good days and that I am not going to have hard times because we all know that would be a lie, but I am ready to tackle any challenge thrown my way.

It is still my anniversary, but it is no longer a day that will bring me sadness. It will be a day to rejoice for the 2nd chance I have been given to make the best of the life I have been given.

Bring it on world, I am ready for anything you can dish out at me.




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