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Personal Story

My HIV Doctor Appointments, My Favorite Days of the Year

June 24, 2015

Anthony Romano with Olga Alvarez and Jeanne Carey, M.D., part of his care team.

Anthony Romano with Olga Alvarez and Jeanne Carey, M.D., part of his care team.

I remember the day I was diagnosed as if it was yesterday. It was a sweltering evening in August of 2012 when I was brought to the hospital with a tooth infection. Having insomnia, I was aware the clock had struck 1 a.m. The room was dark, lit only by the TV, when a woman appeared as did an intuition of what was next to come. A feeling that only happened once in my life.

Electricity cascaded through my body when she took my hand and told me that I had AIDS. A tear quickly rolled down from my eyes. She turned to me and said no time for crying, it's time to get you better. She assured me that, if I worked with her, I would be a new person. Three years and counting that statement could not be truer.

One week after my diagnosis, I was in her office. She gave me the 411, along with the instructions I needed to live a long, healthy life. Things weren't easy, but with her assurance and her expertise anything was possible. There were plenty of breakdowns on my journey to health. I know I still have a long road ahead, but with her care, I know I am in good hands.

I visit her at least four times a year and talk to her frequently. She once told me when I am in this room this is my show and no one else's. She is a listener and has always told me first and foremost to always be honest with her. I truly believe there is nothing that I could tell her that she hasn't heard before. I consider myself a very lucky man and today my T cells are now 385 and I am undetectable.

My favorite day of the year was always Christmas because I would receive awesome gifts. Since my diagnosis, that has changed and I now have four favorite days each year: My appointments with her. She has changed me for the better and even though we still have work to do, I am very blessed to have someone as caring as her in my life.

A good relationship with your medical provider is a powerful tool in your tool belt for living well with HIV. In this series, My Provider and Me, we ask each of you to write about how your relationship with your provider has helped support your health and wellness -- whether it be through help with treatment choices, adherence, support for navigating chronic conditions, or something else! We ask that you submit a story of no less than 300 words to editor@thebody.com. If you can, please include a photo or selfie with your provider, showing how much you two care for each other!


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