My HIV Anniversary Date, With a Changed Perspective
By Lynda Arnold
March 23, 2017
April 7, 2017, marks 24 years living with HIV. This year feels different. I acknowledge the virus that has literally been with me now for half my life, and there are so many times I wonder what my life would be without it. Yet, I feel almost numb to its presence. I'm taking my meds daily, and that's a feat for me because I take a shitload of meds. I almost got into a new gene study, but my drug regimen actually made me ineligible in the end. That bummed me out, but I am in the anchor study for treatment and prevention of anal cancer so that's new for me on the medical front! I have multi-drug resistant HIV and lots of inflammation cardiac, gastrointestinal, nervous system, etc., but hey, bottom line, news flash LOL: I'm still here! I'm so grateful for the life I have, and for the love that surrounds me, and my faith that centers me.
The world around me seems so screwed up right now with our political system, and the days and decisions and implementation of really worrisome policies, that truly this virus, the one I've been carrying for a quarter century, just seems inconsequential right now. Inconsequential to me because I'm OK, but for so many others, I worry they won't be. That alone makes me feel anxious, and no matter how many petitions I sign, postcards I send, phone calls I make, marches I gain interest in attending, my own HIV anniversary date just doesn't seem important this year. It's just not that important, because I'm OK. Me and it, this year we're doing OK.
So, I guess I felt compelled to blog to say, "Hey, you out there; hang in there. Stay strong. Don't be scared. Know that good people are there to fight if you're not strong enough or free enough to fight for yourself. Please continue to educate yourself and others if you can. Know your status. Love and forgive yourself. Choose joy. Find stillness. Choose laughter. Take the time to dance. Talk about what you love. Dream about what makes you happy. Smile. Hug someone. Say, "I love you." Say, "I'm sorry." And, if you don't feel like doing anything I've said, then just don't. Some days I don't either. Twenty-four years is a long time to carry a weight. Weights can be hard to lift day after day, and that's OK, too.
I'll check back in sometime in the summer. I'm always reachable by email. Maybe I'll see you at a march.
Till next time ...
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Get Outta My Head, You Crazy Virus!
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 TheBody.com, 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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March 23, 2017 - My HIV Anniversary Date, With a Changed Perspective: A Blog Entry by Lynda Arnold
August 11, 2016 - Advocacy Is a War Worth Waging: A Blog Entry by Lynda Arnold
May 23, 2016 - Gender Inequality and HIV in South Africa: Learning From Dr. Wendee Wechsberg of RTI's Global Gender Center -- A Blog Entry by Lynda Arnold
February 1, 2016 - Universes Collide: Volunteerism, Charlie Sheen and My Depression -- A Blog Entry by Lynda Arnold
November 24, 2015 - Reflect and Refocus With HIV: A Blog Entry by Lynda Arnold
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