Stronger Than It
By Brooke Davidoff
June 23, 2010
This disease doesn't need to take the lead role in your daily or weekly activity. It's not your fault you have it, and you are not being punished for being a bad person.
Most of us made one bad decision and BAM -- we got it. Acceptance is just another step in life for us. I have no idea who I got it from. My husband is negative. My ex-boyfriend before him, who I was with for 3 years, is also negative. I have had it more than 7 years and really don't care who I got it from.
I take full responsibility for getting it. I was on the Pill and the Patch for years for birth control. Never once got tested. I don't blame anyone but myself.
I was told I probably got it from a bisexual ex-boyfriend, which narrowed down the list in my mind. The ex I think I got it from, I sent an email to not too long ago -- not to scream and yell, asking him "How could you have done this to me!" It was just to give him a heads up, that I had it and thought he should be tested. I didn't even tell him why I sent the email to him. For all he knows I sent it to all my exes.
I have not heard back from him, so I still have no idea who I got it from. It doesn't really matter. I have it, and I have to move on.
Sure, some days are harder than others and you think "Why ME?" But everyone in the world has days like that -- it's not HIV related. It's just one day in your life. We all failed one blood test.
One thing I have witnessed watching my husband mentally deal with my diagnosis is that everyone reacts differently. Miraculously I was placed directly into the box labeled ACCEPTANCE. My husband was misfiled into the FREAK OUT bin. We both cried the night I was diagnosed, and on and off for the first few weeks.
As time dragged on and the reality of "this is it" sank in, it didn't seem like that bad of a disease. I think people are more afraid of the name of it than the noticeable effects it has in our daily lives. We do not need chemotherapy or radiation. We can work and live normal lives. We are not sick in hospitals, and we do not look like the 1980s AIDS patients. The disease we are facing today looks nothing like it did only a few years ago. Yes there is no cure. But as long as you take your meds you pretty much live a normal life.
OK, I'll admit the pills are expensive -- and I have medical insurance. I'm still paying a few hundred dollars on meds every month out of pocket. But if that's all this disease will be for the rest of my life, I'm really OK with that.
Voice of ONE
Brooke was diagnosed HIV positive in January 2010 -- two months married and 11 weeks pregnant with her first baby -- and has already begun to educate others about HIV. She lives in Seattle, and her poetry has been featured on TheBody.com. Her son was born on July 15, 2010.
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