Monday Reflection: Fight Forever More ...
By Rae Lewis-Thornton
November 1, 2010
HIV/AIDS has become an integral part of my life and there is no way around it. All I can do is coexist with it. For me, to coexist means that I do not allow total domination, to not allow it to consume all of me, mind, body and spirit. So I take all of my hits standing and I never fall down.
I fight with all that I have within me in order to maintain my dignity in the midst of it all. My fight strategy is diverse like in all successful battles. Some days it's something as small as taking a shower and putting on fresh PJs when I've been sick in bed all day. On other days, it's getting out of the house, even when I don't feel up to it. Like yesterday, I took my doggies Treat or Treating with my girlfriend and her daughters. My dog Sophie loves that the children love her. And she is so cute speaking to all the kids. It makes me smile. It's a small thing, but the small things add value to my life.
Lately the fight has been mostly limited to the house. Shower and fresh PJs and sipping on perfectly brewed tea with gourmet cupcakes. I am sick for sure right now but I know it will get better. All I have to do is keep on fighting. I might be bloody some days, but I am certainly unbowed. No matter how hard AIDS hits me, I will continue to fight.
Health Update: I started the IV medication two weeks ago. There is still a national shortage of the preferred medication so I'm taking the one that has more dangerous side effects. The good thing is that the IV infusion is only once a week for 5 hours. Tomorrow will be week three. But on the other side of the coin, it's a very difficult medication to take. The days immediately following the infusion I am extremely wiped out. So much so that I can barely hold my body up; I'm weak, dizzy and nauseous. I also take 8 pills on the same day of the infusion to protect my kidneys from the IV medication. The side effects of that medication are tough on me, but I'm hanging in there. I'm not sure, but it looks like I will have two more weeks on the IV medication.
Stomach: I think in my last health update I was headed for an endoscopy. Well, I had it and they also took 4 stomach biopsies. The results are back and I have a bacterial infection. I started treatment on Friday. It's five different medications totaling 16 pills a day. Yep, on top of my 15 HIV pills and on Tuesdays the extra 8 pills for my kidneys. The side effects are dizziness, weakness, loss of appetite, diarrhea and nausea, and I experience them all throughout the day.
They took one more test last Thursday. It was a five hour test to see how I digest food. I'm waiting on those results. For background on my tummy issues check my last three Monday Reflections.
Bottom line ... It has been very tough on me. I'm tired, but I'm still fighting. Yep, and I will fight until the day I die ...
P.S. I'm sorry that I have been away for two weeks. I will try to do better even during this tough period. ... Just keep me in your prayers and please don't stop supporting my blog. Hang in there with me ... #IcannotdoitAlone.
Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks
Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist who rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with AIDS in a cover story for Essence Magazine. She has lived with HIV for 27 years and AIDS for 19. Rae travels the country speaking and challenging stereotypes and myths about HIV/AIDS. She has a Master of Divinity degree and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Church History. Rae has been featured on Nightline, Dateline NBC, BET and The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in countless magazines and newspapers, including Emerge, Glamour, O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Jet, Ebony, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She earned the coveted Emmy Award for a first-person series on living With AIDS for Chicago's CBS News.
Rae is an active user of social media -- read "Long-Term HIV Survivor Discovers the Power of Twitter," an article on TheBody.com about Rae's social media activities.
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