I looked back at the whole year that was, and noted a few HIV related things and events which have caused me heartbreaks, anxious moments, as well those that taught me some important life lessons. Lemme run down my list:
1. I found out through a random test conducted in Malate that I was indeterminate, while my (then)BF was positive on Nov. 28. I managed to stay calm the night and partied with the rest of my friends, but had my hardest cry when we got home. My cry was more for my (then)BF, than it was for me. I assured him that WE will go though it together. A year later, I am no longer with him. We broke up in August, but I kept the promise that I'll go through IT with him. We don't see each other often, but we still get to check each other once in a while.
2. I received an offer for a teaching position at the Royal Academy in Saudi in February, but had to decline the offer. I know I simply can't accept the offer due to my status. I applied in September for a teaching position knowing I was (still) negative (since I just tested negative in July), and had to go through a rigid selection process, only to end up not able to accept an offer. This caused me a major heartbreak. I'd love to be back in the academe (and be compensated accordingly), but I guess I have to put my passion parked at the moment.
3. I broke up with my (then)BF in April, and met J (again, after not seeing him for more than half a year). J has then become my source of strength and inspiration. No, we are not romantic, but he has always been there to give me constant reminders of the things.
4. I developed my first HIV-related infection (or at least I think) in May. My chickenpox virus have been reactivated and developed into Herpes Zoster or shingles. I had to experience pain I never knew before. I still see the marks left by my shingles now, though they're no longer as visible as before, and still feel the pain in my nerves at times, but I learned to overcome and manage pain.
5. I had another nudge of my HV reality in a form of another infection in July. I had a small wound in my pointer finger which grew to a very big infection, that it raptured (for a lack of better word) half of my finger. It took me more than a month and countless antibiotics to get my wound dry up and finally heal. I felt HIV knockin in as my body cease to repair itself anymore.
6. I finally decided to take on a new job, and undergo pre-employment medical examination in September. I was initially tagged 'Unfit to Work' and had to retake some tests, blood tests in particular. Anxiety attacked as I got too worried I may not pass the med exam and not get the job, and at worst, may be forced to disclosure.
7. I came into terms with myself and finally decided to start on ARV in November. I am just finalizing my baseline test (I have yet to take my Hepa and Syphilis profile) and I can start. I am ready.
I know its still gonna be a long way, and it may prove harder. As if life is not hard enough without having to face living with something as serious a HIV positive diagnosis. I have allowed my self to feel so low and beat down. I guess its normal and it is better than face the bigger challenge of dealing with my feelings of self-betrayal.I choose to share these words of hope and empowerment with you for yourself or someone who may know someone going through what may be the hardest thing they have gone through, life has not ended ; it has just begun.