I am 28. White. A Female. And a former Peace Corps Volunteer. I am HIV Positive. This is my story of how a few months, a few people, and a few events in Zambia changed me and my life forever. This is the story of how I contracted HIV and brought my Peace Corps Journey to a crashing halt... and how I am working now to pick up and put back together the pieces of my life as a newly diagnosed person living with HIV. This was not the journey I had originally planned... my path has traumatically and dramatically changed... but it is the one I am on now. There is no going back. There is only forward. I welcome you to follow along with me as I attempt to explore this new life ahead of me, whether you are someone from the Peace Corps community, or someone living with HIV. I welcome your comments, questions, suggestions, and opinions. Let us go forward together. To start from the beginning, click here He Gave Me More Than A Bracelet.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Life As A Medevac in D.C.- Part 2

As my physical strength started rebuilding, my morale did too. I received a roommate (who was awesome). I started going to counseling in the PC Office (which was awesome). I made friends with other medevacs and even got to participate in a few of the Peace Corp’s 50th Anniversary celebrations in D.C. (Woohoo!). We dressed in native garb and carried country flags onto the field before a baseball game. We also went to a PC Memorial service at Arlington. And we did a little exploring of D.C. (museums, monuments, and such).

I also went back to more doctor appointments, at which point we decided to start on treatment. (I’ll re-post my treatment information as a separate post for anyone who has not clicked on the tab). I started my pills. Shortly after, I had an allergic reaction and broke out in an itchy rash all over my body, which lasted for a week or more. I also experienced a few of the typical side effects and had a few tipsy (due to the medicine, not alcohol) late night conversations with my roommate. I may have experienced some of my first feelings of discrimination, and broke down crying after the pharmacist was not so nice to me. I spent hours on the phone and in the office with my PC health coordinator trying to get issues with insurance and other stuff dealt with. I hung out with other medevacs and continued to struggle as I lived a lie and awkwardly told them that I had a mystery illness (sorry guys). We had fun nonetheless, with our hotel dinners and Extreme Couponing, Hillbilly Handfishing, and Halloween Wars marathons. We made friends with Africans in D.C. that showed up in random places (restaurants, taxis, pharmacies, hotel hallways). Oh, and I even learned how to take the subway!
It all seemed to be quite the adventure at first, although I did start tiring of my life in the hotel towards the end. I was also becoming more and more stressed about leaving the “shelter” of PC care and being officially separated and sent off on my own. There were a lot of decisions and preparations to be made, including choosing a place to live, finding doctors, filing FECA paperwork, attempting to communicate with Zambia about my belongings, etc. And I have to admit to getting frustrated with PC at times, because some things just seemed as if they could have been made easier or smoother...


  1. I commend you for sharing your important story. Know that you have one more supporter in me. I wish you health in happiness in your many years to come!

  2. Hi, I am a PCV in Guatemala...I know that working with PC is not always fun or simple. But I am comforted in the fact that it seems things are working out for you. I am so glad you decided to write this blog and your words are so incredibly inspiring to many. I know that through the PC network, there is a ton of support and positive feedback from the thousands of people it connects around the world. Keep on keepin' on!