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.

Friday, October 19, 2012

I Am Still Alive

Yes, I know... I suck. I abandoned you all months ago. Don't really have a good reason why... maybe a combination of reasons... (1) Life got busy (2) I got busy (3) Maybe I was grieving from my decision to not return to Peace Corps (4) Maybe I just needed a break from it all.

I do apologize for my absence. I know that I let down a lot of dedicated readers. And I promise I have been trying to get back into it for awhile now. So, now here I finally am... and with months to catch you up on. So, I'll try to start from where I left off, but without going into too much detail, because I don't want to overwhelm you with the length of it all.

So, yeah, last time I talked I had a nasty infection going on. Let's just say that continued on for quite a long time. I went through 20+ grueling days of antibiotics just to get over it. And even after that it was a slow recovery, waiting for the sores to totally heal up, and then for the scars to go away. They never did figure out what started it all. And to be honest, I'm not entirely convinced that something like this won't happen again... every now and again, I start to get a little bit of the initial rash flare up again in the same spot. Now that I know what it can lead to though, I am extra careful about keeping the area super clean and not breaking the skin open to let any infection in again.

As I had also alluded to before, I did make the decision to give up on going back to the Peace Corps. I just decided that maybe it was not the smartest thing for me and my health at the time. I continue to be grateful to my contacts and supports in Peace Corps for being willing to give me that opportunity to go back if I had decided that I wanted to.

Once that decision had been made, it was really time for me to move forward with my life and set down some more permanent roots. And this is where all the big changes and busy-ness started. It went a bit like this:
- June- decided I was going to move back to my home state & immediate family in Florida
- June 11th- my Birthday! I am now 26!
- June30th- July 1st- drove a moving truck down from NY to FL (with my roommate)
- July 2nd- had my first interview for a teaching job- was hired that same afternoon
- July 10th- found an apartment and signed a lease
- July13th- bought a brand new car- Ouch! That hurt!
- July 20th- my sister and her family also move back home to FL
- July-August- attended lots of trainings for my job
- August 3rd- officially announced that my roommate was actually my boyfriend (lol oops sorry guys)
- August 13th- started my teaching job at school
- August-October- going crazy with the stress of teaching again, lots of trainings, lots of lesson planning, lots of tears, etc.

So, yeah... it has been a busy few months. A lot of huge decisions and changes being made. Honestly, I am quite exhausted.

As far as my HIV goes, I don't really have any new updates for you. With all of the other things going on, I have failed to actually get set up with doctors down here yet. I did try to get set up with a local clinic when we first moved down, but was disappointed with a rejection because they would not accept my Workers Comp. So, after that I gave up on it for a little bit. I finally have a day off of school today, and took the time to call another hospital and fax them my info. to see if I can get set up with them. Once I do get set up with a doctor, I may look into trying to change my medication. I was not experiencing side effects from the Atripla before, but now that I have to wake up so early for school each day, I am having a lot of bothersome nausea and fatigue in the mornings.

Okay, that should be enough for now... back to lesson planning...