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, February 22, 2014

Hello 2014

Hello to all of my readers, new and old. I have not abandoned you completely, just taken a bit of a break.

You know, I've always quoted from the beginning "HIV is a part of me, but it does not define me".

At this point in my journey, I don't feel like this quote really does the situation justice, and I've been pondering how to make it more fitting. The best I can come up with for now is "HIV is a part of me, but it does not affect me".

For the first couple of years, it really did affect my daily life, my job search, my relationships with others, my mental and emotional stability, etc. It was hovering in the background and weighing heavy on various parts of my life.

But, after 2.5 years I can honestly say that I feel free of it. It does not affect my daily life. It does not affect my job. It does not affect my relationships and friendships with others. It does not affect my mental and/or emotional state. It does not affect my physical well-being. In fact, I would estimate that 95% of the time, I forget that I even have it. My life has gone forward, and I have moved on.

Yes, there are isolated situations that have and will continue to come up over the years regarding my HIV. But for the most part, all HIV means to me right now is a 6 month check up.

As for my current life... my job is going great and I am considering options to move up or grow in my career... I have an amazing boyfriend that I love very much and he loves me, and I am looking forward to growing our future together... I am planning some big vacations for the summer... and I am also toying with the idea of starting to write my book...

5 comments:

  1. love this <3 love ya and i'm really happy for you jess ;)

    stephannie

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awesome :) Great to hear that everything is going so well. And yes, please write the book!!!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm so glad you posted an update and that things are going so well for you!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I would absolutely buy and read your book...can't wait to see what the future has in store for your precious life.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Jessica,

    Judging by the time since your last post and the amount of, honestly, quite amusing spam filling the comments section, I imagine this blog has been long since abandoned. Regardless, I feel compelled to leave some sort of note here; some sort of tangible piece of evidence that this blog and your story continue to be a source of inspiration and admiration.

    I am currently a PCV in Senegal and I've been in country almost 5 months. I consider myself to be in a safe situation as far as Peace Corps sites go, however, we all know that no volunteer's service is without risk. I read your entire blog, from the first bracelet to the last, in one sitting over the course of the past few hours and I can only hope that, should some disease, accident, or circumstance befall me, I will be able to handle it with as much grace and fortitude as you. Thank you for giving me a glimpse into your life, teaching me about a terrible disease, and showing me that it's beatable. I hope this message finds you and I wish you all the best.

    Sincerely,
    Eric Dadmun
    PCV Senegal '14-'16

    ReplyDelete