When I was diagnosed with HIV way back in 1985, I never saw it as a death sentence. I never believed that I would succumb to this disease. That frame of thought has served me well. In twenty-six years I have only had one serious bout with the disease and I overcame it quicklly and fully. HIV is the least of my health issues.
For some unknown reason, I immediately dismissed the notion that AIDS would cause my death. There were many people over the years that I knew, who were diagnosed with AIDS, and shortly thereafter, within a year or two, died as a result. Why? Some speculate that there are carriers of the disease who never become symptomatic and there are those who do become symptomatic and die as a result. I don't know if that is true or untrue. I only know that my observations have indicated that your belief in the fatality of the disease has a direct correlation to going from HIV positive, to developing full blown AIDS and subsequently dying.
Some may say you were just one of the lucky ones who didn't develop symptoms right away. Well, all I know is twenty-six years later, I am still here. In fact, I was asymptomatic for nineteen years, to the degree of not requiring any medication to treat the disease.
After a troublesome period in my life, the onset of this blood problem, a traumatic fire and other problems, my body for the first time began to lose it's ability to fight the HIV infection. It was in 2004 that I started taking HIV medication for the first time. Luckily I was able to forestall the disease until medications were developed that allow one to live a normal life. Unlike the early days of the onset of AIDS, when the drug regimen was much more toxic and with terrible side effects. I am thankful for the development of better more effective medications with little or no side effects. Medications that allow me to live a normal productive life.
I have always and continue to believe that my immediate dismissal of the fatality of AIDS led to my survival of this insidious disease. I don't believe it was just a matter of luck. I believe my attitude toward the disease helped me to survive it. Where this dismissal midset came from, I'm not sure, I'm just happy to have it.
On the flip side of that coin, the blood disorder I have, hypercoaguability, I have not been so lucky. As we know know, it has resulted in the loss of both of my legs. Why I wasn't as lucky with this disease as HIV I will never know. What I do know is this, I am and will continue to fight it and live as fulfilling a life as possible. Like it says in the Bible, "I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7.
This may sound trite, but there is much truth to the adage, "it is not what you are dealt in life that matters, but rather how you deal with what you are dealt, that really matters."
I would never have thought that I would have the strength to deal with my loss, I contnue to be surprised and pleased with myself in this regard.
For some unknown reason I keep hearing a small voice inside my head that says, "the best of your life is yet to come." How is that possible? I think that small voice is God. I am going to listen to that voice, it gives me strength, strength to finish the race.