Living With HIV/AIDS

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On April 3, 1987 the day after my 14th birthday, I was walking away from a fight when this girl who was much older than I was tried to pick a fight with me. I ignored her and kept on walking. Then suddenly she ran up behind me and hit me on the back of my head, with a wooden leg off of a baby bed. It jerked my head forward and broke my neck. At the time I was around three months pregnant, but since that meant that I was only in my first trimester, the doctors were unable to perform the surgery right away.

Then in June of 1987 when I was five months pregnant the doctors were finally able to perform the surgery to repair my broken neck; however, I lost too much blood during the surgery putting me at risk of losing my baby. So I was given a blood transfusion, two pints of blood I was given. The next month when I returned for my six month prenatal check-up and I was asked to get an HIV test. The doctors had found out that one of the pints of blood that I was given was contaminated with the HIV virus. So I agreed to be tested. Two weeks later while I was at church an incredible force came over me to go up to the altar and the pastor prayed for me and my unborn child. Around the same time at home my mother received the call for us to come in and discuss my test results. When my mother told me about the call, I knew that I had tested positive for HIV. I don't know how I knew, I just did. Why else would the doctor call about test results on a Sunday?

The next morning we went into the maternity clinic to discuss the test results and sure enough I had tested positive for the HIV virus. My mother was devastated. I, on the other hand, accepted it immediately. I was told that I probably wouldn't live to see my 18th birthday. Then the doctor tried to talk me into getting an abortion; however, I didn't believe in abortions, so I refused. After all I was already in my sixth month of pregnancy and I had started feeling my baby kicking. I wouldn't have gotten an abortion under any circumstances so they left me alone in my decision to keep my baby. Still, I was told that my baby could be born with HIV as well. But I was putting my faith in God that he would have mercy and spare my baby from this devastating disease.

By this time my mother had to quit her job to take care of me. We lost our home and by the time I was seven months pregnant we became homeless. Around the same time, my baby's daddy had gone on a job in Kentucky, on his way back home to Nashville; he was killed in a car accident. So now I was seven months pregnant and homeless and I was going to be a single mother. Then at 6:00 a.m. on November 21st I went into labor, I went through 58 hours of labor but finally at 4:20 p.m. on November 23, 1987 I gave birth to my daughter. She weighed 6 pounds 12 ounces. She had black curly hair and the most beautiful hazel eyes. I named her Deondra Mae Snyder. She seemed to be a healthy baby full of life and charisma. When she was born, only my antibodies were testing positive for HIV. However, when my daughter turned 18 months old she too tested positive for the HIV virus. At that time the doctors put my daughter on an AIDS medication called AZT.

Then when she turned four years old she had her first Opportunistic Infection, she was diagnosed with Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia (PCP) which is a deadly type of AIDS-related pneumonia even for an adult. The survival rate for this type of pneumonia was slim to none; however, by the grace of God she survived. The doctors discovered that she had become resistant to the AZT so then they said they could start her on some experiential drugs but we would have to go to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland to receive the treatment. So in 1991 I started taking my daughter to the NIH in Bethesda. While she was there the doctors started my daughter on a three drug combination called a cocktail which consisted of DDI, DDC, and Saquinavir. Unfortunately, as quick as the new drugs became available, she would become resistant to them. Nevertheless, we continued to fight, trying treatment after treatment.

Then in 1994 when I was 21 I too came down with a bad case of PCP in both lungs and I almost died. I was in the hospital for three months during which time my right lung collapsed, I developed a blood clot in my PIC line (a kind of IV that can be used for several weeks to several months) and I had a nervous breakdown. At that time I was diagnosed with having full-blown AIDS. Then and there, I was determined that I was going to live with AIDS, not die from it. Through the years I have had many bouts of sickness and close calls with death, but I am a survivor.

As the years passed, my daughter became sicker and sicker. Then on January 26, 2000 my daughter lost her battle with AIDS. The Angel of Death had come and took my baby girl away from me. She was only 12 years old when she died. After her death I went into a deep depression, and even tried to commit suicide on a couple of occasions. Then I realized that my daughter would want me to live. So I got counseling to deal with the pain and grief that I was feeling. Eventually I did get better and started living my life again.

Then in December of 2009, God had mercy on me and I started on a new drug called Atripla. When I started on Atripla my CD4 counts were at a low 22 and my viral load was very high at 1.5 million. I responded very well to the Atripla and my counts quickly rose and my viral load quickly dropped. Now today, almost three years later my CD4 counts are 649 the highest they have ever been and my viral load is undetectable. I have finally found my wonder drug and I am beating this disease one day at a time. I am now attending college at Nashville State Community College where I'm pursuing an Associate's Degree in Office Administration Medical Professional Concentration. I am averaging a 3.0 to 3.4 GPA I have also become a writer for several websites, which has allowed me to share my stories in hopes that it will encourage others. I just want to say that AIDS doesn't have to be a death sentence, that there is life after an AIDS diagnosis. If I may share one piece of advice it would be to fight this disease head on, keep a positive attitude and believe in your higher power.

I am 38 year old, web article writer, poet, author of two books-TRUE INSPIRATIONS and SLEEPING WITH THE ANGELS; and a colllege student at Nashville State Community College where I am pursuing an Associate's Degree in Office Administration-Medical Professional Concentration. I have been HIV positive for 24 years and had full-blown AIDS for 17 years.

2 comments to “Living With HIV/AIDS”

  • January 10, 2012 at 11:05 PM
    kaney says:

    There is a discrepancy between what it costs to keep HIV/AIDS governmental agencies and private societies running compared with what funding they put into researching new and better solutions for the HIV epidemic. Investors must be aware that these bureaucratic organizations first invest in their functioning, not in science.

    Colon Clear Metagenics

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  • July 23, 2015 at 10:18 PM

    Good day My Name is Mike Mougar i am here to share a great testimony of my life i was cure from HIV by a Doctor Name DR CUBA i have been HIV for 5 year i saw doctor Email on the internet so i contact him and i explain to him i follow up the instruction behold 6 days later after taking the cure i went for a HIV text to my surprise it was Negative my family doctor was surprise my husband who abandon me was surprise my brother if you no that you are positive please i will advise you to contact him now and see for your self his Email is drcubatemple@gmail.com why is website is......[ www.dr-cubatemple.webs.com] and also you can contact him on whatsapp +2347038965900

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