Stories Of Promise - A New Frame of Mind
It came out of nowhere. I could barely breathe and there was an intense pain in my chest. I tried laying down but that hurt. I tried getting out of bed but that hurt too. The pain became so unbearable that I finally went to the hospital. After drawing my blood and running some tests, the doctor told me that the pain I was experiencing was heart inflammation. I was sure it was from installing drywall, painting houses and inhaling all these dangerous fumes without wearing a mask.
The heart inflammation was surprising in itself, but what the doctor said next left me in shock. He informed me that my blood work came back and that I tested positive for HIV. Not only was I on bed rest for weeks from the heart inflammation, I was stuck in a hospital room with nothing but my negative thoughts trying to process the fact that I had HIV.
Looking back, I guess it shouldn’t have been such a surprise. I’d been running the streets, smoking and selling dope since I was a teenager. My addiction to crack cocaine led me to a point where I couldn’t even recognize myself in the mirror and I eventually found myself making reckless choices when it came to my health. I would see these females getting high and sometimes they would have sex with me in exchange for drugs or money. Most days I was so high I didn’t even bother or care to wear a condom.
I thought having HIV would motivate me to get clean, but it took me years before I finally decided I was tired of being “the dope man” and I checked myself into a detox facility. Now, I am working on my sobriety and focused on my recovery. When it comes to relationships, I am practicing abstinence because I honestly have bigger things to worry about than being intimate. Living with HIV has given me a new perspective on what’s important and right now that’s taking my meds and staying clean, and that’s what I intend to do.