When Charles Dickens wrote:
‘It was the best of times, It was the worst of times’,
…I figure, he may have had a very similar experience to mine this year.
It has been almost a month since my last post regarding ATRIPLA and my mental health. I want to thank you all for being so patient, considerate and understanding that I have needed some time away from writing to focus on other aspirational goals, as well as getting my life and education in order. I am happy to say that this has worked far better than I ever imagined; since my last post, I have moved back home and all is well within my family again, I am feeling so much better within myself and the debilitating side effects have more or less returned back to their original, benign state. After a lengthy talk with my doctor, I decided to stay on my medication regimen and keep a sharp eye out for any adverse effects. She has also made me realise that part (not all) of my outburst may be down to a delayed reaction; a reaction that I was very much expected to experience by my doctors when I was diagnosed with HIV, as most people do; me on the other hand… un-quoting my doctor: perhaps took the news ‘too well’, and despite the fact I disagree somewhat with their theories about this reaction, it would be foolish to rule it out as a contribution to the madness.
In the last month: I have been getting straight A’s in my English coursework essays, and I have also (finally) found myself a job after eleven months of being unemployed. I will be working in the iconic Selfridges building in Birmingham City Centre; after two interviews I got the long awaited news last week that I will start this Saturday, and to say I’m nervous would be the understatement of the year, But I am feeling excited! I had a viral load test on Halloween, so it would be an easier process to change medication should I have needed too: ‘Viral load – 54’. Learning that I am so close to full suppression (<40), has restored my faith in my drugs. I have every reason to believe that I am undetectable as I write this, and the results from last week’s blood work should hopefully verify this on Thursday morning. *Fingers Crossed!*
As National HIV Testing week begins today and World AIDS Day looms ever closer this Sunday: my fundraising and charity involvement is starting to go underway! I have plans to be talking, fundraising and making presentations for the students of King Edward VI College in Stourbridge on December 3rd with the help of a few amazing friends, and I want to thank them personally for being so admirable, optimistic and determined in the fight against HIV. (Rose: You’re a star! Love you x)
It is quite astonishing how I feel that my life is finally starting to take order and purpose as learn to find myself again in just a short amount of time, HIV is a tough ride for anyone, even if it doesn’t feel that way initially. I have seen my confidence, my opinion on life and even my closest friendships shattered to pieces since June. I can honestly say that I haven’t felt this well and happy in a long time and I’m constantly hoping that it stays! I think I am starting to finally let go of the anger and regret this year has brought to me, the hurt I have experienced at the hands of people I loved the most, find inner peace, and continue with the powerful determination to succeed and help others.
Wear your red ribbons with pride this week.
Thank you all for your love and support.
Luke (@PositiveLuke on twitter)