Sunday, October 11, 2009

Note To Self

Go to therapy.

Learn how to deal with feelings of lonliness.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The New Adventures of Old Me

So I let some time pass between my last post and this one. What has changed? A lot. And not much at all.

To start, I still have HIV. No surprise there, right? I guess that means the denial phase is over since I can "say" it now. Though I still haven't said it out loud much (if really at all). As far as I know, I'm still pretty healthy. I get another set of lab results on Friday, so I'm looking forward to that. My doctor says I can call in to get the results now which also makes me feel good about things.

A couple weeks ago, I disclosed to someone else. It was a pretty bad experience. I was drunk when I told him and it was online. He has reason to be concerned given our past experiences together and it really screwed me up that he was so upset. We have since spoken to each other and, luckily, he tested negative. It had been enough time between our last "meeting" and when he tested for him to be confident with that reading. He said he wanted to hang out to catch up sometime. We'll see.

EV has completely stopped responding to me. I was a little upset about that because I liked having someone around who understood my point-of-view. For whatever reason, though, he obviously decided it wasn't something he wanted to have around - neither as a relationship nor as a friendship. I still learned a few things and am grateful for that experience.

Since then, I feel like I have my good and bad days. Sometimes I digress and think "fuck it" - that there is nothing left to happen to me and I (attempt to) pursue unhealthy activities. I'm sure that's easy enough to read into. But most days I just feel uncomfortable. I feel awkward. I feel like anything I ever do again in life has to be so calculated. I will never be able to be carefree again.


Tonight I hung out with some of the guys and hearing them talk about their stories sometimes makes me so depressed. I can't relate at all anymore. I could never meet a guy at a bar, bring him home, and then say "btw, I have HIV." It just wouldn't work.

So what have I learned in the last 30+ days? Not much. I've learned that I'm probably further along in the "processing" phase than others would be at this point. But I'm still not okay. I still have moments that are not okay at all. Then again, I have moments that are so great that I feel like everything is great.

Still a process. Still learning. They say it takes a year to completely deal with the issues. 3 months down; 9 to go.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Last Night

I hung out with EV (the boy I met from Poz Personals) last night. We had a good time sitting on his roof and drinking some wine. We moved down into his apartment to hang out and eventually ended up making out. I stayed the night (we didn't have sex, but we fooled around).

I guess I was wrong when I thought nothing more than friends. Who knows what will happen. He's a cool guy to hang out with, so I'm fine with whatever.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Results #2 - CD4: 494, VL: 38,000

I just left the doctor's office. This appointment has been rescheduled a few times, so I'm glad to have finally made it in.

I was fine for the most part leading up to it, but last night I started to think too much and began to worry. On my way to my appointment, I really started to worry. I feel fine, but I started to worry that the doctor was going to tell me that my CD4 dropped so low that I now have AIDS.

I almost forgot how pleasant they are at this office. The staff is extremely friendly. Very different experience than the first place I went to. After they took my vitals, the doctor came in and told me my results. CD4 of 494 and VL of 38,000. I was so relieved! I don't know why I thought it was going to move in the opposite direction. I'm sure it is a feeling that I'll just have to get used to. I'm going to be nervous with my doctor appointments; that's just the way it is.

I ended up crying (tears of joy) after he told me. I wasn't sobbing, but just tears streaming down with relief. He noted that he had to be more aware of my emotional state, since it was all still so new to me.

Anyway, I'm just happy for the numbers. I go back October 2 for another round of blood work. After that, if the trend looks "good," I'll start doing every 3 months.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


On my way back from Fire Island from a last minute day trip out. I had a good time with the boys and am glad I came.

This weekend, I hung out with NP. I didn't really know what I wanted to do when I went over, but by the time I got there, I realized I missed him. I still don't really know how I feel about him, but I do care about him and I did miss seeing his smiley, happy face. It was so refreshing to see that again.

I ended up spending the night. We were fooling around and went farther than we had before. I felt a little more comfortable, but also wanted to put a condom on right away. I went through three of them before I felt like giving up. The first one kept feeling like it broke and the other two definitely broke. I got so worried after that. How could we ever risk it?

He was SO patient with me.

I told him that I felt like we would never have sex again and that worried me. He said he didn't feel the same way and thought with some ground rules, we could have sex. Basically, condom on right away and pull out before I finished. He said he knew it wouldn't be the same feeling but that's what he could offer. To me, it sounded great, but part of me still felt nervous.

We ended up just jacking off (though at one point I gave him a blow job for a little). I was really happy with the way things turned out, but I'm still nervous about it all. Also, I just don't know what I want. He's a great guy and is sticking around, but I feel like since I'm not 100%, I have to be careful.

Overall, I'm happy with where we left things, but I hope I'm not just delaying the inevitable.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Week In Review

Despite the fact that I had things to write about, I somehow have let a week go by.

On Wednesday, I had dinner with the new guy I met from the poz personals site (ET). I had a really good time. I like how carefree it feels to hang out with him. We don't really talk about being positive much, but to have someone around who knows what it feels like (especially since he has known for a year and a half) is really nice. I was having a somewhat bad day at work, so I broke down and had a glass of wine with my dinner. After, I went to Therapy with the boys. The show was good and I ended up having another two drinks there.

Thursday, we had a Project Runway night at CG's. Just about everyone in the group came by to watch, so it was a good time.

Friday night, I ended up just staying in since it started to rain and I was so tired from the week. Plus, with the house being a little quiet, I wanted to enjoy it while I could.

Saturday, I had a good run with the team, did brunch with the boys, played a long game of Monopoly at CG's, and then watched a movie with TA. We wanted to get tickets for Shakespeare In The Park on Sunday, so we had to get up early.

When I got home on Saturday, I ended up chatting with an old friend (CS) in LA who I knew was positive. We didn't talk long, but it was nice to hear how he is doing. He said he would call me this week before my doctor appointment to talk more.

Sunday consisted of me waiting in the park for 5 hours to get tickets, hanging out with MK, and then going to see the play at night. Overall, the weekend was relaxing but fun.

Yesterday, I got a call from my doctor's office that my follow up appointment had to be rescheduled to Wednesday because the doctor would be out on Friday. I'm really okay with that since I want to know my lab results asap.

I'm dogsitting for a friend this week, so I will be staying at his place in the East Village till Sunday. It is almost like a mini-vacation and I'm really looking forward to it.

The one thing I'm not looking forward to? Talking to NP. I haven't seen him in over a week and have hardly talked to him recently (and when I have, it was all via text). I know we need to talk but finding a good time to do it and, more honestly, the courage, is difficult. But I have to do it soon.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Group Sessions

I went to a "drop in" group session tonight at GMHC. I was not really looking forward to it, but I knew I had to do it.

"Worth a try," I thought.

TA's date was cancelled and he was in the area, so we met up beforehand. I felt like I was being walked to my first day of school with the encouragement coming from him and the nerves coming from me.

When I walked in, there was just one person there. She happened to be te facilitator. Behind me, another guy walked in. She asked, "what are you here for?". In what I'm learning is my quiet and scared voice, I stummered, "group.. drop in... HIV session?".

She said okay and asked us both to sit. I texted TA right away that there was only one other person in there. WTF?! He responded by telling me I didn't have to stay if I wasn't comfortable, but he was sure more would come. He was technically right.

After we introduced ourselves and did a little talking, another guy walked in. I guess that counted for more people, making TA right.

Just two people wasn't really working, but there really was no way for me to get up and go. I mean, there were 4 chairs in a circle making it tough to just go unnoticed, as planned.

We talked about a lot of things. I felt good trying to help the others. One guy had been diagnosed 9 years ago and the other guy just a few days ago. Interestingly enough, we still had a lot we were able to share.

In the end, I'm glad I went. But a lot of me felt guilty. Compared o these guys, I've got it easy. My friends have been amazing and very supportive. I have a good doctor. I have a good job. I have a lot going for me. These guys had a lot more to deal with.

I always used to say, "things could be worse". After my diagnosis, I didn't think that was the case. After tonight, I realize it is.

I have a lot of opportunity. Afterall, I'm coping well when compared to others. I feel like I need to find a way to give to others. To find a way to help out. I know I need to accept this all a little mire first, but I would like to find a way to volunteer in some way once I'm in a better space.

Until then, I'll plan on returning to the group session again next week.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Yesterday, I hung out with someone I met from the Poz personals site. I contacted him shortly after I found out and was really just looking for someone to talk to who might understand me more. He responded to me a month after I wrote to him and after a few emails back and forth, we finally hung out yesterday.

I didn't think I'd enjoy being in the company of someone else positive so much. I felt very at ease about things. We walked around a little and then went to Therapy. We didn't talk about being positive until the end, where we told each other how/when we found out. He has known January 2008. It was good to hear how well he is doing and how he has dealt with things.

I almost backed out of meeting, but am glad that I didn't. I think we might hang out again this week. I don't see it (nor do I think I'm ready for it to) go any where beyond a friendship, but it was really nice and unexpected.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I Thought Wrong

Hope is not something I normally have. Faith and trust in others; not my thing. I believe that people are bound to disappoint. It is human nature. For that reason, I have a hard time getting *really* close to people, because I never have enough faith that they will be around long enough to matter.

But every now and then, I start to have a glimmer of faith. I start to think that people will stick to the things they say. That I'm important enough to others to matter.

And every time, I'm disappointed.

TA has been one of the most amazing during this whole ordeal. He has been encouraging me to go to group therapy and I finally said yes. I planned to go on Tuesday. He said he would meet with me before and go with me to GMHC because he had to go there also. He offered to be available after to talk if I wanted. I thought this was the nicest thing. Knowing how nervous I am about going to one of these things, I'd like to be able to have support before/after.

Yesterday, we were hanging out with MK on his roof. TA texted the boy he is dating to get dinner this week. They made plans for Tuesday night. That completely killed my mood. I didn't want to say anything at the moment because 1) MK was there and doesn't know what's going on, and b) I don't want my life to burden other people living their own. He made an offer and now he found something else to do. I don't want him to come with me out of guilt. I want him to do it because he wants to.

I'm just a little disappointed. But I should have known. Maybe I'm being too sensitive; I'm known to be that way.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Who Will Follow Me Into The Dark?

The last two days flew by so quickly. I can't say that they were "good" days, but I guess they weren't terrible days. But for some reason it felt like a really shitty week.

Tonight, I had a meeting with ND and DP for our start-up. My ability to contribute and maintain balance came up, and I now have to make a decision if I want to take a month off to just focus on me. Part of me feels like this is a good idea, but another part of me feels like nothing good will come of doing that.

Lots to think about.

Afterwards, I met up with the boys to watch a group of short plays at a small theater in the East Village. It was a good time; better than I expected, actually. My mind didn't wander too much and there were no mood swings. But, at times, there were thoughts. Thoughts of relationships and thoughts of being alone.

Right before the show started, NP texted me. I keep going back and forth between "breaking up" with him or staying around. I have been leaning towards ending it, but the other night when I was there, I thought that was the wrong decision. Ultimately, I know I'm not in a place to offer him what he is looking for, and I have way too much to sort out. He seems totally ready for another step. I never even expected us to be sticking it out this long.

And all of this just makes me feel guilty. Guilty that I am thinking of ending it. Guilty that I have let it go on this long. Guilty for the stupid decision and the risk that put him in. Guilty for so many things. Am I sticking around because he is there and wants to be with me? I think, for the most part, that is the reason why.

I don't want to be alone right now. I don't want to be alone for the rest of my life. I don't want "the rest of my life" to be a short time. I don't want a short time to be happy.

I just want to know who will be with me. Who will follow me into the dark?


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I Think I'm Paranoid

I visited the new doctor today and there was such a big difference between this place and the previous one. I felt very comfortable here. The staff was pleasant, it felt confidential, and the doctor was extremely nice. We just did some blood work and I got a couple of shots (Hep - second round - and Pneumonia). I'm supposed to go back in two weeks for my results, which will include my resistance testing. Let's hope for some good news.

After that, I came home and was supposed to go for a run, but instead just relaxed. I think I'm allowing myself to get too lazy. I need to fix that. Supposed to get up and run in the morning.

TA invited me and CG over to watch Nurse Jackie, since we are so far behind. He also made some dinner. He and I didn't get a chance to talk before CG got there, so he walked me home and I told him about the doctor. In some ways, it is great that I can talk to my friends about things because I'm more likely to be comfortable telling them things, but in other ways I just get so nervous that one day they are going to leave me.

I hate all the thinking involved. I just want to be carefree.

Doctor Visit

On my way to my new doctor. Really nervous about everything, but hopeful and happy to be taking another step in the right direction.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Back to Overwhelmed

Got back a few hours ago. The trip was fantastic. We had a lot of fun, despite some issues during the race (our cyclist's bike fell apart and so my team was disqualified).

I had a few moments of feeling depressed, but overall it was good. TA and I had a small talk earlier today about how things were going and my upcoming doctor appointment this Wednesday. I'm happy to be going, but I'm still pretty nervous about it all. Sometimes I just hate the life I have. Not that I'm feeling suicidal right now, I just really am not feeling good about life today.

Just overwhelmed with it all.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Get Set. Go!

We are heading upstate tomorrow morning for a weekend away. We'll be in Syracuse Saturday to just chill. On Sunday, we'll be participating in a Run/Bike/Kayak relay race in Auburn, then camping out somewhere overnight. On Monday, we'll come back to the city.

I'm looking forward to being away from the city, even if it is just for a weekend. TA, DM and CG are going, along with two others from the team. I think it will be good for me to re-center.

I'm not in shape for the race and we've all decided we are doing it just for fun. Especially since DM and I had trouble finding kayaks to rent and ended up with some crappy recreational ones (as opposed to fast, racing ones). At this point, I would almost rather do the running, but that's mainly because I'm slightly nervous about kayaking.

Regardless, I'm just happy to get away. Hopefully I have a good story to tell when we get back.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Only Takes Seconds

Sometimes I wake up and think, "Oh wow, that was all just a dream!"

And then after a few seconds I realize. It isn't.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Sober, Temporarily

Tonight I'm hanging with TA, CG and AC for a night of TV and wine. Should be a good time.

Starting tomorrow I'm going temporarily sober. I have a big relay race coming up in mid-September and I like to use this time to detox. Plus, I figure it can't be that bad for my overall health, given my status.

I've done it before, so I know it won't be a problem. But with everything else going on, I wonder if I'll decide to extend it beyond the race.

I doubt it. But anything is possible.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


After my last post (which was literally seconds ago), I realized that yesterday was my one month "anniversary" (is it sick to call it that?) of my diagnosis.

I feel like I've made a lot of progress in just one month. I think it helps that I started working right away. And of course, my great support system has been amazing.

One month... wow.

If I can continue to progress at a similar rate as I have in the last 30 days, I really might just be okay in a few months. I know that isn't realistic, but I can't help but feel that way. I'm sure going to the doctor and getting lab work done will always be a downer. I don't want numbers like my last set, but I know I will continue to have numbers like that until I get on meds. Which really makes me sad.

This week, I only had one little breakdown. And it was after I found out I would be okay with my insurance. Compared with the first week between my reactive antibody test and my confirmatory results where all I did was cry and think about how horrible my life would be, that is pretty fucking amazing.

Yes, things really might be okay


Tuesday night, I focused on researching more on my insurance and on doctors. After a lot of reading on if my insurance would cover me and if I could go to a doctor that NC recommended to me, I was very happy to find out that I can! Yesterday, I made an appointment for my first visit with my new doctor. Well, I hope he becomes my doctor. I've heard good things about him, but I don't want to get too excited just in case we don't click.

My appointment is August 12.

Now it is just a countdown.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Just left NP's. We had a good night. I'm finally more comfortable being quasi-sexual with him. I got freaked out at times, and I still don't get why he is sticking around. We talked about that a bit, which was nice.

But it was also really difficult for me to realize I can never be completely with him. Especially because as we were in bed kissing, I got so into it that it's all I wanted to do. Realizing that's not an option really hit me. He keeps telling me there is a lot we can still do, but how can we both stay satisfied if we can never fuck again?

We've talked openly about if this gets boring for either of us, it's okay to end it. Part of me wants to end it before he does while another part thinks I should just be grateful and take it for what it is while I have it.

And then there is a small part of me that just wants to have sex again.

I feel horrible for even thinking that. The truth is I could have sex with someone else right now easier than I could with him. I feel a deeper responsibility for him.

I don't really know what to do, but I think I'm going to just see where it all goes. He is a great guy and I'm lucky he has stood by me.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Broken Promise

So I broke a promise.

I didn't get anywhere in terms of finding a doctor by Sunday. I did ask 4 of the 6 for advice, and think I know my gameplan now.

It sometimes gets so easy to just forget this all ever happened. Just move right along and pretend there aren't a million things that I still need to sort out. I mean, it hasn't even been a month since I got confirmation!

Part of me wants to pretend like everything is okay, but it's not. Things aren't bad. But they certainly aren't all okay.

I need to get a doctor ASAP. I need to know my CD4 and VL numbers again. I need to know if I should be on meds.

Lots to do. Really have to commit and not let myself down.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I'm promising myself that by Sunday, I will make a decsion on which doctor I will be seeing.

I am going to look at two places this week, and have asked TA to join me. He has been really great at keeping things light and fluffy, yet still checking in on how I'm doing. I think he will be best for this task.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wait and See

I had a nice weekend with my friends. Was outdoors a lot and had a great time. Saw Twelfth Night in Central Park last night. It was amazing. The whole weekend reminded me why I love living in New York and really made me feel like Summer is really here.

But then today happened. And I started to think how much I've neglected my status. I know that I'm not supposed to let it rule my life, but I also can't just pretend like it isn't there. I haven't figured out what I'm going to do about my doctor or where I'll be getting my treatments, and that is a big deal. I am going to commit to doing that this week.

I also just don't know how to manage some of my relationships. One, in particular: NP. We went to a movie tonight and had a nice time. After we went to get some food and everything was normal, but for some reason (which I cannot remember right now) reality hit me. Hard.

I don't even really know what our relationship status is. We were very casual before all this happened, and now I feel like we're forced into something more serious. And, quite honestly, I like him more now that I've gotten to know him, but I also know that I am not ready for anything serious. I don't know what to do.

I just sent him an email to apologize for the way the night ended and to say a little bit more about what's on my mind.

I guess I'll just wait and see. Like everything else. I'll wait and see.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Results #1.2 - CD4: 483, VL: 45,805

I finally got the final, official numbers yesterday. I couldn't post from work and stayed at NP's last night, so posting them now.

Nothing really changes from how I feel, but I'm also not really down about it. It just is what it is.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Number Five

Last night I told TA. I had been trying to tell him since Monday, but the timing wasn't right until last night.

I am so relieved that he finally knows. It has been very difficult for me to keep this from him. I felt this divide between us and I know it was due to this. I just didn't know how to act in front of him.

I had no reason to be, but I was nervous to tell him. The thing about DM and ND is that they have been around through some pretty shitty times, but they have never left me. I knew they would stick around during this. Telling NC was somewhat easy because I knew that he and DM were close and he is open minded enough to not judge me. Plus, the fact that I wasn't *as close* to him as the others made it a little easier. Of course, telling NP was really difficult, but that is because this had a greater meaning for him. He was at risk and it changes everything between us.

But telling TA... it was different. I've known him for only a year now, but for some reason I place him up there with DM and ND. Growing close to someone so quickly scares me. I'm afraid of losing him all the time. But he has stayed around. And if this doesn't make him leave me, well, then what else possibly could?

Five down; one more to go from the original six.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Breakdown or Breakthrough?

Last night, ND and I got into it and it turned into her first real breakdown. At least, as far as I'm aware. I'm happy for it. I don't think she had let it out yet.

It's hard knowing that I'm usually the person she would talk to about things and her probably not feeling okay coming to me with this. But it happened and that's good.

A lot of good came out of it. We talked a lot about things and I think her concerns came out. And I was able to ask her what I've already asked DM, "Are you mad at me for this?" I think it's a very valid question and I have trusted both of them to tell me the truth. They've both said no.

I think that the breakdowns are more like breakthroughs. Allows the person to confront their deepest fears/concerns, regardless of how "silly" or "illogical" they may seem.

And then we move on.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Results #1.1 - CD4: 483, VL: 45-47,000

So I randomly ran into my doctor tonight and was able to get a bit more info out of him. My VL is between 45k-47k. He couldn't remember the exact numbers.

I'm not really thrilled at all about my numbers. He told me not to worry, but it is really hard for me to wait it all out.

I'm going back in 6 weeks for another round and then 6 weeks after that. He said we should definitely wait before making any decisions about meds. We had a rather lengthy talk and I got a lot answered. In the end, I feel better that we spoke, but I'm still kinda down.

Results #1 - CD4: 483, VL: n/a

Got my first lab results back. I actually didn't get to see the doctor because he wasn't in yet, so the Medical Practitioner told them to me. From my memory, which isn't the best to rely on for the exact number since it was a shock to me, my CD4 was 483.

I really, really, REALLY wasn't prepared for that. I thought for sure that I would be above 800 somewhere. I had no reason to think that; it just is what I thought. And mainly, what I hoped for. I know without my VL in yet, I can't really know much, but if they say that healthy is above 500, that makes me feel like I'm officially in the "sick" range.

I don't want to be sick. I just found out about all of this!

It is way too early to be sick.

6/30/09 - CD4: 483, VL: n/a

Morning Check-in

This morning I had to wake up a little earlier so I can run up to the clinic to get this TB screening checked. I might also be able to get my CD4 counts today. I'm anxious to hear my CD4 counts and wish I could get my VL too, but that won't be ready till my next appointment.

I'm feeling pretty good, but I am very anxious to see if those results came in. I think I need to stop stressing about it because I'm making my stomach upset over it.

If I do get the counts today, I'll post them. Let's hope for the best!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A New Day

Today, I start my new job. I'm looking forward to this helping me move on and realize that life goes on.

Yesterday, I went to the doctor for the first time to get my blood taken for CD4, VL, and basically everything else. I don't like the place at all, but I did like the doctor. I might be able to find out my CD4 this week, but VL I won't know until I go back July 16. I'm also going to look for another place to go that caters more to my demographics (read: young & gay) so I feel more comfortable.

Here's to a new start!

Monday, June 29, 2009

It's official

I got my Western Blot back and the results are positive.

Tomorrow, I go in to start blood work and will go from there.

Earlier today, I told ND. That was hard but she took it well and that made it easier for me. Tonight, I go to NP's to talk to him and break the news. Not sure how that will go.

Oh, I also got the official job offer before heading out to pick up my results earlier today... what timing.

Big Day

After becoming completely overwhelmed with the information I was reading, I took the advice of someone from the forum at and took a break from reading everything. I had so much else going on that I just couldn't handle it all. That included taking a break from the blog.

My updates are that I talked to NP on Wednesday night. I told him I got tested and was worried about the results and that I would get them back today. I'm going to his place later tonight to share what my results are. He was supportive and said that the decision to bareback was mutual and I wasn't at fault for anything.

Also, I told another friend, NC, about my initial results. DM can't come with me today, so I needed to bring someone else. NC has been really supportive as well and is going to join me today.

I'm now just waiting for the call back from Harlem United with when I can go in for my confirmatory results.

On the flip side of things, I got an email this morning about the job I've been interviewing with. They said they are ready to move forward with an offer, just need to get my references in to them. I started crying when I read that. I feel like there is just so much going on. Very difficult to process this all.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Morning Check-in

This morning I'm not feeling too great. I'm not sure why. Not health-wise, but just mentally/emotionally. I'm really down right now.

I'm going to do a little more reading, and if that doesn't help, I'm going to take a break and do something "fun" - which will probably just mean I watch a funny movie or something.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Change of plans

Originally, I was supposed to get my confirmatory results back on Thursday. It was also the day I expected to have a final interview with this company. I was then going to talk to NP (the guy I'm casually dating), to let him know after I knew my results.

I got notice earlier today that my interview will actually be on Friday, instead. And now I get a phone call that my results won't be back until Monday. Of course I get that call about 15 minutes after I told NP I would come over on Thursday night. I had hoped to have the results to talk to him.

Now I don't know what to do. To make it worse, DM is out of town all day Monday so he can't go with me. I really wanted him there to help me with everything.

Everything just seems screwed up now. I'm not happy. I'm trying not to stress, but this just gets in the way. I guess I'm going to have to get used to that.

Day Four

I’m looking forward to today being less overwhelming and more about taking in information.

By the end of the day yesterday, I was feeling good. I had fun hanging out with D at his place. It felt normal. Yesterday I started a new rule that I have to take “HIV breaks,” where I just don’t focus on it and try to enjoy whatever it is I’m doing. Of course thoughts still come in here and there, but I just didn’t allow myself to only think about that. That seemed to work. I also am starting a rule on how much time I spend reading up on HIV. I want to make sure I have a healthy balance in my life.

On the agenda for today:
* Confirm the day and time for my final interview this week
* Confirm the time I can go in for my confirmatory results on Thursday
* Work on getting things finalized for this weekend
* Clean my room! (and do laundry)

And tonight, I’ll be going with DH to some LGBT mixer function. I’m hoping that with all of this I am able to keep my mind grounded and focused.

Thursday and Friday are going to be my toughest days. Between getting my confirmatory results, interviewing, and the volunteer work from 1-7 both days, I have a lot going on. Not to mention, I want to tell NP as soon as I get my results back. I don’t know how I will tell him. I’m hoping that will come to me as we get closer to the date.

Right now, I want to focus on my list for today.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Any Other Day

I consider myself a fairly-educated person on HIV/AIDS, risks, and the importance of regular tests. I was involved in a 2-year study (Project T), that was looking for a preventative drug for negative men. I was tested every 3 months during that study and I learned a lot about myself and HIV. I developed healthier habits and tried to help others in my life understand how important safe sex is and regular testing.

Three months after the study ended, I was tested in a free clinic in NYC. Results came back negative. That was March of 2008. For a variety of (stupid) reasons, I didn't get tested again until Saturday, June 20th, 2009.

On that Saturday, I was listening to a guest speaker from Harlem United talk about safe sex in 2009, HIV/AIDS, and about the testing that was available for us that day. Most of it I already knew, but some of it was new to me. After, we were encouraged to go get tested... and since I hadn't been tested in over a year, I was really excited.

I honestly thought the lady was mistaken when she whispered to me, "It came back positive." I told her she hadn't even tested me yet, forgetting that the first thing she did was prick my finger to take my blood. I was in 100% shock. Don't get me wrong, I have had doubts before when being tested, but I thought that I had been so careful and "good" since my last test that it was impossible. I asked her if she was going to test me again to make sure.

We did an oral swab. While I was waiting, she asked, "You really didn't know?" I have no idea why this lady thought I would know. Since I was with a group of friends, I figured she must have thought I was only "pretending" to get tested so my friends wouldn't figure it out. But that worried me more. Did I "look" like I was positive? So many thoughts went through my head. Given the scene - we were upstairs in a church, sitting in what seemed like a preschool of some sort, one somewhat long table where people were being tested on either end - there was little we could really say without being too obvious.

She looked at the results of the oral test and said it was hard to see. She thought it looked reactive as well, but called over to the other guy to come look. All I could think was, "God, could this be any more obvious?" There was no door where we were, so my friends were standing in the next room talking. I couldn't bring myself to turn around to see if they were watching what was happening.

The guy stopped what he was doing (he was in the middle of talking to my teammate who was getting tested on the other side of the table) to come over. She asked him in Spanish to look at it and say what he thought. She told him it was the second test, that it was the oral swab and the first one came back reactive. He was moving around to try to get better light, commenting on how poor the lighting was in that room. It was agonizing. In some ways, I thought that the first test was wrong and this was going to show it. It just all seemed like a mistake.

He finally stopped moving around and just nodded his head. She showed me both. I still thought it was a mistake.

I just wanted to hurry out of there since my friends were behind me waiting for me. We still had to do one more test for the confirmatory test. This one was going to go to the lab. She grabbed the package from the middle of the table and started telling me about that test and about some of the services Harlem United offered. I was barely listening and was just so nervous. I did the test, she gave me a paper, and then I walked out.

"What took so long," everyone asked. Since she had messed up on my friend TA right before me, I just blamed it on her messing up again. We made a few jokes and then left.

I texted my best friend, DM. I knew he was away, but wasn't sure what time he would be home. I needed to tell him right away. He said he was about 1.5 hours away from NYC. I said I needed to talk to him, that it was important. When he asked if it was bad, I tried to downplay it because I didn't want him to worry the whole trip back.

I exited the subway with TA and CG. We had decided we would watch some TV to pass some time. We got some lunch and went back to TA's. I knew I needed to keep myself distracted as much as possible until DM got home.

For the most part, I kept myself distracted enough to not breakdown. DM got home and I went over. I think I just blurted it out when I got to his couch. It was the first time I was actually saying it and I didn't know how to tell him. I cried a little and he held me. We talked through things. I was in limbo between denial and absolute fear. All I could think about was a slow, miserable death. He helped me calm down and reminded me how things have changed in the last few years.

I wanted to tell DM first for a reason. He has been my friend for over 10 years and through all the crazy shit in my life, he stuck around. He also is one of the most grounded people I know and I knew he would be able to handle the news without getting emotional. Which I knew I needed. I couldn't tell someone who was going to make me worry more. He also knows me very well.

We talked for a few hours. Mainly about how I was feeling, what was I thinking, what was I going to do. And then I think we both got tired of that. He offered to tell me about his day and the kayaking. It was nice to get my mind on something else for a bit. Luckily he had a good, funny story to tell.

I had a very busy weekend planned. We talked about what I should do - still go out or stay at home. He wasn't originally going out with us that night, but he offered to go with if I needed him there. I figured it was a good idea for me to try staying distracted as much as possible. If I wasn't feeling up to being around people, DM told me to say I felt sick. With diarrhea. "It always works," he said. This is why he's my best friend.

I went out that night and actually had a good time. My friend is moving to Nashville and, since he loves country, we went to Big Apple Ranch for some two-stepping and line dancing. Although I was thinking about it at almost every minute, it seemed less scary when I was there. I think it was because that place was so carefree. It made me want to leave New York for some small town. I was thinking that it would be easier for me to not have to ever deal with people if I lived in a small enough town.

We went out to another bar after that. Watching all my friends dance around so carefree became unsettling. I just couldn't be around it any more that night. Luckily, we were across the street from my apartment. I said I was tired and went home.

My first day learning that I was living with a virus inside of me. That something inside my body was going to work against me for the rest of my life. That is something so difficult to understand and take in. I had hoped that it was all a weird, long dream. That I would wake up on Sunday and none of this would have been real.

Unfortunately, this is real and I have to learn how to live a new life.