Posts Tagged ‘diagnosis’
Part 2 of 4 Part Series
“Through my illness I learned rejection. I was written off. That was the moment I thought, Okay, game on. No prisoners. Everybody’s going down. “
In this second part of this series, I want to talk about knowing your opponent. You need to see your opponent to understand their game plan. You need to know all about HIV and how it plays the game.
I know that you might say that living with HIV is no game, but what is a game anyway? Isn’t it some form of contest where there are opponents and rules that decide the winner? It is no different when your opponent is HIV and winning means living the healthiest life possible.
What is HIV’s strategy to win? It is a simple strategy of finding the CD4 cells in your immune system and using them to replicate. By destroying the ability of the infected cells to do their job in the immune system, your body then loses the ability to fight many infections. HIV is tricky and it changes its attack over time by mutating.
But your opponent has a weakness that can be exploited. If HIV is not able to replicate and mutate as often as it would like, it can be put into the corner. A combination of HAART drugs creates problems for HIV replication, keeps the HIV offspring low, and reduces the possibility of HIV mutating.
HIV also doesn’t like healthy living, good nutrition and a toned physique.
For every person in this fight, there is a unique game with its own special set of rules for your body. Your strategy to fight HIV requires you understanding your opponent and how it fights in your body.
Here are five ways to give you the edge in fighting HIV and in life:
Be real, be authentic, and be yourself. There is no way you can face your opponent with blinders on and no way to win this battle without being in focus. Too often people spend incredible amounts of energy trying to bend themselves into something they’re not or hide from the truth.
Shower your HIV team with honesty. Your team is your lifeline and they deserve your honesty in sharing this battle with you. Tell your HIV doc the truth about your habits and experiences so they can craft a strategy that can win. Be upfront with your support team about how you feel and what you need.
Take a sincere interest in HIV. You have got to understand it to fight it. Take the steps necessary to be the expert on your body and its response to HIV. Be the first to know what is happening and what your next steps should be.
Always be positive. Positive is more than a diagnosis in your life. It is easy to pile on to a complaint fest or add to the chorus of negativity on living with HIV. But you can be the standout who is focused on the positive outcome. It doesn’t just make your life easier; it makes your immune system healthier.
Recognize others. Don’t forget that you aren’t in this battle alone. Your team is with you and this includes caseworkers, doctors, therapists, family and friends. Let them know how much you value what they do for you and the sacrifices they make for you.
“I never thought of losing, but now that it’ s happened, the only thing is to do it right. That’s my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life.” ~Muhammad Ali
No one on this planet is going to dispute that getting told you are HIV positive is going to knock you down. Does it have to knock you out?
The life cycle of HIV is a series of challenges not too far removed from a boxing match. (I am a big fight fan so bear with me on this one.) Maybe you don’t want to think of your life as being in the ring, but help me to answer a few questions…
Why do some of us take that first big punch and go down in the ring never to get up?
Why do others take the killer jab and get up to shake it off? Its not like we don’t know another punch is coming.
We all experience failure, setbacks, disappointments and obstacles. There is no denying that a punch hurts and that is okay. We are human. Bad tests, side effects and stigma hurt us. It’s part of the deal of being positive and being in the ring.
The difference is how long you let it keep you down.
Here is something I learned and recommend for you. What used to knock me out for 2 weeks I eventually brought down to 2 days. Then I got it down to 2 hours and then 20 minutes. Now when I am knocked down, I give myself about 2 minutes to lie in the ring and then I shake out the cobwebs and get back to the fight.
That referee is going to be counting me to a knockout no matter what I do. The difference now is that I know what a knockout really is. I have seen first hand what can happen if HIV disease progression is not controlled. If I am not in the fight, the people I love can be hurt.
I look to replace the hit with something positive. I never allow myself to end the round or the day with a defeat. I will keep in the fight until I can gain some kind of victory – some kind hit back at what I am facing. It may be small, but it is my victory.
And yeah, I do my strut around the ring with arms held high…
Here are a few things you can do to deal with the knockdowns:
Focus Your Vision. Where you focus your energy determines where you will go. If you focus on the setback and the challenges it brought you, you can’t move forward. However, when you focus your vision on what you want your life with HIV to be, you’re using the setback for what it really is: a transition.
Make a Decision. Both success and failure are decisions. So once your vision for your life with HIV is in place, you need to decide you’re going to win despite the setback. The truth is people who successfully overcome obstacles choose to be successful. They understand that decision and choice are important parts of their plan to live with HIV. No matter what setback they encounter, they decide to overcome it and prevail.
Take Action. A decision without action is simply an illusion, and an action without a vision is just confusion. Your vision plus decisive action can change your world.
Keep the Desire. Desire is the degree of energy you’re willing to exert in order to reach your goal. In other words, how badly do you want your life with HIV to be positive and what are you willing to do in order to achieve it?
In my next few blog posts, we are going to talk about facing off against your opponent HIV. I look forward to hearing about your matches and how you face off against HIV.