Personal Journey with HIV
I want to say this.
I am an HIV+ man and 63 years old, I surely would have never thought of being this age at the time when I was diagnosed.
HIV in 1988
Sure, back in 1988 when I was finally diagnosed, I went through a multitude of emotions to say the least.
But I did say to a dear friend that I am sorry to say has since passed away that it was thanks to him for getting me through the initial idea of me being POZ.
Once I got through it, I vowed that I would grab the bull by the horns and not let go because I was not going down without a fight. Too many people we all knew passed too early in life but again we all felt so indestructible that it was not funny until we came face to face with this by friends and acquaintances.
Too many hospital visits, funerals and wakes did many of attend. Not to forget the many names we found it you went to see the quilt in the early days and did not realize until you found out and felt astonishment by seeing someone’s name that you knew however you knew them.
Some of you look wonderful at this age and if it were not for the hair color change people would not realize you were this age. Some of you have such discipline in keeping your body so fit as if you were still a much younger man. I deeply admire you guys and applaud you for that.
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However, without anyone being singled out because it is not my place to do that. You are the only one that can do that. Nevertheless, those of us that have survived all this time surely need to celebrate the years we made it through and hopefully we all should pass through true old age being in our 90’s or older.
Yet I can surely say from my personal point of view seeing 50 was something much less being 63 years old. But I am and I am still going forward and upward and not looking backward because that can never be changed.
Medication and side effects
Living with HIV is no picnic. It is a daily battle, good days, bad days, the many pills one must take. That is just one part of it. You must take more pills because you must deal with side effects from your main HIV medication. Then you find out you need more side effects.
Certain medications can only be administered via injection. If you have cancer as I do, then you must sit for intra-venous (IV) drip. That can take from 1 hour or longer which depends on the medication especially if when said medication must take into consideration your height and weight.
Then again you must deal with more side effects which can last from a short period to a much longer period. Medication depends on your biochemistry, which you and the medical personnel will learn about.
HIV and other medical conditions
With all this I have had my lower right leg amputated due to Cancer. My right lung had to be adhered to the chest wall because the Cancer got up into the chest cavity and was fill up pushing my lung and not allowing me to breathe.
You must also realize that whatever you inherited from your parents could grow earlier than you thought. For example, if your parents suffered from arthritis then you will feel it sooner than later simply because of HIV.
All this is what I have dealt with all my life. I was very lucky that my parents found out and I had their support, and they even went with me to appointments in the early days of my diagnosis.
This is my story, and it is not pretty. Here I stand and expose myself to you all and wish very much that no one should endure what I had to.
Thank you one and all for allowing me to post this letter.
Mr. Jazz J. Salcedo
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