“The moment you accept that imperfect is more beautiful and full of joy than perfect is a good moment.”
I always tell my friends that “Life after HIV is beautiful.” I was able to find it, but the journey I had wasn’t really easy. There were beautiful moments, but sad things also happened along the way. These tested my faith, but here I am.
I began feeling the virus taking over my entire body. It really changed the usual strength I used to have. I felt like being so dependent on the things and the people inside the house. I couldn’t even manage to stand up on my own or to move from one place to another. It was the exact feeling of a person who just wanted to lie down the whole day, literally.
I used to be really chubby (or fat..whatever) before my diagnosis. When I faced the mirror the day I went home from the hospital, I had mixed feelings - fear, depression, frustration, and sadness. I always felt sad when I tried to weigh myself, even in the treatment hub during my check up. My weight kept dropping. There were times when I really didn’t look at my face in the mirror. It scared me.
The medicines I took from the hospital changed my skin color, and I was about to begin my TB meds and ARVs soon. Poor liver. My skin also reacted badly to my prophylaxis for a couple of months. I started to have skin lesions on my arms and feet. They were just really unpleasant to look at.
Aside from the loss of appetite, the GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) came back. I was still feeling indigestion, and my stomach was always upset. I always threw up, which somehow made me feel better from my indigestion.
The HIV continued to change me, even my inner self. I was a really happy and a hardworking guy. I started to feel different this time. I always saw myself looking in the very far distance. Thinking of nothing. It felt like the time always went really slow. I also became sadder every day. The light in me started to diminish. The continuous pain I had to experience was getting intense. “I really want this to be over… like right now.”
One night, I got really bored so I asked my dad if I could sit in the rocking chair on our veranda (porch/balcony). My dad was a little hesitant to let me do it, and I saw a sudden change in his face. Like worried. I finally got my rocking chair ready, and I sat there quietly. Rocking gently. I was still staring at the dark sky. Suddenly, I saw a picture of me in my thoughts. I was about to jump over that balcony. When I finally realized it wasn’t true, I stood up and went inside the house. I saw our ate (maid) crying. I asked her “Why? What’s wrong?” No one gave me an answer.
Two weeks after that said event, my mom approached me and asked me to have a talk for a moment.
Mom: Anak, kumusta ka? (How are you, son?)
Me: Medyo nagaadjust pa po ng konti, pero babalik din lakas ko. (I’m still adjusting, but I know my energy will come back in time.)
Mom: Ikaw huh? Pinagalala mo yung mga tao dito sa bahay one time. (You made the people in the house so worried about you.)
Me: Huh? Bakit? (Huh? Why?)
Mom: Natatandaan mo nung nagsabi ka na gusto mo umupo sa veranda gamit ung rocking chair? Akala nila nagpapaalam ka na. (Remeber when you wanted to sit on the rocking chair on the veranda? They thought you’re bidding farewell.)
Me: Ay hindi po. Gusto ko lang magpahangin nun. Bored kasi ako sa loob. Pero nakita ko nga ung sarili ko sa isip ko na tatalon. Kaya pumasok ako agad. (No. I just wanted some fresh air that time. I was really bored. But I saw myself in my head about to jump that’s why I entered the house right away.)
Mom: Wag mo na ulit gagawin yun. Buti naman at nalabanan mo yun. (Please don’t do it again. I’m glad you overcame what happened.)
Me: Opo, Ma. (Yes Mom.)
This conversation with my mom made me realize how the people around me really wanted me to fight. To continue living. To take another shot at life. I really felt loved, and that served as my light of hope. The light that God let me see.
I started to feel the energy coming back. It was a good sign. The people in the house always complimented how I started to look better. I also started to take a few shots on my phone to have my profile picture changed. Not really interesting, but the improvement I started to have made me gain the confidence I had lost little by little.
Life is always full of surprises, good or bad. This in particular was a bad one. My mom and I were talking about some random stuff when I mentioned to her about my team manager visiting me in the hospital. My mom’s reaction changed. I was surprised, so I asked her why. I also asked her if she was the one who told my team manager about my situation.
Prior to my team manager’s visit, I received a text message from her. “Hey, _______. I already knew your condition. I will pay you a visit today.” I didn’t mind at that time how she knew about it. I just replied with “Yes.” She finally arrived. Just like the kind team manager I knew, she kept giving me words of encouragement. I was really happy to see her, because it had been several weeks since I last saw her (since I filed for an indefinite leave). When she was about to leave, my mom accompanied her outside and had a talk for a moment.
My mom cleared that it wasn’t her who told my team manager about my situation. I discovered that it was my boyfriend who did. I was in disbelief. I really didn’t want to believe what my mom said, but one thing’s for sure, I had to know the truth.
(To be continued…)
This article first appeared on the blog Optimistic Ryu (Everything about my POZitive life and more) here.
You can follow Optimistic RYU on twitter @RyuMPLUS.