In my last post I mentioned that a few friends had surprised me with something amazing, it was a CRUISE! March 8th-15th will be spent on The Carnival Conquest visiting Grand Cayman, Montego Bay and Cozumel. There was a large group of people going but with all the money I've had to spend on doctors and meds this year I just couldn't afford to join them. They decided I had to go and were able to arrange a free addition for me because the group was so large. This means I have to start getting in shape and getting my fake tan on if I'm going to be comfortable shirtless with a bunch of strangers. Becky, Adam and Shawn (see picture 1 in my last post) are THE BEST!
I'm spending my weeks in Austin, TX for work right now and having a pretty good time. It's been unusually cold here which is good preperation for my trip home to West Virginia for Christmas the 23rd-28th. Of course, that trip is looming large on my mind since I've decided to discuss my HIV with my parents on this trip. I have what I think is a good relationship with my parents and I really don't lie to them about anything and it's starting to feel like I'm lying to them by ommitting the fact that I'm now HIV+. I saw my Mom in June when I visited home for a weekend for a cousin's wedding but I decided not to tell her then and ruin the weekend. I did tell my cousin, Holly, who was getting married and her understanding and support was amazing.
On the note of support and great friends, I recieved another response to my World AIDS Day letter that made me cry, with Brent's (see picture 2 in my last post) permission I'm going to share it with you.
Dan, First I want to apologize for not having responded until now, almost two weeks after the fact. While I have been busy with school and graduation, it was no excuse. I wish I could entirely explain the delay but I don't know that I can. Something that has been very hard for me to reconcile since receiving your email on World AIDS Day is the fact that our friendship would likely not be where it is today, without this event. I am split between wishing you never had to deal with HIV or Atripla or any of it, and the alternative of not having you in my life, at least to the extent that you are now. I never told you this, but I knew about your diagnosis before you told me. I can't explain it to this day. I came home from work after an uneventful Friday night at work I saw your facebook status that you were "having the worst day of your life." Somehow, I knew. I truly lack an explanation because it wasn't even somethingthing I thought about or pondered, I just knew. I remember texting you as quickly as my fingers could move but I never got a response. My response to your confirming my feeling was to devour information. I think I read more about HIV in those few days than I have ever read about anything in my life. Since then I've found myself staying up to date on news on the topic, not to mention correcting anyone who misuses the term AIDS. I am very proud to have a friend who is willing to battle the stigma of HIV and I hope that I can do the same, at your side. Ultimately, a lot of people will probably be saved from their ignorance as a result of your being brave enough to be honest with those around you about something you are living with. I also want to say thank you for being honest and trusting of me, especially in the first months after March. Your sharing of results from doctors visits was a saving grace for me because not only did it push me to continue learning and understanding HIV, it also helped me avoid a constant worry that I would have dealt with if I had been kept in the dark. Most importantly I want you to know that I will always be here for you. For better or for worse, for richer for poorer, and in sickness and in health. Okay, so we're not married but you mean the world to me and you will always have a place in my heart.
Your friend, Brent
I really am so lucky to have such amazing friends, I love you BRENT!
I also was shown a video by a co-worker that takes inspirational movie quotes and mashes them all together that I really like and think you should all watch: