- After having to quit school, battling a mysterious illness for four months and spending three weeks in the hospital it is learned that I have HIV.
- On Valentines Day I start my first cocktail of anti-HIV meds which consisted of Truvada and Sustiva.
- Jarred first contacts me online.
- Jarred and I meet for the first time.
- I ended up in the hospital again for a second time with pneumonia.
- My best friend Wayne and I head to Orlando for a mini-vacation.
- While dancing on the floor at Hoedowns I had my first mild heart attack. I finished the dance before I ran outside and collapsed (the laws of dance etiquette are strong.)
- Both Terri Shavio and Pope John Paul II die, delivering devastating blows to the Catholic Church.
- I had to do a home course of antibiotics for pneumonia and bronchitis.
- I went on my first vacation in a long time to Key West with Jarred, Wayne and a group of friends. It was here that I realized I did more than “loke” (a combination of like and love) Jarred. It was upon our return home we shared the love word with each other.
- My viral load plummeted from 439,000 to 670.
- My cocktail was deemed a clinical failure due to unmanageable side effects. My cocktail is changed to Truvada, Norvir, Reyetaz.
- I stand up for the HIV/AIDS community vocally for the first time by debating a street preacher at pride who was holding up a sign that stated “AIDS: Judgment or Cure?”
- I ended up back in the hospital for 8 days with pneumonia. With this hospital visit came my AIDS diagnosis.
- Realizing that life is short and love is wonderful I asked Jarred to marry me while dancing to the song “You Had Me From Hello” sung by Kenny Chesney.
- I took a temporary assignment in an undisclosed location to help cover overdue expenses. It was to last 6 months to a year.
- Missing Jarred I come back home after only 6 weeks of being away.
- The famed musical “Rent” comes to the big screen. With it came tears. It was the first time I cried since I became HIV positive.
- I officially became a published columnist with the Atlanta Journal Constitution. I was asked to write an article about young people and HIV/AIDS. The article was published on the 29th and was entitled “No One Picture of HIV/AIDS”. That article opened the door for me to work with local AIDS Service Organizations in their Youth Outreach Programs.
- My 23rd birthday party was fabulous. The theme was taken from a Golden Girls Episode: “Every year that isn’t a headstone is a milestone.”
- Jarred and I finally set a date for our wedding: September 17th 2006.
As I look back in reflection I can honestly say that this has been one of the more difficult years in my life. However, without my friends and family it certainly would have been unbearable. And to you my readers (all those who comment on my blog and personally through e-mail) I want to say thank you so much for making this a great year. I hope that my blog continues to provide hope and inspiration to you as well as the occasional laugh. Raise your glasses high as we toast to 2005…2005 we hardly knew ye but I am sure as hell glad to see you go! Here is to 2006!
With love and gratitude,