I don't quite remember when I fell in love with tea but I do remember the most special moments of me drinking tea. I was eighteen years old and I went to live with my biological mother for four months. I had just met her months earlier and it was awkward for both of us. She and her ex-husband lived a very quiet life in Boulder, Colorado. He was a professor at one of the universities and she was a housewife. After years of drug addiction and being in and out of jail, she deserved the break. I was homeless so she and her husband agreed to let me come live with them. Each evening my mother and I would find a spot in the living room with a cup of tea and a book.

Now, years later, I'm a self proclaimed tea expert. I start each day with a wonderful English Breakfast tea to get me going. As the day progresses, who knows what wonderful tea I will crown queen. But for sure, I have at least three cups of tea a day. And yes, when I can, I have tea everyday at about 3:00 P. M. I love to invite my friends over for tea and cupcakes and so far everyone thinks it’s a delightful experience. I am always in search of the best blend of tea. Yes, I’m a tea snob, I prefer loose tea but I do like some bags also. I have learned not to judge a book by it’s cover. Some bags can be quite nice. And yes again, any Diva knows, what you drink your tea out of is very important.

Tea for me is a way of life. It's wellness for the mind body and spirit. Here, I will explore every expect of tea possible, with a high concentration on wellness. I will review the best teas, the best places to have tea, the best ways to brew tea, the best tea accessories, what tea goes best with what foods, and the list goes on and on. I plan to share my passion for tea with you. And I've been told, nothing I do is ever boring so be prepared to go on this tea journey with me.

RLT Collection Tea Ball Frosted Clear Beads!

Mint Medley by The Persimmon Tree Tea Company

About This Tea:

Until recently I had never drank Peppermint Tea made with loose leaves. And Honestly, I will probably never go back. The freshness of loose Peppermint Tea cannot be denied. When I open the can of Mint Medley, From The Persimmon Tree Tea Company, I feel as if I stepped into a garden of peppermint leaves. It is a perfect blend of organic peppermint and spearmint leaves grown in the US.

Mint Medley has become a favorite and I find myself reaching for this tea tin almost everyday. It is great for on-going nausea. The health benefits and endless. It relieves muscle aches, headaches, migraines, stress. And now that it feels like someone is sitting on my chest and I have a mean cough, I'm sure it will help to relieve some of this congestion in my chest. Mint Medley has been in my tea cup more than any tea as of late. It has really helped with my winter cough, congestion related to this bout of pneumonia. You can read my full review on The Persimmon Tree Tea Company Mint Teas.

RLT Collection AIDS Awareness Tea Ball!

Welcome to my world of books! As an pre-teen books changed my world. I fell in love with the writers of the Harlem Renaissance period and the more I read the more I wanted to read. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It spoke to my own degradation and gave me hope for a better tomorrow. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

I love to read! Inside a book I escape into someone else's life. There is something wonderful about turning to the next page of a wonderful story. Something intoxicating about the smell of the book and the story it brings to life. Reading brings me joy, and these days with my health in the balance, I find solace in my books.

I spent hours in my bedroom sequestered with the door closed reading the classics from the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes, Larsen, Hurston, Wright and Baldwin. Books became my escape and my salvation. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

Reading is the one thing that the pain of my life could never take away from me. It was the thing that helped to make it better. And even today, living with AIDS, books continue to be the safest place for me. It’s the one thing that belongs to me that AIDS cannot take away from me.The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS.

The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS. I have read hundreds of books from many different genres and I will pick the best of my reads over the years. I warn you, it will not be exclusively white or black, male or female, fiction or non fiction, it will be all of them.

I’m so excited and I’m grateful to everyone who wants to be a part of this venture. We already have 110 Book Club Members. You can email me @ RLTReads@raelewisthornton.com. The Twitter hashtag is #RLTReads. We can make this book club as wonderful as we want to make it. Who says that Oprah has to have the only ownership to a wonderful book club?

This Month We are Reading In My Fathers House by E Lynn Harris

Read along and join our discussion July 19th at 7 pm CST

For more Tea with Rae "Vlogs" Click here to visit her youtube channel

Thursday, August 26, 2010

No Easy Solution!

I’m scared as hell! And I don’t say that often. But this is the one time AIDS has got me walking a tightrope. I’ve been sick for the last 15 days and there is no easy solution. Not a one! Two weeks ago yesterday, the doctor and I had a long discussion about my overall health. I haven't been feeling well for sometime, fatigue, headaches, mild nausea. The causes could be many, from infection to depression to medicine side effects. We developed a plan to figure it out, ruling out possibilities one by one.

Needless to say, I left the doctor’s sad. Having a hard discussion about the long term impact of having advanced AIDS was not easy. I needed a break from it all. So I went to dinner with my girlfriend and fellow blogger Dwana and we ended the day at More Cupcakes, one of my favorite spots. It was a great ending to a hard day, but the moment I stepped into my home things changed. I had major diarrhea. By 3:00 AM it was clear to me that I was sick. It was also clear that this was new. I immediately thought that I had some kind of food poisoning. I never even got a chance to enjoy my cupcakes.

By the next day it only got worse, severe nausea, diarrhea and food sensitivity. Even the smell of food made me sick to my stomach. I didn’t call the doctor because I was sure it would pass. Then one day turned into two, turned into three and then the weekend. And by Monday morning, my doctor was out of town. By the time she came back, I was 12 days deep into whatever this was. I had lost 8 pounds. I had nausea all day everyday and diarrhea to the point of pooping on myself in public. And my sensitivity to food is unbelievable. All I have to do is take one bite of some foods and it makes me sick to my stomach. My diet has consisted of chicken and rice and crackers. Cupcakes are out of the question. In fact, sugar makes me sick beyond explanation. If I didn't know any better I would have thought I was being punished for my cupcake indulgences. But I know better.

As I described the symptoms to my doctor, her sighs got deeper and deeper. I knew this could not be good. So we developed a new plan. Treat the symptoms with the hope that it will pass. But the anti-nausea medicine was an #epicfail. The side-effects only compounded my current situation.

So here I am, scared. The solution that we are headed for is risky business in the world of HIV/AIDS treatment and care. This shit reads like some soap opera or the making of a reality show. It seems that I could have very well had food poisoning from my dinner. Any number of things would have caused it from the crab cakes to the sauce. *sigh* Like with most people with AIDS, food poisoning is not that simple. Having a compromised immune system leaves you vulnerable to infections that most people fight off in just a few days.

So it seems that the food poisoning made my stomach even more sensitive. An extra sensitive stomach combined with toxic medications and the mild problems I was already having increased the sensitivity and made it more difficult for me to tolerate my regular medicine regime. So the bottom line is this, it seems that my body is on toxic overload. My stomach cannot withstand my current medicine regime, as a result of the sensitivity created by the food poisoning. Unbelievable... I know... Right? *SMH*

The solution is the scariest part: a Drug Holiday. What the Hell is a Drug Holiday? Well, I will have to stop taking all of my HIV medications for a week or maybe even two to allow the toxins to leave and my body to readjust. Currently, I have way too much going on and it’s not getting any better. And, I’m losing a pound like every two days, not healthy at all. Plus, I’m freaking miserable! No joke! I am miserable!!

But there is a serious danger in taking a Drug Holiday. I could develop a resistance to my current medicine cocktail, which means that when I try to go back on my medication, it will not work. I know what some of you are saying, there are tons of HIV medications out there. True, but not for me. The fact is, no matter how much you like me, or how good I look, or how much energy it seems that I have, I do have advanced AIDS. I have already taken everything under the sun. And even with complete compliance in my medicine regime I still already have serious drug resistance. The fact is, there are not a lot of places for me to go in terms of treatment. So I’m faced with the dilemma I have never been faced with. Stop taking my medications to get better. But the consequences could mean drug failure, which in the end limits my treatment options.

Let’s face it, I’m a walking miracle. This I truly understand. I also understand that life and death is in God’s hand. But I have also been there before. Limited treatment is no walk in the park. In fact, it is your worst nightmare with AIDS. Without effective treatment the quality of one's life could deteriorate to nothing. It is scary! I’ve been there and done that. It’s the stuff old school AIDS is made of.

In the end I know that I have to be a big girl. I must brace myself and I must pray. And I must cling to this understanding... All things work together for good to them that Love the Lord and are all according to His purpose....

Post Script: We make this decision on Friday...
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