Let me tell you a story... This is my reality and my truth... A month ago, when I finished up my IV treatment for my herpes infection, things were great! That Tuesday I was beat down from the treatment but other than that, things were wonderful. There was no herpes to be found.
All cleared up, I was one happy camper! I went on the road to speak at Indiana University, then to Indianapolis to spend a day of R & R with my good friend Pastor Mike. But when I woke that Friday morning I was in pain and discomfort. Are You Kidding Me?!?!? Was my first thought.
I called the doctor and she said the same thing but took it a step further. She said that it's very unlikely that I would be having a new herpes infection again so soon. In fact, she said, the IV medication cidofovir is still in your system, "No way! It must be some kind of irritation." So Mike and I had a blast and I put it out of my mind.
But sure enough, on Monday, I had an open raw sore that grew, it seemed, over night. So we, me and my doctor, made a plan. The following week I would have yet another biopsy on my clit... I couldn't do it that week because I was on the road both Tuesday and Wednesday, which are our clinic days. I went on the road and the herpes lesion grew and grew. And to make matters worse, I didn't take any pain medication because I wanted to be on top of my game speaking and traveling by myself. And I forgot the oral and topical medications to give me a tad of relief. But I kept it moving. I spoke in St. Louis, visited a wonderful tea shop to blog about and fellowshipped with a fellow blogger in pain beyond explanation.
I arrived home late Thursday evening. That Good Friday, I could barely walk. The herpes virus was wreaking havoc on my nervous system... That's what it does and there is no pain worse than nerve pain. That shit wears you OUT! I stayed on the sofa all day and by 7:00 p.m. I was already in bed. As I tweeted throughout the day and really that week, my followers kept me lifted in prayer. But I knew that I knew that I would be back on IV that Tuesday, just a week after I had ended the four week treatment.
But then I saw a miracle before my eyes. Saturday morning it started to clear up and when I got to the doctor's on Tuesday for the biopsy, she said that it looked like healed herpes and there was no need to biopsy or go back on IV... WOW!! It was my Easter miracle and I was grateful. All I could say was that prayer changes things.
But then a week later I had another tiny sore in a new place on my vulva. I went to the doctor last Wednesday and she took three very painful cultures. But to the naked eye, it was clearly herpes.
My doctor sat there puzzled. There is no way... No way... No way I should be having another aggressive infection just two weeks off of the IV medication. And to make the confusion worse, my T-cell count and viral load are wonderful. Why I continue to have this particular opportunistic infection is beyond anything they understand. But so is the miracle of my life. I should have died fifteen years ago with a T-cell count of 8 and three rounds of PCP, the number one infection that kills people with AIDS, but I didn't.
As I work through what's next, of course I feel like I'm at the end of the road. For Real... I'm tired... I'm tired of being in pain all the time... I'm tired of being reminded by AIDS that I made choices that have left me jacked up... I'm tired of IV treatments and creams and drops and doctors looking, cutting and poking on my vulva. I'm tired. And I wonder if any man will look past my physical and see any worth in me. No one wants to be alone for the rest of their life.
But like I told the graduates at Northeastern Illinois University on Saturday, there are consequences for every choice you make in life. All I can do is be a woman and except the choices I made about my life and body. Even though my critics have said I was "vile" for telling them that! Deep...
But anyway... Being tired does not mean I want to quit. Quite the contrary, I want all the miracles I can get in my life. I know, that I know, that God is moving in my life so I just hold on with as much Grace and dignity as I can. Even if a man never sees value in me, I'm so grateful that God can.
But at the end of the day, with a pain wreaked body, I accept the miracles as they come with gratitude. If this week it seems like my world is about to crumble, I will hold on to the miracle of last week... It will keep me grounded and remind me that God can!
Post Script: Right now we are trying other medication with a prayer that they work. But mostly, I think my doctor is buying time because she doesn't want to put me on IV again just four weeks out. In the meantime, she is reaching out to other doctors across the country to see if anyone else has the any answers for me. Please keep me in your prayers. BTW... If I did not have HIV, I would NOT have aggressive herpes like this. AIDS is no joke... Keep yourself safe...