Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Different Christmas

Tonight is Christmas eve. It's gonna be my first Christmas after being diagnosed as positive. What do I feel? I really don't know. Am I happy? Am I sad? Well, I'm definitely not as excited as in the past Christmases, but I'm also not sad. And certainly I'm not depressed. Just neutral. I actually don't know what to write in this blog, I just knew I had to write something since it's my first HIV Christmas. So, I'll just let my ideas flow. 

Well, I was supposed to fly out of the country to celebrate Christmas and New Year with my family. We planned it as early as Feb or March this year. But, since I was later diagnosed with HIV, and my current CD4 is still below 100, I decided to cancel my trip and just stay home in Manila. So yeah, instead of the usual Noche Buena at 12, I decided to just have a special early Christmas dinner with kasambahays (since I cannot eat 2 hours before Efavirenz). Also, no opening of gifts at the strike of 12. Yes, I miss those things. But I refuse to be sad. Truly, being happy or sad is a choice! And I choose not to be sad!

On a positive note, there are a lot of things to be grateful of. I recovered from three serious OI's this year. I am a member of The Red Ribbon Facebook group, a secret group of PLHIV and HIV advocates. In that site, I normally see members announcing that they lost someone they know due to AIDS. Indeed, having an AIDS opportunistic infection (OI) is very serious. It could cost you your life if left untreated. In fact, before I was diagnosed with HIV, I even know two acquaintances who passed away in their 30s due to pneumonia. Of course people, including myself, speculate it was an AIDS OI. That's how serious an OI is. It could kill. As for myself, this year, I had not just pneumonia, but also TB and meningitis... at an advanced stage of AIDS. Pneumonia can cause death. 
Meningitis even has a higher death rate than pneumonia. Yet, I survived the 3 serious illnesses! Am I not blessed?  Do I even have the right to complain of not being able to open gifts on Christmas eve? I may not celebrate the typical Christmas eve with my family this year; I may not unwrap several gifts during Noche Buena. But this year, I received the most special gift that I could ever ask for... The Gift of Life!

Now I feel great. Have a blessed Christmas everyone! :) 

Disclaimer: Not to scare everyone. Crypto Meningitis is a serious infection. But its mortality rate is just 1.6 out of 10 Filipino PLHIV who get it (see my past post: http://pinoyhiv.blogspot.com/2013/12/at-what-cd4-do-ois-attack.html). It is very much treatable. So if you have symptoms, consult your doctor immediately.