Twenty five years later
Today is a writing of thanks to people and things that have kept me quite well for 25 years … pg. 13
Hello everyone! Sort of a milestone last week, as 25 years ago I was in the hospital after having my appendix removed. This emergency surgery also happened on my wedding day to my former wife, Cathy. Little did I know that the blood products I received during surgery and for 5 or 6 days after to help stop the bleeding contained two viruses that would change my life dramatically. Being a hemopheliac in the early and mid 80s was a terrible thing, as most of us contracted HIV, Hep C or both from the products that helped control our bleeds. Young or old, a lot of us are not around as HIV and AIDS ended our young lives years ago. Many who died were young children, so innocent and at the time, just so unlucky to be a hemopheliac. Better for me to get off this subject, as it still makes me quite angry when it comes to mind.
Today is a writing of thanks to people and things that have kept me quite well for 25 years. Thank you to Cathy and her extended family for being there in the beginning with their support, prayers and encouragement. There were a lot of tough years, learning about my HIV, how to care for myself and all those terrible meds.
Thank you to the community in large for accepting me when I went public in 1990 with my HIV status. Your cards, letters and your “Hellos” when I was out meant the world to me. I was very scared when going public and the city of Cornwall and its people erased those fears with kind words and acceptance. You also booted me for many teaching engagements where I was able to start to educate people on a subject few others would talk about. It made me feel useful to “our community” after speaking only out of town to those who wanted to learn about HIV/AIDS. It helped give my life some meaning, which I needed big time back then, as I still do today.
Thank you to all the docs, nurses, dentists, chiropractors, pharmacists and my health care team in Kingston for keeping me going for so long. Your care and genuine concern for me and the battles I had to fight, and still do, give me great peace of mind. You are all there when I need you, which is good to know. Thank you to Dr. Marilyn Crabtree, my local doc and to the late Dr. Redda, who cared for me for years with such heartfelt, genuine concern. How are you Mrs. Redda? I hope well!
Thank you to all my friends. I have learned through the years that some friends will be there at certain times of your life. At that particular time they are very important and then some drift apart for different reasons. That’s just part of a long life but I always think and speak of my old friends in kind words, as they were there for me and helped me through some pretty tough times. You also supported me whether it was walk- ing in an AIDS walk or just talking and listening to me vent. You know who you all are and I wish you all good health and happiness.
To all the people in my life now, I can only say thanks for being there for me and your patience. I know I can not always make plans because of my aches and pains or fatigue problems or whatever, but I appreciate you all and your friendships. For all the people who I bump into and ask how I’m doing or feeling, you always make my day. My friends are important to me and I will always help them out when I can.
A huge thank you to my family. I never told my mom or dad about my HIV infection until 5 years after finding out. I did not want them to worry too much in the good years of their lives. When I did tell them, their love, prayers and positive thoughts kept me going emotionally. My biggest wish was not having them bury their son in their lifetime.
To tell the whole 25 year story would take a book (ya I know, I should) and it’s been quite a ride. I have parts of it done, I have a great title, but don’t always have the energy or inner strength to finish it. Maybe someday.
I never really believed this would happen as I thought I would be dead long ago. My father Doug passed away years ago and my mom is still with us. Dad would have been proud I made it this far. I know mom is in her own way. My sisters and brother are of great importance to me and have helped me in so many ways. Lauren is my sounding board for the family and hears my medical situations, health issues, thoughts and fears more regularly. I am also very glad they all have not had to bury their brother.
Save the best for last relates to Faye. She is my best friend, my confident, my personal nurse and my lover. She knows me like no other and the past 12 years with Faye have been the best. We have done many things together. Traveled our country, visited many others, learned to enjoy each other’s company and genuinly care for each other. Again, we never though we’d have this long together, which we are happy for but can only hope for some more years to “make some memories.” I love you Faye, am so proud of you and will always be yours.
Faye’s son Matt will be off to college in the fall and I will miss him a lot. He keeps me young at heart and is a good kid with a bright future. I hope I have taught him some things he can use in his long life.
So it’s been 25 years! I can’t believe it! Never thought I would live until 30 or 35, now I’m old and 50. Most docs back then never though so either. Now they wonder why I’m here and healthy somewhat. Bad bloodwork last week also. Have to make 55 or 60. It’s exhausting. Thank you all for 25 years and counting. Have great summers and I’ll try to check in once or twice.
Be well everyone and if you are not well, always stay positive ( no pun intended)!
Sorry Elmo - got you 12 years ago and still, at that time, thought you’d outlive me! What a great dog, at 12, who is always by my side. Happy birthday! Also, thank you to Seaway News for printing my thoughts and gibberish for the past 15 years. It has helped me and many others I hope.