So as a child and a teenager one of the biggest things that we have always looked forward to is when we turn 21. You see in most states 21 is the age that you can drink and of course we all know if we didn’t drink while we were in high school we were we were raring to go at 21.
But you know that’s not the only time you turn 21. You see you turn 21 days old, 21 months old, 21 years old and if you are married at some point you have a 21st anniversary. Where my going with this? I have a different turning 21 that I’m extremely proud of.
As you know if you’ve read my posts or if you have read my homepage, I’m a very proud and out gay man who has been with his partner for almost 17 years. In the mid-90s I was like many folks who weren’t earning enough money and I began donating plasma twice a week, every week. I think I did this for almost 3 1/2 years. Well on January 23, 1997 I went to the location where I donated, checked in and had a seat. After about 15 minutes the doctor on premise called me back to an office and proceeded to tell me that I could no longer donate plasma. I looked at him dumbfounded and said but I’ve been donating for over 3 1/2 years. He then stated the reason you cannot donate plasma anymore is that your plasma has tested positive for HIV.
I walked out of that office in a state of shock, angry, depressed and wondering how in the hell did this happen (by the way many years later I did realize how it happened and exactly whom I contracted this from – I forgave and moved on without that person even knowing I knew). I went into denial for about five months and then on May 5th I went to the Metropolitan health District here in San Antonio had them draw my blood I waited the three weeks and then on May 27, 1997 I came to the full realization that yes I was HIV-positive. I informed my family and my friends and proceeded to figure out how in the hell I was going to deal with this. I wasn’t quite 31 when I received my diagnosis and took it seriously. However when I did receive that diagnosis I always believed that I would go home and die with my mother. You see at that time the average age of gay men dying of HIV-AIDS was 32.
Well, my God had something different in mind. You see my mother passed away on May 10, 1998 which coincidentally was Mother’s Day. I to this day do not know why or what my purpose is for still being here especially considering the damage I have done to my body over the years with my alcoholism and cocaine addiction. But my God does have me here for whatever reason.
I am proud to say that I am 21 again because I just had my 21st anniversary of thriving not just surviving with HIV-AIDS. I celebrate both in January and again in May. I have done this through the loving support of my family and of course my husband of almost 17 years and if I’m lucky and play my cards right in another four years I’ll be 21 again on our 21st anniversary. And if I continue to work as hard as I can and keep praying to my higher power, work my steps, help others and attend meetings in 20 years and 10 months I will celebrate my 21st year of being clean and sober. So HAPPY 21st BIRTHDAY to me AGAIN!!!
This is what is in My Rattled Cage today!! Thanks for visiting!!