and we’re back!

17 Nov

2 days back on my prozac, some good news, and a few anti-inflammatory foods later….I’m back. 

I was thrilled to hear from my case worker last night that my meds will be covered by my insurance! *CHEERS!*  There will likely be co-pays but there’s a lot to work with there as far as assistance and options and hearing that news was like someone lifting a cinder block of pain and fear off of my chest and letting me breath.  It also fuels my fire to help the rest of my “family” out there….and to lift that cinder block off of others and help them make the impossible, possible.  And I will continue to work towards helping any and all of you do that. 

But yes. Wonderful, beautiful, much needed news. My Husband and I held each other in the kitchen (I feel like you must all think we never leave that damn kitchen…but we do….) and just kept taking heavy sighs of relief.  OK. This makes it a little easier to move forward and fight the fight peacefully, healthfully.  Because again, I don’t fear this disease.  I don’t, I won’t.

OK! As my crazy, fabulous Mother says, “onward and upward!” 

I’ve had some questions regarding my diet and what I’m doing moving forward to stay healthy. And as the blog continues to expand and hopefully grow into a website we will definitely have this as a primary focus as clearly, living as long a life as possible is hugely dependent upon your health habits.  And ya know what- having said that I have spoken with Long-Term Survivors of HIV who smoke, drink soda, don’t exercise and are working on 20+ years living with the disease.  But, I would never, never advocate that.  I can’t say I don’t sort of understand it but it’s important we don’t look to it as any sort of a reassuring excuse to pick up any of our old, unhealthy habits again.  From Mac and Cheese to Heroin….(because, you know, they’re so similar) now is not the time to get reaquainted with your, “bad shit”.

Brief Health Background on Me 🙂  I am a Chronic Yo-Yo Dieter, I am an emotional eater, a binge eater, a former bulimic.  I’ve spent half my life promising myself that, “the diet starts tomorrow”.  And then I hit 25 and the pills and the nonsense wasn’t “working” as well as it used to.  I hated to go out because I dreaded getting dressed and I had no energy and often wanted to nap during the day. I wore a size 16 and I really couldn’t look in the mirror anymore.  I spent hundreds- more like thousands of dollars on diet books that were restrictive, abusive in their rhetoric and just plain dumb.  Last spring, I met my Health Coach and everything changed when she opened my eyes to the idea that my entire well-being was dependant upon the “wellness” of each aspect of my life.  Physical, Personal, Spiritual, Financial.  And it wasn’t to say that each aspect needed to be perfected but they did need to be tended to.  During my time with her I finally learned how to balance my food, and my life.  I quit a job that stressed me out for one that gave me freedom and serenity(most of the time lol), I gave up some “friends” who were abusive and unhealthy to themselves and to others and I stopped trying to clutter my life with things and stuff and only devoted time to what I really loved and needed.  My family, my loving friends, cooking the healthy food that kept us strong and well, singing, and time.  Time is the greatest gift.  And sometimes you have to sacrifice to earn money for your family and get things done but when you have time to just “be”.  It is a gift, and you should accept it.  Which was part of my “new rule” yesterday that I made about no more google-ing when I got home from work.  Thats my time to take a hot shower, to have a glass of wine, to watch JACKASS with my Husband, (it helps, believe me) to meditate.  Working til I’ve made myself sick won’t help anyone.  Take. Your. Time.

So, diet.  In my house we mostly follow the principles of Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet – without the whole wheat pasta as we are also gluten free (and no one has celiac, and we’re not big Elisabeth Hasselback fans, it’s just better for our bellies).  But I don’t like the word diet and I am totally rolling my eyes and using the term, “Lifestyle Change” but that is what it is.  It’s a lifestyle change.  I don’t have a list of what I can and can’t have – I don’t carry a point system structure in my purse….I just know better and there are certain things I couldn’t fathom putting in my body anymore. (Unless I have just been diagnosed with HIV in which case, yes, I needed that Big Mac) And if there’s something I really “miss” I find a better way to have them and make them with REAL foods.  I, for the most part am vegetarian. It’s not because I love animals- I just don’t crave meat anymore.  I love chickens- I am lobbying for my husband to get one for the backyard.  I think cows are totally cute.  And I’ve been asking for a pig for years.  But I do like my meat and if it’s been raised kindly, I see nothing wrong with killing it to be used for a good purpose.  And when I watched the Fabulous Beekman Boys have their pig slaughtered, I kinda wanted to die a little but it also drove that point home for me.  But If I watched Charlottes Web immediately following I’d probably feel differently. So I like my gluten free oats and dried fruits, beans and my almond milk and almond crackers and soups, lots of brown rice and steamed veggies and garlic. Working with a digestive wellness coach opened my eyes to many gut issues and my “spleen deficiency”.  I also follow many of the dietary suggestions for a person with “dampness” (as it is referred to in chinese medicine) inside of them. Eating that way makes me feel fabulous and added bonus, made me a size 8!  This is working for me, keeping me healthy and at a healthy weight HIV or not.  Right now one of the most important things for me to focus on is keeping my liver healthy as I’ve learned many of the HIV meds can be extremely detrimental to your liver.  I’m totally loving Kombucha and tonight I’m making my first batch of Kefir!

I’ll let you know how it goes!

Love you!



 And when did everyone in the Tri-State area become so obsessed with leaf blowing?!


Please do not hesitate to reach out to me here or on my twitter page because if I can be of any help to you, I want to be.  And


The Balance Beam

16 Nov

So…the Gabby Giffords interview didn’t make me feel like an asshole. It just made me realize even more we’re all on our own journey’s to success and purpose.  Living the life we were meant to live even if we didn’t know we were meant to live it.

I have had a really rough couple of days.  I mean, I just found out I’m HIV+, so technically I’ve had a rough couple of weeks but these last two days have been especially hard.  Last night I told one of my closest friends my news and when we hung up the phone I tried to stay in my car, parked in my driveway, and just have a good cry.  But as soon as I hit the “end call” button and started to fall apart- there was my Husband -checking to see if I was coming inside. I had a moment where I thought, “oh please, PLEASE just leave me alone.  Just let me sit here and cry for two minutes without worrying about you and you worrying about me”.  But instead  I quickly swallowed the bowling ball sized lump in my throat and went inside to help him get dinner together. 

I walked through my house in a daze.  I put ginger ale in the microwave.  I couldn’t form my sentences. And every where I went I was forgetting what I was going to do or what I had come in the room for.  I hoisted myself up on the corner of our kitchen counter as I frequently do when I ask my beloved how his day went and put my arms around his neck just because I love the way his hair smells and how good it feels to hold him.  This time, I sat there and let my hands fall at my sides and began to weep.  “please just let me go.  please, please just let me take all the pills I have and go. I can’t fight.  I don’t want to fight this…I’m too tired to fight this.  It’s not fair. Make it go away. Make someone make it go away.  Why won’t someone fix it? I want someone to fix it! IT’S NOT FAIR! ”  He held me and let me cry and we decided I should lay down and watch something stupid on tv and eat some dinner.  I had let another day go by where I had spent my entire day researching hiv meds and how to get them inexpensively and exciting myself with facts and then terrifying myself with other facts.  I had forced 3 tablespoons of black bean soup and a bottle of Kombucha down my throat.  Both really good for me but nowhere near enough to sustain me.  I had some vegetarian chilli and blue chips….then I had a little cheese…and then I still felt hungry and I looked in the mirror and hated myself.  Hated my body and how it had betrayed me…or maybe I betrayed my body.  And before I knew it I was crying again. Only this time the crying was accompanied by howling sobs, shaking and a feeling I would never catch my breath. Ever. And again, my Husband was holding me and trying to make it stop.  And though I felt I had no right to ask….all I could cry was, “someone fix it, someone take it away”.  This went on for 20 minutes and felt like it would never end. 

I want to be a Warrior.  An Advocate. A Champion for HIV and my community. But I’m so tired.  I am so tired.  I’ve heard many people in the HIV community say that having this disease feels like a full-time job.  Well I already have a full-time job. And an additional part-time one.  And friends, and hobbies.  And last night I didn’t want another job. But today’s a new day, and in knowing that being this Warrior, Advocate and Champion is part of my purpose, I’ve decided in order to do it I’ve got to make some changes.

  • First- no more googling about medication, medication packages, support, finances. Nothing.  I don’t know what we’re dealing with. I can’t know until our blood work comes back and that’s not for two more weeks. So, no more.
  • Monday is MY day.  Monday is my “day off”  from work and from now on it’s my day to go to my support group, get acupuncture, and seek my other therapies.  I’m granting myself this day for me and me alone.
  • I’m going to be more responsible with my anxiety and pain management.  2 weeks ago when I found out I took myself off Prozac….yea…I know.  I don’t know what I was thinking either.  But it wasn’t until a dear friend pointed out to me this morning that I likely sent myself into withdrawal at a very dangerous time and was then also taking Xanax….it just wasn’t good. So now I know, and I’ll fix it.
  • I’m meeting with a wonderful friend, kindred spirit, and gifted Yoga Teacher this Sunday who is going to take me through a yoga practice geared toward my specific needs so that I can continue my practice on a daily basis.
  • And tonight I am promising myself 15 minutes to go through one of my guided mediation podcast for healing and to send love and peace out into the universe – especially to those battling the virus who are not blessed to have the Husband and incredible support network I have.  I want them to know and to feel that I’m working on it….I’m creating a “family” for them.

As with anything in life there is balance.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s ever felt consumed by this disease and sadly, I won’t be the last. But there is balance- even if it’s hard to get there.  I love the SHOWTIME original series, The Big C, and now it’s really taken on a whole new meaning for me, but I was rewatching an episode and heard this exchange between Laura Linney’s character, Cathy and a Nurse. 

: Nurse: “in the meantime try to relax”  Cathy: “and how exactly do you do that when you’re terminally ill?”  I know I’m not terminally ill but I have a “chronic medical illness” and it’s hard to relax but I know it will only make me sick not to.

Friends who are reading this….all I need is to know that if I need to I can lean on you.  I don’t need you to fix it. Just take care of us. And you can “take care” of someone in thousands of ways.  Everyone can do something.  And so I’m swallowing pride (and some prozac) and I’m asking for your help because I’m admitting to you that I can’t do it alone.  I’m tired and I need your love and support to get me through.  You wanna cook a healthy meal? You know someone who can give me a massage on a sliding scale or for free? Do you have a friend who would be comfortable disclosing their status and talking to me? No someone who would have the compassion and the technological savvy to help me start building my website? Wanna come over and watch Golden Girls? It all helps 🙂

You can also educate others. Educate yourselves. I thought it was enough that now and then I donated to an AIDS charity here and there but I knew nothing.  You can read and learn, you can volunteer.  Just a hug can go a long way.  As always I continue to recommend as a resource for the newly diagnosed, their friends and family and anyone else.

A few other resources… This is an organization I will be visiting soon to see what help I might gain from their services. Which are totally FREE!  How amazing is that?! The people there have been so kind and compassionate to me- I am so grateful. And you can also visit to learn more about Philly FIGHT they also accept volunteers and donations.

Finally…. as you educate yourselves learn about your state and it’s policies concerning HIV/AIDS and more specifically what your State and Govt officials are and more importantly are NOT doing to help fight this fight. 

I wanted to make it clear that my hope for my future is to help others living with HIV/AIDS Live, Laugh and Love a healthy life rich in nutrition, peace and joy.  But these tough times are part of the journey too so I won’t lie to you that are listening when they come about. They are here to teach us.  As my husband and I held hands and cried last night I promised him this is happening for a reason and it’s not a punishment.  Something better is going to come from it.

The Light comes from the Darkness!





….and the HIV horse you rode in on…

14 Nov

Warning: I’m not wearing my HIV Warrior Princess pants today.  I’ll be lucky if I get out of my pajamas. So, I’ll try to throw in a pinch of humor here and there but at the moment I’m considering  taking some xanax and going back to bed.

Right now I am filling out a survey for pizza hut because I could win $1,000bux.

Later, I am going through my house to gather things,  photograph them and post them on craigslist.  In a couple of weeks I may be groveling to get my old part-time job back. (Because who doesn’t want to work MORE when they feel like shit?! )

This is all because as wonderful as some of the state funding for this disease is, it also sort of sucks enormous balls.  And that’s really putting it in a very lady-like, delicate, manner compared to how I actually feel.

As, “good Americans” my Husband and I always lived by that, “work hard and you’ll live well” mentality. We couldn’t afford everything we wanted to have and enjoy in life…so we took on more work to make more money. SILLY FUCKING US.  Because we certainly don’t have everything we want….we can’t take vacations…this year we probably can’t have Christmas…and more likely than not, we won’t be able to afford the medicine that the medical community tells us will, “keep you alive”.  My Husband makes “too much”. Well that’s just dandy.  The real kicker is the people telling me what a “trigger” and “killer” stress is for my illness. “don’t panic” they say.  Well…you tell me how serene you would feel.  I can’t get a fucking straight answer from anyone and the “don’t worry” ‘s are wearing my spirit pretty thin.  ALSO!?  I read a post that one meds side effect is fat deposits in the arms.  Like, seriously. Go fuck yourself, hiv.  If you make my arms any fatter…..I really, I can’t even with that one.

So I emailed my case worker this morning and told him to get crackin on my “freebie” options for going back to school and getting out of loan re-payments.  I need to write a letter to my gym when I’m done writing this.  And I want a handicapped parking sticker.  I’m not fucking around.  Get me a sticker or feel my wrath.  I’m over it. I wanna park up front. 

I told four more friends this weekend.  That sounds like a lot.  But it’s not…and you will never know how little it is until you’re in my shoes.  Imagine yourself in a room of 75 people you know very well.  Remember you are HIV positive and other than the occasional 10 minutes of finding something funny on TV to distract you, you don’t really think about much else.  Now, someone you love asks you how you are and “what’s new with you”.  WHAT’S NEW WITH ME!?Oh nothing!  My husband and I have a chronic, life-threatening illness that ruined our hopes and dreams in about 15 seconds, has destroyed our families and alienated us from our friends.  Oh, AND we painted our living room.  What’s new with you?!  Can ya see how it’s just a tad rough?

Disclosure is a hot topic among those closest to me right now.  I know the stigmas.  I know I am prone to the dramatic and the over share.  I also know what I have and hate the having of it more than you could ever hate it for me.  I appreciate concern. But perhaps some of the best advice I can give to a fellow survivor (because everyday we survive) and their friends and family….is that the only right way to disclose (or not) is my way. The fact is-  I am not legally obligated to tell or not tell.  I have told past partners who I felt were at risk. They tested negative, thank God.  And seeing as I do not plan to hold a blood brothers ceremony any time soon, nor do I foresee myself having sex EVER again, let alone with someone who isn’t my Husband…you’re all safe. 

If you’ll excuse me I’m going to go have a glass of wine -in the middle of the day-  and cook some healthy Ellie Krieger recipes and take my vitamins.  Tonight I’ll watch the Gabrielle Giffords interview and feel like an asshole for complaining about anything but until then I’m going to go listen to some George Michael and chop vegetables like an angry bitch.

Special Sauce and Other Alternative Therapies

8 Nov

Since my last post I’ve been working on a new hiv therapy that uses Big Macs to combat the virus.  It’s going really well.

It’s one of the many irritating as shit ironies of this whole thing that I have been so fucking healthy in my life lately and now this.  I conquered my depression, I was diligent with my exercise and yoga practice, I am fucking gluten free, damn it!  HOW DID THIS HAPPEN!?  So, in some form of personal protest, I had one Big Mac a day for 3 days.  Never felt better. 

One of my other “alternative” therapies is Lauricidin.  Which, in my house, we now refer to as, TRUEBLOOD.  Like, I started this Saturday.  Saturday night I was feeling like I was getting a cold which a week into an hiv positive diagnosis can make you feel like you’re getting dead- and I did a 1/4 scoop of Lauricidin and woke up like a Disney Princess.  A Disney Princess with hiv but a Disney Princess no less.  Now Disney will probably sue me. Anyway.  The chemical name is monolaurin and it’s something my “Guru”, as I call her, suggested we take.  Incidentally, since I am a pussy right now and am blogging anonymously, please feel free to email me at and I will point you in her direction.  You can read more about it here and order it as well but I shit you not, this is something the world should be taking.  I’m experiencing a few shit-tastic side effects in my first few days of dosing but thats only beause it’s detoxing me.  The benefits are insane.  And imagine how great it’s going to work when I stop eating Big Macs :). 

I had about 4 meltdowns total from Friday to last night, and I gotta tell ya, I love Xanax.  And the movie, Elf.  Elf really helps when you have hiv. My Husband and I attempted a night away to escape from hiv  (I guess we assumed it would just stay at the house with the cat) that started off miserably .  I enjoyed an anxiety attack under a fake palm tree with a martini that was almost as bad as my diagnosis.  I couldn’t stop crying.  Here we were having cocktails (our last cocktails by the way as according to Dr. Weil- it’s only a glass or two of red for us from now on) trying to pretend we weren’t, we aren’t, we don’t, and I couldn’t.  So my Husband let me cry and told the Bartender I hated my drink and to give me a Sangria because I have hiv.  Just kidding about the last part.  But he told me he said it and it made me laugh.  We went to dinner and when a 75yr old woman nursing her 3rd GnT announced to the hostess that she “needs to be seated….I’m a diabetic!”, we looked at each other and he whispered quietly to me, “well we’re hiv positive you old bitch”.  It was fun.

A week into my diagnosis I have become a firm believe that only people living with this disease should be allowed to write anything about it on the internet.  I swear to God.  You would gain more encouraging feedback if you were to google, “I’m going to take a bath in acid”.  I mean honestly, I may as well google ” hiv”, and watch Schindler’s List while listening to The Christmas Shoes because the shit people write just pretty much assures you your liver is going to fail, you are going to shit your pants and lose all your friends, and on the same day you will die.  And that’s not the case. And I know that but for a google whore like me- to not research this on the internet is so out of my comfort zone.  But I’m done now.  Also….if you’re going to buy a book about this nonsense, make sure it was written recently. Like within the last couple of years.  I read an entire book on hiv nutrition last night which convinced me that I would die like, tomorrow, shitting my pants and overdosing on vitamin c and it wasn’t until I looked to see the publishing date (1998) that I realized I had just turned myself into a Joni Mitchell listening, shit show over nothing.

Today I spoke to a Counselor from an incredible organization called, Philly Fight.  You can visit them at  This is the first person- aside from friends and family who don’t want me to die- that has assured me, I am not going to die.  He actually told me that I will live “a normal life”.  Normal.  And look, I’m not an asshole. I know what I have.  But I also don’t smoke, I’m not drinking draino, I’m going to eat my vegetables and do some more yoga and I’m going to have the normalist fucking life you ever did see.

Are You There, Dame Elizabeth?

6 Nov

I could think of a million other ways I’d rather lose weight than this. 

Possible methods would include vomiting, letting midgets urinate on me, killing a goat…I’m not saying these are actual, proven weight loss methods. I’m just thinking about things that would be really bad but still not as bad as when a small Indian man sits across from you and tells you, “You are hiv positive; There is nothing I can say to console you.” No shit, Sabu.

Then I went home and googled, “hiv positive” and realized that I should’ve been dead like 20 minutes ago according to 90% of the ignorant, misinformed websites out there.  And I could not stop hearing Neil Young singing, “Philadelphia” in my head, or the entire score from RENT.  It sucks.  There is crying.  Then there is more crying.  Then my eyes became so swollen I wondered how I could ever cry more and then….I did.  I was diagnosed on Tuesday, November 1st, 2011.  And while I’ve read that some “LTS’s” or…Long Term Survivors, celebrate their “2nd Birthdays” with a cake each year….I plan on living forever and drinking heavily each November 1st….and eating a Big Mac meal with a candle in it. Medium. Hi C Orange. No ice.

I don’t know how I got this way.  I do know it was not my tattoo.  My Mom likes that story though. She really would like to go through the rest of her life believing I am not, nor have I ever been, sexually active.  If I were Michelle Duggar, my Mom would still manage to convince herself that I have never had sex. Ever. I’ve had several hiv/aids tests. All negative. These were mostly prompted by the fact that my most serious relationship, prior to my marriage, was with a gay, heroin addict.  You don’t get much more hiv-ish than that.  And yet, despite the mediocre sex we had 7 times in 5 years- he did not give me hiv. He probably couldn’t even ejaculate, partly because he was on heroin, and partly because I wasn’t a man.  So yea….I have no answers as far as that goes. 

 Almost a week has gone by and sometimes 10 or 15 minutes pass where I forget.  I forget I’m HIV positive.  But I’m not scared anymore.  Is that bad? I’m not scared.  I’m angry and stubborn and I wish I’d had more of a drive like this Junior year of high school when they told me I could take my SATS twice or accept my shitty first time scores.  I have irrational thoughts. Like…way past suicide….I have thoughts about Dame Elizabeth Taylor.  The other day I thought to myself, “geez, it’s a shame Dame Elizabeth Taylor died earlier this year because she was a huge HIV/AIDS activist and she would’ve totally helped me!”.  Don’t ask me why I thought this because I don’t know. I never MET Dame Elizabeth Taylor, I don’t know why she would help me.  It just felt like a great solution at the time. 

Since I was diagnosed I’ve started dressing like a lesbian version of the unibomber.  I feel like in some sort of a depressed, emo, L Word way it helps me to just pass through society un-noticed.  The truth is… it makes me stand out more when I refuse to wear make-up, cover my puffy, ambien-laced, eyes with Tom Berenger-esque aviator sunglasses, and put the hood up on the faux leather jacket I bought myself at Target as a, “This jacket will look great on me at the clinic” present.  On Monday I am planning on having my gel set of nails taken off.  My girlfriend’s coming to support me….like when you have cancer and your friends stand next to you while you shave your head to show solidarity.  I just feel like the nails don’t go with the yoga, vegan, namaste, hiv, Goddess I am planning on becoming after I finish eating my weight in pizza turnovers this weekend.

Here’s the deal.  I need to laugh. We need to laugh. My reason for starting this blog is to find a light at the end of the hiv. And yes, I meant for that to sound incredibly lame.  Because what’s out there as far as information goes is lame.  People probably don’t die from AIDS….they probably die from the stress they feel when they google, “hiv”.  And if someone can google hiv and read about me, and Dame Elizabeth and pizza turnovers and I give them their 10 -15 minutes in a day to not think about it…well then, that’s what I’m good for.