ImageComplera, its been 1 month, 1 week and 1 day. Calculate it differently and it comes out to 38 days. I have taken this 1 pill every day and I have cried about it each of those days. After the first 14 days of sobbing loudly I have learned to allow the tears to fall in silence. 6 days after learning to cut the sound I discovered a way to cut the tears in half. Yesterday I allowed myself to drop only 5 tears. That was all I had time for. I haven’t taken it yet today but I’m hoping to get thru it with no tears today. I have spent my life being a medication rebel. I would lie to my doctor and say I’m taking it. as a child at summer camp I use to push the pills out of my mouth and into the paper water cup with out the nurse seeing the exchange. I would crumble the cup in a way that the pills will be balled up inside, throw the cup away and then run out of the “med-shed.” at home I would flush them down the toilet. In a way I feel I did the right thing by avoiding the pills as a child. HIV was very new and children were given the same drugs in the same doses as adults. I remember going to funerals and walking forward to view the body and feeling like I would soon be the lifeless corpse laying in the casket on display for my loved ones.

I learned how to lie to everyone so I could live a “normal life.” some thought I took the pills and other didn’t even know I needed medication. It wasn’t until July of 2009 that I was hit with a scary odd viral infection that caused the left side of my face to be paralyzed. I woke July 5th and I couldn’t feel the left side of my face at all. I couldn’t fully close my left eye, When I spoke only the right side of my mouth would move and I was afraid I had suffered a stroke while I slept. I was in the hospital for 3 nights. I found out that my blood pressure was high due to stress, and I didn’t have a stroke at all. It was a viral infection called Bells Palsy which attacks one or both of the major facial nerves. My t-cells were at 250, almost low enough for me to have and AIDS diagnosis. The doctors informed me that at the age of 24 I had now officially, on the records had my first opportunistic infection and if I didn’t start taking meds to boost my immune system I would be given an AIDS diagnosis. I don’t have a fear of AIDS its pretty much the same as HIV it just means you have had less the 200 t-cells and opportunistic infections. I am what they consider an “HIV controller” or a “long-term nonprogressor (LTNP)”

Long story short the sudden attack on my face was the thing that made me realize it was time to start talking about meds. I hate hospitals and I hate being alone. The night I spent in that hospital by myself made me want to do what ever it would take to make sure I didn’t have to be there again any time soon. I didn’t know that from that point on it take me three years to learn how to be adherent to my treatment. I still tried to live my “normal life” I had to stop trying to be “normal” so I could start being “real” and I must say me being “real” is so much easier then being “normal”

Time to take my pills. Complera for HIV, something else for high blood pressure, and 2 other pills to control the side effects of the HIV meds…. every day….. for the rest of my life….. wheres the kleenex?

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