March #152 : Editor's Letter-March 2009 - by Regan Hofmann

POZ - Health, Life and HIV
Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
E-newsletters
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join
Username:
Password:

Back to home » Archives » POZ Magazine issues




Table of Contents
 

Zen and the Virus

Sex, Tourism and HIV




Staph Strains

No More Brain Drain?

Measure Up!

Surviving HIV in Prison

A (Much) Faster Test for Hepatitis C

Web of Support

The Word: Nocebo

The Ups and Downs of On and Off

Positive Chatter

Prostate Cancer and HIV: Treatable

On Your Mark, Get Set...Taxes!




About Face

Second Time Around

Rubber World?

Redemption Song

Southern Belles

Week On, Week Off




Editor's Letter-March 2009

Letters-March 2009

London Calling

Help Us Make History. Again.

GMHC Treatment Issues-March 2009



 
Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


Scroll down to comment on this story.


email print

March 2009


Editor's Letter-March 2009

by Regan Hofmann

A Matter of My Life—and Death

When the doctor told me I had HIV, he said I had a year, maybe two, to live. I was diagnosed in the middle of seroconversion, and based on my blood work (high viral load, very low CD4 count), he erroneously assumed I had had HIV for a long time. For the first three months of being HIV positive, I thought my life was going to end—soon.

But then a funny thing happened on the way to my death—they told me I might live a normal lifespan after all.

Several months after my diagnosis, while I was under the care of a new doctor, my blood work revealed that I’d just gotten HIV. And a new class of medications had just been approved; they were bringing people back from the brink of death. So, it seemed I had more time than they thought. But even with the possibility of a longer life, I still had to face the possibility of a premature death. Maybe not as imminent as before, but still, sooner than I’d like.

Struggling to deal with my fears of death, and my survivor’s guilt (why should I get to survive HIV when it had killed so many others?), I finally realized that neither doctor had told me anything I hadn’t always known: Death finds us all, and no one knows when it’s coming. I understood that, in some ways, having HIV didn’t make me any different than I was before. I was always going to expire—no one gets out of life alive. That made me resolute to relish my life, while preparing for the end.

And so, after the advent of protease inhibitors and being told that I could have “many more years” to live despite HIV, I have never taken a single moment of my life for granted.

Nearly 13 years into living with HIV, I have learned to coexist peacefully with the notion of my death. Don’t get me wrong; my survival instinct is still killer, and I will not go gentle into that good night. I am afraid of pain and suffering and death and what happens when, and after, we expire. I still have a lot of work to do before I’m really prepared for my death. But at least, in accepting the inevitability of it—embracing it even—I am closer to being in a place where I live more fully and will one day, hopefully, die well. It may seem a strange thing to say, but since we try to live our best lives, why not also try to die our best deaths?

Which is what Chodo, the HIV-positive Buddhist monk who graces our cover and whom we profile in “Zen and the Virus,” teaches people every day. Working with others living with the virus, Chodo helps people heal and prepare for the end. In doing so, he also enriches the time they have on earth.

If HIV has taught me anything, it has shown how accepting death can make your life so much better. Imagine living each moment as if it were your last. Would you fight? Feel jealous? Lazy? Unforgiving? Probably not. Because when the end is nigh, we’re often on our best behavior. Imagine if it were possible to live every second of the rest of your life like that. And imagine if everyone else were doing the same thing…

By threatening my life, HIV taught me a valuable truth: We can’t change the fact that death’s coming, but we can change how we live until it arrives.

Search: HIV, Chodo, Buddhist, monk, life, death


Scroll down to comment on this story.



Name:

(will display; 2-50 characters)

Email:

(will NOT display)

City:

(will display; optional)

Comment (500 characters left):

(Note: The POZ team reviews all comments before they are posted. Please do not include either ":" or "@" in your comment. The opinions expressed by people providing comments are theirs alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart + Strong, which is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by people providing comments.)

Comments require captcha.
Please enter this number for verification:

| Posting Rules



Hide comments

Previous Comments:


         

[Go to top]

Join POZ Facebook Twitter Google+ MySpace YouTube Tumblr Flickr
Quick Links
Current Issue

HIV 101
HIV Testing
Safer Sex
Find a Date
Newly Diagnosed
Disclosing Your Status
Starting Treatment
Search for the Cure
POZ Stories
POZ TV
Read the Blogs
Visit the Forums
Women
African American
Latino
Providers
Job Listings
Events Calendar


    andais
    Red House
    West Virginia


    romanticseattle
    Tacoma
    Washington


    OahuAJ
    Turlock
    California


    pozsmith1
    East Bay
    California
Click here to join POZ Personals!
Ask POZ Pharmacist

Talk to Us
Poll
Can social media help stop HIV stigma?
Yes
No

Survey
Mind Matters

more surveys
Contact Us
We welcome your comments!
[ about Smart + Strong | about POZ | POZ advisory board | partner links | advertising policy | advertise/contact us | site map]
© 2014 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.