March #162 : Wonder Women - by Laura Whitehorn and Staff

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
 

Leading Ladies

Wonder Women




Crystal Clear

Go With the Flow

A Tell-Tale Heart

Going Rogue

Medicine Chest

Shifting the Starting Lines

The Power of Pampering




POZ Q&A: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Big Talk in the Big Apple

Faith in Numbers

Tropic Thunder

Are You Positive You’re Negative?




Editor's Letter-March 2010

Your Feedback-March 2010

In Memoriam

GMHC Treatment Issues-March 2010



 
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 2010


Wonder Women

by Laura Whitehorn and Staff


Vicki Derdivanis, 75 • Retired • Oakland, California • HIV diagnosis: 1991
In 1991, my daughter had been married and my husband and I were ready to slow down and live the good life. But my husband kept getting the flu. Finally, after many months and many doctors, he was diagnosed with AIDS and I was absolutely knocked off my pins. So I got tested too.

My husband was very sick by this time, and when the doctor came into his hospital room and told me I had tested positive, I was stunned. I was perfectly healthy. I began right away taking care of my husband. I had my hands full. He was on oxygen and all kinds of medications, though HIV meds were not yet available. His will kept him going. Then, 26 months later, he died.

After the memorial service, after all the relatives left, I sat down and came apart. Then I became angry and finally let loose my emotions. Once, I stood in the kitchen with a plate in my hand and felt I wanted to throw it through the window. But then I thought, “It’s a new dish, and a glazier to replace the window would be expensive.” Where was I going? I had no idea. I withdrew and went into near seclusion. He died in September, and it wasn’t until about mid-December that I realized I needed some consolation.

I began going to daily Mass. I had an epiphany, feeling God just pouring into my life. I felt that it had been such a dirty trick that I got HIV, now God was saying, “I’ll do a little something extra for you.”

In HIV support groups, I have often found that people say there is something greater in their lives now, something new [since getting HIV]. Sometimes it’s God, other times it’s just “something greater.”

AIDS has spread so rapidly through Africa because the wives have relations with their husbands, while the husbands have a little something on the side. We women are so vulnerable to HIV because we still have no equality. If a woman gave her husband HIV, there would be hell to pay. But the other way, it’s “boys will be boys.” I’m resentful of that—for myself and for all the other women who have become positive because of some guy, some jerk. Once when I was speaking, a girl told me, “Sometime in the future, I’m going to get married. How can I trust my husband?” I couldn’t answer. The logical answer is you wouldn’t marry someone who was untrustworthy. But in real life, it’s a stinker.

The other problem is that we are the caregivers. We want to take care of the whole world. I spent the first two years of my life with HIV taking care of my husband. I was busy with his care day and night. I became his private nurse—and that is something I had never wanted to be. I once said to the priest, “I have chosen to take care of him,” and the priest said, “But of course you have!” It’s not “of course,” I thought. And now I have begun to take care of myself.

I had been in my husband’s shadow for 37 years of marriage. I did eventually gain my own power, though. When he became ill, I had to take over our business, then all the medical and legal details of our lives. So after he died, I was ready to go to work. Once I reemerged from my seclusion, Catholic Charities asked me to do some speaking to students and other groups. I was in my 60s, my hair had started to turn white. I would walk into a classroom, and no one knew exactly why I was there until I began telling my story. It was wonderful to see the expressions on the kids’ faces as it began to dawn on them that anyone can get this disease.

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Search: gender, vulnerable, violence, self-esteem, education, parent


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:


  comments 1 - 6 (of 6 total)    

Ingrid Kloet, Rio Rancho NM, 2010-03-01 14:47:27
Dear friends I like to thank you from the bottem of my heart for the kind words. It feels so good to receive so many responses here and in my email, I feel truly blessed with so many friends, some of them I know in person many of them not, and it is from all over the world, I like to say thank you to all of you and really appriciate what you are doing for me. Warmly, have a great weekend. Ingrid

Dragonfly, , 2010-02-26 22:44:08
You are truly a survivor, a beautiful, brilliant, unselfish survivor. We have never actually met, but through our conversations I feel as if I have known you my entire life. Keep doing what you do, for me, for you, for all the HIV pos. people every where. We need more people like you and I proudly call you my friend.

Richard Brodsky, Atlantic Beach, 2010-02-24 13:35:57
Ingrid, you're a fighter and always have been. It's great how you look after your sisters and magazines like POZ cover our stories. One day maybe I can get you to revisit Kenya for the World AIDS Marathon, www.worldaidsmarathon.com. Last year we had the best time as we sponsored 3 orphan dinner dances for 700 orphans and one of them was in Kendu Bay, the ancestral home of President Obama's family.

saum Hassan, Nairobi, Kenya, 2010-02-22 18:11:55
God bless you, that is good work, you are doing, for really you have Inspir us, and others who dont know anything about HIV/AIDS. it is time people come out and tslk about it, in our muslim communit it is still a problem, but now you really helped US, thank again.we are praying for you, and you will live long, God bless you.

Kauthar Bitok, Ekdoret, Kenya, 2010-02-22 17:58:23
Hi Darling, Thank you so much for opening your heart and shareing this you have so, tachted many other peoples hearts, I belive anybady why will read this, will went to know ther HIV status. I am too Positive Living with HIV, and this is really encouraging. God bless you as you keep helping others,

Christine Harris, Buda, 2010-02-22 03:55:18
Ingrid ~ Thank you for sharing your story. You are truly an amazing women and an Excellent example for all.

comments 1 - 6 (of 6 total)    

[Go to top]

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

HIV Testing
Safer Sex
Find a Date
Newly Diagnosed
HIV 101
Disclosing Your Status
Starting Treatment
Help Paying for Meds
Search for the Cure
POZ Stories
POZ Opinion
POZ Exclusives
Read the Blogs
Visit the Forums
Job Listings
Events Calendar


    adoniz89
    san dimas
    California


    Sin_Grinder
    Reno
    Nevada


    max38man
    Chicago
    Illinois


    donnyp
    liberty
    Kentucky
Click here to join POZ Personals!
Ask POZ Pharmacist

Talk to Us
Poll
Do you work with your doc to design your own treatment regimen?
Yes
No

Survey
PrEP Course

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.