When I first found out about my situation, I was pregnant and I was on my way to work. I can tell you what I had on and everything. My doctor called and asked if I could come into the Health Department. I was already five months pregnant and I was like, “Do you really need me to come in, you can’t tell me over the phone?”
When I arrived, he brought me into his office and he had a nurse sitting next to me. She was holding my hand and she kept on saying, “I’m so sorry.” I asked what was going on. And then the doctor said, “You’ve tested positive for HIV.” At first, it was like he was talking in slow motion. I thought, “I am about to die.” That’s the first thing that came to my mind.
I stopped taking my HIV meds after I gave birth to my daughter and my son. In my eyes, I was 200 pounds. In reality, I was about 90-something pounds. So basically, I was so skinny that my doctor was getting nervous. He said I only had five years to live. “The top is five years, but the way you are going,” he said, “it is going to be less than that.” However, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with me. So, I guess, God had to give me a little reality check that something was wrong.
My first streak was shingles and I had to go through the pain. The second streak was a little sore on my forehead. I had to deal with that and sores in other places, but I still was in denial. My doctor finally said, “Enough is enough,” because I went from a size 14 to a size 4. That’s how bad I was. My doctor said, “I’m telling you this because I care and you are a sweet person.” He said if I do what I’m supposed to do, I would live as long as I want. He told me to look at my kids, that they need their Mama. He said, “Don’t you think they want you to see them graduate and go to prom? That’s what you’re supposed to be living for.”
When he said that, I started to break down crying because I couldn’t believe it was me. I’m not here to hurt anybody, why would somebody want to hurt me. My doctor said. “That’s why God doesn’t give you more than what you can bear. Now, what I want you to do is eat as much fast food as you can, take your meds, and drink Ensure.” And, by the grace of God, I’m here today.
I first recognized that my testimony was part of my purpose when my pastor, came to my house and asked if I would join him to visit a woman in the hospital. I will never forget it.
When we entered the hospital room, I was introduced to a woman with the same first name as me. She was also in the same state of denial that I had been in. She was in a wheelchair but also really skinny, so when I walked in, she looked at me and I looked at her and she was like, “You are a very pretty woman.” I said, “Well thank you. I am very glad to hear that.” Then she asked me why I was there. I said, “My pastor asked me to come to see you as we have a similar situation.” And she said she didn’t think I had the same thing as her. I asked her to tell me what she had that she didn’t think I had. She said she just found out that she was HIV positive. I asked her why she thought I didn’t have it. She was like, “No, not you, you’re too pretty for this.” So, I shared my testimony. I told her that it was not going to stop her from finding the person that she loves. I said, “As a matter of fact, I see this as not being a curse, but as a strength. God allowed you to go through this because he knew that you could handle it.” And then she looked at me and I said that “He’s going to send the right person to your life who’s going to understand your situation.” She started crying, I prayed and I sang with her.
Months later she messaged me on Facebook. She said, “Guess what? Thank you so much. I am married!” She looked stronger and pretty. The doctors had given her three weeks to live, just like they had given me five years. That’s how bad she was. But, I believe when I walked through the doors it gave her hope.