A New Future Derailed My Current Path

Yesterday, I was told I tested positive for HIV.

I was called into the doctor’s office, after having blood drawn for my Peace Corps end-of-service physical, and was told I tested positive for HIV.

I sat there still, hearing the words be replayed in my head. I was told I tested positive for HIV.

How? The doctor asked if I had taken part in any potentially risky behaviors. Unprotected sex? Sex with high-risk partners? Intravenous drug use?

Then the doctor said, “Maybe it was your cut that was stitched in the local hospital… if sterile material wasn’t used. Its unlikely, but I just don’t know. Tyler, are you ok? You’re not reacting how I thought you would, how I would. What are you thinking? Do you have any questions?”

I had no questions. Then I had a million questions and was unable to process anything. I had tested positive for HIV.

Today, I was told I was told that the first test was a false positive. A second more extensive test declared that I was negative for HIV. Some people see their life flash before their eyes, snapshots of their past, when they have a near death experience. I actually had this happen once, in middle school, when I stepped out in front of a bus and had the bus shoot past me, inches away. This time, however, I slowly saw my future life be projected in front of me. What was going to happen? How would I now live my life?

I spent 24 hours on edge, planning a new life. Preparing to manage a disease that would eventually claim my life. With the end more near, I began to be more aware of the present. As all this reflection was taking place behind my eyes, I was keeping this a secret from all but one person in whom I had confided in for support and guidance. You have no idea how much HIV/AIDS can come up in conversation. Four different times last night HIV/AIDS was jokingly brought up. Mickey Avalon song. A volunteer humorously commenting that they where clean, as confirmed by their end-of-service medical exam. My exam did not yield the same results. I sat there smiling, laughed, and died inside.

I was going to die. I thought I was going to die. We all know we’re going to die but one’s end is normally not so present.

As I said already, today, I was told the first test was a false positive. I don’t have HIV. I don’t have HIV. When I heard the news, every emotion I had been keeping at bay sprang forth at once. My life had been reset. Renewed. I couldn’t stand. My heart raced and I felt clean healthy blood, life, be pumped out and back from the crown of my head to my toes.

In 24 hours, I processed more than I have in months. I discovered what was important to me and was surprised by what immediately fell off my radar once I was confronted with a life altering challenge. I could go on about what I realized in this deeply trying experience, but I want to keep things short. I want to go out and live. Take this renewed energy and run with it. And more urgently, I’m going to go get a beer.

6 Replies to “A New Future Derailed My Current Path”

  1. Tyler my heart dropped in the opening paragraph. I’m glad you’re ok brother, So good to hear this had a positive resolution for you. Take nothing for granted, and enjoy the hell out of that beer.

  2. Way to structure that blog in such a way that scares the shit out of everyone. So glad you are okay, though! Jesus. I sent you a letter about a month ago. Have you received it yet?

    1. Had to share the scare. And yes! Got it on Wednesday. Thanks so much for writing. I’ll try to get one more sent off to you before I leave. And as for coming to Austin (ref. to letter), I keep finding more and more awesome companies based in Austin. Also, SXSW has an ECO conference that takes place in October. I won’t have the funds to do it this year, but maybe next. I hope you’re well.

  3. Whoa! I don’t even know you and I was about to start crying. I am so glad the test was wrong. Thank God!!!!! In a way this might have changed your life forever. I’m glad you’re okay.

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