The Saga Continues…It’s The Damn Drugs!


 

Best of Saga’s;It’s The Damn Drugs!

B-4

After The Drugs!

The Saga Continues…
It’s The Damn Drugs!
By Nevin Jefferson
“There isn’t a shred of evidence that HIV-positive men who lose fat in their legs reciprocally gain fat in their bellies. The two are totally dissociated,” said Dr. Carl Grunfield, a staff physician and principal investigator at SFVAMC. The multi-center study is published in the October issue of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.
To this I reply;”BULLSHIT!”
I went from former dancer, model, runner up in a beauty contest, and poster boy for safe and safer sex to a classic case of Lipodystrophy – complete with pictures of me at seminars on this topic. Talk about your titles gang! I went from being a perfectly active person to an immobile flab of flesh with all of the ugly trimmings. I had the fat, sunken, face with a buffalo hump, tits for days, fat pocket in my groin area and the good and knocked up look. I also had pinched nerves, a shot lower lumbar back from all of the weight, and swollen feet. I also developed Neuropathy- muscle deterioration, stabbing pains in the feet, uncontrollable kicking which is also called “Happy Feet.” No, I wasn’t happy while experiencing this life changing ailment bought to me by my meds. Your feet going numb without any feeling. With one not noticing when you drop something on your foot until you notice the bruises. It has the same effects on the arms with your hands losing control while holding or grabbing any and every object. My blood pressure was higher than Hippies who smoked pot. My Doctor placed me on blood pressure mediation that retained water. I had matching giant chafes that went with my swollen feet. I went from a size 32 waist to a size 53 and from a large to triple X in shirt size. I went from a solid 188 lbs. to a scale breaking 398 lbs., not to mention breaking furniture. It was my furniture. I bought it, so it wasn’t a big deal. I just went out and bought sturdier furniture to hold the excess tonnage that I was carrying. Did I want to die? Nah! I was already dying from resistance and mutation so I didn’t have this as an option. I was bummed out over the fact that I would make an ugly corpse. Which was why I voted for a sealed and nailed shut coffin. My lover moved into the guest bedroom and locked the door at night so I couldn’t come in for sex. He also began an affair, leaving me at home alone with only the company of Bootsie. My blunder kitty who loved to make a spot on my stomach and go to sleep. Of course, I rolled over on him more times than once. With my having a pissed off Kitty who hissed at me before going into hiding. I was in chronic pain and was very sensitive to the touch. Did I want to die? Nah! I wanted to enter a baton twirling competition, but couldn’t because I couldn’t fit the skirt. I had to quit singing in the church choir, because the walk down the aisle wiped me out. I was in total discomfort with nausea, diarrhea, and fatigue adding on to the fun. Did I want to die? Nah! At times in church I was tempted to climb up on the cross and ask God to take me. Now, that’s a sacrifice! Disfigured and dying, what was one to do? Me? I prayed and meditated a lot to forget about the cruel comments made by people. I nearly started a bonfire when lighting candles in church to forgive the treatment that I received in the bars. The girls and studs weren’t too kind in passing on the street either, which almost caused the church to get burned down. Were my prayers answered? Let’s see, God is good, right? Well I started doing good things to help others while learning that I had more than my looks going for me. I agreed to let the Interns at Madison Clinic examine me as a learning patient with Lipodystrophy. And, I agreed to let Dr. Spock (Madison Clinic) take photos to be used at upcoming seminars about Lipodystrophy. I had my inner beauty, the spirit of Christ, and God. I was asked to pose for the new safe and safer sex campaign for POCAAN (People of Color Against Aids Network). At first, I declined, then, I realized that this wasn’t about me! It was for the cause and to show people one of the many faces of people living with AIDS/HIV. Yes gang, I was a fuller figure model! You should have seen the looks I got when I passed out the condom kit with my bigger than life photo on it. You should have seen how quickly people moved their drinks, covered them up, or left them after I explained lipodystrophy to them. Did I want to die? Nah! I prayed for a nicer Gay community that was capable of being loving, kind, caring and supportive. I’m more compassionate to people of size because I know now how vicious and cruel people can be towards them. I’m more giving of myself and – through the grace of God – have the power to conquer life’s challenges. I’m more loving and forgiving with my sense of humor getting me through the bad times and turmoil. So, are looks important? No, self-respect, self-dignity, and loving yourself are. Outer appearances can be deceiving, which is why you should look inside a person and see their soul; overlooking the flaws and seeing the person as they truly are. My Doctor knew that I was an experienced lab rat and suggested that I try serostim, a hormone injection. It made me sicker than a dog and the sight of food turned my stomach. My lipids turned back to fat that burned off with diet and exercise. It took me three years to burn off the flab factor with a few problem areas still to go. My advise to those facing lipodystrophy is this, stick it out! Dying is too easy, living out the story line increases the chapters in one’s book of life’s lessons.
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