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Her beautiful neck is all scarred, not to mention her jaw, which has been distorted several times. The illness retreated, however, but she will still need to take strong medicine her entire life. Then I found out that I was pregnant. I realized that I was not dying, at least for the moment, and despite it all — I was holding on!

I so much wanted to change everything, I so much wanted to protect my baby from going through everything I had gone through. I tried to change, and then he started to beat me. I felt like a thing. He sneered at me, he sneered at my belly, my pregnancy, at the fact that I wanted so much to change because of the child. Yes, he was in prison. He used drugs and he made me do it, too. After you have tried drugs, you are ready to give everything up for it. She tried to escape a few times, but he caught her.

And then he beat her up even worse and mocked her even more. During pregnancy, when I went for a regular check-up. I do not remember which month of the pregnancy it was, but I was crawling down the street aimlessly, simply crawling. There was a woman in front of me, in front of a door, she bowed before the door and walked away, and her face was so happy, so bright. And I went through that door. There was a church inside.

Afterwards I went there voluntarily. There I repeated the words my grandmother had taught me. I prayed to God to save our lives. Rasa gave birth to a son. But nothing changed at home. There were drugs, fights and bullying. Rasa tried to divorce. The husband would not let her, unless she gave him the apartment.

I tried my best not to use drugs for the good of my son and myself. I lived in psychological warfare. I do not know how I got through it. I refused to use, clenched my teeth. I did not have any hope for a better life. One day I had a hit, and that was the day the commission came. They took my baby away from me. She has run out of words, nothing comes to her mind. Rasa met a guy who knew about her diagnosis. They visit his parents together; Rasa is welcome and loved there.

No, we have not told his parents about me, they would never accept that, they are such good people, but no… they are not ready for that…. No one ever touches me, I mean, us. Even our parents do not touch us. I do not have parents, but other parents do not touch me either. I believe that someday I will live with my son.

I survived cancer, my son was born without cancer. We have to live. I know that I am about to meet a woman who has given birth to six children. I expect a motherly looking woman with grim stories.

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Instead I meet a girl in a pink jacket. She is small, skinny, she looks like a schoolgirl. I see the mark on her face. Sometimes these marks are caused by suffering or sins, but most often — by drugs. Her facial skin is smooth, as if it had not aged. That is a face of a young girl. I live with my mother and sister. My mum got divorced, I never knew my father. My sister and I were loved; it was a good life living with mum.

It was my last year at school. I had a really bad headache that day, my friend took me home. She said she would help me get rid of the headache. That was my first hit. Then followed another one. It took me two hits to become addicted.

I quickly befriended a lot of happy people. We partied, travelled and used together. I was 18 when I gave birth to my first boy. What do you mean — who? He fathered three children, all boys. She talks to me, but it is difficult to listen. Her expression is blank, as if someone has erased it with an eraser. She thinks, but cannot remember how old her child is. Then I prompt her — if you were eighteen years old when you gave birth to him, he is twenty now. The woman with a childish surprise on her face says — so old?

Then there was the third child. I raised all three of them, of course we used, there was no other way. I raised them for six years. I do not talk to my sister; we are not on the same page. Mum is good, though. She loves me no matter what. That was from another man.

Hits became bigger, we needed more and more. I left the fourth at the hospital. They took those three away from me, what would I have done with the fourth child… so I left him. I told my mum. She did not judge me. She was good to me. They did not keep me in the hospital, they did not want to keep the infected ones. So I left, infected. Later on, I told my friend. Well, he got infected as well. He got it from me. But he was not angry. And the baby was born healthy. All of a sudden she recollects and starts asking me why she needs to use the HIV medicine constantly.

She does not really understand the gravity and consequences of her disease. That way it is easier for her. A boy and a girl. My baby girl lives with my mum. I cannot visit her, but sometimes I do. Such is the grey, indifferent story of the mother of many, whose status as a mother has been almost taken away. What else did I not mention? All through our conversation her phone was ringing off the hook. She picked it up and said to call back later, but the voice on the other end was persistent. As if she knows her self-worth in a sea of absolute worthlessness; her core is so badly rotted that she does not even know what to expect.

Everything is soaked in hopelessness. There is only acceptance for who you are now, not for who you were or could have been. Just like going with the flow; it is easier that way. She tries not to show who she has become, but in reality everything is obvious. They never let her go alone, if you know what I mean. If she is a drug-addict, there is no surprise to see her desperately smoking a cigarette with her hands shaking. Simply inhale the drug vapours, while being somewhere else, doing something else, she could be doing something else with a guard, because she does not exist alone.

Neither without the guard, nor without a hit. I grew up in a very wealthy family. My parents did everything to provide us with anything we needed.

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Exclusive clothes, brands, bicycles, make-up, gym, SPA. I had everything I wanted. I travelled, partied, tripped. Everything came too fast, too early and it was too much. Lena takes out another cigarette before finishing the previous one, she lights the new one. Her pimp is very useful. He notices everything — when to help to light a cigarette, when to act.

Lena does not even look at him, she does not look at me, either. My parents did not notice me, they did not even try to notice me. I was almost like an invisible child. A girl who had everything:. She immediately gets goose bumps on her arms, she pulls herself deeper in her small leather jacket. She reaches for another cigarette. Her pimp is once again very useful. They did not notice me, if you know what I mean.

They gave me everything and they collected everything — even soap. We did not talk. I was jealous of my classmate, whose mama always kissed her and waved goodbye. My mama never hugged me, ever. We did not have any connection. And I rebelled against them. I spat on this great, loaded life, I rebelled against it. Every morning I woke up in a different place. The first hit and trip, the feeling of freedom and eternity. I became powerful and free, my confidence grew. I did whatever I wanted to do — I drank, I smoked, I used drugs. And again, and again.

Then I found out I was infected. There was this girl who had lice. I was the only one who was not lice-infected. She dumped the unfinished cigarette. Her skinny shoulders trembled. Because I became invisible again. They ate from separate plates. They used only their own exclusive bed sheets. I became isolated, utterly isolated from love, compassion and closeness. My parents were terrified of me, they turned their faces away from me, their hearts never opened again.

It seemed that Lena did not hear my question, because she knew the answer. She stopped, as if stretching her frozen joints. She coughed and gave a simple answer — to love. Their hearts did not open to love. Here I feel that Lena does not want to talk to me anymore, she is shaking, I guess it is time for another hit and she cannot miss it. Her facial skin is smooth, almost without wrinkles. She has been preparing. She is a mother of four. I see that she has been preparing, she has been waiting for the meeting, a little nervous.

We talked for three hours. I just got out of the big house.

  • A Positive Life: Living with HIV as a Pastor, Husband, and Father.
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  • A Positive Life: Living with HIV as a Pastor, Husband, and Father - Shane Stanford - Google Книги.
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  • That is my way of living — going from one prison to another, almost all my life. I am a traveller. She fidgets, straightens the edge of her clothing, and tries to relax when talking about her children. My husband became addicted to drugs. I remember the day he came home and told me — I am sick. At first I did not understand. The word HIV is somewhat huge and burdensome, unbearable. My reaction was terrible. I thought I would lose my mind; I got this hammering sensation in my head: It would not stop and the only thing I wanted to do was to fall asleep, to forget, to not think and not feel.

    A half-year later I found out that I was sick too, but I reacted somewhat easier. Perhaps I was already prepared for that. I had lived for very many years with that man. Our life was smashed to small pieces, irreparable. And we used to have everything. But I was falling deeper and deeper, I did not feel anything and did not hear anything.

    I forgot that I was a woman, a mother. I did not want to live anymore. My life was mainly based on the hope to get a hit. The only thing I cared about was — how much do I need, how can I get it and where? I understand that she is trying to start a different life. She even tries to help others.

    She is well aware that it is important to listen to somebody in such a misfortune. And she does listen. There is some hope. If I did not know, I would think that she is an innocent woman talking to me, but when she is silent, her silence is excruciating. She does not say that word — hard. My son, the youngest one… I was trying so hard to give him everything. I was looking after him, so that his clothes would always be clean, that he would have a phone, I …. I started to pray. I prayed for my child.

    At first, my sister took him in and cared for him. Afterwards he went to live with a foster family. My friends started to drop like flies, one after another, due to the drugs. It was terribly depressing. When I pray, I feel like my child is standing next to me. You may think it is strange, but that is how I feel. He found me, he contacted me via Facebook, and he accepted my friend request. He hardly speaks Lithuanian, but I translate.

    My child is very handsome. He dared to write to me. It means that he is not ashamed of me! I photographed the people all through a cotton sheet, a bed-sheet basically. I chose this for a few reasons, but most importantly because it allowed me to portray the anonymity that is so important to the people in these stories. In post-processing I added textures which created a kind of painterly and a bit dramatic look, that I felt suited well for this project. This project and these stories confirmed something to me that I have often thought about — life is sometimes more complicated than fiction could ever be.

    I am 37 years old, divorced and a single mother with a son. It has already been 4 years since I had this disease. I got it from my boyfriend. He was a southerner, our relationship began on a romantic note with a promising look to the future. I was the one who ended it. I started to notice that my boyfriend was using strange medicine. I had not seen anything like it before, even the name did not mean anything to me, so I googled all the information available. He was already at the AIDS stage, therefore the medicine was not effective enough to kill the virus and to prevent my boyfriend from infecting others.

    I went in to get tested the next day, and it turned out I was HIV positive. It was terribly shocking. Especially since I am well-educated, I know a lot about different illnesses and diseases and how to protect myself from them, but this time life played a bad trick on me. What hurts most is the fact that this man did not even try to protect me from getting the infection from him and did not mention that he was infected, and did not care about using condoms. Now, I am on medicine, and HIV is undetectable in my blood, which means that I cannot infect others, but I am still very careful.

    Especially, when I am with my son. A few years ago he fell seriously ill, and I started to panic, I thought — maybe he has also gotten the infection in some way. Luckily, it was only a serious case of a cold with side effects. My child is healthy! Recently, I found out that the man who turned me into an HIV patient, had passed away. I knew that his days were numbered, but it still feels disturbing, and I cannot stop thinking that due to this disease my life may end up shorter than if I had not been infected. At the same time, I understand that the treatment works, and if I use my medicine as the doctor has prescribed and check myself regularly, everything will be alright.

    I got it from my husband of 26 years. We both receive treatment, the virus is undetectable in our blood, so, basically, we are healthy people; physically we feel good, we travel together a lot, but neither of us can accept this diagnosis. This is why we have not told our children about it. Yes, they do not know we are infected, and we live in endless fear that they may notice the drugs we use, and understand that we have HIV.

    If it happened, I would never be able to get over it…. When I fell ill, at first I thought I had cancer. I felt extremely bad, and was on sick leave for a long time, but after undergoing examinations I found out the real reason behind my health issues — I was HIV positive. How did my husband get the infection? I believe, it was during one of his affairs. Yes, he has had several women during our marriage.

    I even know one of them, and at the beginning I thought that she had to be the guilty one, but the tests showed that she was HIV negative. So, the source must have been somebody else I do not even know about. We lived separately for several years, he was often on business trips, and still is, therefore it is impossible to know of his whereabouts.

    Since we learnt about our diagnosis, we got back together. Grief unites, as they say. However, I think that we only got back together to not be alone, because — who else would have us with such a diagnosis. And — do we need that?! This disease has taught me to seize the day.

    Do Not Quit ARVs at the Pastor’s Healing Declaration

    Every morning when I wake up, I mindfully take in the fresh air, and I am truly happy that I am alive; I feel good about going about my day, talking to my children, meeting my friends and just breathing and laughing. I would be lying, if I told you that I am happy with my husband or that I have forgiven his infidelity and the consequences which have affected me. It is difficult to get over the bitterness, resentment and betrayal inside me, but I try to not think about it and enjoy my life.

    HIV diagnosis is forever, I cannot change it; I just have to live with it. I hope I will be able to hide it further on in life, to protect my children from going through the same dreadfulness as I did, after learning about the diagnosis. I am 37 years old, 20 of which I have been HIV-infected. I am one of those women who got infected by using drugs. As I like to say — by being stupid. Early in my teenage years I got into a group where smoking weed was cool. We smoked at every single party, and I did not want to be the odd one out.

    Once, twice, three times and I got addicted. I continued to smoke daily, until one day I switched to intravenous drugs. That is how I got infected, because at that moment you do not think about your safety or health. We generously shared needles, they went back and forth. I was a little over 20 when I understood that enough was enough, I did not want to be dependent on the drug-induced temporary illusionistic thrill always followed by great torture.

    Thanks to my family and the good people at rehab, I somehow got out of that hole, where I had started to fall in deeper and deeper; I slowly began to take care of myself and my health as well. It took time to recover and fully get rid of the signs of drug use on my face. However, there is one thing that will always remind me about those times, it is HIV. I regularly see my doctor for check-ups, I use medicine as prescribed and try to live as healthily as possible. Yes, I am married to the most fantastic man in the world.

    He is also HIV positive. We met at a support group camp, and since then not a single day has passed without sharing a conversation. At the beginning we only talked on phone, but soon we understood that we wanted to meet, and after that — to spend the rest of our lives together. At first, HIV sounds dreadful, and for someone who has no idea about it, it might seem like a death sentence. I have heard people talk about it that way. But I am the best HIV-infected example — you do not die immediately, and if you really want to live, it is no death sentence at all.

    Me and my husband, we want to live, we also want a child. We know that our baby will be born healthy, because I will use my medicine as prescribed; moreover, HIV-infected mums usually have a C-section. I hope my husband and I will continue to live like this, that we will live happily ever after, just like they said on our wedding day, and soon we will bring the exciting news about the baby to our closest ones. Life is beautiful if lived with a clear mind.

    I am 34 years old, and I have been HIV positive for 6 years already. I went through a bad break-up from a man who I loved endlessly, and had promised to take him to be my husband and love him forever with all my heart. However, our happy marriage was destined to last for a little less than three years.

    I gave birth to a baby girl, and some time after that he left us. At first, I thought I would not be able to love again, but in less than a year I started to feel butterflies inside my stomach despite the deep, cold winter outside. I was madly in love, and I could not, in my wildest dreams, imagine that my boyfriend had once been a drug-addict and may be infected with anything, especially, HIV. Also, I believe that if you love someone so much, you must trust him.

    Unfortunately, love is blind, and mistakes made out of such blindness can lead to serious consequences affecting the whole life. It was the case that my boyfriend was indeed HIV positive and he infected me, because we did not use condoms. I broke up with him. I do not know what I was thinking, but after learning my diagnosis I instantly fell out of that great, devastating love and I was able to see the true colour of reality. It was harsh — I had a little girl on my hands, I had received the shocking news about my life-threatening disease, I was once again betrayed and I cried.

    So that my baby would not hear. After getting over the first moments of shock I could finally listen to what my doctor had to say, and then I understood — if I use the medicine as prescribed and regularly do my check-ups to control the progress of the disease, I may live a long life. As a patient, I am very obedient, the treatment is effective, and, once again, despite my hopelessness, I have met a man, we have been together for almost five years, and we have a baby son who is already two years old. I only plucked up the courage to tell him about the disease after several dates. My boyfriend was truly shocked; I expected no less, however he did not mention ending our relationship even once.

    Instead, after having digested this information, he arrived at my doorstep with a huge bucket of roses, and told me he loved me and wanted to support me, to visit my doctor together, to follow up on my treatment, and whether I use my medicine…. We feel good together, my daughter is happy to have a little brother and a new dad.

    A Positive Life: Living with HIV as a Pastor, Husband, and Father -

    We are not married yet, but I am sure it will happen one day. It will be a beautiful, sun-lit day when we inscribe our love in the Big Book of Lovers. To me this story is most of all about resilience. After devastating events, she was able to get back up and make a new life for herself. And a life that is not full of horror, but a fulfilling and enjoyable one. This image is about embracing the sorrows of these unfortunate events, because without fully experiencing her feelings, it would have been impossible to move forward.

    For additional information, please, call or write: We implement our mission by focusing on our five main objectives: Each story in this exhibition is special. But full of hope. However, in the end, this aspect helped my creative work more than the textual material… After the picture is hung on the wall, the work of the artist is done, and there are no words left. I am 9 years old. I just hope that one day everyone else will understand — I am not dangerous, you can play ball with me and hide-and-seek, build houses… I feel sad alone, and then I want to play all sorts of pranks only to get attention.

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    Had our daddy not been afraid and had he told our mommy about his disease, both of them would still be alive and we would all go to the forest and pick cowberries and would make apple-cowberry jam that my brother likes so much… I hope my brother and I do not have HIV, I am very afraid of that; I read on the internet that it is a very contagious disease. My baby girl was born safe and sound.

    Did he infect you on purpose? Elza does not say a word, but she nods. Did you tell anyone about the diagnosis? Yes, Elza retorts, to my mum. I felt trapped in my body, I felt guilty without having committed a crime. To my mum, Elza says with a smile. Her response is immediate — Belief. Are you alone now? What about your health? I take the medicine, I am losing my hair a little. To understand this is to understand the whole journey. But through the grace of God, he turned a positive diagnosis into an opportunity for positive living.

    After all, the key to living with purpose is found not in some distant revelation but in our own story and in the stories of those around us. The daily routine that seems mundane might just hold the answers to greater joy. Hardcover , pages. Published April 11th by Zondervan first published January 8th To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about A Positive Life , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Mar 02, Kw rated it liked it. We as healthcare workers were frightened and confused when HIV surfaced in the 80s.

    Hard to imagine actually being diagnosed with it and having to deal with all that is involved in the management of this disease. And in this case, add to that hemophilia, hepatitus C, and later heart disease. But this Methodist pastor has lived HIV positive fully and well and with great courage for 25 years. His story is compelling and honest; some of his greatest challenges had nothing to do with his health.

    I w We as healthcare workers were frightened and confused when HIV surfaced in the 80s. I would like to read some of his other books, and recommend this autobiography. Feb 07, Steven rated it liked it.

    A Positive Life Living with HIV as a Pastor Husband and Father Pdf Book

    A simple, quick read. Enjoyable memoir about a Christian hemophiliac who tested positive for HIV at a time when he described it as modern-day leprosy. Told he would only live three years, he has lived another quarter-century, struggling to balance marriage and children and pastoral responsibilities with HIV, hemophilia, and now Hepatitis C.

    Nevertheless, because of his faith, his is a "positive life. Jul 27, Jennifer Wilson rated it it was amazing. In the s AIDS was a four letter word. And that's what it was when 16 year old Shane learned he had this disease that was then considered something that would kill you in a matter of a few years. Yet, Shane decided to live a normal life. He married his high school sweetheart, and he was the first person who had AIDS the United Methodist Church ordained, but it wasn't an easy fight. It's an inspiring book as well as a look back into how those with HIV were treated even two decades ago.

    I'm biased by the fact that this guy is my pastor. And what a pastor he is. Despite his struggles, he consistently lives in faith and joy. I have personally witnessed as he puts his family first, and it shows. It's amazing to listen to him each Sunday, knowing the challenges he lives with, and be consistently inspired and challenged by him. Definitely a must read. Jul 23, Sadie rated it liked it Shelves: I've read some of Shane Stanford's other books and was curious to know more about his experience as a pastor, husband, father etc. Especially given he was diagnosed as a teenager. I appreciated the honesty he gives about the ups and downs, in his life, ministry, and marriage.

    Jul 11, Marian rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Shane Stafford's book "A Positive Life: Living with HIV as a Pastor, Husband, and Father" is a touching true story of what has happened and is happening in his life at the beginning. I would recommend this book for all to read.