July 8, 2008

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Thanks for joining me again. I hope you are having a great week so far!

First I would like to wish Vicki a very Happy Birthday! Vicki and I have been friends for almost 17 years and she is also on the board of directors for this project. I first met Vicki while working with Floridians United Against Discrimination in 1991. Over the years, we have developed a great friendship and she is also my massage therapist. Vicki has been working with people with HIV and AIDS since the early 1990s and I was one of her first HIV+ patients. We have also worked together in several organizations and clubs over the years. So all of us here at Dab the AIDS Bear Project hope you're having the best birthday ever!

Now the not so great news, today was also my friend Dale's funeral. As I told you a few days ago, Dale passed on July 4th after a lengthy illness. His family decided on cremation and there was a fantastic service for him. Many of Dale's friends showed up for the service and greatly out numbered the family members. The niece did make a great comment while up saying her part. She mentioned how she and Dale used to go scout out guys at the beach. You could tell by the reaction of the other family members that they were not happy with her mentioning his sexual orientation. But the many gay men at the service were busting a gut at that one. It was one of the few dry eye moments of the service. Poor Patrick is having a very hard time with Dale's death and cried for most of the service. I will greatly miss Dale and our friendship. He was a one of kind man.

I missed the monthly meeting of the World AIDS Week committee due to the service. I make most of the meetings and we are still months away from our next events. Beth is also out of town until next week so I did not have a ride to the meeting anyway. I will call Chenita in the next few days and see if anything happened that I need to know about which I doubt. With December still several months away, we are yet to get into the meat of the events except for the planning stages. I do miss seeing several of the committee members since a lot of us are friends outside of our organizational involvement.

To be honest, I spent most of the day depressed in bed until Gary came home. With having lost four very good friends in the past month, I am going through the grief of the losses and they all seemed to lay heavy on my heart all at once. Now as those of you who have been reading my blog for months know, I have buried thousands of friends and acquaintances over the years. But I have never been able to hardened my heart to where it doesn't hurt. I know doctors and nurses have to learn that skill to survive in their jobs. But I don't know if I would want to feel numb like that. It can not be healthy long term. So as I said I spent most of the rest of the afternoon in bed with my four legged children just soaking up their love and attention.

When Gary got home from work I could tell he was tired. Turns out he had to work in shipping today because someone was out sick. The shipping department at his employer is open air without any air conditioning and it is summer in Florida. Gary is not use to living in the south or to the heat and humidity so I was not surprised he was exhausted. Luckily he usually works in the office in charge of one of their websites but occasionally has to be a team player and help out where needed. Gary works with a couple of people that I really like so I do go up and visit every couple of months and say hi.

Tomorrow I will be speaking about an HIV related issue called the CCR5Delta32 gene. For those of you that are HIV negative, HIV clinical researchers found this genetic marker doing HIV research of which I was a part in 2001. There is now a home testing called the HIV mirror where you follow the instructions for taking a sample, mailing it back to them for testing and then you receive your results in two to three weeks. I took the test myself even though I had already been told at the National Institute of Health that I had the gene to see if the results came back the same and they did. So why should you consider testing yourself for the CCR5Delta32 gene? Number one that specific anomaly is going to help you stay alive with HIV and/or AIDS. Opportunistic infections that would normally kill people with HIV/AIDS can be overcome by people carrying the CCR5Delta32 gene as I have experience in my own life. This gene marker is one of the leading reasons I am still alive with more than 25 years of being HIV+ and having full blown AIDS under my belt. So just knowing can give you hope for a full long life. For the link to the HIV Mirror, please see our Links/Resources page and click on their link and tell them Daddy Dab sent ya!

Until tomorrow, here's wishing you health, hope and happiness.

Big bear hug,

Daddy Dab