ADRIENNE'S HIV BLOG – Hivine's Weblog

HIVINE is written by HIV positive women but still with a sense of humour

Archive for March, 2009

Healing Mandalas

sand-mandala-samll1  hand-mandala1

 

 

 I have finally got round to uploading the film featured on you tube, “Mandalas, HIV and life threatening illness,” in which both Cath and I took part. The film was made by Jan Mojsa (or Jandala as she has since been re christened) and describes the Mandala Project at Body Positive North West a centre in Manchester UK for people affected by HIV.

 

The Tibetan sand mandala is used as a tool for gaining wisdom and compassion and is believed to effect purification and healing. Over a number of days the design is filled with millions of grains of coloured sand. On its completion the grains of sand are swept up and dispersed in flowing water to enact the impermanent nature of existence.

 

According to Buddhist scripture sand mandalas transmit positive and healing energies to the environment and to the people who view them offering enlightenment, the liberation of all beings and the development of compassion and insight into the nature of reality.

 

A mandala’s healing power extends to the whole world even before it is swept up and dispersed into flowing water. I would therefore like to pass these mandalas on with love, peace and healing intention for anyone who needs it.

 

You can view the film by clicking the link on the blog roll – Mandala video – HIV and life threatening illnesses.

Mamma Mia

 mothers-day-last-smaller-still1            picture:voyageofmotherhood©adrienneseed

 

Happy Mother’s day to all positive mammas and also to all mammas who may be feeling decidedly less positive about their own decision to have offspring and wishing they’d never bothered – as well as all the lucky mothers, as they say in America, of course who are fortunate enough to take a great delight in their children.

 

In the huge furore caused by one particular mother Julie Myerson and her widely criticised decision to write about her son in her book ‘The Lost Child’, everyone is talking about the violation of her son’s human rights. But what about a mother’s human rights; a mother who was being mentally and physically abused by her son in her own home as a result of his drug taking. In cases of domestic violence is it right to protect the rights of the instigator or should that person’s human rights be protected by the victim keeping quiet? Most women would say not – but there are many instances where women feel too frightened to speak out either through fear of reprisals or some sort of womanly or motherly inbuilt guilt. I defend any woman’s right to speak out about any kind of human injustice either to herself or to any living being as well as the right of any woman living with HIV to be able to live a life free of prejudice and stigma. Unless people have had personal experience of either having their lives destroyed by HIV or a child whose life has been or is being destroyed by drugs, they shouldn’t be so quick to condemn and make judgements.

 

“Mamma mia, here we go again,” is phrase often uttered by parents living with the psychotic behaviour of their offspring caused by taking any drug including the smoking of cannabis and skunk. That child whether nineteen or twenty nine will sell their soul and their parents down the river to buy drugs, whether it be a few grams of heroin or cannabis. It’s a never ending story that has affected Julie Myerson’s life and the lives of her family, so why shouldn’t she tell it?

 

On a lighter note, but still on the subject of mamas, grams and Abba songs, I went   for my first mammogram the other day  – I know……. a woman of my age, I should have been going for regular checkups, but I was too busy dealing with other health related issues, HIV for example and there are only so many things a body can cope with at the same time, especially this body. Anyway, I’d heard all kinds of gruesome stories about how painful the procedure was and I don’t tend do pain, well at least, not if I can help it

 

The directions on my invitation for breast screening said I had to make my way to a caravan which would be parked opposite KFC. Luckily they added on the old hospital car park, otherwise I might have swanned off to a caravan site in Blackpool.

I nervously mounted the rickety caravan steps and took my place with the other women seated in a line on the brown corduroy covered banquette, which in the caravan’s pre breast screening days had probably doubled up as a bed. It was quite cosy in the caravan and reminded me of rain soaked childhood holidays in windy bays. As none of the other women felt inclined to speak or even make eye contact I was forced to stare at the wallpaper and coordinating flowered curtains whilst trying to avoid listening to the piped music. My wavery nerves were not helped by the fact that the floor of the caravan was constantly moving and I can’t be doing with unstable ground these days thanks to vertigo caused by the meds. But at least it reminded me not to buy one which I’ve been considering of late – must be my age. My cousin of Viv Lives fame is whizzing round NZ as we speak in a caravan, well a camper van actually. If she is reading this now I loved the vision of you canoeing down the rapids like mini ha ha and felt quite envious, although I would rather be in a mini cooper myself.

 

However, I wasn’t in a canoe or a mini cooper I was stuck in a static caravan opposite KFC and about to have my bosoms manhandled by a bossy Scottish nurse. One by one the other women were led off to cubicles, only to remerge later with pained expressions and a curt goodbye to the receptionist and I was left on my own listening to Abba on the piped music.

A new woman mounted the steps and tentatively sat on the brown banquette.

“It’s my first one,” she addressed me crossing herself.

“Me too,” I did a mental crossing with my eyes, but as new woman was a bit cross eyed, I hoped she didn’t think I was mimicking her

‘Dancing Queen’ was now blasting out of the speakers and new woman began silently mouthing the words to music.

“Should be mamma mia,” I joked but it didn’t seem to register.

 “Ready for you now Miss Seed,” bossy Scottish nurse barks, “Take off your top and your bra and wait in the cubicle.”

It’s a long time since my bosoms have hung free or even been exposed to daylight for that matter. Hoped bossy Scottish nurse wouldn’t notice Kivexa rash. Would she know from notes that I was positive?

“Pop your right bosom on this plate dear. Now walk your feet backwards.”

Bosom was efficiently rearranged, “Now I’ll just lower this and tighten the plate a wee bit.”

Hell’s teeth.

“Ok, that one’s done.”

“Only one left to do now,” I joked.

“No dear, there’s another two.”

Wasn’t aware that I’d grown extra bosoms, but then again it wouldn’t surprise me with these bloody meds and the dreaded lippo.

 

Well, at least that’s over, now all I have to do is wait for the results. I may be imagining it but after all that squashing I’m sure my bosoms are marginally smaller – a bit like deflated balloons – and I’ll never be able to look at a KFC or listen to Abba again, especially ‘chiquitita’ or chicken tikka as French and Saunders rewrote the lyrics in their version of mamma mia for red nose day, without being reminded of the whole painful procedure. Oh well, the things us women or mammas have to go through.

 

 

 

Ode to HIV

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I may be mistaken and correct me if I’m wrong, but I do believe Spring has arrived. According to the astronomical definition Spring begins in the Vernal Equinox usually on March 21st in the northern hemisphere, which I take to be the general Manchester area, Bolton, Blackburn with Lower Darwen and possibly parts of West Yorkshire.

 

Meteorologists generally define the beginning of Spring as March 21st; however it is still only the 19th of March. But apparently, according to wikipedia, many signs of Spring are occurring earlier in many regions, such as my back garden for example. This of course, like everything else they put down to global warming and point out for those who may not have noticed that in recent decades season creep has been observed. There is some current dispute on the world wide web however as to who this season’s biggest creep is, but if you want to take part in the survey you can sign up to the ‘Biggest creep ever’ on Face Book. According to some, although here I would have to beg to differ, it’s Simon Cowell. The most hated man alive of any season or decade apart from maybe Hitler is George Bush. Well, all I can say it’s about time this season’s allegedly biggest creep Mr Cowell got his act together and put the next edition of X-Factor back on the box, because I am bored silly by the current television programmes and constant repeats.

 

Talking of which, the worst ever poet renowned for his awful prose and tendency to repeat himself is the Scottish poet William McGonagall who is widely hailed as the writer of the worst poetry in the English language, but whose poems for some hold a certain quizzical if not downright hilarious charm. There is even a fan club and website glorifying his long winded but rhyming (??) much derided poetry – and if his following ode to Beecham’s pills is anything to go by I would have to agree.

 

What ho! Sickly people of high and low degree
I pray ye all be warned by me

No matter what may be your bodily ills

The safest and quickest cure is Beecham’s pills

 

They are admitted to be worth a guinea a box

For bilious and nervous disorders, and also smallpox

And dizziness and drowsiness, also colds and chills

And for such diseases nothing else can equal

Beecham’s pills.

 

William McGonagall

 

Shame he’s not still alive really. He could write a rhyming ode to our HIV medications. Unfortunately he passed away in 1902.

Oh well, as he’s no longer around I will have to do it myself.

 

What ho! Sickly people who have HIV

I pray ye all be warned by me

No matter what may be your bodily ills

The only (don’t know about safest) cure are these anti-retroviral highly toxic pills

 

They are admitted to be worth 500 guineas a box

For HIV hepatitis and also the pox

And dizziness and drowsiness, also colds and chills (and that’s just a very few symptoms of HIV infection)

And for such diseases nothing else can equal

HAART for positive people

 

So what ho! Positive people of the nation

I recommend this toxic libation

Made by Glaxo Smith and Kline

If you take your meds you’ll soon be feeling just fine.

Red Nose Day

red-nose-square

Stoppin’ an a statin

 

Did you do anything funny for money for Comic relief?  Can’t say I did but I did walk round Asda with a red nose, but that was caused by sneezing and the possible onset of Hay Fever. The total raised was over 57 million pounds which was fantastic and will buy an awful lot of mosquito nets. I actually used my bridal veil as a mosquito net to put over my newly born son’s cot and cut my bridal gown up to make net curtains. Now there’s an idea, maybe all the stars and celebrities, such as Jordan and Posh and any future footballer’s wives, after their WAG as opposed to white weddings, and only after they’d been featured in ‘Hello’ of course, could donate their designer gowns to Comic Relief.

 

Watching those heart rending film clips about those poor children dying from lack of medication for Malaria, not to mention AIDS which hardly got a mention, once again reminded me of how lucky we are to have access to anti-retroviral drugs in England.

Talking of medication, I have finally given in and started taking statins to lower my cholesterol. I have been putting it off for months, if not years, as I’d heard stories about the people who were taking them turning into manic depressives, demented psychopaths and the likes and those are just the good side effects. Of course, I tend not to read the possible side effects of any medication on the packet anymore, because it can totally freak you out. On my box of Kivexa for example there is an alert card ordering me to carry this card with me at all times and warns me I should contact my doctor immediately if I get a skin rash or one or more symptoms from the following groups – fever, shortness of breath, nausea, diarrhoea, severe tiredness or generally feeling ill – well that just about sums me up and that’s on a good day. Should I discontinue to take Kivexa due to a reaction, the directions go on to warn me, I must never take any medicine containing abacavir, as within hours I may experience a lowering of my blood pressure – or death.

 

Well, tell it like it is why don’t you GlaxoSmithKline.

 

I recently took part in a film for GlaxoSmithKline about the side effects of HIV medication and made my usual point, of course, of why did some of my pills have to be blue, when we all know that blue colorants can cause hyperactivity and ADS in children – not that I am a child by any stretch of the imagination and mine is such a small complaint in comparison to watching ‘Red Nose’ day and those poor people dying through a lack of any kind of medication – blue or otherwise.

 

Anyway, the statins don’t seem to be having an adverse effect on me, in fact the opposite and I’m actually feeling quite positive at the moment – which as a positive person there is no getting away from I suppose. But recently I have been feeling the faint stirrings of hope and a new lust for life (statins to get my hopes up?) – mainly caused by fact that there has been some interest expressed by a publisher in regard to my book – now wouldn’t that be fantastic. Also my son has gone off to Manchester today for an interview to train as a plumber. It’s a shame I didn’t christen him Danny, like my nephew, otherwise I could have packed him off singing ….the pipes the pipes are calling.

 

On another positive note, to use that word again, I have been recently elected chair of our mixed support group in Blackburn which is called Thrivine, a spin off from Hivine my women’s support group, and we numbered twenty at the last meeting. The word ‘thrive’ in itself is uplifting – and I’m sure that as a group of positive people we will. Our next drop-in is on Tuesday if anyone who is positive wants to come along and join us, but you would have to contact the centre first or send me an email.

 

So as you can see, all is well in my world at the moment and all I have to do now is give up smoking. But I keep stoppin and a statin. I seem to be dropping all my G’s today, as long as I don’t start dropping anything else! I’m a bit concerned to tell the truth because I have been having some strange dreams of late and can only presume it’s because the first stirrings of Spring are in the air and the sap is rising – although I sincerely hope mine doesn’t I have to say. I might start having erotic dreams about Jeremy Clarkson and Simon Powell again.   

 

My best friend and neighbour’s adorable Chinese granddaughter was in trouble from her granny on her last visit to England, not for dropping her H’s but for not pronouncing them properly, so when asking for someone to pass her the brown sauce she took her granny literally by dropping the H completely and asking for the pee sauce.

Raining Cats and Blogs

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Isn’t it brilliant that the Osbourne family have supported Body Positive North West’s GO-4it campaign by wearing the green ribbon on the cover of the Spring edition of Positive Living.

 

Raining Cats and Blogs

Article for Positive Living

by Adrienne Seed  

http://www.hivine.com

 

January is a miserable month at the best of times, but if you are HIV positive and living on your own, it can be one of the bleakest times of the year. You could always try internet dating of course, or failing that start your own blog like me and spend your life locked away with only your laptop for company. Then again, you could get a lap dog, or a lap cat for that matter, instead, which would offer you all the love and support that your computer cannot; besides you can’t stroke your computer to help relieve stress, in fact you are more likely to kick it, and it doesn’t exactly welcome you home wagging its tail. At least mine doesn’t. On the other hand, you don’t have to buy it expensive tins of Chum, so there are two ways to look at it I suppose.

 

If you are feeling alone and sad, the constant rain doesn’t help and living in the Manchester area we are used to it raining cats and dogs on a regular basis, although I’m still waiting for mine to fall out of the sky. A Labradoodle preferably, as unlike Graham Norton and Jeremy Clarkson, I can’t afford that particular designer breed, as much as I’d like one, so I will just have to be patient and either pay a visit to the local dog pound or wait to see what the next heavy rainfall brings.

 

Apparently, there really is such a phenomena as ‘raining animals’ and there have been reported incidences in certain parts of the world of it raining fish, crabs, bats, worms and ducks. Even here in England back in 1894 jelly fish were reported to have fallen from out of the sky and landed in Bath – they didn’t say whose bath it was, but it must have given them quite a shock. Good job it wasn’t electric eels.

 

More recently in Norfolk in the year 2000 apparently the heavens opened unleashing a storm of sprats, which was highly unusual as being a seaside resort it was usually a storm of brats, wielding their buckets and spades. Reports of falling fish, frogs, tomatoes and even coal date back to the dawning of the millennium and according to weather experts, this was likely to have been caused by mini-tornadoes, which can suck up frogs and even frogmen according to some reports. Talking of Frenchmen a noted French physicist in an attempt to explain this phenomenon suggests that at certain times of the year, frogs roam the countryside in large numbers (especially when there is a football match on) and violent winds pick them up and carry them great distances. In the case of football hooligans, French or otherwise, the further the better I would say.

 

Tornados and water spouts are also capable of capturing animals and possibly even football supporters and lifting them into the air and carrying them over large distances then allowing them to fall in a concentrated fashion in a localised area – back to whichever country their team heralds from hopefully, especially if you are an England supporter. Some tornados can suck up the entire contents of a pond then let the water and animals fall some distance away in the form of a ‘rain of animals.’ Luckily this doesn’t tend to happen on our village ponds and waterways, or canals for that matter and as far as I know has never happened on Canal Street, where it would definitely be a case of, “Its raining men, hallellulya.”

 

Maybe it has and that’s how the song originated?

 

There have also been incidents of animals exploding due to a natural build up of gas, but this could be a myth purely related to cows who are known to suffer from an excess of flatulence. However, there was the mysterious incidence of the exploding toads in Germany, where thousands of amphibians died in a pond in Hamburg after their bodies had expanded to twice their normal size and swelled to bursting point. Scientists were completely baffled by this occurrence but the possible explanations included a fungus in the pond or an unknown virus. Well, living with HIV we are all too familiar with peculiar funguses and the damage a virus can do, but thankfully at least ours doesn’t make us swell up to twice our normal size and explode. Mind you, that would depend on which meds you were taking I suppose.

 

Coincidentally, my intellectual hero Stephen Fry mentioned the exploding Frogs on last week’s QI. I wonder if he’d read this article – I’d like to think so. I’d also like to think that the Positive Living magazine was lying around on the Osbourne’s coffee table seeing as they were kind enough to front the cover and support our Green Ribbon campaign.

Well, you never know – anyway a big thank you to the Osbournes from Body Positive North West and all who sail in her! 

Tie a Red Ribbon

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Remember my Pussy Willow tree? The one I wrote about in my blog, “Two’s company and tree’s a crowd”. The one I paid that tree surgeon a fortune to trim and give a special makeover and a new hair/foliage style last summer?

 

Well, I woke up this morning and stepped out of my conservatory to see if the first buds of May had appeared, even though I know it’s only February, but in these days of global warming you never know when things are about to sprout and make a sudden appearance. Such as my ex husband for example, who regardless of the changing seasons or global warming might just show up one of these days to pay a long overdue visit to his son. Well, you never know, strange things are happening weather wise and it’s a well known fact that weather affects behaviour as well as trees. In Greece for example when they all go a bit doolally when the Sirocco blows or right here in Blackburn where we all suffer from constant depression because of the rain. I was also curious to see if the birds had finally come back, tempted by their fat balls – as in the kind you dangle on a piece of string or specially designed hook from the branches of a tree.

 

But shock horror – no tree and no balls. The tree had gone – disappeared without a trace and the old fat balls had also disappeared, although in this case I am not referring to my ex husband.

 

Yesterday afternoon it had come to my notice that my new neighbour on my right hand side had employed the services of a rather dubious looking man wearing a dark anorak and a red bobble hat, because his ruddy face suddenly appeared over the top of our adjoining fence. He was obviously standing at the top of a ladder, if not he was an extraordinarily tall man, and he was wielding a saw in his dirty great mitt and quite a lot of the tree, the trunk of which unfortunately was situated in her garden although most of the branches hung over my garden, had already disappeared.

 

 “Hey, hang about,” I yelled, “What do you think you are doing?” I asked aghast.

“Trimmin tut tree,” he mouthed in a surly and unfriendly Lancashire accent. “It’s cuttin’ out tut light fromt tut neighbours garden.”

 “Well don’t take any more off my side,” I wagged my finger in an authorative manner, “I love that tree and besides, I paid £120 pounds to have it professionally trimmed last year by a tree surgeon.”

“‘Undred and twenty quid?” bobble hat scoffed, “They saw you coming.” then carried on lopping.

 

“Tree surgeon my arse,” I thought I heard him mumbling as I beat a hasty retreat to the safety of the conservatory to light a soothing camel. Oh dear, what to do, there would be nothing left of the tree if I didn’t do something quickly and besides, where was I going to dangle my new balls? Although I knew where I would have liked to dangle his.

 

“Trees are a protected species you know,” I announced from behind the door, “And it’s illegal to go round chopping them willy nilly,” hoping that he would have a sudden careless slip of the chainsaw and chop off his own willy nilly.

“Not this one,” Bobble hat proclaimed nastily, waving his saw, but thinking that I might cause trouble, promised to leave some branches on my side at least and told me that the bits he had already lopped off would soon grow back.

 

I was not convinced

 

My son who’d been practising his DJ skills upstairs in his bedroom had witnessed the ugly scene from above and being a green thinker obsessed with saving the planet, abandoned his decks and came down to my aid.

“Don’t worry son,” I told him, “I caught him just in the nick of time and half a tree, like half a sixpence, is better than no tree at all,” and off I went to Adsa to do the weekly shop, while he went back upstairs wondering what a sixpence was and to play a relevant track from his vinyl collection aptly entitled, ‘Chainsaw Massacre.’

 

It was dark when I got home and late so I immediately set about making dinner, then it was time for bed and it wasn’t till the next morning, as I said, when I went to hang the new fat balls for the birds (on offer six for two pounds) and to my shock and horror there was no bloody branches to hand them on. Bobble hat, obviously on my new neighbour’s orders, had waited till I’d gone out then chopped down the poor defenceless tree right down to its very stump. How sneaky was that.

 

“I hope your grass dies,” I shouted feebly over the fence.

 

How I loved that Pussy Willow tree, it’s been glorifying and presiding over my garden for the ten years that I’ve lived here, and I don’t know how many years before that. Its cooling canopy of sweet green leaves always provided a welcome shade in the hot summer months (before global warming set in that is) and as I can’t sit in the sun anymore or sunbathe thanks to hypersensitivity of the skin cause by the meds, yet another pleasure not to mention feel good factor HIV has deprived me of, as well as lack of vitamin D, I am now fully exposed to the sun’s deadly rays, as well as the prying eyes of the neighbours windows in the houses backing on to mine. Luckily I am not a naturalist and do not as a general rule sit naked in my deckchair.

 

But most of all, the tree was a joy to look at and a haven for the birds. A nightingale used to like to sit in its branches and sing its heart out, especially for some reason when I played Van Morrison. Now it would have to sing to and along with someone else.

 

No more birds – no more buds. No more leaves changing colour to mark the seasons – no more rustling. Nothing to tie a yellow ribbon to or a red one for that matter.

 

Prophetically, only the day before I had been crying my eyes out whilst watching Edward Scissor hands. If only bobble hat had sculpted something beautiful and eccentric out of the leaves and branches, or even the trunk. Now here I was crying over my lost tree, which feels like the loss of a much loved friend and I am in mourning, weeping over my willow instead of my willow weeping over me. Now all that is left is a bleak patch of sky and a row of windows looking down over me.

 

My best friend and also neighbour four doors down on the other side, whose artistic name coincidentally is Willo, suggested I should paint a tree and hang it there in its place. Maybe I should stand her on a ladder instead as she’s often up one having been forced to become ‘Bob the builder’ since her beloved partner Pavlito’s untimely death. He was our neighbourhood protector and righter of all wrongs on the street. I am sure that his green and ever present spirit will be suitably horrified by the unnecessary felling of the tree and will act phantasmagorically.