Gabriela

Gabriela

I’m 39 years old with two adolescent kids. In my childhood, we were very poor and couldn’t finish highschool. I worried me that my mom had to live day and night to work, and I was incharged of the house chores. When I turned 17, I blindly fell in loved  and got married when I was 7-month pregnant. My husband was an excellent person: caring, respectful and helpful.  He worked day and night to bring food tothe table and provide a place for us to live in. When my oldest son was 6 and my youngest 4 started to treat me badly and nothing that I did made him happy. He started feeling useless because his money wasn’t enough anymore and he wanted to give us what we needed. He moved to Encarnacion to work and every came back to visit us every 2 weeks. But the visits became fewer and fewer. As the time passed he started feel bad. He had stomach ache and diarrhea; I thought it was because of his bad diet. He made mocking comments that he had another woman who ironed and cooked better than me, but I didn’t take him seriously nor did I want to accept the truth that he had another partner, because I loved him and wanted to protect my children.

He wanted to have his family beside him, so he took us to Encarnacion. The night he came to pick us up, I was happy and content. I was already aware that there was another person in his life but I didn’t care. The months went by so fast and I started feeling lower abdominal pain. I had Candidiasis in my hand, but I didn’t know what it was. And my husband continued with his diarrhea, vomiting and fever. The bad treatment continued as well; he got mad at me for no reason, but that was unpredictable: one day he’s so loving and other days he hit me. I didn’t know how to respond,but I kept telling him I loved him so much.

He was afraid to to some studies. After seeing the naturalist “doctor”, he told my husband that he was in a very critical condition and only the scientific medicine can help. So he went to see a physician. He stayed at his mom’s place for a week and later asked to be taken to the hospital. He was there for 4 days under the doctor’s care.

The doctor wasn’t sure if he had HIV/AIDS, but he suspected it because of the symptoms. We returend to Asuncion and I met with the doctor. He told me that my husband had HIV/AIDS, y that the kids and I should do some studies as well.

After doing all the tests, I was told that my children didn’t have HIV, but I did. The doctor didn’t want me to tell my husband what he had. My boys were beside me when the doctor told me my results, but I didn’t tell them the truth. After being hospitalized for 4 days at the hospital, I was discharged and we went back home. We then looked for our stuff in Encarnacion.

After 4 months of treatment, I had several mouth sores and had med intoxication. They had to admit me again. I was in serioulsy ill; I felt a great discrimination from the doctors and nurses who assisted me at the hospital. I was hospitalized for 2 weeks. My husband got very sick again because he left his treatment and also had to be admitted because Meningitis and Toxoplasmosis. He did on October 2, 1998.

After being back in Asuncion for a long time, I lived with my parents again. Doing my treatment at LACIMET Hospital, I found a beautiful place called “Alto Refugio” where I found love, affection, respect, emotional, spiritual and economic help.

I endured 8 years without telling my children about my sickness, and even had to lie to them many times to hid the truth that I was infected, but today, thanks to God, He gave the strength to tell them. I now have the support of my kids and my family with lots of respect and affection.

In the present, God allows me to be a blessing to others as a volunteer at Alto Refugio.

Note: illustrative image.

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