Today’s Video Story was collected on the 50-state Story Tour. We met T.C. during our visit to Colorado. If you haven’t submitted a story yet to IFD, or if you want to submit another one, I’d love to read and publish it. Write one up and send it in.
Hi my name is TC Haskins and I’m from Roanoke, Virginia. I came out after my son’s death at 18. I had a kid a month before my 14th birthday. I grew up in extremely red-neck, long hair, biker, mechanics, constructions, so being gay was not an option. First live in boyfriend, his name was WT and the night that Rock Hudson was put on a plane and flown to Paris – was the very first night – the very first time, he allowed his publicist to admit to the world that he had AIDS. They didn’t call it HIV back then, they called it AIDS. After the doors of the plane were closed, they went back to a regular news cast and they listed the symptoms for HIV/AIDS and out of the seven symptoms that they listed, WT had four of them. And I just looked at WT and I started crying. Here I am still majorly going through the death of my son, I’m 19 years old, my first live in boyfriend – but we went and got tested the next day and back then it took three weeks to get results back and if they got back a positive result then they did the test again to make sure that it was a true. Back then sometimes they were coming back false positives. So it was six weeks of worrying. And when I did find out – my doctor didn’t want to touch me. He actually sat across the room when he came back in to give me my results and said, “You have AIDS, you better do everything you want to do by the time you’re 22 because cause you’re going to be dead by the time you’re 22.” Then got up and walk out of the room. For about 2 years I stayed depressed a lot, and actually stayed sick too. Then I decided, “You know what? I’m going to be the first person that’s going to beat this.” I’ve been really lucky. A lot of people don’t realize that your mind has a lot of control over your body. And if you tell yourself that you’re going to be good at something, then you’ll be good at something! You’ve got to believe it, but your mind is a very very strong thing. The only medication they had back then was AZT and they were actually given five times the dose that they give now. So yes, it was helping some people for a little while but it was actually so toxic to the body. For me, I would rather have quality of life over quantity. I’d rather live six months being not too bad, than two years being sick as hell every day. So I made a promise to myself that if or when I would ever get sick I would never take the medications cause I just didn’t want to go through that kind of hell. I was actually on my way out the door. I was dying. I was 113 pounds. 12 T cells. Viral load completely off the scale. Not even measurable. And they had just come out with Protease inhibitors. I decided to go ahead and take them and here I am 44 and I’m still kicking. Still doing very good.