Since the age of 35, Bobby Russell of Kentucky has been living under the assumption that he was HIV positive, when in fact – as he has recently learned – it was not so. Bobby is 43 years old now, and for 8 years he has been treating a non-existent illness and acting in a way that would isolate him from his previous life, out of the need to protect loved ones. Finding out he was misdiagnosed for something as serious and life-threatening as HIV has stirred this man to speak out on behalf of others who may have or may be enduring the same fate. This case stirs more within the human spirit then Bobby could know.
Imagine for a moment that you were told you had HIV. How would your life change? How would your relationships change? How would your outlook on reality shift? For Bobby Russell, he anticipated a deep decline in his health condition. Wishing to spare loved ones from such an experience as watching him deteriorate, he chose to separate himself from them out of concern and care. He changed his relationships and only sought partnership with other HIV positive individuals.
As recently as last fall, while trying to obtain medical benefits for veterans, was told that he needed HIV positive confirmation tests, for which his doctors were unable to provide. This led to the realization that Bobby had never been put through the full gammat of tests normally recommended and required in order to determine that someone is really HIV positive. His original diagnosis came after an emergency visit where he experienced strange bleeding of the colon. Afterwards, he received regular treatment which Russell describes as an “extensive medical regimen” for people with HIV.
Bobby Russell is now suing those associated with his misdiagnosis, including the “doctors and others at the University of Kentucky Medical Center, the UK-affiliated Bluegrass Care Clinic and the Fayette County Health Department.” – according to sources.
He says it is less about the money that he would receive and more about speaking out so that others may feel confident doing the same thing if found in a similar circumstance. What do you do when you find out the last 8 years of your life has been lived in a way that wasn’t aligned with truth? I think many of us have experienced this in one way or another, and it doesn’t have to be about an illness misdiagnosed. Perhaps Bobby is speaking to all of us – to stop living as though you are dying and instead, live each day to its fullest.
The more we learn about medicine, quantum fields and the power of the mind, the less we can trust that what someone else tells us is reality for us. We must begin to determine our own realities through choice, awareness and belief. What if Russell had been given the HIV diagnosis, but instead of retracting from life – chose to live it to the fullest? What if he chose to engage all of his relationships more deeply and give thanks for what he had been given instead of contemplating suicide for his lot in life – which he says he did at one point? I am not suggesting he be grateful for what happened and pardon those who made mistakes which affected his version of reality, but then again – maybe I am.
When do we take back full responsibility for our experiences and stop giving away our power to anyone else – including the medical establishment, though qualified as they seem to tell us certain things which can change our lives forever? I know individuals who were diagnosed with life-threatening illness who chose to instead live as though that diagnosis was just a warning to “how their lives could be” if they kept living the way they were. These individuals turned their health and lives around to reflect a deeper level of joy and appreciation that could have only come from a serious wake-up call.
Mistakes happen. We are humans and we can mess-up. Even doctors – as they are not gods, nor are they all-powerful and all knowing, though we sometimes treat them as such. A man was misdiagnosed with HIV and lived as such for 8 years. He was stirred to finally speak out following a mighty wake up call into the truth. What can the lesson of his experience teach and offer to each one of us? Will we equally give our lives away to the voice of doctors and medical reason? Will we sacrifice living fully for the advice of another? Or will we choose today to create the life we desire by living fully in the now, present moment?
As fair as Bobby Russell’s lawsuit may seem, will it empower others, will it empower him? That is the only question worth answering in this case. Misdiagnosed with HIV, cancer, heart disease, shyness, unworthiness or poverty – we ought to all be stirred as this man is now – to speak out for our authentic truths, lingering just below the surface of our expressed reality. When it’s time to wake up – life hands us a cup of ‘full”, and it’s up to us if we spill it or drink it up.
Written by: Stasia Bliss