Texas Book Festival 2016

Saturday morning rain showers didn’t stop Austinites from venturing downtown to the annual Book Festival. High spirits, laughter, umbrellas, wet clothes and puddle splashing made for an unusual but entertaining Book Festival for all ages.

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Saturday, November 5 & Sunday, November 6
10th & Congress Ave, Austin, Texas

Thank You

Some of the many outstanding individuals who have made an impact on my life:
(1) Sir Elton John; (2) Elizabeth Taylor; (3) Earvin “Magic” Johnson; (4) Mikhail Carreon Taggueg, Founder/ HIV advocate/ HIV Counselor at The Cagayan Valley Support System; (5) Rock Hudson; (6)Prentiss Douthit, Hill Country Ride for AIDS Ride Director; (7) standing: Glenda Whitehead, Gwen Kingery, Maxine Carstedt, seated: Barbara Graham. Not pictured: Linden Zimmerman; (8) Edgar Gierbolini, Development Director at Care Communities and Ken Martin, Executive Director at Care Communities; (9) David Powell, founder of the David Powell (HIV) Clinic, Austin, Tx; (10) Greg Revenj, HIV Advocate; (11) Ryan White

HIV: How do YOU count the days?

COUNT
Each and every day I encounter people living with an HIV diagnosis who have resigned themselves to sit hour after hour in front of the television waiting to die. They have convinced themselves they’re too sick to step foot out of doors to enjoy the world around them. These individuals rarely socialize with others outside of their close HIV circle of friends. Somewhere, they have lost their desire to live, instead they simply exist until the virus takes them to the next dimension. My heart bleeds for those once active and productive individuals who succumbed to the perception that their lives were over when they received their HIV diagnosis.

Nearly four years ago, I received my HIV diagnosis along with what the doctor referred to as “full blown AIDS.” Immediately, I begun medical treatment. The first year wasn’t pleasant as my body rejected the myriad of chemicals forced on it. But once my body became tolerant to the medications I wanted to resume living again. Slowly I became involved with activities in the outside world, I learned and accepted my limitations. I searched out opportunities to volunteer my time. It didn’t take long before my monthly planner became and stayed full with activities that benefited the HIV community. I consciously remind and schedule time to care for myself. I’m LIVING and not just existing. All of us will die someday, we have no idea when or where, but I’m not willing to resign myself to the ritual of waiting for the inevitable. Inactivity and negative thinking do nothing positive for the person with an HIV diagnosis.

Every community offers opportunities to give-back to the community which has assisted the individual living with HIV. My advice for any person with HIV is to volunteer in your local community take a class at the community college, participate in a crafting workshop, join a book club, take a walk, feed the ducks or geese… just return to the world of the LIVING. You have talents and ideas to share with others, become productive, rejoin and contribute to the world around you. HIV is a controllable virus, not a death sentence. Stand up to HIV and let the world see YOU for who you are … a beautiful, caring human being with an extraordinary soul. Celebrate the wonderful gift you were given … the gift of LIFE.

WHY I BECAME AN HIV/AIDS ADVOCATE

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Since receiving my HIV/AIDS diagnosis on December 1, 2012, I’ve looked back at how many people have helped get me to where I am today. It’s said that it takes a “village” to assist a person with HIV. I’ll attempt to identify the people of my “village”:

21 medical doctors and medical specialists have and/or are currently treating my symptoms.

1 primary care physician, since the original diagnosis, an infectious disease doctor specializing in HIV/AIDS.

4 hospitals, with countless nurses, nurse techs, lab techs, food service and housekeepers.

2 stays in Intensive Care Units with around the clock nurses.

5 testing facilities for numerous x-rays, MRI’s, other type of scans and lab work.

8 out of town blood labs that analysis blood draws.

City, County, State and Federal agencies that coordinate medical, health and basic living accommodations.

4 case managers and countless counselors guiding my every step

1 Federal Judge who presided over my Social Security Disability Appeals Hearing, and the court reporter and occupational therapist.

5 Care Team members who have/are volunteer their time to guarantee I get to and from my appointments, run errands and a receptive ear when I feel lost.

1 in-home nurse who visits every other week to make sure I am receiving the best care possible and that my basic and medical needs are being met.

28+ friends living with HIV who share their fears, tears, disappointments and frustrations of living with HIV.

4 Austin AIDS Service Organizations and their staffs who give their all to do whatever they can to make my quality of life better.

Newspaper, TV, photographers, reporters and magazine staffs who have given me the opportunity to let my voice be heard so to share my story of hope to others.

Thousands of faceless, nameless individuals who freely and compassionately give of their time, talents and money supporting the many organizations and services I depend on daily.

Countless Pharmacists who fill my 22 prescriptions and followup with instructions of how and when to take my meds.

1 dietitian and 1 nutritionist to guide my daily nutritional needs. 

1 Physical therapist

2 Lawyers and a number of legal aids who assisted in my appeals for SS Disability

Countless friends, who are my daily strength and encouragement, empowering me to see my dreams.

??? How many others I can’t recall right now.

As you can surmise, I’ve been blessed with more than a “village”, but an entire “CITY”, one that has and continues to support my fight with HIV/AIDS. I’m so very grateful for my “CITY” and thankful that they have and will continue to be there for me. That’s a whole lot of gratitude I owe to thank my “CITY”. I can’t possibly thank everyone, but what I can do is volunteer my time, dedication, passion and efforts to educate and share my story. With my voice I’m able to extend my gratitude, to GIVE BACK to my “CITY” by doing my small part towards making our world free of HIV.

That’s why I became an HIV/AIDS Advocate.

Unedited Excerpt – Growing Into My Skin

Growing Into My Skin - Excerpt

Unedited excerpt from the rough draft of: GROWING INTO MY SKIN, a memoir of a gay man.

 

“Who is Dale Thele?” the interviewer asked.

“I suppose I’m a person who’s passionate about my beliefs.”

“What do you believe?”

“I believe in humanity, equality and I believe in myself.”

“How would you summarize yourself?”

“Passion driven. I’ve made enemies because of who I am. I’ve made enemies because of my passionate beliefs. But I’ve gained even more friends and allies for the same reasons.

“I’ve held men in my arms as they drew their last breath. I’ve been covered in the blood of fallen brother’s from hate bashings.

“I’ve compromised principles to keep jobs. I’ve been silent when I should have shouted. I’ve sacrificed integrity far too often, all because I didn’t fit into society’s “norm.”

“In hindsight, I suppose I could have made better choices, but every decision was based on my passionate beliefs and belief in myself. My only regret in this life is that I have not done enough for others. More than once I had retreated, isolated myself from a world gone mad, buried my head in the sand. There comes a point when a man can take no more hatred, bigotry, anger, blood and death before he screams, enough is enough, I’m only one person.

“Yet, the day I came face-to-face with my life-long nemesis: HIV and AIDS, an inner strength was awakened and burning passion was reignited. The fight for life was on. I had a secret weapon, an arsenal that few possess: a life of pain, loss and discrimination which had prepared me for the fight of my life.”

* Prototype Cover Photo by Dan Winters Photography

Waterman Carene . . .

Waterman Carene

Waterman “Carene” fountain pen is an elegant and classy pen making me feel as if I’m composing an epic tome. The Carene is a deep black luminescent lacquer finish barrel with electroplated palladium trim with a shape inspired by the streamlined symmetry of the world’s finest yachts. The french translation of “carène” is “hull”. This quality fountain pen features a highly lacquered barrel and extremely smooth in-laid rhodium-plated 18k solid gold extra fine nib. Heavy weight (brass base), yet ergonomically balanced for writing comfort. The pen can be fitted with a Waterman cartridge or a Waterman converter for use with bottled ink. The timeless designed Waterman “Carene” fountain pen is made in France.

Note: I’m currently hand-writing the first draft of growing into my skin with my Carene, filled with Waterman Mysterious Blue bottled fountain pen ink on 8.5 x 11.75 canary yellow legal pads.

growing into my skin . . .

growing into my skin growing into my skin

takes front and center as the current work in progress by Dale Thele

a gay man’s journey in search of his safe place

A literary memoir in progress of the author’s own lifetime of struggles through hate, bigotry and prejudice, a gay man searches for purpose and meaning of life. Through social challenges he discovers in the most unexpected circumstances who he is and along the journey he finds his safe place.

The writing of this manuscript will take precedence over all other writing projects until the manuscript is completed. Watch for excerpts and updates to be posted on this blog.

 

Prototype Book Cover Photo by Dan Winters Photography