“I’m a pretty busy person. I work as a peer support worker at Vancouver Native Health and St. Paul’s Hospital and as a research assistant at the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network. I’m also a mom and that’s 24 hours a day, seven days a week!
I also have Hepatitis C. Weekend support at the Dr. Peter Centre became really important to me when I was doing the treatment to get rid of it. The treatment is rough, and I was an emotional wreck throughout. Sometimes I would come to the nursing station and just cry.
I contracted HIV through intravenous drug use. It was 1993 – I was 23 years old. After I got tested, the doctor gave me the news and then told me I had to leave because he had another appointment. That’s the way it was then.
That’s when I fell into using heavily. One night, I overdosed but they brought me back to life. After that, I realized that I didn’t want to die. I thought, ’My life is too precious’. Now getting the word out about HIV and Hepatitis C is my mission. I’ve realized that these illnesses are manageable. I’m not dying, so I’m determined to make a difference in my life as well as in the lives of others.
I like coming to the Dr. Peter Centre because it’s a place where I can be me. It’s a place where I can be Lyanna. I come to the Dr. Peter Centre for the meals – oh my, I love the meals here! And nursing too – I take my meds every morning at the Dr. Peter Centre. I love it here, there’s no other place like it.”