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New Labs (and definite proof that I'm HIV+)



My doctor called me with my latest CD4 and VL results on Tuesday, leaving the information on a voicemail message.  I was hoping that the viral load would still be undetectable, as I was holding out the tiniest bit of hope that I was not truly HIV+.  (As I had stated in my earlier (first) post, I tested positive in late June and my first viral load was undetectable and my t-cells were high.  There was a question (in my mind, anyway) about the accuracy of the diagnosis given the undetectable VL so soon after seroconversion (I was HIV-negative in the summer of 2006) and the borderline results of the Western Blot (according to the American Red Cross criteria, it would be "Indeterminate".))

Anyway, the new numbers are:  CD4: 629 (43%), and VL: 895.  (In July, they were 795 (40%) and <50.)

So, the new detectable VL value does indeed prove that I've got the virus.  I realize that my numbers are "pretty good" and I should be grateful for that.  But....I'm STILL NOT HAPPY about being HIV-positive.  (More about that below...)

So, I'll be going back for another set of CD4 and VL measurements in 3 months.  Although my doctor suggested I wait 6 months and that we only do the CD4 count then, I think, at this point, I'd like to do both the CD4 and the VL 3 months from now (December) and then 6 months from now (March).  After that, we'll see what's what.

OK, I'm going to vent now...

I am REALLY, REALLY, REALLY infuriated/disappointed/disgusted with myself for allowing myself to get infected.  I have nobody to blame but myself and I fully take responsibility for it, but I'm just pissed.  Prior to this diagnosis, I had enough stuff to deal with in my life (I've been struggling with bipolar disorder for proably 20 years, diagnosed 13 years ago).  Right now, I haven't told anybody other than 1 friend who lives on the opposite coast.  I got this diagnosis after I had left my job in order to begin a full-time graduate program and I'm now about 3 weeks into this program and horribly behind in the reading because I'm rather demoralized and just don't see the point in working so hard.  I feel like I'm going to f**k this up too!  I'm seriously thinking about dropping out.  It's not just the new HIV diagnosis that I'm dealing with, I'm sliding into one of my depressive moods again.  I went to the campus counseling center yesterday and spoke with a counselor.  I didn't mention the HIV diagnosis -- I did tell her about the bipolar disorder but answered "No" when she asked me if I had any other medical conditions (I suppose, at this point, I don't "really" have a medical condition related to HIV -- I just have knowledge of the infection, no symptoms, etc.)).  Anyway, the counsellor and I just talked about my lack of motivation and discipline and mentioned some things I could try.  I'm going back in 2 weeks.  I'm not going to tell her about the HIV (even if the records are "confidential") because I am rather mistrustful by nature and I'm not willing to divulge this news to anybody I don't have to at this point. But I have been playing phone tag with another friend (on the opposite coast) these last few days and when we do connect, I might share this news with him.  On the one hand, he's a doctor so he's accustommed to dealing with bad news.  On the other hand, I really think that he'll be disappointed in me (though I doubt he'll let that show).  I'm probably just delaying the inevitable -- I suppose I'll eventually tell most of my friends (unless I decide to pursue "Plan B").  Anyway, I've gotta get my head screwed on right and get recommitted to taking care of myself (as soon as I convince myself that that's a worthwhile pursuit).

Hey you,

I hear what you're saying man. I just tested positive and i'm in a grad program too. I had my first night of school tonight. Its definitely a pain in the ass but it is worth it. I was paranoid about working full time and going to school full time, but decided fuck it. if im gonna be miserable it's gonna be while aiming for happiness.

Also, you don't have to tell anyone you are not fucking about your hiv status. It really is on a need to know basis, and not everyone may have your best intentions at heart. On the other hand, I told about 10 people and have developed an extremely helpful and nuturing support network. Then I shut my mouth and went about my life.

On plan B, hopefully that's touring the world or eating at the most expensive restaurant in town and getting shitty drunk afterwards. I read on hear someone's words of wisdom about dealing with it-- get up, go out and do something. go for a walk. Or, as another wise person wrote, get a piece of paper and a pencil, and write down how many times you have died from aids  today.

Look, its not gonna be easy, but you have one heck of a family here. You can also reach out to your therapist, a local hiv group, or work on developing your own network. I know my emotions have been on a rollercoaster ride from hell, but having others to talk to has helped tons. If need be, you can email me and I will be another person you can talk to, remember, you are not alone in this.

School can be a bitch somedays, and so can life. Overall, it is still a wonderful thing. If you are already a diagnosed bipolar personality, then you may want to think about telling your therapist. Personally, I needed about a week of bedrest just to deal with the outside world, and now i am allowing myself more downtime (movies, internet games, etc) and I still go on walks : )

Your life has not been in vain, and you did not fuck up royally. This didn't happen to you for a better reason than it happened to any of us, the shit just happens man, regardless of the reasons. We all have different stories, and I don't think any of us were purposefully looking to get infected. But, here we are, alive, thriving and being fab.


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