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Me, at 3 months

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B99:
Hi, forumites.  It's been a little bit of time.  But I wanted to write, since I will be off work for the next few days.  Firstly, I don't know if this qualifies as the correct forum.  "I just tested poz" has since been added and while I didn't "JUST" test poz, I believe many of my revelations and issues are those of someone who has due to it only being 3 months past.  But this is the forum where you got to know me, so this is where I will remain.(digression, maybe one of these posts I'll write about my feelings on the usage of the phrase "POZ")

Met with my HIV specialist.  Actually his assistant, but she is really cool.  She was expecting me to be more ignorant than I was after our first meeting, but I think she knows that me having this shit doesn't make me a complete fool.  LOL

Just got my new labs as well.  5/24 CD4 470  30% VL 212k
                                          7/21 CD4 439  32% VL 48K

I'm not on any drugs so I don't know what's going on.  I will be taking another test in 3 weeks.  But probably will be starting meds within a year. 

My emotions have basically stabled.  The initial panic of me not being able to accomplish everything in my life has gone.   I realized that no one accomplishes everything in their life; HIV or no HIV.  If you accomplish something one day, you set a new task for the next.  And eventually that next day never comes, but you've planned for it.  I'm 24 and before my diagnosis, I never even thought of old age.  But right after being diagnosed that was all I could think about, making it to 85, when in reality I had always planned to go before I realized that I was old.  Don't know what age, but I think it's a feeling; a point where you can say "You know I think I can go now."

And for some odd reason I'm in that place now.  If left to its own accord, HIV would probably kill me before I turned 30.  Am I glad that that is my reality?  No.  But it is.  And I can either redefine my life around that fact or I can become very angry at life, the thing that I love the most, and resolve myself from it.  I never understood people who become angry with the people they love (because of sexual preference, bad choices, religious beliefs, etc) and decide that instead of enjoying them how they are, they choose not to deal with them.  I love life, and it's going to take more than someone telling me it's going to be shorter for me to become angry and bitter at it. 

So that's where I'm at: acceptance.  I'm assuming that at 30 I will no longer be here, but you never know.  I had an adviser at my college who was extremely active in campus cultural events.  He actually ran the student cultural departments for a while.  At about the same time as my diagnosis, I discovered that at 38, he was in a long term care facility preparing to die due to the reemergence of cancer from 4 years prior.  That was May.  By June, he was gone.  Passed at 38, a wife, a great career and 3 kids.  Lesson for me: Death can't be stopped.  If it wants me at 30 it doesn't have to use HIV to get me.  All I can do is live the life I want to live.

When I first started reading this site, someone had a post along the lines of "I don't think of HIV much anymore" and it caused some controversy.  Some people were like "I understand"  others were like "How dare you not", and I think I'm in the former.  I know I have it, so I'm not in denial, but I'm not sick, I feel fine, not on meds (yet); why should I walk around thinking 24/7 about something I can't control?  My story will change once I start dealing with complications, but I am expecting it, not anticipating it. 

Lastly, a lot of what I had to get over was how I contracted HIV.  It was with a guy, on one of my dabbles in that lifestyle choice, but I never was embarrassed or mad because of that: (excuse my french) I wanted to fuck a man and I did it.  What pissed me off is, that before I deducted that this individual gave me a little gift, I had classified him as THE WORST FUCK I HAD EVER HAD. Male or female.  I remember lying in his bed during sex not feeling like being there, not being interested in the activities going on and thinking "I coulda had a V8"  LOL.  And the irony that THE WORST FUCK I EVER HAD really turned out to be THE WORST FUCK I EVER HAD because of this HIV escaped me after being diagnosed.  Now I laugh about it. The incident, not about the fact that I haven't had sex since then.  A lot of people on here have said they have lost interest in sex.  For me it's contrary, now that I KNOW my status, I want it more.  AND I WANT IT BAD.  The only issue is that there is really no straight positive community here in Minnesota so finding a positive (black) woman is damn near impossible, and I don't trust the gay community here--the men (I think a lot of them are sleazy and selfish).

So, this is me at 3 months:  acceptant and horny.  (Well not acceptant about the horniness, but you've read my thread, you know what I'm talking about.) LOL

newt:
I hope you do not leave HIV to its own accord, treat it at the appropriate time, feel better, fall in love with an amazing person, have great sex, and are inspired to the great heights and depths of life, or just the satisfaction of cleaning the car before Sunday lunch, things that you can remember when you are old, hopefully with someone in the chair opposite on the deck .  This is possible.

Death can;t be stopped, but life can, esp. with HIV while you ponder if you have a viable long-term future, even though this is the most likely way things will go if you adequate access to treatment.

The "Am I viable?" question is (IMHO) a deep dynamic of living with HIV. I was discussing this with a friend, who's partner asked him to move back to S Africa in 5 years, after saving enough money for a house.  This was a "click" moment for him.  My friend's been positive 15 years, and he realised that although he was okay, he still had in his mind the question "Am I viable?" He's now saving for a house he intends to buy in 5 years' time.  Looking back I was the same.  Science is a great refuge sometimes, and on paper I knew things looked good.  I was never cut up about being HIV-positive.  The "click" from acceptance to confidence  came this spring when talking to my doc 18 months on from starting treatment. He asked me the question "What do you expect to happen to your HIV now?" I paused. My answer: "Nothing".  Nothing.  It was a eureka! moment.  I left the clinic feeling not okay but normal. 

- matt

aztecan:
Hey B99,

You mean there are black people in Minnesotta? YIKES? (LOL - jus kidding)

Seriously though, I thought the same thoughts about my supposed longevity. In fact, I lived them. I knew I wouldn't live much past 30.

Guess what? I am now in my 40s, looking toward my 50s and wishing I had saved a little more 20 years ago.

No, you can't stop death. But you don't have to invite it in for afternoon tea either. Take good care of yourself and you very well could live a normal life span, with love and all the glories and tragedies that come with life.

Glad you came back for a visit. Hope to hear more from you. I like your style.

HUGS,

Mark

Oh, and by the way, you're CD4 percentage is pretty good. Judging from you numbers, I would say your body is heading for the nadir level after initial infection. Don't sweat the numbers untill you and your doc decide there is a definite pattern and something needs to be done.

B99:
What is the "nadir" level?

newt:
Nadir is doctor speak for lowest.  After infection CD4 counts drop dramatically, then rise again as your immune system gets to grips with managng the virus.


- matt

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