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Author Topic: 1 year aidsaversary  (Read 1636 times)

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Offline Dale Parker

  • Member
  • Posts: 266
1 year aidsaversary
« on: March 22, 2010, 12:29:54 AM »
I haven't written on here for a while. Been a pretty busy boy lately. Last Thursday (March 18th) was the one year anniversary of when I was diagnosed with Aids.  What a roller coaster ride it's been. In the last year I had the shock of being diagnosed, formally coming out to my family, trouble finding drug insurance, declaring bankruptcy, moving to subsidized housing, almost getting evicted from subsidized housing, and going from unemployment insurance to going on disability.
  Although it's been the worst year of my life looking back on it it's also been the most amazing year.  Sometimes I wonder how I survived it all emotionally. I've been so lucky health wise. My viral load went from over 500,000 to undetectable in 6 months. My CD4's went from 21 last May to 197 on my February blood test.  My CD4 to CD8 ratio is only 11% but I'm sure that will improve.
I've been exercising every day so that must account for something. At least 4 days a week I walk 5.5 kilometers (3.42 miles). This week I also bowled 100 frames of 10 pin, went for my first bike ride of 35 kilometers (22 miles) and swam over a mile at the local pool both yesterday and today. The pool is a 2.5 mile walk from my place = 5 miles round trip. I've also been doing volunteer work 2 days a week at the Aids support group in Toronto.  My doctor wants me to do the Friends for Life Bike Rally in July which is a 660 kilometer (410 mile) bike ride from Toronto to Montreal to benefit people with aids. Pretty sure I'm going to sign up for that this week.
   I really am amazed at the support that I have received from family and friends. I couldn't have managed either emotionally or financially with out them. It's so cool now to discuss cute guys with my sister when we see one and my homophobic brother in-law is so supportive. That really blows my mind. I also have to thank you guys for your support. Both the website and the contributors to the forums have answered a lot of my questions, eased my fears and been really supportive.
I owe you a ton of thanks.
Wishing you all the best of health
Dale

Apr 09  CD4 21, CD4/CD8 ratio 0 VL 500,000+
July 09 CD4 158, CD4/CD812% VL 750
Oct 09 CD4 157 CD4/CD8 14% VL UD
Feb 10 CD4 197, CD4/CD8 11% VL UD
May 10  CD4 252 CD4/CD8 12% VL UD
Aug 10 CD4 211 VL UD
Nov 10 CD4 272 CD4/CD8 0.138 VL UD

Offline tednlou2

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,081
Re: 1 year aidsaversary
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2010, 12:42:15 AM »
I'm glad to hear things are going well for you.  I'm amazed by all the exercising you're doing.  I need to get off my ass.  That has been the big thing with me over my last year of diagnosis.  I've withdrawn from activities.  We use to go hiking, biking, and go to the lake every weekend.  Your story reminds me I need to get out and start doing things again.  

I was wondering about something.  You live in Canada??  May I ask why you had to file bankruptcy?  It couldn't be for medical bills could it?  I thought that was only a problem here in the U.S.

Edit:  I was just remembering what you said about unemployment and disability, so that probably explains bankruptcy. 

Offline Dale Parker

  • Member
  • Posts: 266
Re: 1 year aidsaversary
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2010, 02:41:20 AM »
I think my exercising is my way of saying to myself and the world "I'm better now than I ever was. I might be HIV positive and on disability but I'm also becoming very able" I also want to get back to work in the fall. By being physically fit and being able to say that I cycled from Toronto to Montreal I can assure myself and a future boss that I can show up every day and do the job that I'm applying for. I know that is stupid logic but it works for me. Exercising is also a good way to keep healthy and help prevent getting sick/minimizing any OI's that may come my way.
   Since I already own a bike, rollerblades, a number of swim suites and shoes the exercise I get doesn't cost me anything. I only go swimming on days when the pool is free. Plus it kills a ton of time and keeps me from being board. Since finding out I was positive I've become very goal orientated and competitive (mostly against myself) which I was never before.
  I had to go bankrupt as owed $35 -$40,000. While I was employed the debt was manageable but after being on unemployment for 8 months I couldn't afford to pay rent, drug deductables, food, etc. on what I was getting on unemployment. Making the minimum monthly payments to my credit cards was just impossible. All my savings were used up.  Being unemployed I didn't have any company medical insurance. The provincial plan they had me on cost me $200.00 per month as perscript ion drugs in Ontario are not free. Being on disability the Ontario government pays for the drugs which cost about $2300.00 per month.
Apr 09  CD4 21, CD4/CD8 ratio 0 VL 500,000+
July 09 CD4 158, CD4/CD812% VL 750
Oct 09 CD4 157 CD4/CD8 14% VL UD
Feb 10 CD4 197, CD4/CD8 11% VL UD
May 10  CD4 252 CD4/CD8 12% VL UD
Aug 10 CD4 211 VL UD
Nov 10 CD4 272 CD4/CD8 0.138 VL UD

Offline Dale Parker

  • Member
  • Posts: 266
Re: 1 year aidsaversary
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2010, 03:06:10 AM »
On a further note to my last reply. I think the the doctors figured that with a original diagnosis of 21 CD4's it was a given that my health would deteriorate and I'd be hospitalized for a long time. They also figured it would take years for me to get healthy enough to get back to work. That's why I was put on disability. On disability I would never have been able to afford to pay the minimum on my credit cards as that was about $600.00 per month.
  Honestly: When I first started to read all the posts on this forum I was scared shitless. Every post I read where people had less than 180 CD4's had been hospitalized with some sort of O.I.. I actually have a "hospital bag" packed and waiting to go just in case. I had a colonoskipy (that's not spelled right) a few years ago so I know for a fact that I don't have any golden lucky horseshoes up there. I must have an incredible set of guardian angels looking after me.
Apr 09  CD4 21, CD4/CD8 ratio 0 VL 500,000+
July 09 CD4 158, CD4/CD812% VL 750
Oct 09 CD4 157 CD4/CD8 14% VL UD
Feb 10 CD4 197, CD4/CD8 11% VL UD
May 10  CD4 252 CD4/CD8 12% VL UD
Aug 10 CD4 211 VL UD
Nov 10 CD4 272 CD4/CD8 0.138 VL UD

Offline PozBrian

  • Member
  • Posts: 200
Re: 1 year aidsaversary
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2010, 03:09:08 AM »
Hi Dale,
   Your post reminded me that my 1st is coming up on April 9th and it has been a wild ride for me too, though not quite to your extent. I'm still working full time, still haven't disclosed my status to family and friends, had to deal with a couple of fairly serious but easy to treat infections along the way, but still got my VL to UD. Fortunately my medical coverage is rock solid and cant be taken away. 24 years in the Navy was worth something after all!
   Anyway, work has me traveling a lot and I wish that there was a support group around that could accommodate my schedule. Believe me I tried to find one. I haven't had the positive changes like you described. I've managed to keep my life from fallen apart though it does feel frayed at times. That sort of support would be great to find.

Brian
3/8 CD4: 495, 31%, VL UD
2/1 CD4: 564, 20%.VL UD, switching to Issentress & truvada
10/11 CD4: 446, 29%, VL UD
7/11 CD4: 873, 35%, VL UD
4/11 CD4: 573, 34% VL 0
12/10 CD4: 405, 30% VL UD
9/10 CD4: 416, 31% VL UD
5/10 CD4: 393, 29% VL: UD
02/10 CD4: 423, 37% VL: UD
11/09 CD4: 379, 25% VL: UNDETECTABLE!!
10/09 CD4: 245, 25% VL: 87
9/09 CD4: 246, 24% VL: 49!
8/09 CD4: 277, 26% VL: 115
7/09 CD4: 346, 24% VL: 221
6/09 started Atripla
5/09 CD4: 326, 16%  VL:125000
4/09 HIV +, CD4: 397, 16%  VL:195000, PPD reactive

Offline Dale Parker

  • Member
  • Posts: 266
Re: 1 year aidsaversary
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2010, 03:30:23 AM »
Hey Brian: Glad to know that things are going well for you. I have been sooooo lucky in my health and the support I've received. Every time I wake up I can't believe that I'm still breathing and nothing has gone wrong overnight. I guess that my life did fall apart but I never really thought of it that way. I knew that the life I had before being diagnosed was totally gone forever. I figured that with my diagnosis and financial situation at the time, it was a great excuse and a kick in the ass to make changes in my life for the positive. There were a ton on things that I wanted to correct but never had the balls to change. All I really had from my non POZ life was a few pieces of furniture and my family and friends. Instead of feeling sorry for myself I decided to be a Phoenix and raise from the ashes to be bigger and better than I was before. It hasn't been easy but it's been well worth the journey.
Apr 09  CD4 21, CD4/CD8 ratio 0 VL 500,000+
July 09 CD4 158, CD4/CD812% VL 750
Oct 09 CD4 157 CD4/CD8 14% VL UD
Feb 10 CD4 197, CD4/CD8 11% VL UD
May 10  CD4 252 CD4/CD8 12% VL UD
Aug 10 CD4 211 VL UD
Nov 10 CD4 272 CD4/CD8 0.138 VL UD

Offline Etay1207

  • Member
  • Posts: 131
Re: 1 year aidsaversary
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2010, 03:44:46 AM »
Hey Dale, thanks for sharing your story.  I wish you well.  Keep us posted on how you're doing. 
POZ since 1999
1/07 tcells: 530 vl: 72,922 7/07 tcells: 542 vl: 26,577
9/08 tcells: 339 vl: 56,120  7/09 tcells: 267 vl: 663,160
11/09 tcells: 71 vl: 498,670 2/10 tcells: 52 vl: 322,000
 no meds and feeling great!

Offline Assurbanipal

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,173
  • Taking a forums break, still see PM's
Re: 1 year aidsaversary
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2010, 07:41:27 AM »
Hi Dale

 Great to hear how well you are doing. 

A
5/06 VL 1M+, CD4 22, 5% , pneumonia, thrush -- O2 support 2 months, 6/06 +Kaletra/Truvada
9/06 VL 3959 CD4 297 13.5% 12/06 VL <400 CD4 350 15.2% +Pravachol
2007 VL<400, 70, 50 CD4 408-729 16.0% -19.7%
2008 VL UD CD4 468 - 538 16.7% - 24.6% Osteoporosis 11/08 doubled Pravachol, +Calcium/D
02/09 VL 100 CD4 616 23.7% 03/09 VL 130 5/09 VL 100 CD4 540 28.4% +Actonel (osteoporosis) 7/09 VL 130
8/09  new regimen Isentress/Epzicom 9/09 VL UD CD4 621 32.7% 11/09 VL UD CD4 607 26.4% swap Isentress for Prezista/Norvir 12/09 (liver and muscle issues) VL 50
2010 VL UD CD4 573-680 26.1% - 30.9% 12/10 VL 20
2011 VL UD-20 CD4 568-673 24.7%-30.6%
2012 VL UD swap Prezista/Norvir for Reyataz drop statin CD4 768-828 26.7%-30.7%

Offline PozBrian

  • Member
  • Posts: 200
Re: 1 year aidsaversary
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2010, 03:19:03 PM »
Dale,
  If you never thought your life fell apart then it didn't. You were obviously able to cope with the challenges you had. I didn't intend to put a negative spin on it. I still have some issues to work through in my own head regarding my own HIV status I guess. I really would like to find a group that would work for me. Anyway here's to another year of health.

Brian
3/8 CD4: 495, 31%, VL UD
2/1 CD4: 564, 20%.VL UD, switching to Issentress & truvada
10/11 CD4: 446, 29%, VL UD
7/11 CD4: 873, 35%, VL UD
4/11 CD4: 573, 34% VL 0
12/10 CD4: 405, 30% VL UD
9/10 CD4: 416, 31% VL UD
5/10 CD4: 393, 29% VL: UD
02/10 CD4: 423, 37% VL: UD
11/09 CD4: 379, 25% VL: UNDETECTABLE!!
10/09 CD4: 245, 25% VL: 87
9/09 CD4: 246, 24% VL: 49!
8/09 CD4: 277, 26% VL: 115
7/09 CD4: 346, 24% VL: 221
6/09 started Atripla
5/09 CD4: 326, 16%  VL:125000
4/09 HIV +, CD4: 397, 16%  VL:195000, PPD reactive

Offline skeebo1969

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,707
Re: 1 year aidsaversary
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2010, 03:27:21 PM »


   Dale,

    Glad you are doing so well, both mentally and physically.

   Thomas
I despise the song Love is in the Air, you should too.

Offline tommy246

  • Standard
  • Member
  • Posts: 435
Re: 1 year aidsaversary
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2010, 05:03:50 PM »
I remember your early threads Dale you had it tough but remained well focused and have made a fantastic recovery. Your story will give many people alot of hope, congradulations.
jan 06 neg
dec 08 pos cd4 505 ,16%, 1,500vl
april 09 cd4 635 ,16%,60,000
july 09 ,cd4 545,17%,80,000
aug 09,hosptal 18days pneumonia cd190,225,000,15%
1 week later cd4 415 20%
nov 09 cd4 591 ,vl 59,000,14%,started atripla
dec 09  cd4 787, vl 266, 16%
march 2010  cd4 720 vl non detectable -20  20%
june 2010  cd4  680, 21%, ND

Offline kev72

  • Member
  • Posts: 106
Re: 1 year aidsaversary
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2010, 10:47:46 AM »
Hello Dale, You're story is very inspiring. Like you I was just diagnosed and I was told my CD4 was only 11 and VL 200,000. I also panicked and although I had no significant health issues I was sure I was at the end. I was sure my doctor would place me on disability and I decided as far as my hefty mortgage, car payments, utilities etc. were concerned, whatever will be will be.

I went to my doctor last week, and told him how fatigued I have been feeling suddenly and all the other minor symptoms I have started to develop since being diagnosed. I was surprised when my doctor who is very good, explained that the last thing he wants to do is place me on disability. I told him I was worried that I would only get worse because I have no immune system blah blah. He laughed and said No! stress and working will not deplete your CD4 count. He also told me to continue to go to the gym daily and do whatever I can. Although my CD4s qualify me to be out of work, he said in his experience he has seen too many people stop working and quickly go down hill due to laying around and becoming depressed. He said "Please Kev, continue as normal for now" you may need time off later. He said "when the Atripla begins to work, you will feel better and thank me for not allowing you to give up"
I am happy that everything worked out for you and can understand why you made the decisions you did in the beginning. I was initially thinking the same way.

Tonight is my first night going back to work. I feel okay other than some side effects of the Atripla but I plan on continuing as normal as long as I can.

Have a great day, Kev

Offline darkerpozz

  • Member
  • Posts: 140
  • I'll be with you in a sec...
Re: 1 year aidsaversary
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2010, 10:00:59 PM »
Dale, Your story is wonderful message of hope and getting out and doing something when possible and you sounded as if your mental status was a help.Your positive energy was more of a boost than you know. It will only get better,Congratulations. Hold your head up you deserve it.

Offline Dale Parker

  • Member
  • Posts: 266
Re: 1 year aidsaversary
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2010, 02:40:17 AM »
Hey Kev72: I'm glad that you are doing so well. Keep on working as long as you can. Some days it might be a struggle to get out of bed but once your at work you will feel better. Hopefully you have a job that you love to do.  Even though we need the drugs to keep us alive I think that having a good attitude magnifies the work that the drugs do ten fold. Like you I only had minor side effects from the drugs but I put up with them and they soon went away.

I'm glad that some of you find hope and inspiration in my writings.   It means a lot to me that I can be of some help.
Apr 09  CD4 21, CD4/CD8 ratio 0 VL 500,000+
July 09 CD4 158, CD4/CD812% VL 750
Oct 09 CD4 157 CD4/CD8 14% VL UD
Feb 10 CD4 197, CD4/CD8 11% VL UD
May 10  CD4 252 CD4/CD8 12% VL UD
Aug 10 CD4 211 VL UD
Nov 10 CD4 272 CD4/CD8 0.138 VL UD

Offline max123

  • Member
  • Posts: 377
  • Carpe Diem
Re: 1 year aidsaversary
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2010, 06:06:41 PM »
hi dale,

am so glad to hear that things really turned around for you. keep the faith ;)

max
1/86 - 6/08 (annually): neg elisa
7/09: pos elisa/pos wb
8/09: cd4 560, cd4% 35, vl 13,050
12/09: cd4 568, cd4% 33, vl 2,690
4/10: cd4 557, cd4% 29.3, vl 6,440
7/10: cd4 562, cd4% 29.6, vl 3,780

 


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