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Author Topic: Life forever changed...  (Read 4374 times)

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Offline AuroraCOGuy

  • Member
  • Posts: 29
Life forever changed...
« on: October 20, 2010, 11:12:58 AM »
Where do I even start...

I found out I was HIV+ on July 5th of this year. I'm finally coming out of my funk and dealing with the unfortunate stigma that comes with this disease. The rough part is, I got it from my soon-to-be ex-wife whom up until recently I thought had only been with me sexually. I'm living proof that female to male transmission can occur. I know exactly when I was infected and how (not drugs, I'm terrified of needles, another "fun" aspect of this new life) but that's not why I'm posting. My question is, how do you deal with the anger, hate, loathing and pity-party? I freely admit I am extremely angry and the past 4 months have been hell on me and for those around me. Prior to this I was about as easy going as one could be. Stress is not something that every really affected me.

I know this isn't a death sentenence and I found out I was sick within 4 months of being infected (I had a clue 3-4 weeks after but had to wait for tests and re-tests). I know that I can continue to lead a semi-normal life and do 95% of the things I used to do before I got sick. But the reality is that HIV is still a social stigma, even moreso in the heterosexual community. And let's be honest, the chance at a "normal" love life in the future is going to be a very rocky road. I'm otherwise healthy, strong, active, I was eating right and getting back on that horse and I'll follow my treatments to a T but this anger consumes me and my inability to forgive my wife eats at me.

I am educated about HIV, my treatment, my long term plans/goals, etc. My primary care physician referred me to a specialist and they are working together and communicating very well, openly and honestly with me. But I am being consumed with these issues and I know I should see a head shrink to talk about this stuff. This is a major change in my life. I'm glad I found this site as I've been lurking for a few weeks. But I am curious how others have delt with the influx of emotion. I hate the thought of taking a mood stabilizer/anti-depressant to get me through this hump but shy of swallowing a bullet (don't worry, not in the cards, I like myself too much) or going postal (again, not in the cards, it's not my personality) I'm not sure how to handle this anymore.

I just want to get my life back in control as much as I can. Things change and I admit I'm not good with change. A pending divorce and an HIV+ diagnosis I think we'll all agree is pretty significant change. I think my biggest fear is being alone in the romantic sense. My friends and family have all been great and oddly enough I've gotten closer to many of my gay friends as they seem to be more empathetic to my situation. I'm 35, never cheated/never strayed, was married for 12 years, sowed my oats in high school/college but that ended when I met my wife/ex-wife. I don't want to bitch about fair/not fair, life kicks you in the balls and you have to deal with it sometimes. This is just such a heavy deal...

Thanks for letting me vent.
Infected 04-17-2010
Diagnosed 07-05-2010

07/2010 - CD4 741, 40%   VL ~4500 (initial labs)
08/2010 - CD4 751, 41%   VL ~3000 (one month after initial labs)
09/2010 - CD4 732, 40%   VL ~2000
10/2010 - CD4 738, 40%   VL < 1000
11/2010 - CD4 761, 41%   VL 430
12/2010 - CD4 758, 41%   VL 194
01/2011 - CD4 745, 40%   VL 103
02/2011 - CD4 782, 41%   VL 77
03/2011 - CD4 763, 41%   VL < 50 / UD
04/2011 - CD4 758, 41%,  VL < 50 / UD
05/2011 - CD4 761, 41%   VL < 50 / UD
09/2011 - still UD, still strong
06/2013 - still UD, never a blip

Never taken any therapy/meds

Offline Jeff G

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • Posts: 10,877
  • How am I doing Beren ?
Re: Life forever changed...
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2010, 11:22:29 AM »
Welcome to the forums . My heart goes out to you guy , that's quite a story you have there .

Right now you are dealing with so much at once , a betrayal , HIV and a breakup . It will take some time to work through all of these emotions but thankfully time is a great healer .

I wish there was more I could say to make you feel better but all I have to offer is to say you are not alone , you have come to an excellent place for support .

Offline skeebo1969

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,699
Re: Life forever changed...
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2010, 12:24:35 PM »



  ACG,

      It would probably be a good idea to seek a little therapy regarding the flux of emotions you are currently going through.  Sometimes these things left unsettled can exasperate themselves, only making matters worse.   

     Just to share, I was diagnosed 5 years ago.  I lost my - wife, house, and the most awesome GMC 4 x 4 in the world ( i know the truck should be first).  Since then I've remarried, had a beautiful baby girl, bought a house outright, and I'm currently going to school to become a registered nurse.

    It's what you make of it... and only we can make it better.  You are off to a great start.  Joining these forums will show you how others have adjusted to living with HIV, and allow you to share your feeling and/or ask questions about it.

    Welcome to the forums.

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

Offline Denver Toad

  • Member
  • Posts: 159
Re: Life forever changed...
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2010, 01:11:18 PM »
Welcome Aurora, glad you found this place.

Was in the same boat as you not too many years ago. Divorcing, diagnosed and hurting. (2004) With patience and time life does get better, a lot better.

One of the things that helped me greatly was seeing a therapist. I'd like to recommend him to you.

http://www.denverpsychotherapy.com/

Mike is a fantastic therapist, he helped me move up and away from the dark days following diagnosis.

Drop a PM if there's anything else I can do for you.

 
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly,
Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you smile.

Offline AuroraCOGuy

  • Member
  • Posts: 29
Re: Life forever changed...
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2010, 02:49:22 PM »
At the risk of sounding arrogant, I'm just pissed because I "did everything right". Faithful, monogamous, no IV drugs, no playing on the "down-low", etc. And mind you, I'm just venting finally. I've kept a lot of this bottled up for so long. Life will go on, I will move on. I know this. There's just so much that will change, changes that I'm not willing to accept yet.

The shock of going through this w/o the emotional/mental bond of my wife is painful and is only magnified by the fact that her betrayal brought this on. Being single again is hard. The lack of physical intimacy is also painful and something that I'm not accustomed to. I've had to stop some of my physical activities (full contact boxing and karate) due to the risk involved no matter how minute and I'm too honest of a person not to let anyone in my future know my status.

Here is a silver lining. My CD4 counts are around 750 (+/- 25 or 30) and my viral load even w/o consistent medication/therapy is abnormally low (as in less than 500 as of last week, we're still debating treatment options). I had some genetic work drawn up back in late August and I have some beneficial mutations in my DNA/rare proteins which allows me to naturally fight off HIV but obviously not rid it. When I was originally diagnosed my VL was hovering around 3000-4000 across four different tests. This is partly why they've delayed any major therapy. As the specialist said, I'm an extreme abnormality when it comes to HIV infections. He said my VL was incredibly rare for a newly infected individual (which has led to requests for more data, I feel like a f'n guinea pig).

However for me the biggest punch to the gut is the social stigma/stereotype around HIV, one that I admittedly had before this all went down. Women, even those that are sex workers, are usually referenced as victims where men, regardless of how they got it, are often looked at as the bad guys. As an example, one of my closest friends asked if I was sleeping with men on the side and looked incredulous when I told him otherwise. The skepticism and pre-judgement is just a killer. I know a lot of it is people are naive but it's like a scarlet letter.

whine whine whine. I know. I need to sack up and move on. I'm just at that stage where I'm finally venting and not locked in my home 24/7
« Last Edit: October 20, 2010, 02:51:24 PM by AuroraCOGuy »
Infected 04-17-2010
Diagnosed 07-05-2010

07/2010 - CD4 741, 40%   VL ~4500 (initial labs)
08/2010 - CD4 751, 41%   VL ~3000 (one month after initial labs)
09/2010 - CD4 732, 40%   VL ~2000
10/2010 - CD4 738, 40%   VL < 1000
11/2010 - CD4 761, 41%   VL 430
12/2010 - CD4 758, 41%   VL 194
01/2011 - CD4 745, 40%   VL 103
02/2011 - CD4 782, 41%   VL 77
03/2011 - CD4 763, 41%   VL < 50 / UD
04/2011 - CD4 758, 41%,  VL < 50 / UD
05/2011 - CD4 761, 41%   VL < 50 / UD
09/2011 - still UD, still strong
06/2013 - still UD, never a blip

Never taken any therapy/meds

Offline Lucky2behere

  • Member
  • Posts: 74
  • Kick'n a bugs butt
Re: Life forever changed...
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2010, 04:36:27 PM »
Hi Aurora,
I was just diagnosed positive earlier this year as well. I think I went a few years without sex because I didn't know for sure if I was positive and didn't want to hurt anybody. I know all those depression, anger, betrayal feelings too well. You are definitely not alone. I have felt the same way but it does pass eventually.
I agree with what the other guys have said and that's either find a good counselor or a good support group. I know we have a local HIV/AIDS support  group here where I live and it's free. I hear they are very supportive. I'd also encourage you to continue to do the things you love or find new things to do.
And by all means vent vent vent. I have even written a few nasty letters but didn't send them. It just helps to get it out and not keep it bottled up inside. I figure at some point that I'll get in a relationship with someone who is also HIV + and we can understand each other. HIV is manageable with meds now. Look around this forum at all the great numbers these people have posted.
Thanks for sharing with us and you have helped me realize I have worked threw alot of stuff already. Thank You for helping me!
March 2010 tested HIV Pos
probably infected 2.5 years
Sept.  2010 CD4 520 %24 vl 18,000
Nov.   2010 CD4 560    ?   vl  1,400
Dec. 5 2010 Started Truvada Isentress
Jan.  5 2011 CD4 380   ?    vl      63

Offline WillyWump

  • Member
  • Posts: 7,109
Re: Life forever changed...
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2010, 07:09:58 PM »
Aurora,

Welcome, but of course I'm sorry there is a need for you to be here.

My heart goes out to you, you definitly are going through alot all at once.

Regarding your diagnosis, I can promise you that although things look bleak now, they will get better. You will get back to 100%. It is jsut going to take some time, but it will come. And btw, what awesome numbers you have. Congrats on that.

Regarding the breakup and circumstances surrounding it. Betrayal, lies, etc.. during a break up are one of the hardest things to get around, in my opinion, harder than coming to grips with HIV. Yours is especially traumatic given what has happened. You are not superman so dont be afraid to ask for help from a therapist.

But something to think about...Who's to say you will not meet a more wonderful person in the future? You are not tarnisehd goods regardless of how you feel. Just look at Skeebo...he's str8 and poz and managed to find his soulmate and they are living wonderful lives!

Keep your chin up buddy, you truly are the same person you were before all of this happened.

-Will
POZ since '08

Last Labs-
6/3/14 CD4- 736, UD 34%
6/25/13 CD4- 1036, UD,
2/4/13, CD4 - 489, UD, 28%

Current Meds: Prezista/Epzicom/ Norvir
.

Offline AuroraCOGuy

  • Member
  • Posts: 29
Re: Life forever changed...
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2010, 12:40:44 PM »
I've put calls out to a handful of therapists and I'm thinking about going back to the gym to pound on some bags for awhile. Been about 4 months since I really worked out other than cardio and some light weight training. Turns out no matter how much I run on the treadmill, how far I ride the bike or how far I stride on the elliptical, my status remains the same.

thanks for the positive reinforcement. I know time will fix me but it's still suffocating at this time.
Infected 04-17-2010
Diagnosed 07-05-2010

07/2010 - CD4 741, 40%   VL ~4500 (initial labs)
08/2010 - CD4 751, 41%   VL ~3000 (one month after initial labs)
09/2010 - CD4 732, 40%   VL ~2000
10/2010 - CD4 738, 40%   VL < 1000
11/2010 - CD4 761, 41%   VL 430
12/2010 - CD4 758, 41%   VL 194
01/2011 - CD4 745, 40%   VL 103
02/2011 - CD4 782, 41%   VL 77
03/2011 - CD4 763, 41%   VL < 50 / UD
04/2011 - CD4 758, 41%,  VL < 50 / UD
05/2011 - CD4 761, 41%   VL < 50 / UD
09/2011 - still UD, still strong
06/2013 - still UD, never a blip

Never taken any therapy/meds

Offline Joe K

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 3,511
Re: Life forever changed...
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2010, 01:20:45 PM »
thanks for the positive reinforcement. I know time will fix me but it's still suffocating at this time.

Hey Aurora,

I am so sorry to read of your pain and as others have said, it will get better. I can only imagine the thoughts going through your mind and it is all a normal part of adjusting to being poz. All I can suggest is that you allow yourself permission to feel, whatever you feel and if you need to cry, then do so. I would caution you however, that feelings are not fact, nor are they either good or bad, they just are. You are at a very fragile emotional state, so please take things slow. Your health is good, so everything else can just wait, until you are ready to deal with it. Right now what matters, is you and only you. Whatever you need to do, to help yourself adjust, is what you need to do. There are times in our lives when being selfish is what we need to do and there is never any shame in seeking the help of others.

This leads me to your comment I quoted above and allow me to offer this food for thought. You do not need time to fix you, because you are not broken. You are the same man today, that you were prior to becoming infected. The ONLY DIFFERENCE now is that you are poz. You do not become broken by contracting a disease, you do however, become changed. There is nothing wrong with you, you did nothing wrong, nor is HIV some divine retribution, it is a stinking virus. That being said, you have been incredibly hurt and yes your life has changed, but you are still driving the bus. This is also where time becomes your friend. Take the time to just feel, do something nice for yourself, everyday and just take it one day at a time.

You have so many challenges right now and I know you feel overwhelmed, but please try to keep things in perspective. You are not going to die anytime soon, so you have all the time in the world. Be good to yourself and this includes your body, mind and spirit. Find support where you can and use these forums to start learning about HIV, etc., but there is no hurry.

Give it time, my friend. Days will get brighter and all you need do is to weather the storm. Consider us a refuge against that storm.  Welcome to the forums.

Offline Zohar

  • Member
  • Posts: 234
Re: Life forever changed...
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2010, 04:52:26 AM »
AuroraCOGuy - I've only just seen this thread but I just wanted to say that I was very struck with what you've written. You come accross as remarkably lucid and made some very valid points about the stigma of HIV. I'm a gay man and have struggled a lot with my diagnosis, but it has often crossed my mind that, in some respects, it might be harder for a  straight man to live with what many still see as the 'gay disease'.

You're clearly an intelligent and thoughtful person so that will certainly help you with the challenges that lie ahead.
''Poor is the man whose pleasures depend on the permission of another.''

Offline Danny47

  • Member
  • Posts: 19
Re: Life forever changed...
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2010, 01:50:14 AM »
Dear AuroraCoGuy:

Although my heart goes out to you I hope that you realize that you might be one of our "lucky" ones.  I will explain.  There are a handful of HIV infected indivuduals that have a "special" DNA compound in their system that naturaly fights the disease and or the infection.  Seeing your numbers I believe that By meeting you, I actually meet the 2nd one in my entire life, and I have seen plenty of HIV poz people, Thiese  "fortunate" individuals are being constantly researched as having some magic DNA that fights the infection naturally and might NEVER see the need of using the despiteful chemotherapy that most who are infected have to use in order to "control the infection in our bodies".

Heresay, when it comes to the anger issue, do go to the Shrink, get meds, and start a new chilling path to a healthy life.  Go back to the gym, do get some kicking and boxing classes and imaging her sweet dear face everytime you throw a strong left and then a spiteful right ( for me, please play a good solid low blow and ignore the referee) at least your bitch was in hiding, but the one that infected me swore that he was negative and was going to find the results and bring them to me.  We dated for only 6 months, and were unsafe for barely 2 ( me trusting a negative status) Is hiding and cheating justified, NOT by any mean, wether someone lied by hiding or simply lied in your face there is no true explanation as to how we got here, meaning YOU in a FORUM for HIV poz people.

But this infection does NOT define you, it was said in wonderful words by someone quite close above me nor it will ever define who you are bound to become.  There are plenty of beautiful experiences that awaits you.  For one, you are one of the few spokepersons that can help us create the necessary awareness to our young.  The stigma is far overdone and there are so many people out there affected by this, that can be part of OUR voice.  Make something out of this, something that will show the bitch how big and strong you can be despite her betrayal.

You seem to be extremely healthy up there.  You will reinvent yourself and will discover that this condition is just that.  I (and have heard great insults by saying this) call it my blessing.  It made me humble (even more than I ever was) it made me realize that my life is full of beautiful blessings.  I have total strangers that show a great deal of compassion, I have friends that have demonstrated the true meaning of friendship, and I have those that have shown that to be called my friend is to be so much more.  I can't say that I have any love for the person that  knowingly infected me, but I will not darkened any part of my soul or body by aknowledge his existance either. 

Let her go, destiny is dark for those who lead a dark path.  Choose yours best.  Get meds for your anxiety, hit that Gym and get handsome again, go out there and soon you will discover that a new life awaits you, that the woman of your dreams is just around the corner, that she will be honest, faithful and will become the real meaning and purpose for the other one's betrayal.

You are the real fighter in the story, keep your numbers, you are one of the few that might have the real answer to a posible cure one day, because only those with that compound can actually see such dramatic decline on their VL without any meds.

Go get them! You are a fighter.....         
Negative on Feb. 3, 2008, Positive Elyssa Feb. 3, 2009
Feb. 11, 09 cd4 120, VL 267,000
Feb. 17, 09 Prophylaxis SMZ and Azytromicin
March 2, 09 Atripla and prophylaxis
May 09, VL UD, CD4 515
July 09, Lymphoma. Started Chemo every week, 13 weeks
September 09, VL UD, CD4 310
December 09, VL UD, CD4 414
January 10, UC flare, Lymphoma, Colon Cancer
Chemotherapy treatment & Radiation
July 2010, VL UD, CD4 234
August 2010, Cancer Free
Nov 2010, VL UD, CD4 204, Brain CT, Liver, Lungs, Kidney, Colon ans Lymph nodes Cancer Free!

 


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