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Author Topic: Overwhelmed  (Read 3771 times)

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Offline buginme2

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  • Posts: 3,231
Overwhelmed
« on: November 13, 2010, 05:44:46 PM »
Just tested positive about 10 days ago.  Labs back and cd4 is 411 34% and VL 13000.
I'm thinking I was infected a little over 2 years ago.  I'm a bit freaked out.  24/7 of my time has been thinking about this.   

Craziest thing is being a mid 30's gay guy Ive obviously thought about this day happening since "the early days."  I've taken the appropriate precautions, ect ect.  I just feel shame. 

How horrible is it to not only have a disease but to be ashamed by it? 


Don't be fancy, just get dancey

Offline mecch

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  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Overwhelmed
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2010, 06:15:00 PM »
Welcome to forums.
You are a recent infection, your numbers aren't horrible and its almost 2011 so please believe you will be fine.
I think the first reaction i had to my serocoversion - in my mid 40's - was shock and the second was shame - along the lines of --- how did I make it so far, then get HIV? 

I think its pretty natural what you are feeling.  Good news is, it won't dog you all that long, you'll see!
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline buginme2

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Re: Overwhelmed
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2010, 06:40:30 PM »
Mech, Do you mean recent infection or recent diagnosis?  Is there a way to tell when you were infected by the numbers.  I'm pretty sure it occured about 2 years ago.  Does that match the numbers?  So many questions. hahhaa
Don't be fancy, just get dancey

Offline mecch

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  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Overwhelmed
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2010, 06:52:02 PM »
Ask your doctor about the time of your infection.
I was identified in serocoversion - this is easy to tell because they see the virus but not yet the antibodies in my case.  Just some antigens.
A two year infection is recent.  Compared to people who go years and years infected without knowing.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline mecch

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  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Overwhelmed
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2010, 06:54:21 PM »
A lot to learn but hear this:  HAART saves pretty much everyone nowadays. You arent in any danger of ever being laid low by HIV as long as you have medical care and access to drugs.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

nychope1

  • Guest
Re: Overwhelmed
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2010, 05:39:59 PM »
Don't beat yourself up. It's just a virus! There are many viruses out there that we no longer talk or think about but at one time were very dangerous. I say this because HIV is completely controllable and getting more so everyday. There are lots of other things you can get that are worse than this. Your numbers are good. Decide with your docs whether to start on treatment or not. Read and get knowledgeable about this and certainly ask questions here as I found out three weeks ago everyone is very supportive.
In time you will feel better...  good luck.

Offline jkinatl2

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  • Doo. Dah. Dipp-ity.
Re: Overwhelmed
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2010, 06:14:39 PM »
The stigma, both internal and external, make HIV far more dangerous than other illnesses. Depression, loss of self-esteem, and other issues play a huge role in self-destructive behavior. Sometimes it is overt, with substance abuse. Sometimes  the stigma and shame play a passive, though no less lethal role, as some people do not seek out adequate medical care, or neglect to adhere to their meds when it is time to start.

The best thing you can do right now is start the process of getting okay with yourself. Anyone can tell you there is no NEED to feel shame, but only you can own your infection, forgive yourself for being human, and use this as an opportunity to launch a new version of yourself.

Your numbers are good, and this site is the absolute best on the internet insofar as education regarding treatment, services, and support. I am truly sorry you found yourself in this position, but you could not have come to a better place.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline buginme2

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Re: Overwhelmed
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2010, 07:52:29 PM »
Thanks jk and nyc.   It means a lot.
Don't be fancy, just get dancey

Offline wtfimpoz

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  • Let's make biscuits!
Re: Overwhelmed
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2010, 03:55:35 AM »
Mech, Do you mean recent infection or recent diagnosis?  Is there a way to tell when you were infected by the numbers.  I'm pretty sure it occured about 2 years ago.  Does that match the numbers?  So many questions. hahhaa

Mech, are you saying that the regular confirmatory test can help determine whether the infection occurred weeks or months prior, or are you asking for his doctor to determine this based on his labs (cd4, vl) alone?  My understanding was that unless it was caught during seroconversion, its kinda hard to understand when precisely someone was infected.

Now on to buginme: 

I still feel an awesome shame about my infection.  Its not weird, its natural given unfortunate social issues surrounding the bug.  One of the things those of us who were forewarned about HIV need to learn to do is forgive ourselves.  Forgive ourselves for being human.  Unless you went bugchasing you ultimately got HIV from human desires and a human tendency to occasionally make a mistake.  We all make mistakes.  Its part of the human condition, and the fact that you made a mistake doesn't say anything about you other than you're a human like all the people you see around you every day.  There are some very bright, conscientious people who get this disease from a variety of ways.  Its perfectly understandable that you'd feel ashamed because of the stigma and perceptions that surround those with HIV, but in the end its just a nasty little virus and you were particularly unlucky to get infected. 
09/01/2009-neg
mid april, 2010, "flu like illness".
06/01/2010-weakly reactive ELISA, indeterminant WB
06/06/2010-reactive ELISA, confirmed positive.

DATE       CD4     %     VL
07/15/10  423     33    88k
08/28/10  489     19    189k
09/06/10-Started ATRIPLA
09/15/10  420     38    1400
11/21/10  517     25    51

Offline Lucky2behere

  • Member
  • Posts: 74
  • Kick'n a bugs butt
Re: Overwhelmed
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2010, 02:36:48 PM »
Quote
wtfimpoz
I still feel an awesome shame about my infection.  Its not weird, its natural given unfortunate social issues surrounding the bug.  One of the things those of us who were forewarned about HIV need to learn to do is forgive ourselves.  Forgive ourselves for being human.  Unless you went bugchasing you ultimately got HIV from human desires and a human tendency to occasionally make a mistake.  We all make mistakes.  Its part of the human condition, and the fact that you made a mistake doesn't say anything about you other than you're a human like all the people you see around you every day.  There are some very bright, conscientious people who get this disease from a variety of ways.  Its perfectly understandable that you'd feel ashamed because of the stigma and perceptions that surround those with HIV, but in the end its just a nasty little virus and you were particularly unlucky to get infected. 

I still feel ashamed and hardly have any sex drive. I really needed to hear that. If there was an AIDSMEDS Forum Pulitzer award, I'd vote for wtfimpoz.

Buginme2 - Hugs - Clever name
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 thankyoulilmijo

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  • Posts: 17
  • I've accepted the things I cannot change... :-)
Re: Overwhelmed
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2010, 01:35:11 PM »
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!!! Please tell me you've started medication...  I was diagnosed recently as well and felt the same feelings as you and almost killed myself as well as destroyed a 60k car because I wasn't thinking right.  Studies have found that those who medicate right away have a better chance of getting this virus under control before it severally deteriorates the immune system.

I believe that the more you talk about this on here, the more you surround yourself with people who can relate, and the more support you obtain the easier, YES EASIER, life seems to get living with this virus.

Sometimes I do feel infected BUT if you can suppress the negative emotions you might have you WILL be able grow stronger. Please don't beat yourself up about your diagnoses as this is a natural feeling we've ALL gone through as rest assured, IT GETS BETTER!~

If you need anything PLEASE don't hesitate to email me!~

Offline PozCAGuy

  • Member
  • Posts: 7
Re: Overwhelmed
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2010, 01:52:14 PM »
buginme2 -

Those numbers are not terrible at all.  Yes it is not fun to be HIV+ but today as my Dr says if you are healthy otherwise and have the disease under control then it is almost like have diabetes, you just have to take medications to keep it under control.

Has your Dr done a genome test on you yet?  That will tell what drugs you can and can not take.

My Dr and I think thankyoulilmijo's Dr too is in the school of starting meds the sooner the better.  The only caveat is that you have to be adherent and take the drugs regularly so that resistance does not set in for a particular drug.

Please keep us updated on how things are going.

Offline buginme2

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  • Posts: 3,231
Re: Overwhelmed
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2010, 05:55:51 PM »
Thanks everyone.  My first appointment with the HIV doc is tomorrow.  The intital tests I had done were from my regular doctor while I waited to get into see the specialist, she referred me to an HIV specialist but my first appointment is tomorrow so I am not on meds yet.  From what I have been reading I am expecting (and hoping) to start medication soon.  Of course I'm stressing out over what medication to start with and reading horror stories of atripla...ect.

My biggest problem right now is I cant stop thinking about it. It seems that 24/7 no matter what I am doing HIV pushes to the front of my thoughts and takes over.  The emotions around that, the shame, the guilt, the fear then just seem to be at the forefront on my mind.  I know it will get better and I appreciate everyones well wishes.. It does mean a lot. 
Don't be fancy, just get dancey

Offline SteveInToronto

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  • Posts: 55
Re: Overwhelmed
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2010, 06:03:17 PM »
Thanks everyone.  My first appointment with the HIV doc is tomorrow.  The intital tests I had done were from my regular doctor while I waited to get into see the specialist, she referred me to an HIV specialist but my first appointment is tomorrow so I am not on meds yet.  From what I have been reading I am expecting (and hoping) to start medication soon.  Of course I'm stressing out over what medication to start with and reading horror stories of atripla...ect.

My biggest problem right now is I cant stop thinking about it. It seems that 24/7 no matter what I am doing HIV pushes to the front of my thoughts and takes over.  The emotions around that, the shame, the guilt, the fear then just seem to be at the forefront on my mind.  I know it will get better and I appreciate everyones well wishes.. It does mean a lot. 

Hey Buginme2 (great username BTW)

Give it a few weeks - you'll stop obsessing (as much) once you have more knowledge and a plan to deal with this. I'm newly diagnosed too, and it does get easier every day.

You will have several options for meds. I chose Atripla...and while I am bedazzled by the great progress my CD4 and VL numbers have made, I'm not 100% sure this is the right med for me due to side effects. I may change at the 3-4 month mark if I'm still feeling some of the side effects, but if they pass I will be happy to stick with them. The side effects are nothing compared to what people had to go through before HAART.

Be strong,
Steve

Offline buginme2

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Re: Overwhelmed
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2010, 07:14:25 PM »
Steve you are right and thank you for reminding me of the history and how fortunate I am to have been diagnosed in 2010 and not early in the epidemic.  Its really something to think about how I am worried about side effects of a particular medicine when there are soo many who would have given anything to be in the same boat I am in.  I live in a great time for this disease, have a great doctor, at one of the best medical centers in the US and great access to care.

Don't be fancy, just get dancey

Offline Brad101210

  • Member
  • Posts: 11
Re: Overwhelmed
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2010, 08:24:11 PM »
I can relate to what your saying. I got tested last month and was shocked that I was poz. I had no symptoms or anything to indicate that I was infected. My numbers really sucked too. T cell count was 185! But I felt mine and healthy. I just started my meds this week. I get another test done in 3 weeks to see if the meds are working. I was so scared taking the meds for the first time. But actually it wasn't that bad. Keep us posted.
10-12-10 Tested Positive
11-02-10 CD4: 185 VL: 35,000
11-16-10 Started Norvir, Truvada, Reyataz.
12-08-10 CD4: 223 VL: 427
01-10-11 Allergic to Reyataz. Started Norvir, Prezista, Isentress, Truvada
02-07-11 CD4: 284 VL: UD
05-10-11 CD4: 292 VL: UD
08-16-11 CD4: 322 VL: UD

Offline hope_for_a_cure

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Re: Overwhelmed
« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2010, 08:48:03 PM »
Buginme2

It is normal for this to be overwhelming at first.  I would expect you will feel much better (mentally) after the appointment.  Dont be afraid to ask your doctor all the questions that are going through your mind and by all means know that you are doing the best thing by seeing an Infectious Disease specialist.  Best of luck tomorrow and please keep us updated on your progress. 

Offline buginme2

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Re: Overwhelmed
« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2010, 06:00:28 PM »
Ok so first visit with the HIV doctor today went pretty well.  Nothing really earth shattering.  Doing a resistance test to see which medications will work and if all goes well will start meds in a couple weeks.  Emotionally feels like a heavy weight has been lifted off me....even if its just a little bit.
Don't be fancy, just get dancey

Offline thankyoulilmijo

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  • I've accepted the things I cannot change... :-)
Re: Overwhelmed
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2010, 08:40:40 PM »
See!!! that is GREAT news!! haha Let me share with you how things happened with me. When I found out I was just devastated not so much because I was HIV+, BUT more so because I was supposed to be Exposed-servo-negative=means for whatever reason, the virus doesn't attach itself to my red blood cells causing an infection so for me it was a double wammy!

After going through the initial process of acceptance I bounced back semi fast and realized that there are two ways I would EVER die from this virus the first being not adhering to my regimen of medication (Atripla once a day and a normal once daily Vitamin) and the second being a lack of education and knowledge of what was now living inside me.

I immediately sought out a local organization that caters to HIV+ GAY men to assist me in, and lead me to, resources pertinent  to keeping me on track and educated. I, much like you, could not stop obsessing over the unchangeable and often even found myself listening to the song "The Streets of Philadelphia" thinking this was my new destiny. The organization has led me to TONS of literature, resources, people like me, programs, groups, and discreet activities/functions to assist me in calming my mind. I will say I've definitively broadened my horizons on the friends front that's for sure. I've only been on meds for a month and a half BUT seem to have found a way to help myself as I help others.

I strongly suggest you google "HIV support" and make sure your browser adapts to your location so you can find something local to you. The first part in this is to go.... JUST GO don't think just go!! once you're there you'll feel safe and I assure you, a lot better than you are feeling now. Also look into getting the free magazines sent to you as they are a perfect way to obtain current interesting news about our sub-sub culture of being Positive.

I hope I didn't bore you with this LONG ass note!! Just google it I promise you wont regret it! 

Offline PozCAGuy

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  • Posts: 7
Re: Overwhelmed
« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2010, 11:45:55 PM »
Ok so first visit with the HIV doctor today went pretty well.  Nothing really earth shattering.  Doing a resistance test to see which medications will work and if all goes well will start meds in a couple weeks.  Emotionally feels like a heavy weight has been lifted off me....even if its just a little bit.

Glad that your Dr did the resistance test and once those results come in you will have all the knowledge you will need for the drug therapy you will be on.  And it looks like through your discussion with your Dr and your research on here and other places that you've decided that you will be starting meds once you know which ones you can take and which ones you can't.

One thing I've heard from my Dr and read here on the "studies" forum is there are a few new "one dose a day/one pill a day" drugs coming to market soon.  They are in one of the final stages of testing before federal approval.   

What that will mean from what I've read is that for those of us who are resistant to Atripla, these new drugs it appears they will be able to take these meds without any resistant issues.  This is a major break through as right now Atripla is the only one pill a day drug that I know of out there.  If I'm wrong, please someone correct me.

There is so much new news coming out for us when it comes to treatment and yes dare we say maybe even a cure in our lifetimes that we have to look forward to.

So, "thankyoulilmijo" has the right attitude and keeping oneself informed and connected with some sort of support structure is key to winning this war.



 


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