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Author Topic: Six Months  (Read 2728 times)

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Offline David_CA

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,246
  • Joined: March 2006
Six Months
« on: September 09, 2006, 10:36:05 PM »
It's my six month anniversary of finding out I'm HIV+.  What a weird six months, to say the least.  It's not been all bad, but certainly not like any other period of my life.  What a way to 'celebrate' turning 40!

It did get kinda bad after the second month or so.  That's when the panic attacks started.  Prozac helped that.  Since then, I haven't had many attacks.  I'm not nearly as critical of how others handle problems now.  I guess one could say that I'm learning to be a lot more tolerantof other people issues, now that I have 'em. 

I've found out how supportive good friends can be.  I haven't told many... just six actually.  They were all upset initially, of course.  They've all been great and I don't regret telling any of them.   Similarly, I've found out how great total strangers can be.  I remember my first post here.  Lots of folks greeted me, welcomed me, and offered to help in any way they could.  It's truly meant a lot to me and I'd hate to think of how things would have turned out if I hadn't stumbled onto aidsmeds.com back in March.  Thanks to everybody at aidsmeds, I've learned a lot, met a lot of really nice people, had a ton of laughs, went on a really cool vacation (AMG), and had a lot of fun.  There's one other person that's really helped get me through this, and that's my husband.  Without him, I know this would have been a really crappy period.

So, I want to say 'thanks' to the members here on the forum, my really good friends, and my wonderful husband.  You're the best.


David
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
11-06-07 CD4 570 @30.0% VL 140
02-21-08 CD4 648 @32.4% VL 600
05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
08-21-08 CD4 725 @34.5%
11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
02-11-09 CD4 773 @36.8%
05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
08-19-09 CD4 770 @38.5%
11-19-09 CD4 944 @33.7%
02-17-10 CD4 678 @39.9%  
06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
02-13-12 CD4 911 @41.4% VL<20
You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Offline RAB

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,895
  • Joined March 2003
Re: Six Months
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2006, 10:50:47 PM »
David

I've been HIV + for so long I can't even remember what the first 6 months felt like.

Therefore I can only imagine what it has been like for you.  I do know one thing, based upon what I've seen here and in Montreal, you have navigated this "transition" in your life with courage, with honesty, and with an eagerness/need to arm yourself with information.

Those 3 characteristics, will serve you well my friend.

Your life has changed in ways you could never have imagined, of that there is no question, but you appear to have ceded no unnecessary ground, you have expressed your fears openly and honestly, you have taken a pro-active posture.

Even as long as I have been HIV + I don't think you understand how much the example you have presented has impacted me. 

I admire you and David more than you can ever imagine.

Your life is waiting for you, you and David's dreams are real and achievable, never stop livingNever stop believingNever stop thinking, feeling, and expressing. 

These forums may have helped you, but so too you have helped all of us.

RAB

Offline J.R.E.

  • Member
  • Posts: 7,162
  • Joined Dec-2003 Living positive, since 1985.
Re: Six Months
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2006, 11:21:45 PM »
Hi David,

I can't really add much more then what Rocky has already said to you. Except, to try to keep a sense of humor, and try to remain realistic also !!

The first year can be difficult. I have told my story many times. My first year was spent in a bar room, bouncing off walls !!! drunk as could be.  :-[  Finally, enough was enough. I had to make the right choices and decisions, if I was going to live with HIV. Going through the mid 80's through the mid-90's was a real tough time for me. I may have been doing good health wise, but it was a tough period of time,( I was loosing to many friends) and it still has its's tough times. One of the things that helped me, when I was diagnosed, was the fact that I had mentioned that I was HIV positive to certain friends, and of course to family.( almost from the start), I also know that I could not have done this alone, without Ed's support !!

It's great that you have found the support from these forums!!... Just continue being YOU !!, do the things you want to do, and don't worry about tomorrow !!




All the Best-----Ray
Current Meds ; Viramune, Epzicom, 40mg of simvastatin, 12.5mg of Hydrochlorothiazide.
Metoprolol tartrate 25mg



http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=40802.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=45159.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=39722.msg495621;topicseen#msg495621

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=46806.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=39414.msg491701#msg491701


 In October of 2003, My t-cell count was 16, Viral load was over 500,000, Percentage at that time was 5%. I started my first  HAART regimen  on October 24th,03.

 As of 8/2514,  t-cells are at 402, Viral load <40

 Current % is at 11%

  
 62 years young.

Offline Eldon

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,664
Re: Six Months
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2006, 12:54:28 AM »
Hello David,

I really don't have much to add to what Rocky and Ray have already said. Keep doing what you have been doing and live life to it's fullest.



Have the BEST Day!

Offline Cliff

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,645
Re: Six Months
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2006, 11:06:16 AM »
These probably aren't good/happy anniversaries.  But I suppose just being able to prove that you can survive (thrive, even) an HIV diagnosis, is something to rejoice.  You've probably helped more people here than you realize.  Though I am not happy that you are positive, I am happy you managed to stumble yourway to aidsmeds (and to AMG).

Best of luck to both you and your husband.

Cliff

Offline Christine

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,069
Re: Six Months
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2006, 11:19:25 AM »
Hi David,
The first months can be incredibly difficult. I would have anxiety attacks, become hysterical and hide in my bedroom closet. From reading your posts, you sound strong, focused, and determined to fight.

I am glad you have the support of your husband, friends and the forums. I know all of those have helped me through some rough times.

Good thoughts going out to you and your husband for a long, wonderful life together.
Christine
Poz since '93. Currently on Procrit, Azithromax, Pentamidine, Valcyte, Levothyroxine, Zoloft, Epzicom, Prezista, Viread, Norvir, and GS-9137 study drug. As needed: Trazodone, Atavan, Diflucan, Zofran, Hydrocodone, Octreotide

5/30/07 t-cells 9; vl 275,000

Offline randym431

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,125
Re: Six Months
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2006, 11:30:59 AM »
Howdee David

Not much more to add, and I donít want to sound like a mom here, but I'd love to see that you have started meds in those stats listed in your post. Your counts look good and I wouldnít play with them much longer. That VL could be undetectable within a few weeks or couple months. And your counts would start going up, not down.

Sorry for the preaching, but it makes me nervous watching good counts go down and VL up, when it isnít necessary.
I know doctors say you can wait till a certain point. And they like to play with the figures. But they donít have this in their life to deal with.

All I can say is if I'd been smart enough to get tested early and on meds early before my counts were in the crapper, I'd have bypassed a lot of my problems and fears.

Take care and donít mind me if I'm speaking out of line. Just like to see folks stay healthy and this virus put down as soon as possible.
The meds can do that.

Offline pozguy75

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,239
    • POZitively Speaking
Re: Six Months
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2006, 11:58:03 AM »
Hey David..six months...I can't add much more either except for this...you '40th' huh??? Can I help blow out the 'candle'???  ;D

In all seriousness though...you have made great steps in your journey, and I am certain you will continue to gather strength and grow as you continue your path. I must say that I have great admiriation and respect for you my friend!

Much love!!
Jeromy
(Who needs to plan a trip to the coast to see this HOTTIE!!)
Dx 2005
ATRIPLA

Offline David_CA

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,246
  • Joined: March 2006
Re: Six Months
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2006, 12:24:33 PM »
Howdee David

Not much more to add, and I donít want to sound like a mom here, but I'd love to see that you have started meds in those stats listed in your post. Your counts look good and I wouldn't play with them much longer. That VL could be undetectable within a few weeks or couple months. And your counts would start going up, not down.

Sorry for the preaching, but it makes me nervous watching good counts go down and VL up, when it isnít necessary.
I know doctors say you can wait till a certain point. And they like to play with the figures. But they donít have this in their life to deal with.

All I can say is if I'd been smart enough to get tested early and on meds early before my counts were in the crapper, I'd have bypassed a lot of my problems and fears.

Take care and donít mind me if I'm speaking out of line. Just like to see folks stay healthy and this virus put down as soon as possible.
The meds can do that.


Hi Randy,

No, I appreciate my mom... and I appreciate your concern and opinion.   :D  My next Dr. appointment is next month, and we're supposed to discuss 'treatment options' then.  In a (small) way, I'm looking forward to treatment.  I'm experiencing extreme fatigue on occasion, but not all the time.  It's like I have no stamina, although I exercise regularly, eat fairly well, and have no other reason to become tired like that.  I'm also having somewhat moderate night sweats which really suck.  I'm so hot-natured anyway and these don't help.  I'm healthy, have always been healthy, and intend to stay that way.

David
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
11-06-07 CD4 570 @30.0% VL 140
02-21-08 CD4 648 @32.4% VL 600
05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
08-21-08 CD4 725 @34.5%
11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
02-11-09 CD4 773 @36.8%
05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
08-19-09 CD4 770 @38.5%
11-19-09 CD4 944 @33.7%
02-17-10 CD4 678 @39.9%  
06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
02-13-12 CD4 911 @41.4% VL<20
You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Offline David_CA

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,246
  • Joined: March 2006
Re: Six Months
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2006, 12:25:40 PM »
Hey David..six months...I can't add much more either except for this...you '40th' huh??? Can I help blow out the 'candle'???  ;D

In all seriousness though...you have made great steps in your journey, and I am certain you will continue to gather strength and grow as you continue your path. I must say that I have great admiriation and respect for you my friend!

Much love!!
Jeromy
(Who needs to plan a trip to the coast to see this HOTTIE!!)

Hey there Jer,

Yes you can and yes you do!

David
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
11-06-07 CD4 570 @30.0% VL 140
02-21-08 CD4 648 @32.4% VL 600
05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
08-21-08 CD4 725 @34.5%
11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
02-11-09 CD4 773 @36.8%
05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
08-19-09 CD4 770 @38.5%
11-19-09 CD4 944 @33.7%
02-17-10 CD4 678 @39.9%  
06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
02-13-12 CD4 911 @41.4% VL<20
You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Offline randym431

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,125
Re: Six Months
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2006, 01:23:06 PM »
Thanks David.
The reason I added on here, other than to say howdee again, is THATS EXACTLY what was happening to me, back then before meds.
So, to give you great hope, I was always really healthy. No pcp, nothing really strange except I had a few little "spots" that did end up testing as KS. But after a few months on meds, those all went away, and today I can not even find where they were on my skin.

But... my main thing back then was I too lost some of my never ending stamina. And I would get this weird-tired feeling. Not a "I need sleep" feeling, but just a strange washed out feeling. Back then, I blamed it on the weather (it was in the 90's a lot LAST Summer 2005). And I also blamed it on not eating right or not eating enough. And I had started getting a mild form of might sweats, like just the upper chest area.

My counts then ( I did not know cause I had not discovered I was hiv+ yet) was cd4 of 83 and VL was 500,000.
I now truly now believe it was the high VL that was causing my "drained" feeling. Because just after 6 weeks on meds, my VL went down to 1500 and I got most if not all of my energy back. My cd4, after 6 weeks on meds, was still <200 so I donít blame the low cd4 for the tired feeling. I blame the high VL.

Also, I was tested and found out in Sept 2005. Like I said, my cd4 was 83 and VL was 500,000. Percent was at 5%.
But what got me in and tested then, was I had started a huge weight loss in June of 2005. I was normally at 185-190#. By Sept of 2005, when tested, I was at 155#.
I still felt pretty good. And I blamed all my stuff on the Summer heat and my diet, not thinking hiv was even possible. It was everyone saying ďyou lost weightĒ all the time that scared me into FINALLY getting tested. I figured it was either hiv or some other illness, like cancer. I just wanted to find out.

So my point is weight loss would probably be your next sign that VL is getting way too high. And you donít want to risk KS with a falling cd4 because that can, or could, be a nasty package of evil to hit one. I feel I was very lucky my KS reversed within 6 weeks after starting meds, but that was a scary time knowing KS can form inside the body too.

Talking to your doc and planning to start something soon is the idea here. You could easily avoid more night sweats, weight loss and other worse things coming on once you start some meds. Yea, the sides can be and will ďsoundĒ scary, but myself I have done very well with that. Its not too bad after a few week (in my case), and you do start feeling sooooo much better very fast (3 to 6 weeks in my case).

I know, they say everyone is different but I just take my meds once a day and all is well (knock on cyber wood). And all the few other people I know personally that have been on meds for years and years have remained undetectable and have a very normal-like life.

Now mind your mom   ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D
And Take care,
randy
PS.. I DID gain my weight back and am back up to 185# again. That took the longest time of everything in recovering.
       Its not always easily ignored (being on meds and all), but its in my life now and I just deal with it. (sorry for the book)

Offline AlanBama

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,626
  • Alabama: the 'other' 3rd World Country!
Re: Six Months
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2006, 01:48:19 PM »
David,

I can honestly say that I don't believe I have ever known anyone who 'handled' their first six months of being positive as well as you have.   And I've known a LOT of positive people over the past 25 years....

Many people go for years without being able to deal with it as well as you have already.

Congratulations, and I wish you good health, long life, and happiness in all that you and David do in your lives together.

Hugs,
Alan
"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

Offline whizzer

  • Member
  • Posts: 363
Re: Six Months
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2006, 03:22:33 PM »
David,

A dubious anniversary, to be sure. One I wish you didn't have to experience.   My one year mark of the first indeterminate HIV test passed last week.  Funny, though, the day came and went without me noticing until the next week.  I guess I just stayed too  busy that day.  Next month, however, will mark the anniversary of the Day the Doctor Came to Visit (yes, he came to my HOUSE); that day I'm sure I will remember!

I have to echo what Randy says about meds.  I was dreading going on meds something fierce.  I had read so many bad experiences here and elsewhere that I was terrified about taking them.  Like you I was having mild symptoms - fatigue, nightsweats, just not feeling 'right'.  The night I finally started the meds, I stared at the pills in my hand for probably thirty minutes before I could bring myself to put them in my mouth and swallow them.  Then I sat up and waited for something terrible to happen.......and nothing ever did.  I had no immediate side effects at all.  And have had only two, really.  One is injection site reactions from Fuzeon, which are to be expected, the other is that I've found when the urge to go potty comes, I better-by-God be on my way to the bathroom, or watch out.

What happened, and happened quickly, was that my viral load plunged, my CD4s tripled, the night sweats disappeared, and within three weeks I felt like my old self again.  It was amazing. 

Now mind you, I still think about HIV a lot.  It does rule my life.  I mean, how can it not when the most important thing in my day is taking my meds on time?  You have to be able to commit to the proper dosing schedule, though some drugs are more forgiving than others in that respect.  Two of mine, alas, are not at all forgiving so every day gets planned around when and where I'm gonna eat and take my meds.

Keep in mind that the lower your CD4s are when you start treatment, the more likely you are to experience side effects of the medications.  You are also more likely to suffer through some sort of "immune reconstitution syndrome".  I did, and it was NOT fun.

Also, if meds for you become necessary, I wanted to let you know that they're still recruiting for a couple of drug studies for treatment naive people in Chapel Hill.  PM me and I'll tell you what they are, and give you a point of contact if you're interested.  It is a way to avoid co-pays for drugs and blood tests for a few years (you still have to visit your regular ID doc, though not nearly as often), and these studies are all using FDA approved meds so you're really not being a guinea pig (well, not anymore than any of the rest of us on meds), but you would be helping them determine what various treatment regimens may be more effective than others.  And they would LOVE to have a patient like you, since you are likely to be extremely compliant.

Congrats on surviving the first six months so well, and I wish you continuing success.

Offline LatinAlexander

  • Member
  • Posts: 599
  • Bogota, Colombia
Re: Six Months
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2006, 11:52:36 PM »
Ok. You will have to forgive me...But DAMN IT, DAVID, YOU LOOK SO HOT ON THAT PIC!!! AND I HAVE THIS WEAKNESS FOR 40Somethings-BIKER_RIDERS-IN-BOOTS-JEANS-AND-SHIRTLESS...

Ok, now I feel better. I said it.

Alex
Poz since Jul 19 2006
Initial numbers : CD4-250 VL 3500
First labs after HAART (Dec 04-2006) : CD4-432 VL-<40 (Undetectable)  cd4%=25.11%
Started HAART: Combivir+Efavirenz Aug 26 7:38 pm
Feb 08 2007 - Gradually stopping HAART cause of Myalgia. Protecting Efavirenz. Stopped Efavirenz, ahead with Combivir....
February 17 Combivir stopped.
April 3 -07 : Started ddi+3tc+efavirenz...
Gay and positive (What a lack of Identity...:) )
Looking for my Ben....

Offline Lou-ah-vull

  • Member
  • Posts: 948
Re: Six Months
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2006, 02:14:28 AM »
David,

Be well, my friend.  My one year anniversary is in less than a month (Oct. 3) and I have been thinking about how different this last year has been too.  I have started meds in May and have been blessed with few side effects.  I have regained 10 lbs that I did not want to regain (and all in the wrong place) but when I hear what has happened to others, I realize how lucky I am. 

I am glad you have the loving support of your husband.  I can't even begin to tell you how fortunate you are to have that.  I have found myself missing my husband (its been almost 12 years now) since AMG.  I am still grateful to have attended the wedding and to have heard about yours.  It makes me value my relationship in a world that still does not value them.  It's worth a bit of reconstituted grief to be able to experience vicariously the joy of Ric and Thom and you and David. 

I hope your doctor visit will bring you clarity.  If not, you know there is a gang of supportive folks here to help you sort it all out.

Gary
Diagnosed Oct. 2005
10/05:  367 (26.2%), 24556 VL
01/06:  344 (24.6%), 86299 VL
04/06:  374 (22.0%), 87657 VL
05/06:  Began HAART 05/15/06, Combivir/Kaletra
07/06:  361 (27.8%), 1299 VL
10/06:  454 (32.4%), 55 VL
01/07:  499 (38.4%), UD
02/07:  Switched to Atripla 2/8/07
04/07:  566 (37.7%), UD
08/07:  761 (42.3%), UD
06/08:  659 (47.1%), UD
01/09:  613 (43.8%), UD
07/09:  616 (47.4%), UD
01/10:  530 (44.2%), UD
07/10:  636 (48.9%), UD
01/11:  627 (48.2%), UD
07/11:  840 (52.5%), UD
01/12:  920 (51.1%), UD
07/12:  857 (50.4%), 40
10/12:  UD
01/13:  710 (47.3%), UD
07/13:  886 (49.2%), UD
01/14:  985 (46.9%), UD
06/14:  823 (47.2%), UD

Offline David_CA

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,246
  • Joined: March 2006
Re: Six Months
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2006, 08:10:19 AM »
Ok. You will have to forgive me...But DAMN IT, DAVID, YOU LOOK SO HOT ON THAT PIC!!! AND I HAVE THIS WEAKNESS FOR 40Somethings-BIKER_RIDERS-IN-BOOTS-JEANS-AND-SHIRTLESS...

Ok, now I feel better. I said it.

Alex

Thanks; I feel better for hearing it!   ;D  Actually, I'm not photogenic at all; that was a lucky shot.

And thanks to all you guys.  I can get facts and such from the "Lessons" and the "Drugs" sections here.  The personal (human) aspect is what really makes this site so great.  Like I've said before, I'd hate to think about how things would be without my support system, which you all are part of.  You're the best!  Have a great Monday.

David
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
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Offline Robert

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,644
Re: Six Months
« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2006, 11:25:31 AM »
David...

Not that you need it, but here is another vote of confidence.  It was great meeting you and D at the Gathering.  It was like we had known each other for a long time.  IT was a pleaseure talking to both of you.

By the way, folks.  David is photogenic.  But he doesn't look anything like his picture on the bike.  In fact I think it looks more like D, his husband, but they both say it's our David.

robert
« Last Edit: September 11, 2006, 11:28:37 AM by Robert »
..........

Offline AlanBama

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,626
  • Alabama: the 'other' 3rd World Country!
Re: Six Months
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2006, 01:05:12 PM »
Yeah, David I usually agree with most everything you write, but I have to disagree on the point about you not being photogenic.   I think you looked GREAT in the photos that are posted! (and looked even better in person).

Hugs,
Alan
"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

 


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