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Author Topic: My first year with HIV  (Read 3533 times)

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Offline numbersguy82

  • Member
  • Posts: 292
My first year with HIV
« on: August 29, 2011, 07:22:35 PM »
Ok so these topics are probably lame and all but I was compelled to at least put my thoughts out there on my first year of diagnosis and how my life has changed accordingly. Firstoff this forum has been awesome, and eventhough I left for several months I have enjoyed the wealth of knowledge many of you can offer, and one or two of you have become close personal friends along the way.

Career wise I have not been affected much except for a greater appreciation for having a job that I enjoy and insurance that pays as much as it does. I did get a promotion recently so that was a plus. Pre-Diagnosis my best friend was HIV positive and I never really took the time to listen about the problems such as deductibles and out of pocket expenses. WOW all I can say is that living here in South Florida I understand just how bad many of my fellow residents have it. My best friend earns more than I do, but has less because his insurance doesn't really cover but only 20% of his total costs. It really is a shame.

*As a refresher I was diagnosed last year after my boyfriend left me for a 20 year old after they carried on a long term affair. It was a shock to be newly single and then HIV positive.

Before finding this forum I had boarded myself up in my 3 bedroom condo and rarely left or socialized. Now I have 2 roomies (Yep my best friend moved in so he has more money to spend on things other than HIV care). Also I met and became instantly bonded with a former POZ.com member and my new non-sexual life partner Chad. Its true that we don't have a sexual relationship, but a better friend and confident would be hard to come by. I take great pride in knowing we are there to support one another not only financially but socially and emotionally as well. I also have found one other poz friend who really rounds out our group of friends.... its like we are a gay hiv-positive version of the Golden Girls lol.

I have also dated.... A LOT.... probably more than I did pre-diagnosis. Part of me probably wanted to prove that I wasn't damaged goods, or maybe I just needed the self-esteem boost, but dating other poz guys has been very freeing for me. I learn things and see them thru new eyes and I can genuinely appreciate how others cope with this illness. It has been hugely insightful and I think my personal growth has been huge. Speaking of huge I have blown up myself LOL. I have gained from 118lbs to 163 lbs at last weight in (hell it was just this A.M. I'm now weight obsessed too LOL). I'm healthier tho and my hair has grown in more full than ever and my complexion is the best it has ever been as well. I also met and dated my first negative partner. He was an oncologist and being medically trained knew the reality of our dating. It didn't end because I was HIV positive, but rather he was a scumbag who harbored a crush on Chad and was dating a guy behind my back LOL. So that was also a learning experience although I think i would prefer to date only an HIVer like me, but who knows... I won't turn love away no matter where it comes from.

My Doc has been with me since day one, and recently I upgraded to Atripla from Truvada, Prezista, and Norvir. I have had no trouble sleeping, no crazy dreams, and I wake up without fogginess. I'm chipping away at my VL and hopefully when I go in for labs Sept 12 I will get good news of being UD!!!!

I've never been a huge family person, but this past year opened my eyes that a career will only get me so much out of life. I contacted my birth father and spoke to him for the first time in 15 yrs.... I left home at 14 and never looked back. i learned he is still as selfish as I remembered, but now I know that as an adult I made that decision and it wasn't something I decided as an immature youth. Also I spent the summer with my nephews in Vermont. They are 9 and 11 and really special. Sure they are physical able to tackle me now, but I find joy in watching them continue to grow up... it was the first time I had seen them in 7 yrs. I also make it a point to talk to my siblings more. My mom was the glue that held us together before, but now I want to keep in touch for me.

Basically this last year has been pretty frickin awesome. I found myself again, and I learned to laugh.... A LOT.... and I can even joke about HIV even.... we call it the booty flu in my circle of friends. It's nice to know that I'm not letting my diagnosis define me, but rather I allow it to add more depth to my overall character. I don't know what this year would have been like if I hadn't been diagnosed. Maybe it would have turned out the same.... or I could still be that bitchy guy talking badly about your outfit while sipping my goose martini during happy hour. Who knows. What I do know is I like myself more now than I ever have. So thanks to all of you great folks who coached me and teased me and supported me in the early goings. It saved me and for that I am truly thankful!!!
8/10- 73 cd4, 7%, and 300k VL *First Labs*
9/10- Started Norvir, Prezista, and Truvada
10/10- 511 cd4, 22%, and 886 VL
12/10- 498 cd4, 22%, and 106 VL
3/11- 529 cd4, 29%, and 101 VL
8/11- 620 cd4, 30%, and 74 VL- Switched to Atripla
10/11- 580 ce4, 30%, and 62 VL
12/11- 684 cd4, 31%, and FINALLY *UD*

Offline WillyWump

  • Member
  • Posts: 7,281
Re: My first year with HIV
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2011, 08:04:12 PM »
Very nice, :) I've always been amazed at how well you handled your diagnosis and your story should be an inspiration to the newly diagnosed on how It's not the end of the world.

-Will

PS - you forgot to add how you met your future husband right here on these forums...*cough* WILL.
POZ since '08

Last Labs-
11-6-14 CD4- 871, UD
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 numbersguy82

  • Member
  • Posts: 292
Re: My first year with HIV
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2011, 08:30:56 PM »
Ahaaaaa.... you're right... well I did say "close personal friends", but I guess why deny it huh???? So as soon as you agree to FINALLY move to FL after all these months then we can live happily ever after.... altho I'm not taking your last name... Adrian-Alan Wump sounds dreadful lol.... and your real last name would label me as AAA.... and I don't even know how to fix tires or jumpstart cars :(
8/10- 73 cd4, 7%, and 300k VL *First Labs*
9/10- Started Norvir, Prezista, and Truvada
10/10- 511 cd4, 22%, and 886 VL
12/10- 498 cd4, 22%, and 106 VL
3/11- 529 cd4, 29%, and 101 VL
8/11- 620 cd4, 30%, and 74 VL- Switched to Atripla
10/11- 580 ce4, 30%, and 62 VL
12/11- 684 cd4, 31%, and FINALLY *UD*

Offline emeraldize

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,366
Re: My first year with HIV
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2011, 10:19:27 PM »
Fine piece to read. Congrats on moving through and forward!

Offline spacebarsux

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,350
  • Survival of the Fittest
Re: My first year with HIV
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2011, 01:05:30 AM »
Great story. Congrats  :)
Infected-  2005 or early 2006; Diagnosed- Jan 28th, 2011; Feb '11- CD4 754 @34%, VL- 39K; July '11- CD4 907@26%,  VL-81K; Feb '12- CD4 713 @31%, VL- 41K, Nov '12- CD4- 827@31%

Offline elf

  • Member
  • Posts: 618
Re: My first year with HIV
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2011, 10:37:35 AM »
Nice story.
And nice numbers too, you have a lot to celebrate.  :)
I got GRID on GRInDr

Offline Since2005

  • Member
  • Posts: 423
Re: My first year with HIV
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2011, 02:38:33 PM »
Great story and very inspiring. It seems like you moved on with your life and doing very well. Happy for ya!

Offline J.R.E.

  • Member
  • Posts: 7,281
  • Joined Dec-2003 Living positive, since 1985.
Re: My first year with HIV
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2011, 05:51:34 PM »
 :)

This is a wonderfully uplifting and honest post.  Thanks for sharing, and congrats on getting through that first year. Sounds as though you have a real grip on life and living  !

Ray 8)
Current Meds ; Viramune, Epzicom, 40mg of simvastatin, 25 mg 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


Diagnosed positive in 1985,.. In October of 2003, My t-cell count was 16, Viral load was over 500,000, Percentage at that time was 5%. I started on  HAART on October 24th, 2003.

 As of 12/10/14,  t-cells are at 350,  Previous 8/25/14--- 402/ Viral load remains <40

 Current % is at 13% / Previous 8/25/14 11%

  
 63 years young.

Offline tryingtomovefoward

  • New Member
  • Posts: 2
Re: My first year with HIV
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2011, 03:03:40 PM »
I want to thank you for the post. I have also just finished my first year of being positive. Although I have been in treatment for a year and undetectable on medicine my life has come crashing down in the last two weeks.  I have been partnered for 4 years with a guy I am so in love with.  He is negative.  Two weeks ago he told me that he had met someone and wanted to see where it would go.  He said he loved me but could not risk a sexual relationship with me any longer due to the HIV.  I am devistated and lost.  I am not sure what to do.  My head tells me to leave but I have not convinced my heart.  It is so scary to start all over and he has been my support through my first year. I just can't deal with him sleeping in the bed with me and then leaving for a couple of days at a time.  He kissed me and told me he loved me and then went off for the weekend with the other guy.  I am confused, mad at myself for the lack of self-respect to still be here but I am still in love with him. 

Ok so these topics are probably lame and all but I was compelled to at least put my thoughts out there on my first year of diagnosis and how my life has changed accordingly. Firstoff this forum has been awesome, and eventhough I left for several months I have enjoyed the wealth of knowledge many of you can offer, and one or two of you have become close personal friends along the way.

Career wise I have not been affected much except for a greater appreciation for having a job that I enjoy and insurance that pays as much as it does. I did get a promotion recently so that was a plus. Pre-Diagnosis my best friend was HIV positive and I never really took the time to listen about the problems such as deductibles and out of pocket expenses. WOW all I can say is that living here in South Florida I understand just how bad many of my fellow residents have it. My best friend earns more than I do, but has less because his insurance doesn't really cover but only 20% of his total costs. It really is a shame.

*As a refresher I was diagnosed last year after my boyfriend left me for a 20 year old after they carried on a long term affair. It was a shock to be newly single and then HIV positive.

Before finding this forum I had boarded myself up in my 3 bedroom condo and rarely left or socialized. Now I have 2 roomies (Yep my best friend moved in so he has more money to spend on things other than HIV care). Also I met and became instantly bonded with a former POZ.com member and my new non-sexual life partner Chad. Its true that we don't have a sexual relationship, but a better friend and confident would be hard to come by. I take great pride in knowing we are there to support one another not only financially but socially and emotionally as well. I also have found one other poz friend who really rounds out our group of friends.... its like we are a gay hiv-positive version of the Golden Girls lol.

I have also dated.... A LOT.... probably more than I did pre-diagnosis. Part of me probably wanted to prove that I wasn't damaged goods, or maybe I just needed the self-esteem boost, but dating other poz guys has been very freeing for me. I learn things and see them thru new eyes and I can genuinely appreciate how others cope with this illness. It has been hugely insightful and I think my personal growth has been huge. Speaking of huge I have blown up myself LOL. I have gained from 118lbs to 163 lbs at last weight in (hell it was just this A.M. I'm now weight obsessed too LOL). I'm healthier tho and my hair has grown in more full than ever and my complexion is the best it has ever been as well. I also met and dated my first negative partner. He was an oncologist and being medically trained knew the reality of our dating. It didn't end because I was HIV positive, but rather he was a scumbag who harbored a crush on Chad and was dating a guy behind my back LOL. So that was also a learning experience although I think i would prefer to date only an HIVer like me, but who knows... I won't turn love away no matter where it comes from.

My Doc has been with me since day one, and recently I upgraded to Atripla from Truvada, Prezista, and Norvir. I have had no trouble sleeping, no crazy dreams, and I wake up without fogginess. I'm chipping away at my VL and hopefully when I go in for labs Sept 12 I will get good news of being UD!!!!

I've never been a huge family person, but this past year opened my eyes that a career will only get me so much out of life. I contacted my birth father and spoke to him for the first time in 15 yrs.... I left home at 14 and never looked back. i learned he is still as selfish as I remembered, but now I know that as an adult I made that decision and it wasn't something I decided as an immature youth. Also I spent the summer with my nephews in Vermont. They are 9 and 11 and really special. Sure they are physical able to tackle me now, but I find joy in watching them continue to grow up... it was the first time I had seen them in 7 yrs. I also make it a point to talk to my siblings more. My mom was the glue that held us together before, but now I want to keep in touch for me.

Basically this last year has been pretty frickin awesome. I found myself again, and I learned to laugh.... A LOT.... and I can even joke about HIV even.... we call it the booty flu in my circle of friends. It's nice to know that I'm not letting my diagnosis define me, but rather I allow it to add more depth to my overall character. I don't know what this year would have been like if I hadn't been diagnosed. Maybe it would have turned out the same.... or I could still be that bitchy guy talking badly about your outfit while sipping my goose martini during happy hour. Who knows. What I do know is I like myself more now than I ever have. So thanks to all of you great folks who coached me and teased me and supported me in the early goings. It saved me and for that I am truly thankful!!!

Offline numbersguy82

  • Member
  • Posts: 292
Re: My first year with HIV
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2011, 10:20:27 AM »
Thanks for the nice words everyone :)

Trying- It sounds like you have a few tough decisions ahead and sadly I don't know if any would save your relationship. Without knowing all the details it sounds like your BF has emotionally and physically checked out of your relationship. I doubt highly that HIV was the culprit, but rather the grass is greener syndrome so I don't think you should get down on yourself. Furthermore regardless the reasoning I need you to start taking control of the situation. Don't let him make all the decisions regarding your future. Stand tall and be proud of yourself, and part of that pride means loving yourself enough to walk away. If things don't work out with this new guy I suspect your BF would return to you and probably try and mend fences... until the next guy came along. Don't put yourself through all of that. Love yourself and see that you deserve a honest and caring guy who will stand by you through good times and bad. No real BF would ever lay in bed with you and then leave it to see where things go with someone new.

It sounds like you have a very painful road ahead. Stay strong and post here often it will help to know that you aren't alone. Remember its never too late to find love, but that love should start from within and be for yourself. Also find comfort in knowing you aren't alone.... many of us have continued to love someone who treated us wrongly. It's our human nature and shows that when we love someone it is all encompassing and not easily thrown away, and that isn't a bad thing and most guys will find this trait very ideal. Good luck and all the best :)
8/10- 73 cd4, 7%, and 300k VL *First Labs*
9/10- Started Norvir, Prezista, and Truvada
10/10- 511 cd4, 22%, and 886 VL
12/10- 498 cd4, 22%, and 106 VL
3/11- 529 cd4, 29%, and 101 VL
8/11- 620 cd4, 30%, and 74 VL- Switched to Atripla
10/11- 580 ce4, 30%, and 62 VL
12/11- 684 cd4, 31%, and FINALLY *UD*

Offline tryingtomovefoward

  • New Member
  • Posts: 2
Re: My first year with HIV
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2011, 10:49:15 PM »
numbers:

You are exactly right! I think what is so hard is that when I found out I was positive he assumed he was and never went and got tested until about two months ago (it took me that long to drag him there).  It was not until he found out he was negative that things changes. He tells me he loves me and that will not change but it has. I just have to keep in mind that he is 30 and I am 45.  This was his first relationship. It is a roller-coaster but I am a strong person and ready to put my big boy pants on and move forward.  Our lease is up in October and I am already looking ahead.  He wants me to stay (as roommates) but I know that is just because he is probably not ready to give up the big screen TV.  Seriously, he is a great guy and I would not take anything for the last four years.  I think that I am hitting the grieving stages and moving into anger and not necessarily with him but at the situation.  I wish him nothing but the best but know in my heart the day I move out is the day I cannot look back.  This is going to be a tough time and I realize it but it is my time to live and make some new friends. Of course I own my own business and the economy is kicking my butt which only exaggerates my emotions.  When it rains it does poor.  This forum is a great help and I thank you for taking the time to listen. 


Thanks for the nice words everyone :)

Trying- It sounds like you have a few tough decisions ahead and sadly I don't know if any would save your relationship. Without knowing all the details it sounds like your BF has emotionally and physically checked out of your relationship. I doubt highly that HIV was the culprit, but rather the grass is greener syndrome so I don't think you should get down on yourself. Furthermore regardless the reasoning I need you to start taking control of the situation. Don't let him make all the decisions regarding your future. Stand tall and be proud of yourself, and part of that pride means loving yourself enough to walk away. If things don't work out with this new guy I suspect your BF would return to you and probably try and mend fences... until the next guy came along. Don't put yourself through all of that. Love yourself and see that you deserve a honest and caring guy who will stand by you through good times and bad. No real BF would ever lay in bed with you and then leave it to see where things go with someone new.

It sounds like you have a very painful road ahead. Stay strong and post here often it will help to know that you aren't alone. Remember its never too late to find love, but that love should start from within and be for yourself. Also find comfort in knowing you aren't alone.... many of us have continued to love someone who treated us wrongly. It's our human nature and shows that when we love someone it is all encompassing and not easily thrown away, and that isn't a bad thing and most guys will find this trait very ideal. Good luck and all the best :)

Offline csguy1

  • Member
  • Posts: 35
Re: My first year with HIV
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2011, 05:19:18 PM »
Numbers- Thanks for writing your inspiring story. Gives me the hope and optimism I need to move forward with my life after my diagnosis. I just found out last month and have been doing my best to hang in there. Joined this forum, which has been a blessing and have become as informed as possible on HIV, the treatments  associated with it, and how to live with it. I too live in Miami but if all goes as should I have a job interview next week in NY and hope I get the job. Again thank you for your post and hope all is well

Trying - It sure sounds like a sad situation but lets face the reality, HIV or not the kid might have left. Hope you are staying strong and have moved on.

Offline Rockin

  • Member
  • Posts: 494
Re: My first year with HIV
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2011, 12:13:37 AM »
Your post has got me thinking. I was diagnosed 6 months ago and I'm not afraid of dying or anything like that. In fact I wouldn't say my life changed dramatically. Yeah I wake up and take my meds and have to do some blood tests every now and then but, other than that, everything's pretty much the same. My health is good, CD4 increasing...nothing to complain there.

BUT...my biggest fear is dating. I do think I'm still a great guy and a great boyfriend. Yes I can never have sex without a condom ever again...but really I wasn't planning on doing it anyway. I always told my friends that it was safer to wear condoms all the time, even in a long-term relationship. Because you never know right? Which is ironic, since this is precisely how I think I got it (doing it bb with ex).

I've read some stories on the internet about sucessful relationships between poz and neg people. That gives me hope. Dating is already too hard and if we limit ourselves to only date poz people...I don't know. Just my opinion.


Offline csguy1

  • Member
  • Posts: 35
Re: My first year with HIV
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2011, 08:25:16 AM »
Rockin - I hear your fear. When I too found out, first I was afraid of my life but after looking at one of my peers(my boss and long time survivor) and reading people can live long lives with HIV that fear has diminished. Then I started to worry about not being able to find someone. It hasn't really sunk in yet because I haven't began looking to meet anyone. But perhaps when I do it will probably be getting to know the person first. Once you/I feel a connection is made at lets say a higher level then physical attraction and I/you feel a little more comfortable with the person I/you may then want to divulge my/your status. I don't think it will be easy to say the least but at least we are alive and able to breath the air everyday, watch sunrises, sunsets, see and be with family, travel and see the world among many other things which bring pleasure to just living! Think about why is it that we are able to still be alive when many wonderful people lost there lives just 10-20 years ago. I think were lucky in that sense. There will always be reasons to worry about a job, about what people think of you, not finding true love, and the list goes on and on. But life is to short to worry about everything. Lets just take it one day at a time. Enjoy each day, each weekend and perhaps one day you will come across or cross paths with that special someone who share the same ideas, wants, needs, and desires as you do and being + would not be an obstacle in pursuing a LTR with.

Who knows I'm just trying to remain optimistic and be Positive not that I am not already(literally).

Offline Rockin

  • Member
  • Posts: 494
Re: My first year with HIV
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2011, 12:31:43 PM »
Rockin - I hear your fear. When I too found out, first I was afraid of my life but after looking at one of my peers(my boss and long time survivor) and reading people can live long lives with HIV that fear has diminished. Then I started to worry about not being able to find someone. It hasn't really sunk in yet because I haven't began looking to meet anyone. But perhaps when I do it will probably be getting to know the person first. Once you/I feel a connection is made at lets say a higher level then physical attraction and I/you feel a little more comfortable with the person I/you may then want to divulge my/your status. I don't think it will be easy to say the least but at least we are alive and able to breath the air everyday, watch sunrises, sunsets, see and be with family, travel and see the world among many other things which bring pleasure to just living! Think about why is it that we are able to still be alive when many wonderful people lost there lives just 10-20 years ago. I think were lucky in that sense. There will always be reasons to worry about a job, about what people think of you, not finding true love, and the list goes on and on. But life is to short to worry about everything. Lets just take it one day at a time. Enjoy each day, each weekend and perhaps one day you will come across or cross paths with that special someone who share the same ideas, wants, needs, and desires as you do and being + would not be an obstacle in pursuing a LTR with.

Who knows I'm just trying to remain optimistic and be Positive not that I am not already(literally).


I completely agree with you. And I know I'm a newbie at this but I think everyone, including us who are poz, tend to see HIV in a very bleak way. I mean...I was thinking...there was a movie recently (50/50, which is said to be pretty good), a comedy about a young guy diagnosed with cancer, fighting for his life.

Will there ever be a movie treating HIV the same way? Will it always be surrounded by this awful stigma, by this darkness? Will we be always stuck in that "Philadelphia" mode?

I don't know about you guys but I've never seen an HIV+ character in any media whatsoever...and this might be a silly example but it speaks a lot about the perception that people still have about this condition. No one wants to touch it with a 10-inch pole, it seems.

And I say condition because I don't think it truly is a disease. I mean...I'm not sick. I was sick when I had PCP but not anymore. So I see it as a chronic condition...like diabetes. Yes, sure, it's contagious but...only if you do very specific ways. Flu, tuberculosis, those things are actually more contagious. If you don't do it bareback then no problem, simple as that.

As for dating...I tend to like people who are enlightened, cultured...so I hope that this person, if he truly likes me, will try to understand, do a little research and see that having a relationship with a UD person and using condoms is actually LESS risky than doing it with random guys. At least you know what you're getting yourself into.

Maybe I'm being over optimistic and even a bit naive but I think it's working for me. I don't know about most people's experiences in dating neg people, probably there are a lot of bad stories out there as well.

Offline csguy1

  • Member
  • Posts: 35
Re: My first year with HIV
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2011, 01:34:06 PM »
I'm sure, hang in there kiddo. We are in this together. I'm 26 single, and just found out I'm positive last month. I'm trying not to dwell on the negative but rather keep optimistic like you. Hope you have a good rest of your weekend and eventually you will find the right guy ;-)

Offline Rockin

  • Member
  • Posts: 494
Re: My first year with HIV
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2011, 03:41:53 PM »
I'm sure, hang in there kiddo. We are in this together. I'm 26 single, and just found out I'm positive last month. I'm trying not to dwell on the negative but rather keep optimistic like you. Hope you have a good rest of your weekend and eventually you will find the right guy ;-)

Thanks man. Nice to hear that.

 


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