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Author Topic: Introduction & Question  (Read 1690 times)

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Offline OM

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  • Posts: 3
Introduction & Question
« on: May 31, 2012, 09:30:01 PM »
Hello everyone! I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. I'm 27, live in SoCal and was recently diagnosed as HIV positive.

Backstory:
I found out I was HIV positive 5/8/2009. At the time I was in a monogamous relationship of almost 1 year. The assumption is the virus was dormant, as my partner at the time is still negative. We ended up moving cross-country not long after my diagnosis and with that I put my health on the back-burner in attempt to start a new life. In the back of my mind I knew that I was positive and needed to do something about it, ideally sooner than later. Fast-Forward to 2012, I finally did.

I am finally set up with a physician & clinic and just received my first lab results yesterday.

CD4: 393, 24%
VL: 280

My lab work from my first test in 2009 showed a CD4 of 344 & 16%. I never got viral load info.

My doctor is not what I expected. I feel like since he's the one with the MD and experience he should voluntarily be providing me information. He essentially told me my results, informed me that the CD4 was concerning but the viral load was almost at an undetectable level, said that sometimes the virus plateaus and asked me if I wanted to start meds. Since one of the reasons it took me so long to find care was simply being overwhelmed by all the terminology and not knowing where to even begin, I'm beginning to find myself back in that mentality, after only 2 visits.

I think as a patient I look to my doctor to provide guidance, then leave the ball in my court. With this guy he seems detached, but I don't know if that's common - it's not like I've been cured of HIV and reinfected, and have some sort of first-hand experience.

In the end I told him lets see what the next labs say, though I don't think they will change that much; they haven't in 3 years. I'm not excited about starting meds, but I'm wondering if; 1. there are any docs here that might be able to provide more information, 2. If any of you felt this way after your first labs?

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: Introduction & Question
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2012, 10:10:23 PM »
Why didn't you ask the doctor questions during the visit? It's impossible for the doctor to know what the patient's information level is about the virus unless you engage the doctor in the conversation.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline OM

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  • Posts: 3
Re: Introduction & Question
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2012, 10:28:11 PM »
Why didn't you ask the doctor questions during the visit? It's impossible for the doctor to know what the patient's information level is about the virus unless you engage the doctor in the conversation.

I asked questions regarding if he had recommendations on how to proceed, if he'd encountered labs like mine, what he had done in those situations,  if he had any information from the resistance test so that I could narrow down my meds research from that etc...

In the end I felt like I wasn't given any information other than what was on the pages of the lab results. So that's when I told him I'd just wait till the next appointment and see. I even asked if the results are in the same ranges next time, or visits down the road, how long should I continue to just observe? When does it get to the point that it's time to do something, regardless of the numbers? I was basically told if you want to  watch the numbers we can do that. 

Am I wrong for thinking that he would say something like, "if you want to monitor your results for a visit or 2 then we can do that. If the numbers haven't changed in (random number) months, then we'll start looking at meds/then we'll just keep an eye on things."

Offline leatherman

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Re: Introduction & Question
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2012, 10:31:57 PM »

As we say around here (sadly all too often) sorry you had to find us, but glad you did. :D

You might want to check out the Lessons section as it's filled with good scientific info about all things HIV broken down into nice easily understood topics.

You might want to take another suggestion - take paper and pen with you to each doctor appointment. I have my last labs written down, along with any questions I might have, or any issues that I've been dealing with or noticed. This helps me remember to ask the doctor about the things I need to know. It also insinuates/shows him/her that I'm interested in my health care and often that makes the doctor more interested in my health care and attentive to me.  ;)

besides you're paying for the health care and knowledge of that doctor, you might as well ask for it. ;) I'd say go in with a list next time and then if you don't get what you think is appropriate care, you might be able to look for another doctor. Of course getting another doc depends on if another doctor is even available in your area. Like many people, you might just be stuck with what you have and will have to harass this doctor into answering your question.
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline tednlou2

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  • Posts: 4,988
Re: Introduction & Question
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2012, 10:58:35 PM »
OM, welcome to the forums.  I don't believe there are any doctor members here, but many who probably know more than most docs.  There are docs at thebody.com who answer questions. 

This is where I think it is more the doc's responsibility (at first) to engage the patient to see where their educational level about HIV is and to draw out questions and concerns.  I also believe docs should discuss depression/mental health issues on the first appt.  As Leatherman suggested, try engaging your doc and write down questions you want to ask.  If he is enthusiastic about talking shop and answering your questions, then you'll know he just had an off day.  If he isn't and you're not comfortable with him, then possibly consider changing docs.  I realize that isn't always a possibility depending on where you live and financial/insurance issues.

Since these are you first labs in 3 years, I think many would suggest getting a few more labs under your belt to get a true trend.  Again, welcome to the forums and stay in touch.


Offline OM

  • Member
  • Posts: 3
Re: Introduction & Question
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2013, 12:02:56 AM »
I'm back. Thanks everyone for your replies.

I just got my latest labs

CD4 - 420
VL - 360

I've actually switched to a different doctor at the facility, whom I felt immediately comfortable with, we actually decided today that I will being taking Atripla. I'm happy I took the time to think about why I felt uncomfortable with the previous doctor, especially considering HIV is his specialty. In the end I don't know what it was about him that caused the disconnected feeling, but I'm pleased with my new doc.

Offline harleymc

  • Member
  • Posts: 231
Re: Introduction & Question
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2013, 11:36:07 PM »
Hi OM,
 You should find Atripla is a pretty cruisy medication to take. Once a day with food is not bad for a regime, easy to remember.

Glad you found a doc you feel comfortable with.

Offline mitch777

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  • Posts: 3,594
Re: Introduction & Question
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2013, 07:01:04 AM »
Hi OM,
 You should find Atripla is a pretty cruisy medication to take. Once a day with food is not bad for a regime, easy to remember.

Glad you found a doc you feel comfortable with.
Atripla should be taken WITHOUT food.
Sorry harleymc,
You probably meant to say "without" but the correction is an important one.

....and welcome OM! :)
« Last Edit: March 05, 2013, 07:05:32 AM by mitch777 »
32 years hiv+ (oct. 2013) with a curtsy.

Offline rjoh

  • Member
  • Posts: 17
Re: Introduction & Question
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2013, 11:31:55 AM »
Atripla should be taken WITHOUT food.
Sorry harleymc,
You probably meant to say "without" but the correction is an important one.

....and welcome OM! :)

Welcome OM!

Agreed, Atripla should be taken ON AN EMPTY STOMACH, and preferably before you retire to bed.  If you DO EAT before taking this medicine, it's really OK, you will just have some very interesting and vivid dreams (had one last week...I dreamed I was in a room with a mass murderer and the I was the last victim....tied down, and the perp was literally slicing up my leg....I was moaning so loud, I woke myself up....my leg "pain" was the cat curling upside my leg!!....I really should write this stuff down as I'm thinkin' a HBO "Dream of the Week" series.......LOL!

 


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