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Author Topic: He talks  (Read 4221 times)

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Offline rick30316

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  • Posts: 9
  • Looking for my way
    • Rick's Experience
He talks
« on: October 03, 2006, 11:49:48 PM »
Hey, men and women. I guess I've lurked around here long enough. I've benefitted from your advice and banter even though I haven't contributed until now. I'm comtemplating some changes in my life, but I won't get into those just yet. This message is mostly to say hi and start to make a few friends here.

I'm 41, HIV+ for 6 years this month, back on meds in April for first time in a while. My health is failing me a bit, and that's freaking me out some, but I'm working my plan. That's me - always a plan!

So say hi to me if you will, please, and I promise to be more than a bystander in these forums from now on.

Rick :)

Offline Eldon

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  • Posts: 2,664
Re: He talks
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2006, 11:57:09 PM »
Hello Rick, it is Eldon.

I wish to extend to you a warm WELCOME to the forums. As you have read you will find encouragement, understanding, communication, support, some cries, some laughter, and many of your questions answered relating to HIV/AIDS. We DO have a great group of people that will listen as well as answer you.

If you have not already, please DO take the time to read through our "lessons" section which is located on the upper "left" hand corner of the page. There is a lot of information on this site and REAL people. You are not alone. Please DO feel free to come and vent from time-to-time with whatever is on your mind.

Again. Welcome! and make the BEST of each Day!

Offline rick30316

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Re: He talks
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2006, 12:02:32 AM »
Thanks, Eldon. Opening up is not easy for me, but I am trying. I've enjoyed reading the wisdom from the group here.

I'm going to ask for short term disability from my job for two to three months to focus on my health and rest, and I'm a little nervous about that. I work in a company with a very competitive environment, and I don't want to be seen as a slacker. Any words of advice there?

Rick

Offline IzPoz

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  • God, grant me the serenity...
Re: He talks
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2006, 12:05:58 AM »
Hey Rick,

Welcome to the forums!  Glad you made yourself somewhat visible!  I can't think of anything right now as far as competive work goes, but hope that you are able to take some time to get healthy again.  Stress is no good for you, as you already know.  So, take it easy and take care of you.  That's important right now.

Be well!
The reason angels can fly is that they take themselves so lightly. ~ Chesterton G. K.

Offline Eldon

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  • Posts: 2,664
Re: He talks
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2006, 12:10:37 AM »
Hello Rick,

A competitive work environment? Focus on teamwork in the office instead of individual work. Stress to them to DO their BEST. Teamwork reduces stress a bit.



Make the BEST of each Day!

Offline rick30316

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    • Rick's Experience
Re: He talks
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2006, 12:16:50 AM »
The company I work for is part of everyone's daily life on the internet. It starts with a G, and you use it to search for stuff. Everyone there is so smart, and keeping up with them is taking a toll on me. I go home each day exhausted. It's hard work to keep my head clear, especially in the morning hours, and I have to sneak off to the massage room for a nap at least once per day. With issues of life and death at front in my mind right now, my work life is seeming so empty and meaningless to me. The benefits are very good, though, so I have to be careful.

Offline Life

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  • Posts: 2,388
  • Member 2005
Re: He talks
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2006, 12:19:45 AM »
Rick welcome..  Glad you up on the front lines!  Hope to get to know you....


Offline Eldon

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Re: He talks
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2006, 12:30:41 AM »
Hey Rick,

If such is the case, you may want to go and sit down in Human Resources to discuss a possible leave of absence. Then take action with your health, rejuvenate and then go back to work. Actually, whatever that makes you feel comfortable...but keep those benefits!



Make the BEST of each Day!

Offline rick30316

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    • Rick's Experience
Re: He talks
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2006, 12:34:11 AM »
I want to take some time off to focus on me, adjust to my meds, and feel better. I do know that adjustment takes times. During that first two weeks with Sustiva I was a mess, but it has been levelling out. I just don't feel like "smart" Rick until around lunch or so each day. Before that, I'm a zombie.

Offline rick30316

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Re: He talks
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2006, 12:38:33 AM »
Do I mention the HIV with HR or just say that I have a disabling condition and have my doctor document?

Offline RAB

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  • Posts: 1,895
  • Joined March 2003
Re: He talks
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2006, 12:50:02 AM »
Hi Rick  

Welcome to the forums.  You've come across a great resource for anyone who is HIV +.  There is an amazing group of people here who truly understand what Living With HIV can be like.

I hope you stick around and give us a chance to get to know you.

About the issue to applying for short term disability, I can't offer very much in terms of advice.  Something like that is so specific to the policy and claim that it can become pretty complex.

A couple of things I would suggest/ask are:

1.  Have you discussed this with your doctor?  If so, is he/she in agreement that this is something that is justified based upon your current medical condition?  You will need that support in justifying the basis of your claim.  Simply being HIV + and adjusting to meds may not cut it without some real "objective" data to back it up.  (Lab results for instance, and/or clinical notes substantiating the basis in your chart)

2.  You might want to consider keeping a diary, specifically noting how the medical problem is impacting on your ability to perform your job.  Be specific, (at 10:00 meeting scheduled with group C, unable to attend due to fatigue. etc.)

3.  Assemble everything you can think of before you file your claim.  Anticipate questions, prepare clear answers (preferably documented with either medical records or observations from co-workers) so that you have everything in place.

I'm sure others will have even better suggestions but those are just my initial thoughts.

Anyway, as I said, welcome to these forums and hope you find them as helpful and important as I have.

RAB

Edit to add:  I wouldn't disclose the specifics of your medical condition to HR.  It's not necessary or appropriate for them to know this unless you are asking for some sort of accomodation based upon ADA (Americans with Disability Act).  Your claim for STD will be with the insurance company that provides the coverage.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2006, 01:15:49 AM by RAB »

Offline siongi

  • Member
  • Posts: 42
Re: He talks
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2006, 04:29:15 AM »
Hey Rick,

Welcome to the forums. If my experience is anything to go by, this is the best place any where in the world for HIV + person to be.  It is great that you have been observing, reading,learning in here etc and now you have gotten the momemtum to come out!

With love

William



Offline IzPoz

  • Member
  • Posts: 332
  • God, grant me the serenity...
Re: He talks
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2006, 06:37:16 AM »
Rick,

Rab has some good suggestions, I'd go with what he's saying.  Have you considered taking a two week vacation?  Do you have enough vacation time set aside to do this?

Also, with Sustiva (I'm no expert in it, so others may want to post their experiences) I understand that this is a tricky med.  What time do you take it?  This could play a part in your inability to focus in the morning.

How long have you been on meds? Sometimes it takes about a month for your body to adjust to the medications, then afterwards, you start to notice that you are going back to normal.

Hope you find a happy medium soon!
The reason angels can fly is that they take themselves so lightly. ~ Chesterton G. K.

Offline Longislander

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,486
Re: He talks
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2006, 07:24:48 AM »
Welcome Rick. While lurking around you 've probably seen alot of talk about Sustiva and reactions/adjustments to it. I'm not on meds yet, so no info here. I'm sure troughout today you'll find responses from those who are on it and what they've done. They're a great group of people. Good luck with everything .
infected 10/05 diagnosed 12-05
2/06   379/57000                    6/07 372/30500 25%   4/09 640/U/32% 
5/06   ?? /37000                     8/07 491/55000/24%    9/09 913/U/39%
8/06   349/9500 25%              11/07 515/68000/24     2/10 845/U/38%
9/06   507/16,000 30% !          2/08  516/116k/22%    7/10 906/80/39%
12/06 398/29000 26%             Start Atripla 3/08
3/07   402/80,000 29%            4/08  485/undet!/27
4/07   507/35,000 25%            7/08 625/UD/34%
                                                 11/08 684/U/36%

Offline Nadine

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  • Posts: 1,253
  • Member since: August 2005
Re: He talks
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2006, 07:32:47 AM »
Welcome Rick, I'm glad you found your way here.

You'll find tons of support here, don't be afraid to ask anything.

Hugs,
Nadine

Offline J.R.E.

  • Member
  • Posts: 7,162
  • Joined Dec-2003 Living positive, since 1985.
Re: He talks
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2006, 07:39:33 AM »
Hello Rick,

I am Ray. Welcome to the site. I also am not experienced in the situation that you are in. I am currently working fultime, and have not needed to take any tempararily time off from work.

How about FMLA. Thats the family medical leave act. I supplied you with a link, perhaps you may find it helpful.

http://www.dol.gov/dol/allcfr/ESA/Title_29/Part_825/29CFR825.302.htm


 I know I should probably be more knowledgable in this matter, as there will come a time, when I will certainly have to take some sort of disability, whether it will be short term or permanent.

Myself, postive since 1985, and on meds 3 years, in about another two weeks. Take care of yourself, stay in touch with us, and don't hesitate to ask questions.


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 rick30316

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  • Looking for my way
    • Rick's Experience
Re: He talks
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2006, 07:40:01 AM »
Hi, RAB. Answers below inline.

Rick


Hi Rick  

Welcome to the forums.  You've come across a great resource for anyone who is HIV +.  There is an amazing group of people here who truly understand what Living With HIV can be like.

I hope you stick around and give us a chance to get to know you.

About the issue to applying for short term disability, I can't offer very much in terms of advice.  Something like that is so specific to the policy and claim that it can become pretty complex.

A couple of things I would suggest/ask are:

1.  Have you discussed this with your doctor?  If so, is he/she in agreement that this is something that is justified based upon your current medical condition?  You will need that support in justifying the basis of your claim.  Simply being HIV + and adjusting to meds may not cut it without some real "objective" data to back it up.  (Lab results for instance, and/or clinical notes substantiating the basis in your chart)

Yes, I've discussed with my doctor. He's supportive and thinks it's correct. He has been my doctor since long before I had HIV, so he knows that recent symptoms/behavior are different for me. He's in one of the largest gay practices in my city and understands these issues.

2.  You might want to consider keeping a diary, specifically noting how the medical problem is impacting on your ability to perform your job.  Be specific, (at 10:00 meeting scheduled with group C, unable to attend due to fatigue. etc.)

I've read this advice elsewhere, but the more I've tried to do it, the more it has brought home to me the reality of what is happening to me, and so I've had an out-of-sight-out-of-mind attitude about it. I will sit today and work on it, though.

3.  Assemble everything you can think of before you file your claim.  Anticipate questions, prepare clear answers (preferably documented with either medical records or observations from co-workers) so that you have everything in place.

Hmm - observations from co-workers. That won't be difficult. I went from Jekyll to Hyde back April - July. I'm some better now thanks mostly to Paxil CR.

I'm sure others will have even better suggestions but those are just my initial thoughts.

Anyway, as I said, welcome to these forums and hope you find them as helpful and important as I have.

RAB

Edit to add:  I wouldn't disclose the specifics of your medical condition to HR.  It's not necessary or appropriate for them to know this unless you are asking for some sort of accomodation based upon ADA (Americans with Disability Act).  Your claim for STD will be with the insurance company that provides the coverage.

Offline angels4kelly

  • Member
  • Posts: 305
  • IT JUST IS!!.....OKAY!
Re: He talks
« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2006, 07:50:59 AM »
Welcome to the family, Rick ;D

Happy to have you!

Peace,
Kelly


                                               
                                               
                                               
POSITIVE SINCE-10/1990
CD4-610
CD4%-29.3
VL-UNDETECTABLE
VIREAD,VIRACEPT, EPZICOM

MOST RECENT...
10/9/2006
CD4's-714
CD4%-30%
VL-Undetectable
DIAGNOSES POSITIVE 10/90
SAME MEDS, VIREAD, VIRAMUNE, EPZICOM.

SHOOT FOR THE MOON! YOU MAY MISS,
BUT YOU'LL LAND IN THE STARS :)

Knowing others is intelligence;
knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;
mastering yourself is true power.
 
Failure is not in falling down,
but the staying down

Offline rick30316

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  • Posts: 9
  • Looking for my way
    • Rick's Experience
Re: He talks
« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2006, 07:52:38 AM »
Iz, thank you. Calling Sustiva "tricky" is a kind understatement to that drug, but I don't want to give up on it because it's working for me. I started taking it on April 2 with Truvada and an Ambien CR for sleep. Since I take it all at bedtime, there's no way in hell I'll ever forget, and I haven't. The first two weeks to a month were very, very rough. My sweet doctor smiled when I cried in front of him and assured me I was adjusting to Sustiva. I wouldn't have believed it would get better, but it did.

At the time, we had a huge project going at work, family pressures were on as my second nephew was being born, and I was trying to be all things to all people, type A Virgo asshole that I am, and I'm afraid that I upset quite a few around me. Anxiety got very bad, and I finally saw a psychiatrist, who prescribed Paxil CR. I think that drug saved my life. I was absolutely losing it.

Now, 6 months into the Sustiva, my VL is down to almost undetectable, but my CD4 is not rising. I did take two weeks vacation in September, and all I did was sleep.

I've been "working from home" for a week because of bad diarrhea and cramps. This has been kind of the last straw. I'm thinking that I need to disengage from work for a while and focus on me.


Rick,

Rab has some good suggestions, I'd go with what he's saying.  Have you considered taking a two week vacation?  Do you have enough vacation time set aside to do this?

Also, with Sustiva (I'm no expert in it, so others may want to post their experiences) I understand that this is a tricky med.  What time do you take it?  This could play a part in your inability to focus in the morning.

How long have you been on meds? Sometimes it takes about a month for your body to adjust to the medications, then afterwards, you start to notice that you are going back to normal.

Hope you find a happy medium soon!

Offline rick30316

  • Member
  • Posts: 9
  • Looking for my way
    • Rick's Experience
Re: He talks
« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2006, 08:00:02 AM »
Thanks, Ray. FMLA is not for me because I need a regular paycheck. I have good disability coverage at work. Also, I'm a mortage slave, though I do have mortgage disability insurance. That one worries me just a bit because 3 years ago when I bought the policy, the questions on the application asked if I had AIDS. Well, I answered no. AIDS is a clinical diagnosis. HIV+ is not AIDS. I will file against it and see what happens.

Rick

Hello Rick,

I am Ray. Welcome to the site. I also am not experienced in the situation that you are in. I am currently working fultime, and have not needed to take any tempararily time off from work.

How about FMLA. Thats the family medical leave act. I supplied you with a link, perhaps you may find it helpful.

http://www.dol.gov/dol/allcfr/ESA/Title_29/Part_825/29CFR825.302.htm


 I know I should probably be more knowledgable in this matter, as there will come a time, when I will certainly have to take some sort of disability, whether it will be short term or permanent.

Myself, postive since 1985, and on meds 3 years, in about another two weeks. Take care of yourself, stay in touch with us, and don't hesitate to ask questions.


All the best-------Ray

Offline J.R.E.

  • Member
  • Posts: 7,162
  • Joined Dec-2003 Living positive, since 1985.
Re: He talks
« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2006, 08:12:43 AM »
Thanks, Ray. FMLA is not for me because I need a regular paycheck. Rick


Hi Rick,

I know what you mean!! I need that paycheck also. I hope things work out for you and you get more information. The company I work for offers the employees ( for 35.00 a pay period) disability insurance short and long term , through AFLAC. I only used this once back in 2002, when I had hernia surgery. They paid up immediately for lost time. I was going to drop it, but I am glad I still have it. Never know. I try to keep myself as prepared as I possibly can. If this is part of your coompany's benefit package, it is certainly worth looking into, in the future.


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 LatinAlexander

  • Member
  • Posts: 599
  • Bogota, Colombia
Re: He talks
« Reply #21 on: October 04, 2006, 08:51:21 AM »
Welcome kid!!!...I know about those stressing environments...I strongly recommend focusing on you..Let's say that if you are dead, you cannot win :D

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 Iggy

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,435
Re: He talks
« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2006, 09:09:25 AM »
.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2007, 08:40:12 PM by Iggy »

Offline AlanBama

  • Member
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  • Alabama: the 'other' 3rd World Country!
Re: He talks
« Reply #23 on: October 04, 2006, 03:01:14 PM »
Hi Rick, and welcome!

I don't have much advice above and beyond what others have already said, but I will point out that you WANT TO HANG ONTO THE JOB by all means.
Benefits are crucial. (namely health insurance)

Hope you find a solution and get yourself 'regulated' to the meds, so that you are able to be back up to speed on the job.

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 Christine

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,069
Re: He talks
« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2006, 03:09:26 PM »
Hi Rick!

Welcome!
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 kentb

  • Member
  • Posts: 75
Re: He talks
« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2006, 04:16:32 PM »
Hello Rick and welcome!  You should have no problem with a face to face visit with the VP of HR  with a company that size they are not going to shaft you, and your not the first person they've dealt with who is going through the same thing.

regards,

kent

Offline Teresa

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,753
Re: He talks
« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2006, 05:18:12 PM »
Hello Rick,

WELCOME!!

Glad you are here!

Hugs
Teresa
Hubby HIV+ 5/5/06
CD4:320
  %: 26.7
 VL: <20
Atripla (started it 8/24/06)
 

Offline David84

  • Member
  • Posts: 34
Re: He talks
« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2006, 06:04:13 PM »
Hi Rick:
Fistoff, Welcome. I too stood in the background for some time and recently made myself known. This is a great group of people.

Now then my thoughts on short term disability. I was a hospital executive until 2003 when I made the decision with my doctor and others that it was time to pack it in and focus on my health. Healthcare admin. is/was an incredibly stressful environment as well. I started off with short term disability which inevitably lead to today.. longterm/permanent. I was upfront and made the jump claiming good ol' ICD9 code 042  Human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] disease.

Check your employers policies for disability, you can request copies of coverage. Look at them closely and start your decision process from there. Look at the heathcare benefits portion too. Generally, you will be covered as an employee for 90-180 days. After that, there is COBRA for an additional 19-24 months. Any longer than that you start looking at Social Security, Medicare and any other long term benefits you may have, either private or through your employer. I know it is a lot to digest and think about. In the short term, I would agree that it is imperative to even take vacation time to clear your head without the interuption of this committee or that task force, this deadline or that conference call!! Then start making your plan. I am so glad you are here and if I can help in any way please let me know. I wish I had found this Forum in 2003 .. I am sure it will be a great benefit to you. 

Best to you... Hugs
David

Offline RAB

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,895
  • Joined March 2003
Re: He talks
« Reply #28 on: October 04, 2006, 06:51:07 PM »
Hi Rick

This link might give you some information that's helpful.  When I was going through a review a couple of years ago I ordered the chapter on that, but I think he also has some information for people who are thinking of filing claims too and that info is free if I'm not mistaken.

www.helpwithbenefits.com

RAB
« Last Edit: October 04, 2006, 06:53:06 PM by RAB »

Offline Sky

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    • Myspace
Re: He talks
« Reply #29 on: October 04, 2006, 11:14:28 PM »
Hello Rick welcome!
Poz since 2003.

Offline aztecan

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  • Posts: 5,398
  • 29 years positive, 57 years a pain in the butt
Re: He talks
« Reply #30 on: October 05, 2006, 09:19:13 AM »
Hey Rick,

Welcome to the family, glad you're here. Not much to add at this point, but wanted to at least say hi and that I look forward to hearing more from you.

HUGS,

Mark
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline Quarter Horse

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Re: He talks
« Reply #31 on: October 05, 2006, 08:54:18 PM »
Welcome Rick!!

Brian ;D
In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: IT GOES ON.

Robert Frost

Offline allopathicholistic

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Re: He talks
« Reply #32 on: October 05, 2006, 09:01:33 PM »
hi, do talk some more. we're here to learn from each other and ceer each other on  ;D  ;D

Offline rick30316

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Re: He talks
« Reply #33 on: October 05, 2006, 10:31:57 PM »
Thank you all for the messages of support. Please add me to your Google chat, AIM, or Yahoo buddy lists and say hi if you see me online.

Rick :)

Offline poobear

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Re: He talks
« Reply #34 on: October 05, 2006, 11:49:52 PM »
Hi Rick,
   I thought I saw you out of the corner of my eye a couple times.  Glad you made it here.  I relay have nothing to add except if you plan on going on Social Security Disability start as soon as you think you may need it.  Right now I am 14 months into it and probably have another year or so.  It is a very lengthy and frustrating process.  Good Luck with everything.  Much Love Rachel

Offline Rainbow1

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Re: He talks
« Reply #35 on: October 06, 2006, 01:58:48 PM »
Hello Rick and welcome

Offline bobik

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Re: He talks
« Reply #36 on: October 07, 2006, 07:12:53 AM »
Hi Rick,

I am slightly worried about you when after six months you still are so affected by Sustiva. Would Viramune be an option that would make you feel better? Needing so much sleep is not something you can deal with for such a long time, I think. Especially when your holiday didn;t really make things better, I would consider a pill change.

Even if you change, you are not losing Sustiva as an option. You are not resistant and you could use it again if necesarry.

Hope this helps.

Coen
Coen Honig at Facebook

 


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