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Author Topic: Starting Meds in January, but my T-Cell is already at 198.  (Read 2247 times)

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Offline collegedude250

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  • Posts: 7
Starting Meds in January, but my T-Cell is already at 198.
« on: December 19, 2012, 12:11:30 AM »
I know AIDS is only a word, an abbreviation meant to describe a case of HIV that has progressed to a point where it needs to be handled with stronger drugs; but I can't help but feel helpless as I haven't even been in treatment yet and I am already starting at AIDS level. Dr. says this looks like it's been present for over 5 years (or at least this is what is common for someone who is at least 5 years into the virus). I can't believe I had it this long without knowing. I feel so ashamed of myself for having been so careless and so free with my body; I'm only 22 and I've already screwed up my life. I think most of this is still the shock of the diagnosis settling, but still, I feel so helpless right now.

Offline leatherman

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  • Posts: 6,067
  • Google and HIV meds are Your Friends
Re: Starting Meds in January, but my T-Cell is already at 198.
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2012, 01:02:38 AM »
I feel so helpless right now.
feeling helpless is very common at the beginning - but meds - and time - will change all of that!

Many of us have been even sicker when diagnosed (1/3 of all HIV poz people find out presenting in an ER/Hospital with an unidentified illness). Many of us have been positive longer and at a much worse level.

Twenty yrs ago on Dec 26 1992 I found out I had AIDS and only 5 tcells (they didn't even have a viral load test back then). Since then I've had counts like 7, 12, 24 and was hospitalized numerous times and told I was about to die. However with the current meds now, I'm at an all time high (low 300s but really high for me) and I feel better than I ever have in nearly 18 yrs of meds.

Hang in there and things will get better - both your health (with meds) and mental/emotional condition (with time). You might want to read some of the LESSONS section here to learn what you need to know now that you are HIV positive. ;)

Best wishes and a better new year to you!
mikie
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


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

Offline tednlou2

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Re: Starting Meds in January, but my T-Cell is already at 198.
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2012, 01:42:54 AM »
Welcome to the forums, although I am sorry you had to find us. 

I think most of us went through the awful shock and then beating ourselves up.  I still get down on myself from time to time.  I was given an AIDS dx.  However, mine was artificially low, due to being very ill.  But, that word sticks in your mind.  Even though I knew I wasn't actually in the AIDS category, it messed with my mind.  I would get mad when doctors would tell me I technically still have an AIDS dx.  I shouldn't be mad, but that word meant all the awful things we grew up hearing about.

Are you on medication to prevent opportunistic infections?  That would be Bactrim for most.  Btw, have you tested before?  You could still be in acute infection and this explains your low CD4.  It would seem unusual someone so young would already be so progressed.  Although, not everyone is the same.  Some people progress more quickly, due to genetics and/or viral strain.  Many go a good 10 years, and are still above 500 without meds.  Some will need meds within two years.  And, I often forget how early many of us become sexually active, when thinking about how long someone may have been infected.  I was 13, when I first had sex. 

Whether you're in acute infection, you have been infected for some time, or you've just progressed faster than others, it is good you know your status, you're in medical care, and you're reaching out for support.  Stay in touch.  I have to be reminded this doesn't have to define us. 

Ted

Offline friskyguy

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  • Posts: 105
Re: Starting Meds in January, but my T-Cell is already at 198.
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2012, 02:30:46 AM »
Like leatherman often says and rightly so........meds are your friends!

When ur ready, try to do some research and u will realise what some of our long term survivors had to go thru in the past when meds treatment in that time was non existant and/or so much less effective than it is today.

That realisation may hopefully change your perception that you are very fortunate to be where you are today with a great number of med options available with minimal side effects and doctors who understand the disease so much better.

Try lots of reading on this disease so that u feel like your getting on top of it....and that knowlege hopefully will make u feel more in control and less helpless.

Best of luck and remember your not the only one who has gone thu this or will go thru this and there are many knowledgable people here who can help.
Sero converted Sept '10 / Confirmed + Dec '10
Jan '11, VL 9,500 / CD4 482 (32%)
Feb '11, VL 5,800 / CD4 680 (37%)
start Atripla
Mch '11, VL UD / CD4 700 (42%)
Jun  '11, VL UD / CD4 750 (43%)
swap to Kivexa and Efav. due to osteopenia diag. (DEXA) / kidney issues ( decline in eGFR to 77 )
start supplements - Vit D3 / Omega 3 / multivitamin / mini aspirin
Dec '11,  VL UD <20 /  CD4 670 (49%)  / CD4:CD8 = 1.4
all labs now within normal ranges
Mch '12,  VL UD / CD4 600 (51%)
Sep '12,  VL UD / CD4 810 (51%)
Mch '13   VL UD / CD4 965 (56%)
Sep '13   VL UD / CD4 (not taken)
Dec '13   VL UD / CD4 901 (35%) / CD4:CD8 = 1.1  /  eGFR > 100

Offline mecch

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  • Posts: 11,263
  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Starting Meds in January, but my T-Cell is already at 198.
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2012, 05:12:12 AM »
I know AIDS is only a word, an abbreviation meant to describe a case of HIV that has progressed to a point where it needs to be handled with stronger drugs; but I can't help but feel helpless as I haven't even been in treatment yet and I am already starting at AIDS level. Dr. says this looks like it's been present for over 5 years (or at least this is what is common for someone who is at least 5 years into the virus). I can't believe I had it this long without knowing. I feel so ashamed of myself for having been so careless and so free with my body; I'm only 22 and I've already screwed up my life. I think most of this is still the shock of the diagnosis settling, but still, I feel so helpless right now.

I agree with the other posters above.   The diagnosis is a shock.  Try not to over-dramatize on the self-recrimminations.  One of the reasons you are thinking all this is the hideous history of HIV, the years it was a killer. Society hasn't come to grips with current experience, current knowledge.  Lots of moral judgements and fear and ignorance heaped onto a virus that is for the most part these days an STD.  Clutch the pearls!  STD!  Only natural you should reflect what most people think.

But you'll have to have a bigger awareness, consciousness, and the sooner the better.  You have not screwed up your life. You're not helpless - look -- you're already in medical care.  Don't be ashamed of the past and not knowing.  Don't be ashamed of now being HIV+.  What counts is how you think and act going forward. Act smartly and strategically to minimize the impact of HIV on your life. 
« Last Edit: December 19, 2012, 05:14:24 AM by mecch »
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline collegedude250

  • Member
  • Posts: 7
Re: Starting Meds in January, but my T-Cell is already at 198.
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2012, 02:04:46 AM »
Thanks everyone, I appreciate all of the support. I was still in shock when I posted that and sense have gotten a bit better. To answer your question/statement  tednlou2, chances are I picked up HIV when I was between 10-14. It sucks, but I've come to terms with that part of my life and now am just annoyed with the damage that someone else did to me that I can't fix. Medicine will be nice and I am grateful to have the medicine that is available now, but still, I feel to young for this.

Offline tednlou2

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  • Posts: 4,770
Re: Starting Meds in January, but my T-Cell is already at 198.
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2012, 03:45:06 AM »
Collegedude,

Feeling too young is how I felt.  I am 36 and most of my friends rarely go to the doctor.  They don't see a doc, unless they have the flu.  One of the good things about seeing docs so regularly, like we do, is that we will probably catch something much earlier than our neg counterparts.  I have had a few friends who had cancer, but caught it late.  One was a 35 year-old female, who got a vicious cervical cancer.  She died.  The other was a male friend my age, who has lymphoma.  He caught it a tad late, but it is treatable. 

Having said that, I would still gladly trade my infection for not seeing docs do often to possibly catch something early.  But, it is what it is.  I still have those bad days, where I just can't believe this is my lot in life.  It still often seems like a bad dream.  But, I have to remind myself that I can't change it, so I need to deal with it. 

It definitely takes time.  Keep in touch and let us know how you're doing. 

Offline thunter34

  • Member
  • Posts: 7,305
  • His name is Carl.
Re: Starting Meds in January, but my T-Cell is already at 198.
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2012, 12:41:30 PM »
and now am just annoyed with the damage that someone else did to me that I can't fix. Medicine will be nice and I am grateful to have the medicine that is available now, but still, I feel to young for this.

First off, I am not trying to ice you out here, but let's be clear on something:  this isn't anything someone else "did to you" more than something you did to yourself or allowed to happen.  Your sexual health - just like all other aspects of your health - are yours to own.  They are your responsibility.  And as for feeling "too young for this"....well, I understand that it is still new to you, so I'm not gonna come down too hard on you for that, but do consider for a moment the 4 year olds battling cancer at the moment, or people with severe physical or developmental disabilities that they have to battle from the get go.  For that matter, think of the kids who would be perfectly healthy except that they have nothing to eat. 

All I'm really saying is that no amount of pity is gonna advance your case one bit.  In fact, it's going to seriously diminish your quality of life, and things like stress can manifest physically in anyone - especially in people with diminished immune systems. 

This is your new reality now.  The best that you can do is to make up your mind to live life to the fullest within this new framework.  Lots of people have done more with less.  And learn to recognize the little things to be thankful for - beginning with the fact that you caught it before it dropped any lower.

For what it's worth:  I am yet another who didn't find out until I was MUCH lower than you.  My last counts were in the 700's - something downright stratospheric by comparison. 

Life goes on, and you are not alone.
AIDS isn't for sissies.

Offline lincoln6echo

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  • Posts: 109
Re: Starting Meds in January, but my T-Cell is already at 198.
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2012, 12:46:57 AM »
First off, I am not trying to ice you out here, but let's be clear on something:  this isn't anything someone else "did to you" more than something you did to yourself or allowed to happen.  Your sexual health - just like all other aspects of your health - are yours to own.  They are your responsibility. 

Maybe we should wait and let collegedude250 explain how it happened in the first place before we start lecturing him (if he even wants to share that info) on his responsibilities.  He said he was 10-14 years old, not even the age of consent..that's pretty damn young.  Give the guy a break. 

Collegedude250, glad you are feeling a bit better.  You'll be ok.  One day at a time but you'll make it :)


Offline collegedude250

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  • Posts: 7
Re: Starting Meds in January, but my T-Cell is already at 198.
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2013, 10:36:01 PM »
Thanks guys, things are going decently enough. Still struggling with some depressive thoughts, but I'm getting there. Meds will start soon. Thanks again for all of the encouragement. It's nice to know I'm not alone in this.

Offline mecch

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  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Starting Meds in January, but my T-Cell is already at 198.
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2013, 03:25:05 AM »
Good to hear from you.
Why the delay on starting HAART? When will you start?
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline NY2011

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  • Posts: 140
Re: Starting Meds in January, but my T-Cell is already at 198.
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2013, 08:43:15 PM »
So, I've looked online for answers to a common question here: can a doctor determine how long a person has been infected? If so, how?

Here's a link from www.thebody.com where a doctor's answer is that it is not possible to determine it:

http://www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/Meds/Q224164.html?ic=2003


 
« Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 08:50:47 AM by NY2011 »
10/26/2011 - SEROCONVERSION (hi fever+rash)
10/31/2011 - CD4= 154  VL>500,000 
10/31/2011 - started on Truvada+Prezista+Norvir
12/14/2011 - CD4= 750 VL=6412 (45%)
01/27/2012 - switched to Atripla
04/23/2012 - CD4=1,221 VL= 140  (47%)
06/22/2012 - CD4=1,224 VL= ud    (49%)
12/18/2012 - CD4=1,031 VL= ud    (51%)
09/16/2013 - CD4=1,151 VL= ud   ( 49%)
03/26/2014 - CD4=1,050 VL= ud

Offline mecch

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  • Posts: 11,263
  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Starting Meds in January, but my T-Cell is already at 198.
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2013, 05:55:13 AM »
So, I've looked online for answers to a common question here: can a doctor determine how long a person has been infected? If so, how?

Here's a link from www.thebody.com where a doctor's answer is that it is not possible to determine it:

http://www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/Meds/Q224164.html?ic=2003

This is somewhat a hijack of this thread. Why not start a new one.  The answer is a bit technical. Depends....
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline collegedude250

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  • Posts: 7
Re: Starting Meds in January, but my T-Cell is already at 198.
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2013, 12:22:34 AM »
Thanks for the replies again, the wait is mostly due to legalities and paper work. Starting as soon as the meds come in now.

 


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