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I just needed to say this...

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tsw923:
I found and read this website today and decided to post because I just need to get it off my chest. 

In August I was really sick with a stomach virus.  As is usual with me, what lasted for 2 or 3 days for other folks stretched into a week for me.  I went to the doctor because I was just unable to keep anything down.  My health had been going downhill for the last several years (bouts with mono, tonsillitis, and most recently shingles) so I figured I'd better be more cautious.  My doctor assured me that I had a stomach virus that was aggravated by my occasional bouts with acid reflux.  However, when I still wasn’t feeling better after the prevacid, he took blood tests.  The results alarmed him so much that he called me back to the office to 'discuss' them.  He wanted me to take some additional tests because of protein counts, etc. and that the possible reasons for this could be bone marrow cancer or HIV.  I was alarmed, but I agreed to the tests.  Well of course it couldn't be HIV because I'm not promiscuous, a drug user, etc so forth.  I was a bit nervous because of some things that I had found out about my ex-boyfriend, but the relationship had ended over a year ago, so I figured I was safe.  Fast forward to mid August, I get a call from my doctor during the middle of a conference call for work, good news, I don't have bone marrow cancer.  Bad news, my HIV test was positive.  He asked that I get additional blood tests that same week.  I'm not sure how I finished the conference call, but I sat at my dining room table and cried and cried and cried.  My sister came home from work and I told her and then cried some more.

I took more time off from work and took additional blood tests.  I filled out a sheet of paper and felt every conspiracy theory about the government knowing all about me come to life.  Anyway, the tests came back and the original diagnosis was confirmed and my cd4 level was 145 and my viral load was <40,000.  I met with my doctor again.  My sister came with me this time.  I got my first meds, Bactrim, to ward off PCP.  I demanded to know how this could have been missed.  In the past 3 years I'd had mono, had a tonsillectomy and a UPPP, and shingles.  I'd done a heck of a lot of blood work.  My doctor said that never had this series of blood tests been done together and that's what pointed to the problem.  I didn't fit the profile of someone with HIV so the test wasn't done as a precaution.  Basically, if I had not insisted on seeing him about my stomach virus I probably would have landed up in the hospital with PCP before someone realized what was going on.  So I asked him if he could tell when and how long I'd had HIV.  After all, my health had been going down slowly, but I've been traveling for work for about 9 years so I figured that constant flying, etc was just wearing me down.  And, if my ex had given it to me, well it would be just one more unexpected and particularly enduring parting gift.  My doctor seemed to think that I'd perhaps gotten HIV in my mid 20's; so I'd had it a long time but for whatever reason I'd been able to go without medication.  He did not think it was a recent infection from the ex. 

So on my 37th birthday I began my first dose of meds, Sustiva and Truvada.  So far the only side effects have been that I get really, really sleepy after taking it.  And even that's beginning to subside as I get through my first month of medication.  Aside from my sister and one really, really good friend, I haven't told anyone.  I'm sure I should call the ex, but I just can't bring myself to do it.  I want to tell my parents -- we have a great relationship and I really need a hug from my mom.  But my Dad just finished up his chemo and my mom is stressed about that.  And I love her, but I know she will worry constantly every time I sneeze or say I'm tired.

Anyway, I can count my blessings.  This was caught before I got any really serious illness.  I'm not pregnant.  I have healthcare.  Believe me when I tell you I thanked God for that mightily when I saw the insurance co-pays for my meds.  My sister and my girlfriend have been really good to me.  They don't let me mope around too much.  I was able to take 2 weeks off this month for vacation (I'm really just starting to deal with this now).  Today my dad and I painted the hallway in my house.  I'm blessed to be able to spend more time with him after the cancer. 

But here's the thing, I'm still scared.  Sometimes I lay in bed and wonder how I'll even be able to let someone lay next to me again without feeling like I'll get him sick too.  And of course, that's assuming he doesn't run screaming in the other direction after I tell him I'm positive.  I'll have to tell my family eventually and I don't want to see them thinking 'Damn, we thought she was the good one'. 

Sorry this is so long.  I just had to say it to a group of people that probably get this more than my sister or my friend does.

allopathicholistic:

--- Quote from: tsw923 on October 11, 2006, 10:44:45 PM ---I'll have to tell my family eventually and I don't want to see them thinking 'Damn, we thought she was the good one'. 

--- End quote ---

Hi tsw923 - what i'm about to say happens a lot and i hope it happens for you: people might think that ( 'Damn, we thought she was the good one') for like 5 seconds then they quickly chuck that and get to what's important  - today and tomorrow (not yesterday) ... we're here for you. i would say being scared is part of the equation for many here so you're not alone  in that department.  glad to hear about your health insurance.  :)

HHJ1976:
Hey, there.  I  just signed up yesterday, but I have read a lot of posts on here.  It seems that you've come to the right place for support.  I still have to do a lot of reading on the meds (and it seems to be more reading than I can handle at one sitting, right now), but the meds work wonders from what I understand (I'm starting AZT soon, to keep HIV from passing to my baby).

I know it's scary to think about dating people, but I've read about many couples who have either met knowing that both of them are HIV+, or couples who one has "it", and the other doesn't.  They even have a personals section on here.  If you're single, and scared of passing on the virus, I would suggest starting there.  You never know what you will find.

Disclose your status to your ex when you're ready.  I did it immediately, but I'm not really scared, yet.  It doesn't even feel  like it's real, to be honest.  At some point, though, I think that your ex needs to know, however hard it may be to tell him.  Do it when you're ready, though.  :)

I'm sorry you're here, but it's good that you are.  This seems to be a strong support network. 

I hope that you can eventually work past the fear.  I'm here for you.

tsw923:
Thanks for the support everyone.

  I have been reading through this site off and on last night and today and I have to say i think I finally found some of what I'm looking for, a group of people that are living with HIV day to day and providing information and some laughter along the way.  I acutally went to bed feeling a lot better than I have in awhile. 

I'll let you know when I tell the family and the ex.  I don't want to drag it out too much longer.  I kind of feel like I can't really start moving onward until I do it.  Other than that I'm focusing on taking my meds and staying as healthy as possible.  The funny thing is that my resolution for 2006 was to get in shape so I'd been working out and eating much healthier before all this happened anyway.  Just one more reason to keep at it.   :)

HHJ you make a good point about relationships.  I've seen posts by married couples and seen the personals site.  It is very encouraging to know there is still intimacy after testing positive.  I think I've got to work through some things for me first before I jump into the pool again. 

Thanks again.

aztecan:
Hey TSW,
I am sorry you have had this turn of events. To put it plainly, it sucks. But, I am very glad you have come here and joined in.

This is a great place, full of incredible people (and nuts like me  :D) Please, make yourself at home, ask any questions you may have, read up on the lessons here, they are really informative, rant, rave, cry, laugh, whatever you wish to do.

We are a family, albeit a cyber one, and the support I have found here is incredible.

You are a classic example of why I believe everyone should be tested. You weren't tested because you didn't fit into a "high risk" group.

Damn stupidity.

But I am glad you have accessed medical care and are taking steps to maintain/improve your health.

As far as relationships go, dating will come in good time. First, get used to this new chapter in your life.

I'm no expert, but I have managed to live more than 21 years with this bug. There is life after becoming positive and it can be rich and full. Mine has and continues to be.

What's more, I learn something new every day, even when I don't want to.  ;)

So, stick around and make yourself at home. You're among family now.

HUGS,

Mark

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