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Author Topic: Diagnosed one month ago... my life has changed so fast!  (Read 1391 times)

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Offline patoduque

  • Member
  • Posts: 6
Diagnosed one month ago... my life has changed so fast!
« on: March 13, 2014, 08:51:11 PM »
Hello! I hope you are doing great... I've been lately thinking about writing my story and share it as part of a self-therapy... so here it goes :)

It was one month ago when I went to the hospital for some routine blood tests. As part of the service, they offered me a free HIV test... I accepted since I wanted to have a recent paper saying I was negative. All the day I went with different doctors as part of the examinations. In the end, I had a meeting with a doctor who would give me a quick results on all my tests. She started saying I was okay but needed to improve what I was eating - no more fast food! I was good in all my measures. Then she kept a little silence and then said what I can still hear in my mind "Unfortunately, your HIV test is positive. I got the first result and asked them to perform the test again - both were positive. I can schedule an appointment with an specialist tomorrow so you can talk more with him about this but don't be afraid... you will be okay".

When I went out of the hospital, I was not able to believe what I heard. Me? HIV positive? But I was feeling perfect. What are the odds? I tried to find all type of explanations on why the test was wrong - that's how I kept strong the following hours. Then, I talked with a friend and told him I needed to talk with him. I told him everything and cried... I was afraid. I felt like I was dying.

The following day I went with the specialist - I talked with him about the low probabilities of me being infected. He agreed with me but insisted me in getting a CD4 count test (just in case) and a PCR qualitative to confirm the infection. I went to the labs but they told me the equipment was not working - I'd had to wait around 5 days to get my samples and then those would be sent to the USA. The results? 10 days after.

So I waited patiently... I must admit that during those 10 days I was more confident on how wrong my diagnosis was. I just wanted to get those tests and read that I was okay and the initial ELISA was wrong. Unfortunately, that did not happen. When I went to pick up my results, I found out that mine were not with the rest - it was given directly to the doctor in charged of the lab. I knew something was wrong. I walked to my car, open the envelope and tried to understand what they were saying... I was just able to read POSITIVE.

One day after I had another meeting with the specialist. He told me that I did have HIV but not only that - my CD4 were 180. I had to start medication as soon as possible. He explained me all the side effects and how treatment would work in my body. Unfortunately, the drugstore was not opening until next week... again, I had to wait. I also made my research on the medication price - first I saw Atripla was around $1,800 USD per month. Lucky me, the country where I live in has a special treaty and I can buy a month treatment for only $75 USD.

Finally I got my medications and started my treatment with Atripla one week ago. I remember that I was afraid of starting taking the pill because that was finally admitting my status. I was afraid of everything I read and side effects. I think I have been lucky because one week after, I can say I have almost no side effects (last night I had some vivid dreams - me getting off an airplane that crashed). So far, so good.

After that I went again with the doctor and told me to get tested in four months. Honestly, four months feel a lot to me to know if medication is working. I will go after two months to ensure my CD4 is increasing (I don't care if it is only +10 or +20). I wouldn't like to get to the fourth month an realise all this has been a waste of time. Hopefully I can come back and tell you how great Atripla is doing to my body.

But I think that the most important is not only how I got where I am... but how I feel. I don't try to find out who infected me - I know I'm not going to win anything. I don't feel angry with God or life - instead, I feel that this has united me more with Him. I'm not going to lie... somedays I feel very sad, but most of them I feel very positive on what I want to do in a future with my life. HIV does not defines who I am... I am the one that defines that.

I hope I become more active on this forum... So far only two people in my life know about my status (a friend and my brother). Even though they have been very supportive, I'd like to know more people that lives with HIV and talk with them - nobody can understand better rather than a person that is going through the same.

Talk to you soon! :)




Offline Dan0

  • Member
  • Posts: 395
Re: Diagnosed one month ago... my life has changed so fast!
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2014, 12:31:21 AM »

After that I went again with the doctor and told me to get tested in four months. Honestly, four months feel a lot to me to know if medication is working. I will go after two months to ensure my CD4 is increasing (I don't care if it is only +10 or +20). I wouldn't like to get to the fourth month an realise all this has been a waste of time. Hopefully I can come back and tell you how great Atripla is doing to my body.


Hi Pat! Welcome!!

Sounds like you have a great attitude going forward and this will serve you better than anything in the months and years ahead.

Really, you don't need to turn yourself into a human pin-cushion. Trust, you'll have enough needles going ahead that there is no need to jump ahead of the schedule. Question your doctor? Certainly - it's your body! Generally though, there is a method to their madness.

Those CD4 counts are fickle. I've had this 13 years and while those counts usually go up...well....sometimes they go down. It can be any number of factors but it's not an absolute that when you get your check up that they'll be higher. What you want to watch is your VL. Atripla is some powerful stuff and THAT'S what it will go after!

I keep a graph of my numbers and you can see the trend despite a dip here or there. That's what gives me the assurance that things are headed in the right direction. Sure, I get a result once in a while where the CD4 is a little lower than it was before and I do the 'awwww' - but then I see that VL UD and it's thumbs up!!

I'm sure others will chime in but I say relax and let those meds do what they do!
You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches.

"Honey, you should never ask advice from a drunk drag queen who has a show to do." - JG

06/2002 DX
10/2006 Atripla UD
10/2013 Stribild Still UD

Online tednlou2

  • Member
  • Posts: 4,840
Re: Diagnosed one month ago... my life has changed so fast!
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2014, 12:41:25 AM »
Sorry about your positive status, but glad you found this site. 

I think many of us had those feelings about the odds.  I know I did.  I thought there are "only" 1 million infected here, in a country of 300 million, so I would be more likely to win the lottery and then get struck by lightning after cashing the check.  I had read HIV is actually harder to transmit than many think.  Anyway, I did worry about infection, while thinking the possibility was very remote. 

I look forward to hearing more from you.  Keep in touch.  It sounds like you have a very positive outlook on this.

Ted


Offline patoduque

  • Member
  • Posts: 6
Re: Diagnosed one month ago... my life has changed so fast!
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2014, 05:13:36 PM »
Thanks for your comments!

@Dan0... I liked the idea of having the graph with my progression... I will start it when I get my next labs! :) regarding my doctor... It's weird, I just want to ensure I am having the proper follow up to ensure I have a long life. I've heard of people who got resistance tests or more frequent tests after started medication... I'd like to have that. I think it is better to overreact instead of just letting four months to see what happens. I will try to calm down... But it's difficult.

@tednlou2 I know! It's incredible how probability played this time... But instead of feeling bad for myself, I look at it as a watch out to improve my overall life. I am eating better and doing more exercise. Medications have not affected my performance on work, so I am expecting to continue growing. Finally, I'd like to find a partner to share my life with... I know eventually it will happen. I feel positive on what life has for me! :)

Offline Dan0

  • Member
  • Posts: 395
Re: Diagnosed one month ago... my life has changed so fast!
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2014, 07:05:21 PM »
I finally found it!!

This is a primer that a couple of the members really nailed in conveying the information about CD4 vs Viral Load. 

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=52962.0

This answers a lot of your questions - and take a look at the chart on the bottom of Leatherman's post. This is the type that I was talking about. Not sure where it gets it but it appears to be one-stop shopping to see your trend line!
« Last Edit: March 14, 2014, 07:07:33 PM by Dan0 »
You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches.

"Honey, you should never ask advice from a drunk drag queen who has a show to do." - JG

06/2002 DX
10/2006 Atripla UD
10/2013 Stribild Still UD

 


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