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Author Topic: Inspired... (and allergies, excercise and meds)  (Read 3343 times)

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Offline ndrew

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Inspired... (and allergies, excercise and meds)
« on: August 01, 2006, 01:26:25 AM »
I am so impressed by the caring, the strength and hope I have been reading in these forums.  As someone who has only been lving with HIV for a couple of years, a professor in a small college town, I have recently found companionship in the laughter, tears and fears expressed in these forums.  I am thankful for a place where people share the same concerns, fears, hopes, etc. that make this journey so much more...

This whole experience has been tough on the mental health, but I am the happiest I have been in my entire life.  I work very hard, but I am so lucky and so grateful.  And yes SCARED...

I have been getting sick more frequently as of late (CD4 292, Viral 11,000), mostly just cold like symptoms or fatigue.  I know I have to consider meds soon, if not for peace of mind, but I don't want to rush?  I am concerned about my job performance with side effects (my job is VERY stressful).  I am also concerned about my mental health (in terms of brain function, not emotion)...

I am also wondering if there is any information about HIV and allergies?  I also like to lift weights, but this aggrevates my allergy sensitivity (I love my cats!) and of course keeps me awake (and yes, I haven't broken myself of working out at night.)  All of this usually ends up in chronic sinusitus...

Any comments on exercise on meds versus without?  I hate to slow down...

This is a lot, sorry, but THANK YOU!!!

Offline Ann

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Re: Inspired... (and allergies, excercise and meds)
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2006, 07:45:29 AM »
Hello Ndrew and welcome to the forums. If you haven't already, please check out the Welcome Thread where you will find links to all the other sections of this website.

Your viral load isn't bad, but your CD4 number is a little concerning. Do you know what your percent is? The percent is usually a better indication of what's going on with your CD4s and this is explained in the lesson on what your lab results mean. It is also good to look at what your trend has been, rather than one isolated result.

If your job is very stressful, you might want to consider doing something about that. Stress is one of the worst things for us.

I understand your reluctance to go on meds - they are a big committment. I've been positive for over nine years now and I'm still not on meds. There have been times when my numbers dipped into the 200s, but they've always come back up and yes, there was usually some sort of stress going on in my life when I had those dips. My CD4% has always remained much more stable.

I don't know a whole lot about hiv and allergies, but if your allergies are bothering you, I would take that as a sign that your immune system is in good nick because an allergic response is an immune system response. If your immune system wasn't working properly, I don't think you'd have as much of an allergic response. Maybe the boost your immune system gets from excercising is what's increasing your allergic response? That's my theory anyway... and please keep in mind it is just that, my theory.

I'm interested in seeing what others think.

Nice to meet you Ndrew...

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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

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HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline blondbeauty

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Re: Inspired... (and allergies, excercise and meds)
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2006, 07:53:55 AM »
All I know about HIV I have learned it in this forums. The only thing I an tell you is I feel much better after excercising. Aerobic (running on a belt or ciclyng) and a light weight lifting makes me feel healthy and happy.
The only member in these forums approved by WINBA: World International Nail and Beauty Association.
Epstein Barr +; CMV +; Toxoplasmosis +; HIV-1 +.
Counts when starting treatment:
V.L.:80.200 copies. CD4: 25%=503
Started Sustiva-Truvada 14/August/2006
Last V.L.count (Oct 2013): Undetectable
Last CD4 count (OCT 2013): 52%= 933

Offline bear60

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Re: Inspired... (and allergies, excercise and meds)
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2006, 08:26:31 AM »
How old are you???? I have the same problems with allergies and sinusitis. This all developed AFTER I turned 50 and after I became HIV poz.  I dont know which is more relevant...the age or the HIV. I went to an ENT Doc who looked up in there and said I have polyps in my sinuses...and thats why I keep getting the sinusitis. So I began a regimin of Claritin and Neonase ( or FloNase etc) and after a year....the frequency of colds and sinusitis dropped, my allegies were still bothersome but NOT as bad. 
I also know this runs in my family....allergies and polyps and snoring  etc.
Hope this helps.
Poz Bear Type in Philadelphia

Offline aztecan

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Re: Inspired... (and allergies, excercise and meds)
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2006, 09:19:54 AM »
Hey Ndrew,
Welcome to our family here, eclectic as it is.

I have had really nasty allergies most of my life. Juniper makes me miserable and the hills are covered with them.

I take Claritin (or its generic equivalent) every day. As we speak, I am dealing with some red, runny eyes. I have also found Flonase to really help during those peak periods when allergies are at their worst.

Exercise is good - period. Don't stop, especially if you enjoy it. I find my little workouts (just 90 minutes three times a week) make me feel like a million bucks.

Now, about your numbers, your viral load looks fine. I had a viral load of between 11,000 and 13,000 until things started going south. (I don't have a long history of viral loads pre-meds because they didn't start doing them until 1995, a decade after I tested positive.)

That said, your CD4s are a bit troubling. I have a couple of questions. What type of pattern are your labs showing and, as Ann asked, do you know the percentage of your CD4s?

My CD4 has historically yo-yoed a lot. Sometimes, my CD4s will vary by 200 to 400. But, my percentage remains stable, usually staying within a percentage point of where it was the last time.

So, what I would do is look at what the last three or four labs were. Are the CD4s consistantly dropping? If so, what about your percentage? Is it holding steady or do you see it edging downward?

While we are on this subject, I would like to interject it is good health policy to keep a record of all your labs. Just ask your doc for a copy when you see him each visit. That way, you are able to monitor things and see for yourself if there are any trends developing. There also is a very handy tool here at this site where you can graph you labs.

Now, if your labs indicate it might be time to consider treatment, please don't shy away from it just because you fear the side effects.

Yes, depending on which regimen you and your doc choose, there may be some initial side effects you could experience. But, with many of the new drugs, these are much less severe than in bygone days.

But keep in mind, starting treatment is a committment. It is not something to take lightly. Even with easy once- or twice-a-day regimens, you are committing yourself to taking these meds religiously.

Speaking as one who has started treatment, I can say I don't regret it one iota! I am alive and doing very well more than 21 years after testing positive - and probably 26 years after having been infected.

I am on an old regimen nobody uses much these days, but I don't switch because its working - and working well. With a CD4 of between 1,100 and 1,400 and being undetectable for a decade, I'm not going to kvetch.

As for stress, well, I was city editor of a newspaper, not exactly a stress-free job. I now am a case manager for an ASO, also not exactly stress free.

If your stress levels are at a point you cannot manage them or can't relax and recoup, then you should consider looking at ways to reduce it, including other types of employment, although that is a drastic step I would take only after trying everything else.

Now that I have rambled on, I would again like to welcome you and I look forward to hearing more from you.


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

Offline joemutt

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Re: Inspired... (and allergies, excercise and meds)
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2006, 12:05:33 PM »
The quote in your byline says it so well :
"Do your work then step back".
I've been on meds for 9 years and kept my very stressful job;
basically all my staff can call 24/24 for urgent problems and we've been through sars, the tsunami, terrorism and what not here.
Granted,being my own boss I can nap a little in the lesser days.
But before I go to sleep I clear my mind with meditation (vipasana),
it took me a few years but now I can retreat to that peaceful ocean
that lies at the back of each of our minds and fall asleep. I wish you well and be welcome here.

Offline ndrew

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Re: Inspired... (and allergies, excercise and meds)
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2006, 04:04:05 PM »
Thank you all : )  This is a lot of helpful information and support.  I have been focussing on managing stress, exercise does help, it also keeps me from being depressed (I have lifted weights since I was in my 20s, it broke my depression...  I am 38 now.)

I need to compile all of my labs, because I am missing a lot of recent results and then post.  My doctor never talked about CD4 percentage, this is something I have learned here.

I love vipasana (the book A Gradual Awakening by S. Levine introduced me and changed my life), however I have not made a commitment to meditation.

Offline fearless

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Re: Inspired... (and allergies, excercise and meds)
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2006, 08:45:19 PM »
hey Ndrew,

I have suffered chronic hay fever, sinusitis and eczema since my early 20's. Some years seems worse than others for no particular reason.
I started HIV meds (Kaletra and Truvada) in January this year. For the first couple of months my eczema went crazy but now my skin is the best it has been in years. Similarly, I have had no hay fever this year at all (touch wood) whereas I normally sneeze my head off in a bizrre morning ritual each day through June and July. I have, however, had two doses of sinusits during this period.

Whether it is the meds or just one of those years, I do not know.

Be forgiving, be grateful, be optimistic


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