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Author Topic: Eleven Pretty Tough Days  (Read 4294 times)

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Offline broryf

  • New Member
  • Posts: 2
Eleven Pretty Tough Days
« on: September 17, 2012, 01:31:38 AM »
I am a 48yo Australian ex-pat who currently lives and works in Asia and eleven days ago I was diagnosed with HIV. I had been experiencing some minor, but persistent, skin rashes for about two months which had been diagnosed as sebhorreic dermatitis by a dermatologist. Throughout this period I was doing a fair bit of international travel and put it down to changing climate conditions. Then about three weeks ago I noticed some small white patches on the side of my tongue. A visit to Dr Google suggested that these might be oral leukoplakia, a common sign of HIV infection. Thinking this couldn't be so and largely wanting to check HIV off the list, I trundled off to the local sexual health clinic for a test and, lo and behold, it came back positive.

It had been about a year since my last HIV test and I'd had another one barely six months before that, both of which were negative. So I've obviously acquired the virus sometime during the past twelve months. The news went from bad to worse when I got my blood results back this past week. My absolute CD4 count was an AIDS-defining 119 or 6% in percentage terms, while my viral load was a whopping 328,000. As my doctor explained, I seem to belong to that rare breed known as a "rapid progressor"...a distinction I could have done without but there you have it.

So here it is a few days later and I have already started on ART. The doctor has prescribed Norvir (1@100mg), Prezista (3@300mg) and Truvada (1) which I gather is a pretty standard combination. In addition, I am also on a prophylactic dose of daily Bactrim. I only started meds yesterday (though have been on the Bactrim for about a week now) and, so far, there've been no appreciable side-effects other than a slight stomach ache. It's very early days of course but fingers crossed that this remains the case and that the meds work quickly.

Funnily, despite the less than stellar stats, I am feeling quite OK and am still managing to follow my usual routine, including working some pretty long hours and going to the gym 4-5 times a week. Even though I am 48 years old I have kept myself in fairly good condition: don't smoke, don't drink, exercise and meditate regularly and have eaten a wholefoods, vegetarian diet for over 30 years. Not sure if this has helped but it certainly can't have hurt. The only good news to come out of the past week or two of testing is that all my CBC levels are normal, as are my kidney, liver functions etc and there is no sign of any other disease...so I am thankful for that.

As disorienting as this whole experience has been, I am trying to keep an optimistic outlook. Living as an ex-pat is a little isolating because, while I have quite a few local friends, I don't really have anyone close enough with whom to share this kind of news and it's also not the kind of thing I want to saddle on folks back home via the telephone or internet. I have already decided I will return to Oz when my current contract expires in the middle of next year so it will be nice to be closer to loved ones again. Meanwhile, I soldier on and take each day as it comes. I am a practicing Buddhist and my meditation practice has been helping me come to terms with the changed conditions of my current life and accept whatever future path it will take.

It has also been wonderfully affirming to read other people's stories here on this forum and elsewhere on the internet. I have lost count of the hours I've spent over the past week reading up on HIV literature and acquiring a whole new vocabulary of medical terms and acronyms. It can all be a bit overwhelming and even a little scary so it's nice to have a human element in the form of real people talking about their experiences and sharing their success stories. I hope I can add my own success story in a few months' time.

Meanwhile, peace and good health to all! ^_^

Offline Jmarksto

  • Member
  • Posts: 655
Re: Eleven Pretty Tough Days
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2012, 06:20:02 PM »

Welcome to the forums but sorry you need to be here.  I understand the amount of reading and searching on the internet - consuming as much information as you can.  It sounds like you have a good attitude about this and a spiritual practice that can help you, which is great.  As you have found, you are by no means alone in this - there are plenty of us in a similar situation.

Again, welcome and I wish you well,

03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45% VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37% VL UD
07/09/14 CD4 1004/39% VL UD
11/03/14 CD4   711/34% VL UD
03/13/15 CD4   833/36% VL UD
04/??/15 Truvada & Tivicay
06/01/15 CD4 1100/50% VL UD
10/16/15 CD4   826/43% VL UD

Offline sjks520

  • Member
  • Posts: 21
  • happy and single
Re: Eleven Pretty Tough Days
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2012, 11:36:30 PM »
It would be good to stay positive. And you are right to come here know some friends who really know your concern.

best wishes to you!

Offline Peaceful_Rhino

  • Member
  • Posts: 12
Re: Eleven Pretty Tough Days
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2012, 10:37:25 AM »

Sorry about your diagnosis and welcome to the forums.

Having been recently diagnosed as well, I understand the voraciousness of information consumption to which you speak...it gets better and more famailiar with time.

As a former US expat, I know the isolation you feel at times and could not imagine having to manage this infection outside of my "comfort zone"  That being said, I give you kudos for your mindset and approach to life... I find that balancing the spirit is equally as important to managing this virus as the meds.

Wishing you well as you begin your new journey.


4/1/13 - CD4-828/34%, VL=UD...BAM!
12/31/12 - CD4-579/27%, VL=UD
10/26/12 - CD4-497/22%, VL=UD
9/9/12 - Started Truvada/Isentress
7/24/12 - CD4-410/13%, VL 26,700
7/2/12 - Tested POZ

"Success is how high you bounce when you hit rock bottom."

-George Patton

Offline broryf

  • New Member
  • Posts: 2
Re: Eleven Pretty Tough Days
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2012, 10:44:15 AM »
Thanks folks, I appreciate the kind words of welcome and support.


Offline fromero

  • New Member
  • Posts: 1
Re: Eleven Pretty Tough Days
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2012, 09:28:02 AM »
Hey broryf,
Sorry to hear your story but don't fret and hang in there. Embrace your status and become married to it. Nurture it and care for it as you would a lover and it will take care of you ten fold. I found out I wss poz in 1989 and am still very much alive and well. I started with Norvir in 1996 after I ws told my VL was at 1m copies. That's when Norvir had to be refrigerated and made one sick as hell. I was in the army at the time. I'm only 44 years old  and have been poz for more than half my life. I try to eat well, sleep well, live well, love well, sex well and maintain an attitude of gratitude for the life I have. No easy task but the payoff is high. Best of luck mate! Hit me up if you ever want to chat.

F. Romero
Austin, TX

Offline auspoz

  • Member
  • Posts: 178
Re: Eleven Pretty Tough Days
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2012, 05:30:08 AM »
Hi there. Another Aussie here. Our experience in dealing with diagnosis is quite unique considering out 1980s media and debate exposure. You sound as though you're coping really well. :) let me know if you'd like to talk more.



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