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Fatigue and AnemiaFatigue and Anemia
          
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Extremely Tired and Scared
Mar 15, 2002

Dear Doctor Bob, I hope that everything is going well for you. You seem like the type of person that would be a genuine friend, to their friends. That's rare these days.

This might be long and I'm really sorry in advance for taking up so much of your time.

Let me start from the beginning. 2 years ago this month I was raped by a friend, there was no protection involved. I did not fight because I was afraid of being hurt further, I just waited and hoped that the ordeal would be over quickly.

I went a year with pretending that it didn't happen, I didn't even think about hiv, I was too embarrassed and scared that my husband would find out and not belive me (we were having probems at the time) Then it dawned on me that I could have been infected with hiv. I got really scared, and spent this last year trying to calm myself down and stop worrying. I was succeeding until this past November when I came down with Strep Throat, I had to go on antibiotics and those caused me to get a yeast infection. Of course when reading the pamplet on yeast infections I read that a yeast infection could be a first sign of hiv. Ok, you can imagine how freaked out that made me. With more research I knew that it was just the antibiotics that caused it. But then I got extremely tired all the time. It was all I could do to not fall asleep during the christmas holidays in front of my husband's family. I'm still extremely tired and have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. I'm not sure if it's because I've gotten so depressed and I'm pretending not to be for the sake of my three children and husband or if something more is wrong.. Now this next part I know I should be asking the oral doctor about but he hasn't answered any questions since Jan and this next part really scares me, so please find it in your heart to just answer this one tiny little question. Since December I've noticed 5 of my taste buds on the side of my tongue get larger. Some days they don't look so bad other days they look really large and I'm terrified that it's oral hairy leukoplakia. These taste buds are all together (the ones that are affected) I've looked at pictures of oral hairy leukoplakia and to me it doesn't look like these pictures, but it doesn't look normal either. I'm so scared that it's in the "beginning stages" and that's why it doesn't look like these pictures yet. I guess what I want to know is at 24 months from a possible infection would I be this extemely tired and would I be developing oral hairy leukoplakia? I read elsewhere that oral hairy leukoplakia develops anytime after 5 years of primary hiv infection, so am I just scaring the heck out of myself for nothing and causing my stress levels to make me so tired that I'm making myself believe I have all these symptoms?

I'm so tired and scared, but I'm not scared for me. I'm scared that I infected my husband, I'm scared that my three children ages 2, 7, and 8 will grow up without their mom, and possibly their dad. I'm scared for my children, I can't stop crying, worrying about who will raise them, will they be protected and loved. Please put me out of my misery one way or another with your answer Doctor Bob. At least with the right information I can take steps in learning how to cope.

Thank you for listening. I've never told anyone any of this and it did feel good to get it off my chest.

Sincerely, Scared for my children..

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Scared for my children,

Thanks for your kind words. I hope I'm a genuine friend to my friends, as they certainly are to me!

Now on to your problem. Raped by a friend? I hope you still don't consider him a friend! He obviously is not a genuine friend! He should be behind bars!!!

The good news is that your symptoms do not sound at all worrisome to me. Yeast infections resulting from use of antibiotics are very common and not related to HIV. The taste bud irregularity is also completely normal. That's just the way they look and behave. No, it does not sound anything like oral hairy leukoplakia. Your fatigue most likely is related to your anxiety and stress over this whole situation.

Is there any way you can confide in your doctor? Believe it or not, people tell us confidential stuff all the time! If you don't want your husband to know, you'll have to make this clear to your doctor and make sure he agrees before you tell him anything. You can also discuss the situation with him "off the record," so he doesn't make any notations in your chart. Ultimately, if you are still very worried, you can get an HIV test. They are available anonymously in many places. If that is not an option, your doctor can order it "confidentially," which is not quite as anonymous, because someone has to be billed for the lab test, etc. At any rate, I can at least assure you that your symptoms are not at all suggestive of HIV. Hope this helps. Consider searching out an anonymous testing site if you really can't stop worrying. The odds are all in your favor. Don't be scared. You did nothing wrong. Finding out for certain that you are negative will most certainly put your fears to rest quickly and permanently. Dry those tears, Mom. Everything is going to be just fine. OK?

Good luck.

Dr. Bob


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