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Happy New Year - Algebra Guy
Jan 11, 2003

Oh great and powerful Wizard of WooHoo, what task must I complete before my wish be granted? Oh, a donation to the Francino Foundation, OK, I am off to complete my task.

Oh great and powerful WooHoo, I have completed my task, now will you answer my question?

My question is, why am I so sick? My body is sore every day, down to the joints, muscles, fingers and toes. Armpits and groin are sore daily, along with a squeezing like chest pain when breathing deeply. Fatigue is my friend, always there with me. Sore throats, headaches, hersheys, red eyes, thinning skin, pimples on the trunk, and hoowey gas is my life.

How did you get this way? Well, my superman, without a cape, flew through big breast mountains until he blew up. The incident caused great phychological stress. My physical symptoms began a couple months later, the fatigue was almost unbearable for about 4 months, Then the armpits, neck, and groin pain began, along with the pressure feeling when breathing deeply, and still continues.

What do the experts say? Blood tests as recent as 3 weeks ago are all normal, perfect. HIV tests out to 22 months are neg. Syphillis and Lymes neg. Cat scan and xray neg.

Have you been trying to lead a healthy life? Yes, trying to exercise a few times a week, the advil really helps here, eating right, resting, not stressing, too tired to stress.

Oh Wiz of WooHoo, I ask, what could be the cause of these systemic wide problems? Chlamydia, Ghonorhea...??? --

Bob, I hope you had a wonderful holiday and new years. I hope this message finds you in good health too.

Maybe I see a tiny glimpse of what it's like to live with HIV. Struggling daily with pain and fatigue to the point that you don't even have the energy to love the people you really care about, and do the things you want and need to do. After all, they all take energy and action, and when a simple act of walking pains the feet and legs, it's not trivial. Daily, I hope for a miracle that will improve my health.

I don't know if I'm going to make it through this time, I've had my 9 lives like most. I fight daily for health but nothing works. I get angry now and then, not as much as before, and try to accept the reality of health being a memory. Oh well, what can you do, live for the fight I suppose.

I'm so glad to see you're still posting, it really helps. I drop in now and then to read your posts, they're great. You've helped so many, those living with hiv, and the rest of us. You give everyone hope, and that's a lot. Not to mention how you're setting a great example for those living with hiv, in the way you survive a very difficult situation and still manage to give of yourself, and provide some excellent humor.

If you have any ideas on my health, great, if not no worries.

By the way, you're new photo turned out great. No, I'm still not gay yet, so you don't do it for me. Ok, maybe in the next lifetime.

Thank you, Algebra Guy

-- P.S. A few tips for those in therapy. 1. After everything he says, say, "and how does that make you feel? 2. Refuse to cooperate unless he trades his pants. 3. Point at random things and say, "Where did you get that?" 4. Try to talk him into sitting on the floor. 5. Tell him you think his secretary is really a man. 6. Bring pots and pans and bang them together when he asks a question you don't like. 7. Complain that his chair looks more comfortable. 8. Sit underneath your chair.

As for doctors, no offense doc, maybe getting a bit synical though. Doctors are men ironed in white coats, who spy up your rectum and look down your throats, and press you and poke you with sterilized tools, and stab at solutions that pacify fools. I used to revere them and do what they said till I learned what they learned on was already dead.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Algebra Guy,

Superman flew through big breast mountains without a cape until he blew up? I'm not quite sure I understand that one at all. Or if it does mean what I think it means, well, that's a very poetic way of explaining unprotected sex with a hottie wearing red and blue spandex.

So, why are you so sick? I wish I could give you an exact answer, but diagnosing a medical condition over the Internet is quite impossible. What I can say is what you do not have. You do not have HIV and that indeed is a reason to WOO-HOO. Your constellation of symptoms - aching body, squeezing chest pain when deep breathing, fatigue, headaches, red eyes, and "hoowey gas," etc. are not really characteristic of a simply defined medical condition. Do I think it's Chlamydia or Gonorrhea? No, not likely. Besides, your physician can check you for these common STD's very easily.

What to do? See your physician for a complete checkup and review all your various problems. A complete physical exam should be done, checking for various physical findings, etc. Laboratory studies will be ordered based on your history and physical exam to evaluate potential problems - STD's, hormonal problems, neuromuscular and joint disease, etc. If you've done this already, and no physical cause can be determined for your symptoms, you could try another physician for a second opinion. If both opinions say that physically you are fine, then my best guess is that the majority of your symptoms are indeed psychological. Stress, anxiety, depression, and guilt can play havoc with your body. If you are a regular reader of this site (and the Safe Sex/HIV Prevention site), you'll find many folks with equally bizarre symptoms, which resolved when they realized they were not HIV-infected, and then dealt with their psychological problems.

From your PS, it sounds like you may already be in therapy. I loved your "tips for those in therapy," but feel sorry for your poor therapist. You just may drive him to therapy as well!

As for doctors, well some of that rings true as well. My first hospital-issued ironed white coat made me look like a walking refrigerator! I was a pediatrician at that time, and the coat scared my first little toddler. I took it off that day and have never worn one since! Don't be too cynical; we really do try to help, but none of us - even the "powerful wizard of WOOHOO" - has all the answers. The best we can do is work together.

Thanks for your contribution and good wishes. I wish you a speedy recovery. Don't think of "health" as a "memory," but rather as a goal. If I can do it, so can you! And I'm absolutely convinced that no matter how ill we may become, we all "have the energy to love the people we really care about."

Get well soon, Algebra-Guy!

Dr. Bob

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