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Thanks RE: Supportive vs Alternative Therapy
Aug 18, 2007

Dr Bob!

"a week's worthy of detention with Dolores Umbridge"...

A Doctor AND a masochist, so much becomes clear... {wink}

He he he, thanks for answering my question about "unproven complementary therapy," {I like that, I'll make sure to use it}.

Thanks also for being gentle {wink, especially for a masochist}.

Everything that you said was also fair enough. :)

In no way am I trying to compare my situation to someone that's been facing this disease since the beginning. With all fairness I can't even begin to imagine what that was like. But based on all the ignorance I had going into this, my news eight months ago still hit me, personally, pretty hard. Faced with all that uncertainty during the first four months of establishing "baselines" before deciding on treatment, I felt desperate and just needed to have something that would give me a sense of "doing something".

During those four months I tried a LOT of snake oil, AND started educating myself. With that education came weening away from much of them. The ones that I decided to "keep" were those supplements that seemed to have some kind of "visible", pre-treatment, effect. Prior to starting treatment, and several months before my diagnosis, my primary "symptoms" were numerous sinus/throat infections, and skin "scaling", along with gastric issues.

In January I started taking the supplements and I also started rigorous diet and aerobic exercise (giving myself a year before I start more intense weight training work).

During the four months between diagnosis and deciding to start treatment, my CD4 was declining, my viral load was going through the roof, but my symptoms were lessoning; so anecdotally I give the supplements some credit in helping control the symptoms. Just to be clear, I'll say that they had absolutely NO effect on the Virus itself, BUT almost all of my most visible symptoms did stop even before starting HAART. Whether that was the supplements, or just improvements in overall "general" health through diet and exercise, I understand, is debatable, but I tend to think there is some inter-relatedness to it.

The nicest part of being on the clinical trial (beyond the free meds) is the fact that I get very frequent diagnostic tests, so in the last eight months, not only have my "base numbers" (CD4, VL) gotten better, but all my blood chemistry results and lipid panels have also shown marked improvement from "out of range" back into normal ranges.

So like you say about arguing with success, I'm gonna stick with all of it for now.


Response from Dr. Frascino


Actually I would be a masochist if I put myself in detention with Dolores, but since I was sending you, that would make me a sadist! But come on, things could be much more painful than that. I could have made you Dubya's elocution coach. Now that would be real pain!

You're very welcome for the advice. I'm glad you realize the snake oil "had absolutely no effect on the virus itself . . ." and that your other improvements may be related to diet, exercise and better overall general health. I agree.

As for coincidence versus "inter-relatedness" versus cause-and-effect, that remains in this situation at best unknown, especially when compared to more obvious cause-and-effect relationships. For example:

1. You take HIV meds and your plasma HIV viral load goes down and CD4 count goes up.

2. You exercise regularly and you look better naked.

Stay well or I'll send Dolores after you.

Dr. Bob

mind is leaving this world

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