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Should I work?
Mar 28, 2009

OK basically I was diagnosed with Cryprtococcal menengitis 3 years ago, I had a great job making good money but ran into this HIV Aids problem. I had a viral of 750,000 and cd4 of 102, I went back to work but it only lasted for 1 year, Ive been seeing therapist and all kinds of docs but they say the neuro scan shows some abnormalities in my frontal lobe which causes impaired thinking or in my case not reality based. I filed social security and won and recieve close to 1700 a month from ssdi. My problem is I have always been extrememly independant working as an electrician and I always drank beer and hung out with the guys after work, all this has stopped and now I find that doors are pretty much closed for me. Im grateful for the ssdi which I worked 30 years for but I have a tendency to beat myself up for reason I dont know. I go to therapy once a week which helps a little but then the thoughts come back and the beating myself up comes back again. I dont know why I do it I told my therapist I feel like Jeff Goldblum in the Fly where I feel I am transforming into Brundle Dave, like a freak of sorts, I cant concentrate at all on any given project except writing on the computer or dishes, Im like a stay at home mom now. its hard for me to accept this new reality and no words from therapist seem to sink in, they tell me to accept the way it is now and just keep my mouth shut and collect my check. I was always very driven and a perfectionist but also an all or nothing guy. My dad was the same way and killed himself jumping off a bridge because he had a tumour in his leg which could have been removed. is it possible that I have the same characteristics as my father and am subconciously following his footsteps? he died at 44 and I am 45. Any thoughts? Thanx Dave

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Dave,

No, you are not your father. You are your own man.

HIV/AIDS changes our reality. It's certainly changed mine. My life before compared to my life after my diagnosis is quite different, although each phase has been equally rewarding.

Your problem is physical. Your brain scan shows abnormalities in the frontal lobe and that is the cause of your cognitive dysfunction (impaired thinking) and most likely your other problems as well. Cryptococcal meningitis can be a devastating opportunistic infection. It's fortunate you've recovered as well as you have. My advice would be to stop focusing on yesterday and what used to be. Rather focus on the reality of today and the promise of tomorrow. Build a support network of friends and family and build a new life with new enjoyable activities. Consider volunteering some of your time. Helping others who are less fortunate than we are is an excellent way to keep our personal challenges in their proper perspective. Give it a try.

Good luck Dave.

Dr. Bob


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