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Fatigue and rest (Part II)
Nov 2, 1998

Mr. Molaghan:

Just thought I'd follow up on my March 4 "clinical summary", as you put it.

I continued to work through summer but by the end of July I broached the subject of an extended leave with my Primary Care Physician. I simply asked if he thought that a medical leave of absence (combined with proper diet & excercise) might help me regain my stamina and combat the fatigue syndrome. He hemmed & hawed a bit, then asked "Well, what were you thinking about?" I told him, "About a month off." and he said (to my surprise), "Oh! Well I can support that." (I think he was thinking that I wanted to take the rest of my life off or something.) I brought the recommendation back to the office and they said "No problem!" So I took the month of August off.

It was absolutely the right thing to do! My viral load had risen to detectability (750) under the most sensitive assay just before the leave, but at leave's end it was again under 400 (undetectable). The same went for my CD4. It was trending downward but rebounded after the leave. I did not make my weight loss goal (I swear that the PIs make all food turn to fat), but diet & lipitor did lower the cholesterol & triglycerides impressively. Also at the start of the leave I was able to work strenuously for only fifteen minutes before needing an hour's rest. By leave's end I was up to two hours strenuous work, a considerable improvement in stamina. When I returned to work, people told me there was a noticeable difference in my apparent health (they also learned exactly how much work I did, because they had to do it while I was out; their joy at my return spoke volumes about how I am regarded).

Anyway, the plan is now to watch the blood work and to consider a longer leave if there is any backsliding beyond the normal test variance or if my stamina falls off. Thanks very much for your opinion, which steeled me to push just a little harder with my PCP for support of a leave. When you said that my schedule was busy enough to make a normal person tired, it made me realize how hard I was pushing myself and that I really did deserve to give myself a break.

So, to any and all suffering from fatigue & lack of stamina. Take a rest, it just might help.

Response from Mr. Molaghan


Welcome back. It's good to hear from you again. It sounds like you really benefited from a brief leave from work, and the fact that your numbers and stamina improved says a lot about the success of the intervention. It's amazing what a little rest can do. It really is futile to take loads of pills to fight the disease if the stress levels in life bombard and suppress the immune system. Thanks for giving this update to all of us. Keep up the good work!

How soon?
Adendom to Female HIV+ Tired

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