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Newly diagnosed and frustrated
Jan 17, 2005

Diagnosed in Oct of '04 after seeing my doc for anxiety/panic attacks, blurred vision, floaters and swollen glands. At that time I was referred to a large clinic at a very reputable university in the city that I live. I was seen there by an ID doc and was told that my T cell count was 372 with a viral load of approximately 26 thousand. My symptoms got worse really fast, more swollen glands, tender to the touch, increased vision troubles and numbness tingling in hands and feet. My hands and feet stayed cold all the time with noticeable color changes. I felt horrible. I pushed for more labs at this time and after much discussion finally more labs were drawn and my viral load had jumped to 36 thousand with T cell of 403. The ID doc at the large clinic dismissed what I was feeling to depression/anxiety and sent me on my way. I continued to feel horrible and my symtptoms increased very rapidly this time with weight loss and noticeable loss of fat in hands, lower arms and feet and lower legs. It was now the first of December and I went for a second opinion at a much smaller private practice and felt more comfortable with this particular ID doc, feeling that she listened to what I was feeling and the changes in my body that I was seeing. She redrew labs and my viral load was now over 130 thousand with a T cell count of 332. I was started on Sustiva and Truvada and feel quite pleased with the drug regimen. My concern now is that this private practice is very limited to pretty much this ID doc and her partner unlike the large clinic at the university that had dieticians, physiotherapists, and a multitude of other disciplines that are used in a comprehensive approach to patient care, all dealing with HIV/AIDS. Part of me really wants to return to the large clinic just for the large knowledge base and wealth of information and other specialists involved while the other half of me is grateful for the smaller practice for recognizing my concerns and listening to what I was experiencing without turning me away with an appointment three months down the road! With my current numbers being where they are It frightens me to think where I would be number wise if I hadn't got the second opinion and agreed to wait until February. Was the second opinion too hasty....did I make a mistake by choosing the much smaller private practice....? Am I doing more harm than good without the more comprehensive care approach of the large clinic? Any and all advice will be much appreciated!!

Response from Dr. Holodniy

I think you made the right decision for you, now. As long as the ID doc in the smaller clinic has adequate experience to manage any potential side effects or treatment failure than you should be fine.



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