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how do i cope
Dec 12, 2001

Dear Dr, This year I was diagnosed poz, and was completely healthy until I started taking meds, then diagnosed with suspected pml, which has thrown me way off balance and its being too much to take in. This year I was having a personel trainer, going to the gym and then having my fitness taken away via meds is alot to deal with. How does a person cope, as I am finding it very difficult. Things have got better in my past nine months, can do most things, but feel as though eveything is negative. My doctor says I am making excellent progress and I will improve over time and perhaps have my life back to normal again, but I don't see it when i read on the net that I could die with my condition, it's all a shock.... Any advice or help would be appreciated.

Response from Mr. Shernoff

Being diagnosed with any life threatening condition is an enormous shock and one that takes alot of mental and emotional work in order to adapt to in a healthy way. Then being diagnosed with a second serious ilness related to the first only increases your stress and distress. It sounds like two things would probably be very helpful to you in the process of learning how to cope with these harsh realities. First call the local AIDS service organization and ask about joining an AIDS support group. By regularaly meeting with other peole living with HIV and AIDS you can gain faith and hope by listening to, and speaking with them. This has been a life saver for tens of thousands of people.

If this is not enough then ask either your primary care doctor or someone at the AIDS organization for a referral to a therapist who has worked with alot of people with HIV and AIDS. This can also help you in doing the necessary psychological and emotional work necessary to adapt, as well as be an additional source of support.

Best of luck during this terribly difficult time.

Michael Shernoff, MSW



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