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off deep end - swimming back to shore
      #132705 - 01/08/05 09:37 PM

Hi everyone,

Sorry this is so long but I have done a lot of thinking over the last 81 days.

First of all, I would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy lives to respond to people like myself who could really use the help and inspiration that your responses provide. Jazz - your posts have really helped me out lately - you know your stuff and thankfully share your wisdom and compassion with us all.

My story is one like many others. I have only had sexual intercourse two times in my life - unfortunately, one time was with a prostitute after I got drunk. I never do that sort of thing and don't know what came over me. Anyhow the sex was protected but at some point the condom came off. As she would stop periodically, I guesstimate the condom could have been off from anywhere between seconds to 5 minutes. Ever since then, I have been freaked out. The intercourse was, as of today, 81 days ago. So, since then every muscle pain, sore throat, or skin blemish/zit/whatever has put me in a tailspin. I had been using rash mediction and Gold Bond powder on my trunk before any rash could come out as to, in my mind, "head off rash" before it started. I've been liberally popping vicodin, muscle relaxers and aspirin for any little pain. I had to take a few days off from work and literally lay under the covers because I was so depressed and scared. In short, I went off the deep end and am now trying to take back my life.

I developed a very bad cold (at approx 7 weeks post sex) during this stint - ironically, that was the worst I have felt in a long time but it didn't bother me as several co-workers were ill with the same thing first. The problem is everything else did - muscle pain, zits on my body, sore throat due to allergies, etc. I let it consume my life and was considering, however briefly, suicide. That was enough!!!!

I had an STD test done at the city clininc for chlymidia, Gon, Syphillis - All Negative. but the clinic did not test me for HIV. I did not request it because I thought it would do no good as I was well within my window.

A few more weeks passed, I told myself that I needed to have a test. The blood was drawn by my doctor and sent to the lab. This was at exactly the 9 week mark (63 days). I was sure that my results would be bad for me. To my delight, I was negative - just another example of trying to self-diagnose with symptomology.....bad idea. I even bought a life insurance policy just in case. From the things, I have read here, My test, although not yet conclusive, is a very good indication that I am not infected. Yet, every hour of every day seems to be constant struggle for me to get through this. I am trying to talk myself back when I feel things slipping away. For exemple, yesterday, I got a pot mark/scar/or tiny rash (I don't know what it is) on my wrist and automatically I am thinking HIV. Instead, I should realize that I recently received a ski Jacket with velcro straps on the wrist area that was probably making contact with the skin causing the mark. Sh*t, it could just be a bug bite. For all i know, I could have been having pimples and marks come and go on my body for my whole life. it is just that now I am scrutinizing my body so closely that an ingrown hair now became a case of hives in my mind. I am trying though but the struggle is there.

So, I'm thinking that I need to make an appointment for my 13 week test on January 17th but, no bullsh*t, I am just a little too scared right now. The wait on my first test (even though it was only 2 days) was excruciating. I'd like to think that I may be a bit better off mentally now than I was 2 1/2 - 3 weeks ago but I am on such a roller coaster ride.

As I realize the odds are so much in my favor from this one incident, I can't help but play the what if game. Now, I am beginning to think that my problems are stemming from Anxiety, guilt and shame. I need to deal with making my mind and my will stronger.

I also need to work on living life instead of fearing death. I have spent the last 81 days thinking the worst and that in no way is living life. It is as if I had died already as I have selfishly alienated all the things and people that I hold dearest to my heart because I have been so consumed by fear. THAT IS NO WAY TO LIVE!!!

Anyway, I apologize for the length of this post but I had a lot to get off my chest. This board has been a savior to me. All I can do is hope to help others in the future as others have helped me.

Any comments, support or encouragement would be greatly appreciated.



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Reged: 01/27/04
Posts: 410
Re: off deep end - swimming back to shore new
      #132707 - 01/09/05 02:03 AM

Dear TMLB,

Thank you so much for sharing this with us. It truly gives insight into what we all go through when sweating out the window period.

Way back in the day, before my degrees and "high brow" knowledge, I was a worried well. I remember getting a "big gulp" from 7 eleven. My brother asked for a sip, and when I gave it to him, I was convinced I gave him HIV. The aparment I lived in had a big hole in the wall in the bathroom. It was from me. I remember looking at myself in the mirror and cursing the fact that although I looked great on the outside, I had this deadly virus eating me up on the inside (then I punched the wall).

Searching for nodes, taking my temp, weighing myself was a constant ritual. Then, I tested negative.

But, one of my friends wasn't so lucky, and since has died of complications from AIDS.

What we can learn from your story is this:

"It is the heart afraid of dying, that never learns to live....."

Thank God you are learing to live......


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