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Anonymous
Unregistered

Let the meds begin!
      #161862 - 10/14/05 02:24 PM

I am 27 years old and have been positive for nearly 2 years now. I am very successful for my age, travel non-stop for work and have just purchased my second home. My career is VERY stressful and I know that I tend to add excess stress to my life due to my constant desire to want more out of life.

Recently, I got some test results back and discovered that my CD4 has dropped significantly! 194 to be exact!! My PCP has asked that I see my HIV Specialist asap and begin meds. I've been putting off the appointment all week. I've struggled to get out of bed. Boxes in my new house aren't going anywhere on their own... but I'm just so overwhelmed. This new step makes it all very "real" to me now. I'm petrified! Scared to death!

I have a loving boyfriend, whom I have been with pretty much since I found out. He is negative. With this newly discovered status, my sexdrive has virtually disappeared! Not something normal for two 20-something men!!

I'm having a bit of trouble moving forward in this newly appointed step in my life of living with the disease. Is this normal? I have been very strong and confident thus far! What can I do? Does meds really mean its the beginning of the end? Help!!


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ny10001
Grand Master

Reged: 07/08/05
Posts: 199
Loc: New York
Re: Let the meds begin! new
      #161864 - 10/14/05 03:51 PM

The beginning of the end? Hardly. The meds are the preventor of what would have been the beginning of the end.

Don't be afraid of them. The current medications are excellent and convenient to take. Before selecting medications it will be important for your doctor to run a Gnome type test to see if you have any inherent resistances to medications.

If there are no resistances, you'll probably be on a two-pill, once per day regimen. Sustiva and Truvada are a popular option these days.

Most of the medications are very low in toxicity, and the modern generations won't cause a change in your appearance either.

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daisey6205
Legend

Reged: 09/08/05
Posts: 1091
Loc: kansas
Re: Let the meds begin! new
      #161865 - 10/14/05 03:59 PM

i have just been diagnosed, so the only advice i can offer to you is from what i have read here on the body. meds are to improve your quality of life and to get your cd count up and lower your viral load, but if you have the thinking that meds are the beginning of the end... you are not going to get better with negative thinking. in everything we do in life you have got to have a positive outlook, because having a negative attitude will only bring you down further and i know that is not what you want for yourself. take the meds and i am sure in time you will see that your cd count gets higher and you will still have a productive life. i would recommend slowing down a bit though. any ones body regardless of status, needs to slow down and just enjoy life. take some time to enjoy your new house and not let your counts be too much of an issue at this point, just slow down a little. you sound to me like you are busier than a 1 legged man in an ass kicking contest and that is no fun for anyone. enjoy all the blessings you have.
keep your head up. i am sure everything will get better soon for you, but go to the doctor. talk to your doctor about the issues you are having, they are a great source of information and support when you really need it.
best of luck. take care and we are always here if you need to chat or vent!
daisey

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jenn
Guardian

Reged: 09/14/05
Posts: 325
Re: Let the meds begin! new
      #161947 - 10/16/05 12:40 AM

Beginning of the end? You haven't done a lot of reading have you:-) Triple therapy will likely bring your viral load to undectectable in the blood, and as for the "end", let's see, you are 27 rigt now....I'd say you have only about 63 more years to live......!

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Let the meds begin! new
      #162046 - 10/18/05 12:59 PM

thank you jenn! i know i need to do more research... but it was all just a bit much at one particular moment. i finally saw my doc yesterday, and i am beginning two pills once a day! i do feel a big sigh of relief, but i know it wont always be that easy. thank you to all for your words of encouragement.

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A.S. New York
Unregistered

Re: Let the meds begin! new
      #162228 - 10/20/05 09:11 AM

With this disease I't it's never over,I been diagnosed since the age of 18 in 1990. My T-cells have been as low as 58 at one time.Today my Tcells are at 798 and I feel great.Remember this disease is all about changing your lifestyle to a healthier one,so take care of yourself and continue working and enjoy life one day at the time. Also don't be afraid of starting meds because I believe thats the reason I am alive today.Stay Healthy

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Let the meds begin! new
      #162311 - 10/20/05 06:18 PM

Hi there. My name is Jorge-Armando, I'm 26 years old; I've been positive for four years now. Yes, feeling a bit nervouse, and putting this next step off is normal. I understand how you feel because i oncce felt the same way; but i knew that my health would only get better with the medications. Prepare yourself, educate yourself about the medications that you will be taking, and finds out what the POSSIBLE side effects are. Don't think that you will expereince every single side effect. There are so many great medications on the market, and for the most part they're very tolerable.
Good luck, stay focus, and remember that you are not alone. Never forget that your fears are normal, and what you expereince is unique because although we have the same disease, we are different individuals, with different backgrounds.

Jorge

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Let the meds begin! new
      #162314 - 10/20/05 07:43 PM

Sorry to hear that you are starting meds. I started in July of this year. It was hard for me as well. It was like I could ignore the fact that I had HIV before. Now I have to take a daily reminder that I have this disiese that will one day probiably kill me. The first two weeks were real hard for me. The Doc. told me to find a time that I was almost always home. For me that is 4:30 AM. So, for as long as I am on this regimen I will get up at that hour to take my meds. Oh and that is not all. I have to eat something at that hour. I have never been one to eat breakfast, much less eatting 5 min. after I get up. Thank god for Carnation instant breakfast. Just mix, and take my meds with it. So, I leave you with this. Just start taking the meds, and after a while, you do not even think twice about it. What ever you do though, TAKE the meds Every day, at the same time without fail. My viral load fell from 477,000 to 2000 and T's rose from 223 to 300 in 6 weeks.

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Let the meds begin! new
      #162318 - 10/20/05 08:15 PM

This is what I found that helped me the most when I found I needed to start meds in August 05
(pasted)

Here's what I know in no particular order:

We're all lab rats in this experiment with HIV. No doctor has the magic pill and no one knows what's going to happen next. We've barely been taking these meds long enough to know the long-term effects or benefits. Get used to that. That said, we're all a helluva lot luckier than our dear friends who were diagnosed in the first years of this epidemic. It still gives me pause to think of how many of my friends might still be alive if they'd just lived another month or two for the first protease inhibitors to come out. Be thankful, grateful for the meds we have. It's a whole lot better energy to be grateful for meds (and even their side effects) than the waste of energy to complain about all the side effects and worry about dying. Don't worry about dying – we're all going to do it no matter what.

Because an HIV diagnosis is NOT a death sentence….Life is. Stop looking for Life to be "fair"…it isn't. You CAN, however, figure out how to write the story you want. If you need it to be a big drama, it will be. Life and HIV are more than capable of providing you with LOTS of drama. But if you need your life to be wonderful and filled with meaning and experience and joy and happiness….go for it! Life with HIV can do that, too. Here's the question I keep asking myself: Who would you be without the struggle? Me? I'm tired of the drama. I have better things to do with my energy.

It isn't a choice between EITHER western medicine OR complementary or "alternative" medicine….it's an increasingly vast buffet table and you should pick and choose from all of it and take care of yourself and do what makes you feel comfortable and good. Listen to your doctor as your advisor, but YOU are the final arbiter about what is good for you and what isn't. There is no all-powerful, all-knowing person out there who knows what's best for you. You do. I do HAART, exercise, yoga, meditation and have traveled to the Amazon, for example. It's all good.

Get healthy. Work out. Stop putting off going to the gym and start eating right. There's a direct positive correlation between lean body mass and survival rates. This isn't a bargaining chip, either. It's just about choosing to live – and living means taking care of yourself. Smoking is suicide. That's OK if that's what you want to do…crystal, drinking all night, irresponsible sex? Same thing…just don't lie to yourself or me about it. Make your choices and the consequences will follow like night and the day.

I may not have achieved "enlightenment" but here's a flash light: a word about "Either/Or" versus "Both/And" decision making. "Either/Or" choices come from a view of the world that sees scarcity….not enough time, not enough of everything to go around. "Both/And" choices come from a view of the world that sees abundance…there's enough for everyone. When presented with a problem or a situation I can choose the Either/Or way of looking at it or I can pick the Both/And way of looking at it. It's about learning to live with life's contradictions. I've found that when I frame a problem in an Either/Or way it usually leaves me in a trapped place and if I can find the Both/And re-framing of the problem it tends to create options, open doors. I prefer that, i.e. "I can either have HIV or I can be healthy" vs. "I can both have HIV and be healthy." I'd venture to say that almost every challenge can be changed in this way.

There are people out there who can love you even if you are poz. They can be poz themselves or not. Being poz in not a barrier to intimacy unless you want it to be.

Ignore alarmists and those who would tell you that, for example, HIV doesn't cause AIDS. In a word: horse pucky. Or that the government is part of some vast conspiracy to infect us all…the government is barely capable of pounding sand into rat holes much less undertaking a conspiracy that would have been this vast. If this disease had anything to do with humans it was more than likely out of error than intent.

Don't postpone joy. This is critical.

You can't take care of (love) anyone until you learn to take care of (love) yourself. Learn how to ask for what you need and what you want. Learn now to say "No." Learn how to say "YES!"

Learn about gratitude. In the final analysis this, for me, was the greatest lesson, the greatest spiritual awakening that was brought to me by HIV. It's easy to be grateful when things are easy. Like human relationships, it's easy when it's easy – it's when things get hard that you get the measure of the man. Learning to be grateful for all the lessons, especially the hard ones, will teach you more about Life and living than any other single thing, in my humble opinion. Life has a funny way of returning to the point, returning to the lesson until you learn it. Once you've heard it, embraced it and learned it, you and Life will move on to the next thing. Because Life is not a destination, it's a journey. Let Life surprise you and it will. I can make it a hard journey and suffer (god knows there are a lot of pay-offs in this society for being a victim and you can waste a whole lot of energy on righteous anger or righteous self-pity, but after a while it gets tired and so do you) or I can dive in and suck the marrow out of it all and live until I die.

I just re-read this and I realize there are some bumper sticker thoughts in here. Sometimes the truth can sound kind of tired and trite. But then again, so does all the fear and loathing I hear everywhere I turn. Given the choice I'll choose the positive thought. And that is a given. That, in the end, was how I came to be positive about being positive. Remember when "positive" was a good thing? It still is. It's all about the choices you decide to make. It always has been and it always will be. You can't control Life, but you can control your choices in it and your responses to it.




Credits

Bo Young is the Publisher and Editorial Director of White Crane, a quarterly journal on spirituality for gay men (www.whitecranejournal.com). He has written for POZ magazine, RFD, Fine Cooking and other publications. He lives in Brooklyn where is working on a biography of a contemporary Shoshone medicine elder and Two Spirit


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jenn
Guardian

Reged: 09/14/05
Posts: 325
Re: Let the meds begin! new
      #162548 - 10/23/05 09:18 PM

Keep me informed on how you do on your new meds if you don't mind. You probably will start feeling like your old self again. I look foward to hearing from you again.

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williamb
Newbie

Reged: 05/29/04
Posts: 5
Re: Let the meds begin! new
      #162764 - 10/26/05 03:34 AM

I have ben HIV+ for 14 years and have been on medication for 12 of those years. The cocktatils have changed from time to time, but for the most part they have been working very well for me. I also have a boyfriend who is negative, and loves me very much. We also have a problem with my level of sexual desire. That is as far as I know a side effect of my psycotropic drugs rather than my HIV drugs. I do take good old Viagra when things get "LIMP", and that works great for us. Good luck to you on this journey, keep a positive attitude and if and when you do start taking you meds, be sure to take them every day. Try hard not to miss a dose. Be well! Hope, Faith, Love & Life. Bill wlittleboots@aol.com.

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keano
Unregistered

Re: Let the meds begin! new
      #162984 - 10/30/05 07:01 PM

Hey there - your note could have been written for me. 2 yrs positive and just having to start meds. Am incredibly driven by my work and had put off thinking about my status until my T-cell count dopped recently. I was in the same place that you were - I thought my career was at an end, that I would have to take time off work and cancel trips. I even bought weeks worth of groceries etc in case I was stricken by the entire list of side effects. Then I found this site. It is full of good advice from well balanced people who have a whole lot to share. I got strength from advice I received myself and from reading the commentaries of others. There are so many uplifting stories out there to balance the bad ones and from my readings here I gained the strength to start the meds with a positive attitude. I have been on Truvada and Viramune for 2 weeks now and have been entirely side effect free (so far). I have been on Cholesterol meds for 3 years now so guess what - I have to pop 4 pills in the morning now instead of just one. No big deal compared to the alternative. Keep your chin up and look on the bright side. And in those darker moments there is a community out here that can help you through.

If you want an 'e-mail buddy' to share support and experiences with then drop me a line at keano4@sbcglobal.net

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Let the meds begin! new
      #163267 - 11/03/05 02:20 PM

I'm writing to you from England.........Having read all the letters in response to your post I have to agree with them in essence. I too am just starting my second round of meds after three years off them.when your cd4 count drops below 200 thats when you start.its simple.I'm just grateful that I have the opportunity to have access to the meds. Okay, all of us would rather not be positive, thats for sure.but life dishes out a lot of strange things and at least we can live with a heightened sense of " life ". I've found yoga personally has given me a stronger resolve and sense of being and do half an hour a day. We all have to find what works for us on a personal level. I've been on the new meds a week now a nd look forward to using this particular regime for at least five years. In that time there are sure to be new and easier treatments coming through. Don't forget when us " longtermers" were diagnosed ten years ago , there was NOTHING ! I'd love to hear from anybody over the water there...terrrrrry2003@yahoo.co.uk Take care everyone. Terry. England.

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