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HIV Life >> I Just Tested Positive

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Survivor
Legend

Reged: 10/30/05
Posts: 3256
Loc: Get off the fence and live again!
Joined the Club 2 months ago Aug 2005
      #162991 - 10/30/05 09:36 PM

Hi everyone. My name is Eric, I live in Aspen Colorado and have been with my Husband now for 2.5 years. These years have been the happiest I have ever felt in my entire life. We have a beatufiul place on the river up here and its now snowing. About two months ago, I went for my annual checkup and was delt a blow that sent me reeling. My GP has his office on the side of Snowmass Ski area where I grew up and never would I have thought I would find myself in a doctors office being told I am HIV. Well after this, I told my Husband and he hugged me and said, "Eric, I am probably just the same as you. I love you and we will get through this together." Now William grew up in the big city and moved to Aspen to be with me. He knows alot more than I do. I reached out to Denver and talked with the Colorado Aids Project, I also talked with friends here in Aspen whom I have known have delt with this (condition) for many many years. I have found a very good doc in Denver who says "that it wont be HIV that gets you, but something else and you will probably outlive me?" Why do I have such troubles with faith. I use this word because I grew up around church and God and beleive that he is in total control of my life. But I take it back and forget who is running the show. I am so glad that I have reached being 41 and have had a good life. But now with William, I want to share my years with him and our newly adopted dog named Johnny. Why am I so fixated on health, death, treatment, costs. Sometimes I just dont want to go on. Even with all the plus's in my life, I focus on the wrong side of the page and feel utter dispair. This now has calmed down somewhat since it has been two months. Right now the doctor says no treatment but we will discuss this down the road. My CD4's are 460 and VL is 11000. I know my body is loosing the fight against this and will eventually have to deal with meds. I pray for a quality of life. I pray for people in my situation to live and be healthy and loved. This is so new to me. I just celebrated my 10th year of sobriety and have sponsored many people who wanted to drink. I am trying to apply the principles I have learned in this program to help me with this new gift the world has given me (or I have given myself). I want to live. But sometiems, I ask myself, is it worth it? Maybe a shrink would help. I was always a fighter and I want to return to being a fighter. I hope and pray for this to happen soon. God bless to all who read this message and and would love to here if you have felt this way... Feel free to email me to at ejhilst@rof.net

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jenn
Guardian

Reged: 09/14/05
Posts: 325
Re: Joined the Club 2 months ago Aug 2005 new
      #163064 - 11/01/05 01:00 PM

Eric,
You really sound like you have your life together. And I think your not so great feelings regarding HIV are completely 100% normal. Not that that makes you feel any better. But ANYONE being thrown this surprise in life feels despair/hopelessness at least intermittantly if not more so. There are some really strong great people on this board (GMAN) who, when I read their words, come across totally at peace and healthy and only crosses bridges when they occur. Totally an example for me in life. Those people are a real inspiration!!!!
Jenn

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Survivor
Legend

Reged: 10/30/05
Posts: 3256
Loc: Get off the fence and live again!
Re: Joined the Club 2 months ago Aug 2005 new
      #163087 - 11/01/05 08:56 PM

Jenn.. Thank you for your words. I thought my life was together. I have my good moments and my bad. I am scared of the future. But I have been told time and time again that all I have is today. Why worry about tomorrow? But it is in my nature to plan and plan and think about our lives together. I worry that William is not as physically strong as I and will his medications upset his balance. I will tuff it out and fight this thing. But I am the one who gets depressed and drag my partner down a bit. I am learning what to say to him and the rest I tell my friends whom are HIV or just care for me. I worry about my lifesyle and if I will be able to work as well as I use to. The doctor again tells me, dont change anything. But you might want to enjoy your life a bit more and you probably dont want to cash all your savings and go on a spree somewhere. I work very hard about 70 hours a week, but there is minimal stress and it is at two different hotels and two different kinds of work. I want to spend more time with William, but until I know what the cost of this (condition) is, I dont want to give up anything. I have the support of both my bosses at work, and they care very much for me and William. I am in a good place and have always been open. I am glad I live where I live and have understanding people about me. When I first signed on to this site, I got very depressed and was putting myself in everyone elses shoes and their stories. I want to write my own story about how Eric is living with HIV. But knowing so little, 10%, I would gather - I certainly am a "newbie" . I would like to find the peace and serenity now, and not wait till lets say the meds begin and or side effects show etc. Again, I am putting myself out in the future. "One foot in the past, One foot in the future and I am pissing on the present. I am not sick yet. Nor if I take care of myself, will I be? Who knows. Only my higher power has that answer. I just wish I could stop the rollercoaster and know that my faith will help me through. My best friend just died of ALS. Would I trade, probalby not.. There is hope and dam it! I need to beleive. By listening to people like you Jenn, gives me hope that I can continue. Thank you for taking the time to write. It helps me, it helps William, it helps everyone who is so new to this.. I hope I can find my nitch and be able to help others someday. But not yet... They should re-write the ending of the Philadelphia movie and have Tom Hanks get up out of that Bed then collect his multi million dollar settlement and move to a nice beach somewhere with Bandaris. That would be a real box office smash for us. All my Best - Eric

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Joined the Club 2 months ago Aug 2005 new
      #163097 - 11/01/05 09:28 PM

Eric,
This is Jenn, I have no idea why the machine is suddenly calling me anonymous unregistered right now! This afternoon it was fine, and it just flipped out. I e-mailed the Body and asked them.
Wow, you work 70 hours a week! Wow! I work 40 hours a week and I have additional work one weeknd a month and I think THAT is too much! About living for the day - forgive my boldness, but I think that was the pre 1996 way of viewing HIV - because some people died and some people lived forever, no one really knew who would be dying and who not. But since HAART therapy started for the masses in 1996, most all people have full futures so everyone can plan on long long futures. It is my opinion you would be wrong not to plan for the future. I have a friend who started on HAART therapy when it was in the experimental stages(1992 or 1993) and she didn't consider it worth it to contact habitat for humanity to ask for a house for her and her baby - because she didn't anticipate living a long time. I said to her " But 10 years from now, you will wish you had not postponed evrything". Well, now it is now 13 years later, she is healthy as a horse - and STILL doesn't have that house!!!
You sound like you have such great places of employment and have great support systems and a great guy. And a great doctor! I agree with your doctor! Don't change your life - THAT will make you depressed!
Yeah, Philidelphia should have a sequel - when Tom Hanks starts HAART therapy!!!!! And that';s not just a fantasy. The reality of HIV is - friggen incredible. The souls that departed in the late 1980's would never have believed that in 2005 the masses of people with HIV live with undetectable virus. That was nothing but a wish upon a star when that movie was made. And now its real. That's not to mention the vaccine processes that are in progress.
Did William test positive? He sounds like a wonderful devoted guy. I knew you said in your first e-mail that he didn't know but said probably.
Stay in touch, and let us know how you're doing.
Jenn

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Survivor
Legend

Reged: 10/30/05
Posts: 3256
Loc: Get off the fence and live again!
Re: Joined the Club 2 months ago Aug 2005 new
      #163102 - 11/01/05 11:07 PM

HI Jenn. You are a breath of fresh air, fresh thought and inspiration. An Angel if I may be so bold. Hope is such a luxury that I (we) need. I wonder why Newbie as I am we are so cought up in the 80's. I remember why I drank that I could not feel like I could be out in this world and that if I was, I would catch this. Maybe my alcholism was a blessing and kept me safe from being exposed back then? Ok, Its now a blessing. William after I told him the day I was diagnosed hugged me and said "Sweetie, I am sure I am positive to if you are positive:" We went down to Denver to See. Dr. Ben and a week later we found out that William was positive as well. William was not surpised nor stunned. He said he had a month to prepare. There was no fingure pointing, there was no blame. He (we) just were just accepting this together as a loving relationship. Sure, we wish we could have prevented it. We tested before William moved up here after William resigned his 25 year job to be with me, but thats really water under the bridge. We just have started building a life together. We bought a little apartment in Denver that is our vacation home which is really funny that our Dr. is only 5 blocks from our home.. We would someday like to retire there. No, not in the mountains, but closer to our church, friends and family. We are truly blessed up here with people who love and care for us. I feel so sad that some folks on this site dont have people like this to help them.. Maybe its the small town, or just people that dont have a clue that we are human beings just like we were before the diagnosis. Thats the hardest thing for me to overcome is the feeling I am not a peice of sh.. and that I am the same person. I suppose, the further away I move from the diagnosis and the closer I move to folks like you, the better my mental stability will be. Can I ask what HAART is and stands for? Is that what I would go on when I get to the meds phase. I have told Dr. Ben to only tell me what I need to know now and not to overwhelm me. William has a head for taking all this in and I just sorta take little peices to dijest. I think its sad that William had to come up with the same outcome as me, but, maybe, being together in this, could be a blessing of its own. At least, its a hope that we can be able to monitor eachother and take care of eachother as a pos pos husband husband relationship can be... I know how much I rely upon him and his wisdom and his approach to this. I need to barrow some of his calmness and serenity from time time. My nick name right now is "mushbrain". It fits and I answer to it.. Jenn, I hope we can become good friends and I would love to meet others like you that can help us and be our guides through this new chapter in our lives.

God bless

Eric

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Joined the Club 2 months ago Aug 2005 new
      #163192 - 11/02/05 10:24 PM

Hi Eric,
Look at this - I'm still identified as "anonymous"!!! Unbelievable. Oh well. Hey, I am pysched to tell you what HAART is and how it works. HAART stands for Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy. Almost everyone is on HAART today. It is also called triple therapy. It means that one takes three drugs that block the virus from replicating itself and creating another virus infected cell. Imagine a round cell. This is what HAART medine does: Drug #1 does not let the virus into the entrance of the uninfected cell. However, with enough time - several years, the virus may learn how to overcome drug #1 and get in. HOWEVER, then Drug #2 does not let the virus pass the center of that same unifected cell. However, with enough time - several years, the virus may learn how to overcome Drug #2 and get past the center of the uninfected cell (you see the virus is trying to replicate itself but is having a very tough time). Then Drug #3 does not let the virus move out of the cell replicating itself into two cells. However, with enough time - several years, the virus may learn how to overcome Drug #3. So you see, the triple therapy sets up 3 HUGE road blocks that the virus must overcome before it can replicate itself. And the most effective PUNCH is when the person takes the drugs exactly when the doctor says to - even skipping the dosage 5 times in a month makes it easier for the virus to "figure out" the drugs and how to overcome them But if the medicine is taken exactly as prescribed, the virus stays confused for years and years and years and years! Then eventually when the doctor takes a look at your viral load and sees a bit of virus in your blood (many many many patients have viral loads of UNDECTECTABLE these days!), that is an indication that the virus is "figuring out" how to overcome the three drug mix you are on. So, s/he switches the 3 drugs you are using to three new drugs and confuses the virus all over again!!!! So it takes another 10 years for the virus to "figure out" the drug set up. And then 10 years later, your doctor changes the mix and the virus has to strat all over again!!!
Isn't that exciting? And all the time, more and more drugs are coming out to constantly confuse the virus over and over. That's why doctors know that patients will in all liklihood not die from the virus but have a higher chance of being hit by a bus.
Have I bored you enough tonight?!

Jenn

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Survivor
Legend

Reged: 10/30/05
Posts: 3256
Loc: Get off the fence and live again!
Re: Joined the Club 2 months ago Aug 2005 new
      #163201 - 11/02/05 11:47 PM

Jenn...
Thank you.. May I ask about you and your story? That is exciting about HAART. I hope when me and William go to this stage, that we can still function. Dr. Ben says that side effects have dramatically decreased over the years and they are tollerable. We both are healthy right now and are working at being more healthy and treating our bodies with love and care. I read alot of posts here and some of the words are not as reashuring. Loss is the hardest thing for me to read about. I want and will do everything the Dr. tells us to. I know this Dr. even writes on the body. I am putting my trust and our lives in his hands. Hell, im over the acceptance thing about this. Moved right out of denial when I heard the diagnosis. I know this is something we will have to live with until a cure is found. I even heard through a HIV infected pharmacist that they are looking at alagator serium that actually in time could kill the virus all together?!? But, for right now, this second I am feeling much better just knowing, we can stay alive for quite sometime. Heck im 41, how long did I think I was going to live!! Jenn... You will never bore me. I print out your messages and let William read them and it helps him to.. If you ever want to know what we look like and are chatting to, my email is ejhilst@rof.net and I will send you a photo to put a face to the type... Thank you again for talking to me and it really really makes me feel better. Last night I had my first dream in months. I think I was a James Bond type guy and was just having the time of my life.. Thanks for making me feel better about this. There can be no dollar value placed on your caring..

Love

Eric

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Joined the Club 2 months ago Aug 2005 new
      #163411 - 11/05/05 08:27 AM

Hi Eric,
You are so precious! I haven't been on the computer since the night of the 2nd - my little daughter (that I'm legally adopting on Nov 18th) has had the flu since then,and I have missed all work and missing drill this weekend (Army Reserves) until she feels better. Eric I abosultely treasure your words, and you are a beautiful person! In a little bit I weill answer your last letter and see your pictures - I'm excited to learn more about you. I wil tell you all about me too. Right now Tanicka is whining (yes, not crying, but WHINING) so I will come back while she is napping...
XOXO, Jenn

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Survivor
Legend

Reged: 10/30/05
Posts: 3256
Loc: Get off the fence and live again!
Re: Joined the Club 2 months ago Aug 2005 new
      #163427 - 11/05/05 04:16 PM

Jenn, I look forward to hearing from you.. I am so happy for your adoption! We adopted a little dog named Johnny and he has been such a major focus in our lives. When I get worried or scared, William reminds me of my family and how important it is to be here for him and all our friends who love and care for us. God is forever present in our lives and will continue to guide us through. I am reminded (dont know if your relgious or not) that when Peter asked Jesus from the boat. If you are the Christ, bid me to come. Christ said COME. Now it was not a perfect walk on the water by any means, in fact Peter began to sink when he saw all the waves about him. He reached out his hand and Jesus pulled him up. This helps me. I hope everyone has some sorta beleif system that keeps them afloat when things get tuff. By know means am I ok with this condition (scared). Still rollercoatering about. But, for right now... I feel hopeful and have a loving husband that keeps me afloat when I am sinking..

Love

Eric

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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Joined the Club 2 months ago Aug 2005 new
      #163438 - 11/05/05 11:32 PM

Hi Eric,
I can not believe I am still anonymous. I re-registered and called myself Jenn2 this time around and I am still unidentified!
My little girl ended up in the ER today because her fever spiked. She was normal this morning, being her typical happy go lucky self, then around 3:30 pm - bam - 105 temp, and I was off to the ER. It turns out she has a UTI. Poor Kid! She finally got the right medicine and now happily asleep.

Your dog, Johnny sounds like a life saver! Dogs and babies have a lot in common, they are innocent and trust us unconditionally. Johnny and Tanicka don't care what our problems are, because they love us! What kind of dog is Johnny? My twin sister has two poodles that are treated probably like Johnny - like GOLD. They even go to doggy daycare some days of the week.

My story will likely not appear (on the outside) to be as dramtic or as heartwretching as many of the stories on this site. As much as I know right now, I am neg. But in 1988, I was drawn to concern with dealing with HIV. In 1990, Larry Kramer spoke at my college and I was hooked. In 1991, a very similar situation occurred in my life that drove me to feel absolutely identicle. I was absolutely helpless and hopeless. It was toture for years if not a lifetime. I flew to Johns Hopkins Medical School desperate for a cure, or the highest treatments available. etc. I cried day and night, I kept the TV on all night out of depression, I was obsessed on a very negative way. The feelings explained very well by Mesosad are exactly the way I felt. Then I met a doctor in infectious disease at Johns Hopkins who spent hours with me patiently listening to me bawling my brains out feeling pain beyond what words could ever describe, and then he told me stuff that other hospitals never told me. Other doctors never told me, and then proved it by certain DNA tests. And he was not arrogant at all. When I asked him why I was told something different by XYZ, he would lightly defend them, but remind me what the absolute scientific proof was, ans then handed me a couple of "small articles" he wrote - which would just BLOW YOU AWAY. New England Journal of Medicine articles!!!!! I knew at that point, how ignorant many local doctors and nurses were. I still questioned everyone on medical stuff, even people I didn't respect - casual doctors who just assumed stuff and answered my questions, I still put myself at risk, and I have no idea why except I didn't think well of myself. Then in 2002, I got so sick of demoralizing myself for a man that couldn't give 2 hoots for me, so I decided then to never date him again, or anyone else that wouldn't go to hell and back for me. Since then, my self esteem has risen considerably.
I don't want to reveal the source of my pain, but it was enough to put me in the massive counselling and more than that for many years. Maybe I'll tell you more later....

I like it that you know stories of the new testament! I teach Sunday school at a congregational church! I like teaching Sunday school, becuase I make the scenarios involving Jesus come live for them. Like you did in your words. The incredible part about it is- its TRUE stories.That's why they never died. That's why the Bible has always been the best selling book in the USA if not in the world.

I had to chuckle when you said when you get to the medication stage of HIV you hope you can still function! OF COURSE YOU WILL STILL BE FUNCTIONING. I'm not just saying that to "make you feel good". I think that you might be thinking of the 1980's again Eric. In the 1980's, for part of the 1980's, if you "started" on AZT, that meant, that was the beginning of the end. That's not what medications mean today. Medications are simply a technique used to keep the virus from replicating. That's all. It is not the beginning of the end. In fact, most people that feel sluggish when on no meds feel like themselves again after they start meds. Energic, etc. I am no expert, but I recommend a book that will, I think, totally put you at a lot more ease than what you are feeling right now - it is called The First Year HIV by Brett Grodeck. After you read it you will realize that people aren't simply being optimistic with you to "make you feel better". Living a full life until you are an old man, and managing HIV and staying healthy all your life is very possible. I don't have statistics, but I think drug compliance plays a major role in success in HIV management.

Wow, you print out my words - what an honor that is for me to know that!!! You have no idea how much that really makes my week! I work for the Army, and I have done a lot of good stuff for them, but it all feels so superficial. When you told me you print out my words, and that you feel really really good after corresponding with me, it is so REAL, so unsuperficial. It means the most to me! More than anything that I could do for the Army! And to be honest, I remember things very fast about HIV because my interest lay there.
I am very confident in and totally interested in the new developments as well as the advances in HAART. There are other angles that HIV is being fought against right now, but we will save that for another time:-) I wish I was smart enough to be an MD!
Eric, have you considered that your dream about you being in a James Bond type charactercould be a preminition that everything is going to be okay? That God is teling you that you are going to be fine?
XOXO,
Jenn

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Survivor
Legend

Reged: 10/30/05
Posts: 3256
Loc: Get off the fence and live again!
Re: Joined the Club 2 months ago Aug 2005 new
      #163456 - 11/06/05 01:13 PM

HI Jenn...
Glad to here Tanika is better. Johnny gave us a scare when he was slow and not doing well but he just rebounded after 4 days. Probably eating to much grass again. Its an amazing process that I am moving through and thank you for being able to help guide me and William through. Your notes mean everything, and yes they are read by William. You mentioned the HIV book which is so wild. It came in the mail yesterday! I was looking for something William could read to me and only read the good stuff to me. lol..

We both finally broke out of the house up here and went out for dinner on a snowy night. We then went to the community theaters production of "PIPPIN". They do Broadway so well up here, a lot of talent. Not sure if you know much about the production but it was in the time of the early 70's 1972 to be exact. The original cast was Ben Verine, Irene Ryan (ganny beverly hillbillies) and was all about a boy learning to break out of the stereotypical life that people followed and that he wanted just to find what he was missing. One song “Spread a little Sunshine” hit home for me and made me think of you. It goes like this – I think I can remember since I use to sing all this stuff back in college.

Back my younger days - if things were going wrong - I might sulk - I might pout.
Now I’ve learned if I just, pitch in and do what’s right, things will work out.

And if we all could - spread a little sunshine - all could - light a little fire. We all would - be a little closer - to our hearts desire.

Lord knows we seen enough troubles already - we’ve had our fill of gray sky’s. So put down the vinegar - take up the honey jar - you’ll catch many more fly’s.

And if we all could - spread a little sunshine - all could - think before we strike. We all would - be a little closer - to the world we’d like.

I know the parables told in the holy book - I keep close on my shelf. God’s wisdom teaches me – when I help others - I’m really helping myself.

And if we all could - spread a little sunshine - all could - lend a helping hand - all would - be a little closer -- To the promised land…..

Still holds true today doesn’t it?

Eric & William


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jenn
Guardian

Reged: 09/14/05
Posts: 325
Re: Joined the Club 2 months ago Aug 2005 new
      #163776 - 11/09/05 09:40 PM

Hi Eric!

I just found out the other day that if we click on the tab called My Home, that we can chat privately. I will drop by there - check it out - and I will e-mail you on your e-mail address.
XOXO
Jenn

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