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Reged: 02/02/11
Posts: 464
Loc: Thailand
Winning and doing well! Thanks everyone!
      11/21/11 05:34 PM

Hello everyone!

Thank you to the many personal messages over the last several months while my girlfriend and I tried to keep our lives together while we got her back on the track to good health and our lives stitched back together after the year from hell. We wanted to finally catch up with everyone to say thank you for the messages and encouragement, to let everyone know we are doing very well, and to tell people who are having a rough time to hang in - never give up!

When we last posted in July, we had just found out about my girlfriend's positive status, and that she was in AIDS with a T-cell count of 67 and a viral load over 310K. The doctors all agreed that she had probably been infected years ago, probably by her cheating ex-husband who has disappeared for several years. She had not been tested since 1998, just prior to her marriage. She was always healthy after her divorce, so she never thought to check her status.

They pulled her blood for sensitivity testing and genetic profiling and started her on the Atripla cocktail, same as I had started at the beginning of March. My infection had been picked up in January, with an initial CD4 count of a little over 400 and a 60K viral load. By June, when we discovered my girlfriend's problem, my VL was undetectable and my CD4 count was just under 700.

Our doctors immediately placed her on antifungal and antibiotic preventatives. Her sensitivity and genotyping came back a couple weeks later - we did not have the same virus - they are both HIV-1, but there is a 7% genetic difference between our viruses; too large a leap to happen in the 12 months we had been together. More good news: her virus, like mine, was 100% susceptible to all meds currently available. She was on the right cocktail!

We stayed positive over the next few months, spent a lot of time together, and made plans for our futures while we waited for her to get new labs done at the end of September.

September came, and at the end when we checked her out, her VL was nil and her CD4 count was 347- she was out of AIDS!! They pulled her off the preventatives and she is doing very well. We are so relieved!

More good news: my CD4 count was up to 950, VL still undetectable. We had turned a terrible year into two great victories! Our relationship has never been stronger, each so thankful and appreciative of the other. This has truly been a mystical journey; both being positive and not knowing it when we met, each helping each other get through the shock and get healthy again. This virus has shattered lives, but being determined to win has taught us that great value can come out of great challenges. Whether we live another year, decade, or century, love and spirit is timeless and cannot be tarnished!

We have been very busy with our careers and my children, as well as enjoying our outdoor activities again (we took a brief pause while waiting for her CD4 count to rise). We have some trips planned for the new year, and will get our next counts done in January. The doctors expect my girlfriend will be even higher and think it is very possible she will be near normal T-cell count levels by mid-2012. This is the first interaction that our doctors have had with this specific cocktail, and they are really astounded at how effective it is at arresting this virus. We have both adjusted well to the Atripla meds and neither of us have any side affects any more. This is truly a miracle!

We both just wanted to check in with everyone and say thank you for all the support after I first went through this shock in January and then my girlfriend in June. The support and information here at TheBody saved both our lives. The doctors in Ask the Experts have expertly guided our doctors here in Thailand in how to get us well again and the encouragement from our friends here kept the lights shining in the very dark hours. We have been so fortunate to have such wonderful support and to have such caring doctors. The doctors in Thailand are not always up on the latest medicines, so the information on TheBody was paramount in getting them caught up and us the tests and medications needed to get us the best possible care.

We want to conclude this hard year by telling everyone who is struggling to keep up the fight and never give up. No matter how shocking this situation is, be proactive in your care, learn everything you can, stay positive, work closely with your doctors, and things will get better. We are all so fortunate to live in an age where we have the technology to stay healthy and live near-normal lives.

If anyone needs to chat or would like to contact us, please send a personal message to my user ID. Thank you all again, and we wish you all the best of holiday seasons. This has been a very hard year for so many; our prayers are with you all.

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Entire thread
Subject Posted by Posted on
* Winning and doing well! Thanks everyone! Pos_in_Thailand 11/21/11 05:34 PM
. * Re: Winning and doing well! Thanks everyone! Mouri123   12/17/11 10:31 AM
. * Re: Winning and doing well! Thanks everyone! Pos_in_Thailand   12/28/11 04:08 AM
. * Re: Winning and doing well! Thanks everyone! alive2   11/21/11 06:43 PM

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