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Along Came a Spider

By B. Osten

June 9, 2012

In March I got my annual flu shot and I've caught the flu several times since then. The first one I expected because for some reason I always get a mild strain soon after the shot. The second one was unprecedented and the third was alarming and concerning. It lingered on for what seemed to be forever and a day. I went to the emergency room for some much needed relief and left with a sore arm from several attempts by an intern to draw blood.

This week I got back the results of my blood test. I was beside myself. My viral load went from undetectable to up over a hundred thousand. My CD4 count went from 790 T cells down to 425 T cells. The reason the doctor gave was that one of my meds had become resistant to the virus.

On returning home from the ID (infectious disease) clinic, I needed a long, hot shower to relax. While doing so, I noticed a spider crawling along the top of the shower curtain. As it got closer to me a spray of water knocked it off and into the flow of water heading down the drain. I stopped the spider with my foot and picked it up, putting it on the edge of the bathtub to dry. No sooner than I went back to relaxing under the shower head, I saw the spider crawling down the side of the tub and wade into the current of water. Once again I came to its rescue, putting it back further onto the ledge of the tub. By then the water had turned cold. I turned the shower off and stepped out. In the process of doing so, I bumped the wall with my shoulder and a large shampoo bottle fell over and rolled along the edge of the tub and you guessed it, over the spider, crushing it.

As I stood there dumbfounded, I realized that danger is ever present and all around us. But, with those with HIV it's also inside us.

I've lived with HIV for twenty-six year now. It's like a marriage. Only you can't divorce it. You have to Honor, Cherish and Respect it. Like the vows say: For richer or poorer, through sickness and health, till death do us part.

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See Also
The Body's Guide to HIV Drug Resistance
More News and Viewpoints on HIV Drug Resistance

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Riverprincess (New Jersey) Thu., Aug. 9, 2012 at 9:02 am UTC
Very nice writing . I especially liked the one about the spider. Goes to show all things have a destiney for their life that can be influenced by many things and still have the destined outcome.
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Comment by: Kirk (Dallas, TX) Fri., Jul. 6, 2012 at 7:34 am UTC
Thank you for the story. It was so well written. Do you know how you became resistant?
Wish you all the best in getting on a different med.
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Replies to this comment:
Comment by: B.Osten (Los Angeles, CA) Tue., Jul. 10, 2012 at 7:42 pm UTC
To Kirk from Dallas,TX. Thank you for your heartfelt comment. Since I went on my new regiment of HIV meds last month, I am not experiencing any side effects as of yet. Also, I won't know my viral load or CD4 count until a month or two. Sincerely B.Osten.

Comment by: Mark (NYC) Thu., Jul. 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm UTC
For those of us who are concerned about resistance, can you offer some details on how this happened? Did you miss doses? How often?
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Replies to this comment:
Comment by: B.Osten (Los Angeles, CA) Sat., Jul. 7, 2012 at 6:33 pm UTC
In response to Mark of NYC. I can only relay to you what the doctor told me on why HIV meds become resistant to the virus. In most cases, it appears that missing doses on a regular basis is one of the reasons why this happens. Also, I was told that being on the same regiment for long periods can lead to the same affect. The virus mutates and the meds are no longer effective. It seems the latter of the two applies to myself.


Comment by: Jeannie Wraight (Bronx, New York) Fri., Jun. 15, 2012 at 3:39 pm UTC
Great blog. Thank-you for sharing it. Love the analogy.
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Positive Thinking

B. Osten

B. Osten

I've been living with HIV for 26 years. I volunteer at various AIDS organizations in my community in the day. At night I like to spend my time at the observatory. I couldn't tell you the names of all the planets offhand, or what a black hole is for sure. But, there isn't a day that goes by I haven't looked up at the night sky and thanked my lucky stars I'm still alive to enjoy it.

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