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Here We Go Again: Lab Results and My Fears

February 7, 2011

This article was cross-posted from "A Girl Like Me," a program of The Well Project.

Here we go again! Yes, that is what I always say to myself. Every 4 to 6 months I go through this s**t !! After so long, I should be used to this, but I am not! I have so much fear and anxiety like 1 week, or even longer, before I go to see my doctor for the results ... I am a very positive person, but I am human and I have my fears! Especially when I see people around me telling me their T cells went down and their viral load is up ... And my worst fear, they have become resistant to the medication that they are used to already! I mean give me, them, all of us, a break! And then again, who am I to freaking complain?! Do I just want to have the perfect life with this illness?? Which would be FINE to being HIV positive! Even taking my medication ... but without all the things that come with it! Like no side effects, no body changes, no toxicity, no resistance, just a medication I can take even if it's for the rest of my life ... but knowing that my immune system will be OK and viral load will be dormant.

People will probably think, "damn Maria, stop complaining, or stop thinking negative!" Or as my partner, Lisa, and my Mom tell me, "EVERYTHING WILL BE OK!" But how do they really know? I know and I even preach this, we have to live one day at a time and not stress about the future, because the future is uncertain. But I just get scared like a little girl every time. I literally shake, can't sleep ... my mind doesn't stop thinking. I know that everything we put out there, we attract back (LAW OF ATTRACTION) ... and I know for a fact stress itself can lower my immune system. With all that, I am realistic. I know that there is the possibility of resistance which is my FEAR. I am scared to put more medication in my system that I am not used to or even harsher than the ones I take now. I fear what comes with those medications ... like body changes, maybe more neuropathy, just more toxicity.

I am so strong and I try to have these conversations with myself, "come on Maria think positive!!" But in the back of my mind I know it can change any day. I guess I feel guilty or I don't know what I feel exactly! Because I am not at my worst but then again I am not at my best ... maybe I am just going in circles. UGHH, maybe I just know too much! I mean, if I would have wrote this 2 days ago, this blog would of been all over the place.

Let me just try to express how I feel now. I got my results yesterday ... I went to my doctor's office and asked the girl in the front desk for a copy of my lab results because my social worker needs them. Yeah, my social worker did ask me for them, but I could have waited for my doctor to give me my results! But I had to get done with this little torture I put myself through. She said, "well, I don't know how to read the labs!" I said, "No worries, I do!"

I mean, was she even supposed to give me those lab results without the doctor reading them first!?

So here I am ... while my wife Lisa is video taping all my moments with her phone, I'm desperately looking through everything and reading everything! Yay, my viral load is less than 48 copies! Hmmm, my T cells went down a little, but that is OK! Lisa is telling me "you see, everything is good ... I told you!" And I am just reading and reading. I am looking for the percentage of my whole immune system, and see that everything is basically the same. Yes, my T cells went down from like 304 to 274 but I don't worry about that, because I look at my percentage and it is the same. I probably brought my own T cells down with my own stress ... smh (shaking my head)!

Lesson learned? NONE.

The truth is, THIS IS ME! Everyone is different. Some people are just more calm and some more nervous or intense! And as the years pass, I just get more scared! Because it has been many years and how long can I be so lucky? But then again, I know that is not the way to think ... so you see, this is the confusion in my brain. I know what I should do and how I should act but I guess my personality or my FEARS get the best of me. All I know is that I don't have to worry about this S**T for another 4 months ... well most likely I'll drag it for 6 months. One less thing to worry about and just continue being adherent to my medication and all that good stuff. For now, I am happy about my results! Especially the undetectable (viral load) part! And I know how some think, "You are worrying too much! You can die of a heart attack tomorrow!" or "We all are going to die someday!" I know this! And it's not that I am scared to die! Because really, I am not! Or am I?? Oh my god, how confusing! I really think I am not (afraid to die), I just want to continue taking the same medication without anymore problems that I already have until some new genetic medication with no toxicity comes along. Is that too much to ask?? Maybe it is considering the crisis we are having in our country, or better yet, in the whole world with people wanting their medication so badly and they can't afford it. Just here in Florida it is soooo bad! People will be with no medicine and ADAP has thousands of people on a waiting list! I bet you if they talked to me they would say, "HEY let's trade places!" I guess I would also! But we all go through our own cycles. So for now I am well, as I already knew my doctor told me everything is fine..etc etc.. and I am looking forward to Valentine's with my wifey/partner Lisa. We are going to see Andrea Bocelli!! Yay!

And then Feb 16, I will go see my rock (my mother) in Colombia! I really can't wait! This is something I look forward to every year! Nothing like home cooked meals from your mother and her love! She takes such good care of me! I mean, I get 120 percent nutrition over there. Everything is so natural! Time to RELAX, I really need this ...

I guess we all have fears ... I hope there will come a point where I don't have them anymore! Or less fear ... this is my goal.

I feel so much better, much more positive and calm.

Until the next time ...

Love and Light


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This article was provided by The Well Project. Visit The Well Project's Web site to learn more about their resources and initiatives for women living with HIV. The Well Project shares its content with to ensure all people have access to the highest quality treatment information available. The Well Project receives no advertising revenue from or the advertisers on this site. No advertiser on this site has any editorial input into The Well Project's content.
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Reader Comments:

Comment by: Anxiety (Chicago IL ) Mon., Apr. 30, 2012 at 1:15 pm UTC
This is right on time. I go for mine tomorrow and I am so worried about if my meds are working or being absorbed properly. I can't stand this .. This will only be my 4th lab work since being diagnosed. but man. I am at work just on edge about tomorrow and I could cry. I really wish I could get used to this process every 3 months but man, I have the worse anxiety around this time..
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Comment by: maria (miami) Sat., Mar. 5, 2011 at 5:07 pm UTC
Ty everyone for your kind words! we all are in it together! and I love all type of advice :) everything is a process and we are all and light! xoxo
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Comment by: adian (Europe) Tue., Mar. 1, 2011 at 6:20 am UTC
I have made my appointment with clinic in 3 weeks and I already feeling anxiety rising in me. Night before appointment my sleep is always very, very bad and sometimes even few days before. I always imagine that drugs will stop working despite fact I am 100% adherent. IT can be really exhausting thoughts....
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Comment by: Ted (Louisville) Wed., Feb. 23, 2011 at 2:20 am UTC
About a week before I'm due to give blood for my labs, I notice I start having much more anxiety. This remains until I see my doc and get the results. I'm not on meds yet, because I've had decent numbers. I've only known my status a short time, so I'm still coming to terms with it and deciding when to start meds.

Not being on meds, I do have anxiety about suddenly getting sick. The docs will tell me with a CD4 over 700, I'm not just suddenly going to get sick. However, I found out I was poz after getting bacterial pneumonia which crashed my CD4 to the AIDS category. Obviously, it recovered. But, I constantly think my numbers had to be just as good or better when I got sick with that, so why couldn't it happen again? So, I have the anxiety about learning my labs, whether to start meds, to worried about not being on meds.

It is too much sometimes, but I hope I will find peace as time goes by. Oh, like you, I went and got my labs once prior to my doc visit. However, I could not bring myself to look at them. I thought if they were bad, I may as well wait until my appt to find out. And, surely if they were really bad, my doc would call me. Probably not a good idea to count on them to notify you, but I wouldn't normally have had the results early anyway. So, I hope to get to a point where some I have talked to are at. Some tell me they rarely think about HIV and do not have anxiety anymore. I think that comes with time, but I think some are just that type--don't worry much about things they can't control, while others do.
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Comment by: colombian reader (chicago) Sun., Feb. 20, 2011 at 10:32 am UTC
i feel you maria,men this is worst than taking a big important text, and you wait for that result to see if you pass or fail.... but the most important thing is that you pass and we all will with the help og God. take care your self and say hi to all my colombian people, We all have to enjoy life while we can, God listen our prayers and he will help us. he alwways does.
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Comment by: Mike (Baltimore) Fri., Feb. 18, 2011 at 4:21 pm UTC
Keep taking your medicine hon and it may work forever. I have been taking Sustiva since 1997 when it was a study drug and it still does the trick. The only part worth any worry is "did I take my medicine today?" and if you did, you have done all you can about your HIV until your next dose. Viva la VIH revolution!
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Comment by: JT (Oklahoma) Fri., Feb. 18, 2011 at 2:43 pm UTC
I normally have decent blood pressure but let lab & lab review time come around & My BP shoots through the roof. This is a nerve wracking time. Even though my counts are good (at least for me), this process is upsetting, no matter how good the news is or how nice the Dr.s were.
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Comment by: Aaron (Poland, Indiana U.S.) Fri., Feb. 18, 2011 at 2:37 pm UTC
I look forward to reading your blogs every time you write one on the Keep up with your great information and educating others on our illness. Hugs and kisses Aaron
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Comment by: john (texas) Thu., Feb. 17, 2011 at 2:57 pm UTC
You are letting this anxiety get to you. I have been pos for 22 yrs and I really don't get overly anxious about test results. They are what they are for that moment in time. They are a trend to follow. Look at a serious of results over a couple of years not just one. Life is precious but it is also meant to be enjoyable and reasonably anxious free. It is not always as enjoyable as we like but if you follow and adhere to your meds, listen and talk to your doc....most of the time you will be fine. I'm amazed. I was diagnosised when I was 47...I will be 70 in June. Other than having a little more body fat than i would is not all bad. When the weather is good I go for 10 to 20 mile bike rides...not bad for 70 yo and I still have a full time job and work about 50 hrs a week! I am happy. You should be as well.
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Comment by: Miriam Martin (Vancouver, BC) Thu., Feb. 17, 2011 at 1:10 pm UTC
Maria, I don't think anybody would say that you are "complaining"! You express your anxieties well and I think you'd have to be a super hero not to have some anxiety, right? Don't be too hard on yourself!
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Time to Show My Face and Take the Stigma Away

Maria T. Mejia

Maria T. Mejia

I am a Colombian female who lives in Miami, Florida. I've been positive for 20 years. Although almost all my life I've been in long-term relationships with HIV-negative men, I am happily married to a woman who is wonderful and caring. We have been together almost three years and she is HIV negative. I have no children but we will look into having! I am an activist, a peer educator, a caregiver. I volunteered for the Red Cross in education for the Hispanic HIV community and also the American community. I was a pre- and post-test counselor. I have spoken in many conferences and done a lot of outreach in the community, especially in the schools for prevention and education. It is part of my everyday life to educate everyone I can on this subject. Being HIV positive is nothing to be ashamed about! We are strong women, and we will take away all the stigmas slowly but we have to open up.

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