written Monday April 21st, 2008
I got some good news today... I felt it would be not only irresponsible, but downright foolish if I didn't share this quickly. About 6 weeks after beginning to take HIV medication, last Tuesday, I went for a check-up with my doctor to get labs(bloodwork) done. On that same day, I started having a cough that just did not want to go away. I thought it was strange because I hadn't been feeling any kind of symptoms that usually come up when I feel like I'm catching a cold or getting sick. By Wednesday, the cough persisted and I also started feeling kind of weak, and chilly. All of this was weird to me mainly because the day before when I got labs done and saw my doctor for a check-up, he told me everything looked and sounded fine. As the week progressed, I continued to feel a bit 'under the weather' and wound up missing a couple of days from work (and rehearsal). Over the weekend, I'd planned to be away on a retreat that would allow me some time to rest, relax, have fun, eat, and bond with some friends.
I wound up not going on this retreat and instead staying home to rest and recover from what my doctor diagnosed as some kind of viral/upper respiratory infection. There wasn't much of anything in the way of medicine that I could take to make this thing go away, except lots of REST, some cough syrup and lots of Vitamin C (the usual things associated with the common cold...etc.)
Over the weekend, by Saturday specifically I started to feel a bit better although I still stayed home and rested, slept, watched television, slept, and...yea...you get the point.
While home this past weekend, I updated the BSC site and did some writing I had been meaning to get done, but did not for some reason update this particular area (Life on the Inside) mainly because I didn't have the submission from the individual I wanted to showcase. I thought about typing up a short follow up about myself, updating people on how things had been since last month when I was experiencing the first couple weeks of being on HIV meds. For whatever reason, that did not happen, UNTIL TODAY.
Now I know why that is...prior to today I had planned to just say a few things about how everything had started to even out after the first couple of weeks on the medication and that I was no longer feeling like I was losing my mind (as I reported last month here). Today, after speaking to my doctor to follow up about how this viral thing was coming along, I also got back the results from the labs I had done last Tuesday. My doctor informed me that my viral load was now UNDETECTABLE according the the labs and that my CD4 and blood cell counts were in good shape. Needless to say, I was shocked and overjoyed to get this news. The medication I've been taking (which threw my world into a tailspin for the first couple of weeks), has actually worked wonderfully with my system and has gotten my viral load down to being undetectable in a matter of roughly 6 weeks.
The moral of the story is this...I think back on how judgemental, scared, & nervous I was about having to start treatment and I now see that all of that was necessary in order for me to sit where I am today recounting the story. I could elaborate more, but there really is no need. I just wanted to share this story about how I let fear and uncertainty rule me initially during this process only to come through it all shortly thereafter in a much healthier mental, physical, & emotional place.
Yes, I will continue to take the medication, yes I may still be faced with stress and all that life brings, but the way I respond to it is what I've made a choice to change. No matter what comes and goes, I just have to do what I said I'd do last month...take it one breath, one thought, one day at a time. Now, I just add TRUST to that recipe...as long as I do that, I'm always gonna be fine.