2-2-72 or $2,272

– the first is my birthday… the second is the monthly cost of the “cocktail” of anti-viral drugs. Good sign?

My viral load is 1,721,387… I’m off work and doing “in home isolation” until it gets below 48. And, no, you’re reading that correctly… no misplaced decimal points or anything like that.

My CD4 is 119… needs to be much higher…

there are a bunch of other numbers that are “off”… but I’ll tell you one thing… the one that’s scaring me the most is the one with the dollar sign in front of it…

How am I supposed to work, to get insurance, to pay for meds, to make me better when I’m not allowed to contact anyone?

When I was in the hospital 2 years ago, I was in isolation for 12 days… I guess this is better than that… but still..

So… I locked up this blog while trying to emotionally accept this DX… not “deal” or “be ok with”… but at least get thru the denial part…

I’ll meet with the insurance people and the case managers over the next 2 days and see what works out…  Thanks for all the support… sorry to have run away… I’m sure you guys understand…

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too soon?

one of the many symptom I’ve been having is diarrhea… yes I’m sure you did NOT want to hear that… but you know what… I didn’t really ever want to hear I was HIV positive…

It’s not anything new to me or my family… my sister and step-dad are lactose intolerant, and since my gastric bypass, if I eat anything too greasy, I too, am blessed with the urgent poo…

so tonight for dinner we had cheese-burgers & tot’s… I dip my tot’s in “pink sauce” which is either mayo & ketchup or mayo & BBQ sauce mixed together. So when my tummy started grumbling, I excused myself to go to the bathroom and the sister said “what, are you lactose intolerant like me now?” and I quickly retorted “no, I have AIDS”…

it didn’t garner the laugh I was hoping… guess I’ll have to wait a bit before I try and lighten things up.

I don’t have Cancer…

I’m HIV+ and I might have AIDS

… go head and deal with that shock… I’ll wait….

I have been tested for the HIV Virus at least 7 times in the last 15 years. The first time was when I was in college. The second, third and fourth times were at Pride in San Francisco over the years… and I’m only remembering 3 years for sure, but I’ve been cheek swabed every year I attended Pride. The fifth time was when I went into the hospital in 2007. The sixth time was December 2008. The most recent time was a week ago.

Every single test showed negative. Allow me to repeat myself… I have never had any suspicion I was infected with the HIV. I do not fall into any “at risk” group.

So… how does that work… how I understand it, the HIV test most often used tests for the antibody… not the virus itself. So this past week they decided to do a Viral screen…  this  test measures the amount of HIV in the bloodstream. And I have it.

Me… a middle class, educated, straight, never used drugs white girl.

The specialist I spoke to yesterday seems to think that I’ve had it at least 10 years. According to studies anyway… I’ve got a chart thingy that kinda sorta explains it… but it says one to ten years… so who the fuck knows when, how or who I got it (from).

I spent yesterday making phone calls… emotionally I’m somewhat numb and I think that making the calls in that state has made it easier. It was rough to have to tell people that I, at one point was very close to,  “look, I know we used protection, but you need to go get tested.”.

When I sat down to make the list of people I needed to call… it was suprisingly not nearly as long as I thought it was going to be… I guess my best friend was right when she told people I’m a kissing slut… I kissed LOTS of boys… but only slept with a handful… and all but one of them I used condom’s with.

The specialist yesterday said I’m never going to figure out exactly how I contracted this disease… and that doesn’t matter any more… we just need to get me on the med’s and keep me healthy. He also said with todays available choices… I’m gonna live til I’m 80! AIDS and HIV are now considered a chronic disease… like Diabetes. If it’s treated correctly it can be kept under control…

I’m not going to tell anyone except my family, only because in small towns that kind of thing can ruin all hope of living a “normal” life. My family is very supportive. Scared, but supportive… but I’m hoping I’ll get more support here.

So… what’s my plan? What now? I don’t know… I call yet another specialist on Monday to get going with treatment.

If you’ve been given this URL from me… it’s because I care about you and get the impression you give a shit about me. If you don’t… that’s fine. You can continue on your merry way. I don’t expect anything from any of you… I just really didn’t want to keep you in the dark after 2 years of mystery.

Final thought… I’m repeating myself… but I cannot close this entry without saying this…

I’m smart, educated and knowledgable. My uncle died of AIDS in 1995. I’ve done the AIDS  Walk and the AIDS dance-a-thon a dozen times. I sometimes wear an “Until There’s A Cure” bracelet that I bought when my uncle was first diagnosed! I’ve never done any illegal drug, other than smoke pot with my best girl friend in college. (It made me sleepy and headachey, so I didn’t do it often). I am an anglo female who sleeps with men. In other words, I do not fall into ANY risk groups.

I’d like to keep it as simple as “Go get tested.” But ya know, that didn’t work for me. So I’m gonna say… if something doesn’t feel right… keep on the doc’s until they have exhausted every single option. I could have been treating the virus for almost 2 years now if the hospital hadn’t have “given up” and sent me home just because we got my fever under control…

I should have demanded more tests before going home. But I was so sick, and so ready to just go home…. If they could have diagnosed the PCP at that time, things would be a bit different now!

I’ve created a new e-mail account for all things HIV/AIDS related. I’m more than willing to discuss anything and everything using that address.

Any of you who know my real name, meaning the one on my birth certificate, please don’t share this URL without checking with me first… I really appreciate it.

For those of you who know me as my blogging alias, share the URL all you want and let them know it’s me, but I’m going to keep this blog “name free” for the time being.

I’ll still answer emails sent to my other address… but I’m trying to not have the two worlds collide too much, if that makes sense…

OK… I feel like I’ve ventured into ramble-ville… so for now, I’ll end this post on a positive (no pun intended) note…. at least it’s not Cancer, right?