Today i came from seeing my doc, whom i see every two months, to check on my stats. My load was 63,000 (from 97,000) and my cd4 count was 362 (from 388). Since my sero conversion 1 year 10 months ago my load has see-sawed from as low as 43,000 to as high as 335,000 but my cd4 count has steadily dropped from 673 to the current 362.
on my previous visit to my doc she wanted me to start thinking of meds as my friends. I guess she could tell i didn't look too favorably on them and she wanted to start changing my mindset because as she said one day i would eventually be on them. Of course i was hoping that that one day would be never.
There are two schools of thought regarding medications. one believes that a person should be placed on meds imeddiately so as to hit the virus fast and hard dfrom the very begginning of diagnosis and the other believe to let the individuals body do the work so long as their cd4 count not fall below 200 and their viral load exceed 100,000. Originally my doc was of the laissez faire school but now in light of new studies she seems to have a third view. The NIH (national Institute of Health)and WHO (World Health Organization) are conducting a new global study where they believe that treatment should begin as soon as ones cd4 count reaches 350 regardless of the viral load. My docs hospital is participating in the study.
She gave me a sheet of available meds broken up into family groups with composition of active ingredients, a picture of the pill, food and liquid considerations and available strengths. She felt that i should be aquainted with all that's available to me since luckily i have a strain that has never been exposed to any drug and have a seemingly limitless drug combination possibilities.
Now you have to understand that i'm a person who hates taking orders and always feel i must have choices and anything i do is because i chose to do it and not that i was forced or coerced into doing it. This whole med thing feels disempowering…it's either do it or else. What choice do i have then? Plus my doc said that this is something that i shouldn't do until i was ready because once i start i can never stop and there are dire consequences for missing/skipping a dose. As it is, she said that the meds would be "like oxygen" and just like i can't forget to breathe, i can't forget to take them or always have them in hand in case of any eventuality. ( i live in NYC so so far since 2001 we've had to major eventualities: 9/11 and the power outage of the eastern seaboard). As it is i already take syhthroid (which i affectionately refer to as my birth control since i have to take one a day for the rest of my life) in order to have a regular metabolism because my thyroid gland doesn't function properly. Now i have to contemplate additional pills that will be even more important . Suddenly i feel my life will revolve around my pills instead of my pills revolving around my life which brings me to the mental aspect of meds.
When i was diagnosed i had determined that i wouldn't let it hold me back. To this day i haen't cried about it which so many others find shocking and they tell me that sooner or later i will so i might as well get it over with. Honestly i don't feel the need. i don't think crying will make a difference plus i refuse to give myself a pity party. i was handed lemons so i'll make lemonade…what's the big deal? right? well i was able to get out of bed without my status being the first thing on my mind as well as go to bed without it being the last but now the prospect of meds drives it home that i'm not like everybody else, my life has changed and i'm forced to change with it. These meds would be a daily reminder of my chronic, unfortunate, but managable situation. I know i have to change my mindset but i'm only human and i guess that will come in time. Currently i'll have two months on which to brood and research my so called friends (the meds).
well thanks for listening (this is actually an abridged version of my first one because my super sensitive comp back paged on me as i was ready to post the original which was even more detailed and intense and this one captures the gist of the original, but go figure that on top of everything else to lose what i spent over an hour composing just to try to recreate was a bit daunting.)