Note: If you are a newer reader/viewer quick update: I am an HIV+ Lesbian, due to IV drug use in my 20’s. I have lived with this diagnosis for almost 20 years now, and probably was infected 23 years ago, during my last active using time. I have lived with this issue very successfully, happily and compliantly (mostly) for a very long time and consider myself lucky – and just too fucking stubborn to let it interfere with my life.
So, my week was looking pretty good, I had a doctor’s appointment with the infectious disease (I hate that description) specialist on Tuesday and I was pretty optimistic that things were going to come back great with my blood work that was done the previous Thursday. I feel good, look good and things seemed to be better overall in the health department, I was keeping up with my medication protocol and being good. So I headed to the appointment at 3pm on Tuesday, arrived and weighed in…not bad, no weight loss or gain, steady and solid. Did the preliminary stuff with the nurse and waited on the doctor for a couple of minutes.
The doctor came in, asked how I felt and immediately told me my blood pressure was high today. Odd, I NEVER have had a high reading in my life, always ran on the low side. But I did go through some road rage and smoked a couple of butts before arriving so we wrote it off to that. Then she said, “Well, your blood work came back with some troubling numbers.” And I about fell out of the chair. WHAT? HOW? WHAT DO YOU MEAN “TROUBLING”???
Seems that my CD4 count had DROPPED from 400 3 months ago, after a short time on the new med regimen, and my viral burden had dropped WAY down. But this current test showed my CD4’s had DROPPED to 151…I felt like a bottle of Bacardi. (heh). No Way. It’s the LOWEST reading I have ever had. And it freaks me out to be below 200 because the CDC Gods want to slap that AIDS diagnosis on you when you do drop below that number. No way did I want or need that diagnosis hanging over my life. I was in shock. How could this BE???
So here’s the kicker. My viral burden (the amount of HIV detected in my blood) came back as “undetectable” and my CD4/CD8 percentage had risen from 20 3 months ago to 30 on this recent test – both EXCELLENT and expected results! Both mean that I have been taking my medications and they ARE working…so why the drop in CD4’s??? A puzzling and worrisome question for both me and my doctor. And very disheartening for me.
I am continuing on the multi-drug cocktail and hoping (praying) that this is some kind of lab error on the test. I am scheduled to retest in mid August and hope that the new results will reflect more favorably. In the meantime I go up and down with my reaction to this devastating news. Part of me (and all my family and friends) says wait and retest and don’t get wound up about it. The other part, the dark side, has been planning my funeral.
In the meantime, I have to be careful about being around groups of people; or putting myself at risk by coming into contact with sick people in any way. I am generally careful about this already, but this 151 test result has me hyper-vigilant. HIV has never frightened me – until this week. I’ve always held the belief that I CAN beat this and last til there’s a cure. And while my resolve has been shaken, I somehow am still holding on to that dream.
Thanks to my awesome cyber friends, viewers on Youtube and readers here. I do truly appreciate your support and you input in comments. Hang in there with me, I’ll be around here a long ass time writing and vlogging about the life and thoughts of MainelyButch! Peace!