Goals for 2017

It’s been a while since my last blog post. I’m not really running out of ideas but rather having inconsistencies when it come to creating one, and this 2017, one of my goals is to at least post once a month. Along with this, I have primary goals for this year. One is to acquire a skills certification, I’m still deciding yet what certification course to take. I’m already eyeing some IT certification classes like ITIL or Project Management. There’s also a possibility to take Quality Assurance, anything related to ISO practices and even passing a Civil Service examination. Honestly, at this point in time, I’m still in the middle of a quarter-life crisis and pretty malleable where to go. But for now, my aim is to improve and widen my skill set to help me achieve my long term goals.

Travel more and further is another goal for this year. I’m starting to scrap the non-essential things to spend like weekly hanging out, dinner, movie, Starbucks and what not. I also started to save using a piggy bank to effectively save for a year end travel. If not plausible, by 2018. I’m also trying to complete all ASEAN countries, only 3 more to go – Myanmar, Laos and Brunei. Not a priority but an achievement if I can make it. Maybe I can also share some of my travel experiences here? (I know there’s a lot to say lol).

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Fourth is of course maintaining my well being. The golden rule of PLHIV is to take care of themselves and the least thing I can do is take my medications religiously. MY target is to aim for 100% adherence and maintain my undetectable viral load status. Practice safe sex is still a priority. It doesn’t mean I can go wild and rowdy with this undetectable status. So please, take care of yours too. We don’t want to go the hospital asking the doctor to remove a growing cauliflower in your butthole or be tested positive in Herpes or Chlamydia and die. Improving my aesthetic part is also in progress.

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Fifth, improve and boost my mental health. Not that I’m crazy or Schizophrenic, but rather to alleviate the depression I’m going through. Lessening the burdens one at a time. I know it may take a while but I have been in constant effort of doing so. In line with this, seeking improvements in my self esteem. Reducing the need to be social anxious. Try getting new sets of friends,but of course, by choosing them wisely. I’m not getting any younger.

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Lastly, maybe stay committed to achieve these. No one can really help but myself. I know it will be hard but I’d rather try. I have given up and I think another chance has been bestowed. SO why not.

How about you, do you have goals for this year? Write it down and let me know, maybe we can share some ways on how to achieve it.

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Love in the Time of Diarrhea

Not unknown to RITM-ARG patients about the empowerment training they conduct to recently diagnosed patients. It gives you some psychological activities to help you with your diagnosis. Similar to a counselling activity but on a much conducive way. You are pooled to join a single weekend-long activity, thus the probability of meeting new friends is very likely.

I once dated a guy from the only empowerment activity I attended to. It wasn’t really a planned dating scheme, we were both vulnerable that time.

His CD4 count was way low, a single digit count. Can be considered an AIDS case. He was on Azithromycin and Co-Trimaxazole prophylaxis, got rashes all over, pretty much an overly obvious HIV patient. He, that time, has an ongoing opportunistic infection that causes diarrhea. Long term diarrhea. He mentioned he has it for like 6 months, and coz of that, he was very thin, sick looking guy. His case didn’t really bother me in dating him.

He showed me a some of his photos. A big difference of what he was before and the time he’s suffering from that diarrhea.

Just like any other dates, it was a normal one. There’s no wall between us that I’m a healthy HIV patient and he’s not. We go out mostly on weekends, went to some gay parties, met some of his friends, he met some of mine. I even brought him home to sleep over – which I rarely do to a guy.

Eventually everything starts to slow down. He was a bum that time, got no work. He’s unable to get a job due to his ongoing sickness and he only depends on how much his family can give him. So meeting up with him on a weekly basis starts to decline. If we ever do meet, the price for me is really expensive since I have to shoulder him.

I encourage and put my efforts on helping him land a job. I even tried referring him to my company that time. But his persistency is not as high as I want him to have a job. It wasn’t for us, but it was for him.

His attitude slowly came up as being immature and we always had fights and weird arguements. We manage to survive a couple more months but it became unhealthy.

I then decided to call it quits. I need to let go of the struggle and loosen the bottleneck. I know it will be healthier for us and maybe he can concentrate further on improving his health. We ended up quarreling before ending it up.

Years after, he added me up on Facebook trying to stay in touch. His health has improved a lot and cured from his OI. We lost contact after.

Now, I tried looking for profile and saw he’s gone out working in a different country. He’s happy with his boyfriend, got a new car, looks healthy andof course no more diarrhea.

I know I made the right choice calling our so called “dating” quits. He stood back up on his feet, rebuilt his health and now successful and happy. Definitely no regrets, I’m actually happy for him. I remember those days where he rushes to the toilet.

We Can’t Stop

It has been 4 (four) months since my last post. Pardon me for not really keeping up. I was busy for the last months or should I say I tend to slouch so much due to my ample time but decides to procrastinate more. Blogging was out of the way.

Let me regain the momentum and start if off with my anniversary blood test (RITM-ARG July 11, 2014). It was a routinary day, after work I then gush my way to Alabang. Good thing, a good friend of mine was also scheduled that day. No awkward and dull moments. An hour has passed, I arrived RITM and met my friend. The ARG entrance was packed with other patients, this was one unusual thing. It seems to be that they newly implemented a new security pact wherein no outsiders can enter the premises without permission. Makes sense to me, but everything went downhill when more and more “scheduled” patients flocked the entrance gate. The security’s new measure was a total disaster, it is already 8am and we were supposed to be at the clinic by this time having out blood extracted before cutoff time.

The crowd and system were at chaos, it seems the newly implemented security measure was half-baked and wasn’t even risk managed. This new measure made the existing poor process more uneventful. Stacking our patience up, (OH I STILL HATE THAT SECURITY GUARD – capslocked for emphasis) they let us in and queues were called. I’m up for queue 11, not bad. I also notice how patient volume has gone down as compared before.

Blood tests done, xray done, PPD done, I didn’t submit specimen for the rest, that’s my routine. Important things to know are CD4, Viral Load, CBC, cholesterol level.

The most exciting, excruciating, agonizing and torturous part of the day has come. The waiting time. Yes, from what I heard, unlike the other hubs, you can wait for your results. You just have to shell out a lot of patience, time and all the past time that you can spare. Go eat to the cafeteria, strut your way from the grassy lands to the nearby mall or just sit under a tree shade and watch people pass by. I prefer the latter, it really keeps me entertained.

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Had a chitchat and bunch of catch up with my good friend, (@kerouacPOZ). Also saw some familiar faces, 3 cute guys, one of which I was able to locate in Facebook. Endured the heat of the day. Oh, did mention how I STILL HATE THAT SECURITY GUARD?

I decided not to take the consultation as it will eat a big chunk of my time. By 1PM PST, I just wanted to go home. Take a shower and rest. Around 230PM PST, results were out and those waiting for the results, just to see the numbers, were called out. I got mine and I’m totally happy with it. BUT STILL, I HATE THAT SECURITY GUARD.

My new CD4 as of July 11, 2014 is 720 up by 207 units. A record breaking feat. The highest among the rest. It is a fluctuating trend. I’ll try to update on the next blog entry what I did so you out there can have an increase too.

***Wondering why “We Can’t Stop”? When 4 vials of blood were being extracted, Miley Cyrus did her thang. OH, I remember that medical staff who wears eyeglasses. ***

Back to Basics

As soon as I on my way home from RITM-ARG, I need to eradicate this hospital mask. During my transit, I am contemplating what happened during the course of time where my CD4 was at its peak. I have to admit it, there was complacency on my end. After learning that I’m on the upward trend, an onset of being unconcerned compared to what was like before.

I have created a simple graph of my CD4 flow since this HIV thing started to show my trend. This is not a sales report ok?

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The 2013 CD4 result came erroneous,  it should have been around 650++ and not 740 as previously posted. As the plot say, it is on a fluctuating state. Which is understandable, I believe most of us do have this setting. There are 3 sides of the coin, (literally there 3 sides of the coin) either

That 2012 result you see above was in error and it should have been a plateau or
That 2014 result was also in error or
I was really complacent and took lesser care of myself.

Regardless, I got no time for any blame, regret or what not. What is important is how to make this rise again. From the ashes – as much as possible, not fall below the 500 threshold. I’m going to make a list of what I was previously doing that were halted. Maybe this may come in handy for you too. #youarewelcome

  • Anti-retroviral drug adherence

Way back, I was too excited to take my medicines. I even remember them even before the alarm strike. But recently, I do the Mañana Habit. Not really on a procrastinating end, but when the alarm strikes, I take it 5 minutes later. Sometimes up to a point where I forget. I must regain the enthusiasm of taking ARV’s, being on time and not skipping any time of the day. Faithfulness must be restored. The link below may help you further improve your adherence, it may look too text-heavy but there’s a tabled summary for you to check. Go here.

  • Sleep deprivation

My circadian cycle has been heavily disrupted since I started working graveyard. Sleeping during night is still more desirable than a 10-hour interrupted sleep at day. Wonder why I’m working at graveyard? I can’t really do anything about it, the downside of working for an IT company. Well at least here in the Pacific. The only solution I can foresee? Look for normal daytime job which I am now doing.

  • Exercise

Years ago, I tend to go out on a weekly basis to play volleyball with other PLHIV’s. I remember this, that’s 3 years ago. Gawd, I haven’t been to strenuous activities aside from the seasonal trek and travels. This year, will definitely enroll myself to a gym. Two birds with one stone.

  • Supplement intake

I did took multivitamins, those 1,000-in-1 type. It seemed helped but I suddenly stopped. This could have contributed to this mess. I also stopped taking green-tea related stuff, like tea and frap. This week, I will be buying new sets of multivitamins, including the generic ones plus Selenium alone and green tea extracts, tea bags and other similar produce. You might want to try it yourself.

  • Emotion-related shit

Very subjective. They say, just be happy. Well fuck, I’m gonna strut my stuff. Will devote more time writing new posts, blog more and share (not all or with small detail) my running 4 years of being PLHIV.

 

Latest CD4 count

Firstly, I’d like to greet everyone a happy New Year.

As of this writing, I’m here at RITM-ARG and will be having a CD4 test and medication refill. I just came from office and it is now 8:15am. Now seated at the waiting area being #19 from the line. The tv is set at HBO playing Boardwalk Empire (I wish this was Teen Wolf) and lucky I am seated near the entrance door so I have a first hand glimpse of who is entering. So far, it is not yet crowded. I dunno why.

Every guy is wearing his hospital mask, nothing fancy. No bling blings, nothing bedazzled. I hate wearing this mask, makes me uncomfortable from the warm breath I give. I also smell the after taste of that macchiato — gross. What makes it more gross, this mask I am wearing is 7 months old.

***Three new guys entered the room, one looks like a gigolo. No one interests my attention as of the moment.

Clever guys use the mask as camouflage, match it with shades and they can hide their identity.

I now find it cumbersome everytime I go here. Am no longer feeling the homy environment, everything is too formal. I just miss the old ARG days, when Ate Ana was heading every patient. I always mention this on my previous posts. Lucky those who had her.

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***people are now starting to build up. My number hasn’t been called yet and it is already 8:35am, leas than an hour for the cd4 test cut off.

Finally, my turn. The PHILHEALTH officer reminded me that there’s a new CF1 form effective 2014, so better check yours. Am now at the Clinical Laboratory, waiting for my turn for blood extraction. Surprisingly, only few patient at schedule.

***there are 2 bystanders by the bench staring ridiculously at me and my seatmate. What do they want? Am good at eye fuxcking, maybe they’d want that too.

***at last! Some mentos!

Done with extraction and there’s nowhere to go. Confused coz nurse said to wait at ARG, kinda new.

I have read a bulletin where they filed a legal case against a former staff, hmmm.. how sad, she was friend of mine. I’ve heard too many issues with ARG recently.

***results will be released after lunch, still 10am. #longwait – yes that’s hashtagged.

Timecheck – 11:40am. Still waiting here at ARG. Flocks of guys poured in, seems they know each other. I don’t mingle. I don’t feel like doing it, I want my own space. They sound nosy. I may no longer go to work later to cope with sleep.

***saw a familiar face. A Facebook friend. You can’t hide your face with that mask, I know your eyes and noseline. Bitch

After hours of waiting, the results were in. My new CD4 count is 513, I now decided to have a consultation on what to do. I hope there’s no inclination to change medications yet.

Timecheck – 2:07pm, I thought I can go home. Not yet. Falling in line for consultation. The adjacent corridors are flooded with kids, maybe from dog bite section and due to measles outbreak. There are a few cuties, one wearing red long sleeve, one wearing a blue quarter sleeve.

Timecheck – 2:29pm, consultation is over. Doctor said to wait for July’s cd4 test. See if it will go on a downward trend or fluctuate like my previous results. I asked what will replace what, he said Combivir + Tenofovir. Hemoglobin is normal though.

Once I got home, will be assesing why this downtrend happened. Will keep you posted.

Ciao.