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.

Capture11

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. ***

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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?

cd4

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.

 

Bottle Disposal

Went to RITM last Monday for another refill of my ARV’s. I came at around 10am and was surprised on how many patients waiting for their cd4 results. There are quite a few and my turn was at the 61st queue! Just wow.

Good thing I have given spare PHILHEALTH forms so there was no need to fill out and wait in vain. After a few minutes, my number was called and guided to nurse’s station for ARV prescription. One thing I don’t like with this male nurse is how he approached me while conducting this mini interview… I missed around 4 doses of Combivir last month and he was calculating my adherence score. He asked a stricking question of WHY?… I answered sarcastically, I KNOW, BEEN USING IT FOR 3 YEARS.

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Instead of staying longer inside the clinic and prolly contemplating to argue more.. I decided to relax outside and came to see an old friend. Made some catch up and had lunch together.

I have brought a paper bag for my ARVs. More convenient than bringing big bags. Now the problem is how do I dispose these boxes and bottles…? My mom doesn’t know about my status and it ia kinda hard to just leave these unattended.

HIV and ARV adherence

Thia is my 3rd year of being HIV positive. I got my first ARV – lamivudine, zidovudine and nevirapine, I got excited coz I know these are life savers. I had the chance to switch to Efavirenz as opposed to Nevirapine due to side effects. It took me more than a year to cope with EFV’s neuro-psychological effects. As of the moment, I can pretty say I can manage whatever EFV is to throw. I can even do my travels while being ‘high’ with Efavirenz.

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The first 2 years of my medicine intake, 100% adherence rate. Thankful as my CD4 level went up the hill to its current 710 mark. But this 3rd year is quite different, I no longer excited to take my medicines, alarms and notifications are slowly degrading my on time performance. There was even a month where I missed 3-4 doses. Hype is no longer with me.

I feel weak, depressed and ‘purpose-less’.