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.

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#Grindr Problems

Every gay person on this planet prolly has Grindr. If not all, maybe 90%. From cruising singles to kinky dissatisfied couples, it’s an avenue to meet others in a least conventional way.

Seeing in different perspectives, from normal gay guys to PLHIV’s. I don’t really equate PLHIV as “not normal” beings but rather I want to imply that there are instances specific to us that may or may not be experienced the by lesser evils.

Yes, we are on using Grindr. But for what? Hookups, meetups, just to kill time while chatting and if it comes to that — relationships. Ok, given these reasons, what’s next? That’s the story here.

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First
Human Instinct

need for human instinct

Us PLHIV’s also have the need for human instinct. Sex.

Disclaimer
As long as you are responsible enough, doing it safe and knows how to do it in accordance to the unwritten rules, then I think it’s fine.

You met this guy online. The perfect time and place. You’re both into each other and decided to get into action. Everything went fine and you expect another session of this sooner or later and you eventually found out, you’re both PLHIV’s? Surprise, you have something in common! What happens next? I don’t know, it’s up to you. You can be BFFs (best fucking friends) or go up a notch.

The question is, how in the world you know that he’s also one and he know that you are also one. There are many ways but perhaps there are 2 ways. You saw his medication on the table (just shows how lousy your sex partner is) or at the end of your steaming action, there were this hunch and sense. Pretty awkward.

Second
Lost opportunity

A lost opportunity

There are times when you’re desperate, lonely and empty.
And for us PLHIV’s, it’s quite hard to look for a date. Not all are willing to date someone who has HIV (but thank you Analise #HTGAWM for showing the world it’s possible)
Suddenly opened your Grindr, met this cute hot nice guy. Emphasis on “cute hot and nice”. Had sex and you think you are very compatible. Your mind overcome this notion that this is not just good sex, a cute hot guy is so nice like a prince charming, like a one in a million catch in the Pacific ocean?

Now you start to get anxious of how well this will go. You know that this is something and finally he asked you for a movie date? Sounds cliche but it happens. The bad part is, you initially had sex. You plan to disclose your status in the long run but since you are anxious enough if what will happen, it branches out of whether he might get mad for you not telling him right away, trust issue, rejection, yada yada.. and you decided to just disappear. Out of the blue. Like a meteorite entering in to Earth’s atmosphere, slowly burning and disappearing to a meteor. Waiting for another hundred years for another asteroid. Now this experience added to your existing emotional burden. A lost opportunity.

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Third
Condemned AF

it would have gone out far

I know this somehow applies to all of us.

There’s this cute guy in Grindr you’ve been lurking for days. Finally sends you a message, asking you to meet and have coffee or something. He’s cute, he acts nice. The first date was great and you decided to do it again. he got your trust and eventually you spill the beans. The beautiful world of unicorns and pancakes tumbled down. He’s grossed out, he thinks you’re a filthy animal because you have HIV, he dislikes you, looked at you from head to toe. Then there goes your heart ache. Not because you expected something, but the shame you got. The regret of getting this lifetime gift re-surged. Thinking if only I don’t have this, it would have gone out far.

What does these mean? If it ain’t easy for you, what more for us? Always keep it safe.

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. ***

Ten Things From Dallas Buyers Club

The Oscar season is up again. This is the time where I watch all possible movies nominated in the “Best Picture” category and some other “Bests” as well.

One of them is Dallas Buyers Club, the plot revolves around the onset HIV pandemic during the late 1980’s. No, I won’t tell the storyline or be a spoiler.

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Ten things you may learn after watching Dallas Buyers Club

1. Death is inevitable, you just prolong it. If it is your time, then it is your time. “Dare to Live”.
2. This era is a lucky one, where there are more than a handful of medications to choose from.
3. Appreciate what you have.
4. HIV is not just about being a gay man, but it is for everybody.
5. People can still love you after all.
6. Take chances, the only regret you’ll make is not giving it a try.
7. Break the rules, I mean get out of the comfort zone. This is where all the magic begins.
8. Don’t be a homophobe. Period.
9. Let go of the past. It happens for reason.
10. HIV is not a death sentence.

Great job Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto (this one’s a hot guy).

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.