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Pride and Secrets

Posted in friends, HIV, Personal, pozzie life with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2010 by iamhivpositive

It’s time. I told myself…

My friend, Madam, and I were walking along T. Morato when I suddenly felt the urge of telling him about my status. It was just so timely, it was gay pride and the theme is World Aids Day. I took a deep breath and tried to open my mouth but the words did not come out. I was… scared?

Madam is going to the States hopefully by next year and he told me that he is quite nervous about the medical examination that he is going to have. I asked him why and he said that the medical examination is ok, but he is dreading the HIV test! I asked why again and asked him if there are any possible risks that he might turn out positive. He said yes.

In the event, they was a van were rapid HIV testing is being conducted and I asked him if he would like to have it right there. He said no, he said he’s scared. I told him, it’s going to be alright and that I am going to be there with him, I even lied that I had mine just 2 weeks ago and there is totally nothing to be scared about. For the 3rd time, he said he was scared… I asked him why is he scared and he told me that he doesn’t know how he will react if ever that it turns out positive… Seeing the expression in his face stopped me from pushing in taking the test.

Our other friend, Hotelier, sent us a message informing that he is already in our meeting place. Yep, we decided to meet up and go out after I joined my first ever Gay Pride as part of the Yoga For Life contingent. He joined us in a bit and we decided to head to Starbucks. After ordering we took the table near the entrance so we could also see what’s going on outside. Madam started talking about an ex boyfriend who is trying to win him back after his long disappearance until we ended up talking about HIV again.

I don’t know what’s gotten into me but I suddenly blurted it out to both of them. They thought I was kidding then when they saw that I was serious, they became quiet and looked at me. The two of them have different reaction, Madam was a slightly emotional whilst hotelier was just very cool about it – I think. I explained to them everything, told them the story from the very beginning. How it all started. They were just listening… and I appreciated that. I even felt like crying. Madam tried to inject some humor in our very serious conversation to lighten it up a bit. I also smiled.

Our conversation ended with them asking me to go to a videoke and just belt it all out… which I did. I am happy that I have two more friends who accepted me wholeheartedly without judging me. I am happy that they support me and treats me the same. I am happy because I was able to talk about it again. I was happy that I am slowly becoming more open about it to the people around me. I am happy that night…

6 Months after

Posted in HIV, Medical, Personal, pozzie life, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2010 by iamhivpositive

At the start of November, I started waiting for a text from the SAGIP clinic of PGH. It has been six months already and it’s the time for my next CD4 test. 2 weeks have passed and still no text from my doctor or from the nurse so I decided to call them. Once I was put through to the clinic, the nurse told me that there are no available slots yet and they’ll just text me if there is a slot already. She asked for my number to double check if what they have on their chart is correct.

I sighed. I’m getting disappointed with how they are handling us their patients. But I tried to look at the bigger picture, it would really be difficult for them to schedule us since we are just sharing the machine from other “schools” (treatment hubs). And so I waited for another week until I can’t help myself and again gave them a ring.

The nurse told me that there is still no available slot for the CD4 test and that they are prioritizing the “baseliners” (first timers in taking their CD4 test). I felt… unimportant? So does that mean that since I am a second timer I should not be prioritized? My health is also at stake right?

She then asked me if I am willing to go RITM since there is more chance of me getting a schedule there. Even though that RITM is quite far from where I live, I said yes. I would rather travel far than wait for a schedule from SLH. It might be too late already before I get a schedule. And so after 2 days, I received a text message from the nurse telling me that I was scheduled Tuesday before 9am next week.

I woke up really early that day because I don’t want to be late. A friend asked me if I want to hitch a ride since he is also going to RITM that day. Lucky me considering all the trouble that I will be facing if ever I go there alone. I haven’t been to Alabang yet and I’m quite slow with directions. Hehehe.

We arrived early in RITM and so we decided to stay in the cafeteria first. The first thing I noticed about RITM is that it is isolated. It’s the only building, I think, in that area of Alabang. It was very quiet and there were a lot of trees that will give you a very calm feeling.

My friend went ahead and guided me to the clinic. He was greeted by the nurse I’ve been reading and hearing a lot, ate Anna. Her warm smile could really make you comfortable and homey. She asked me if I was with my friend and I said yes, she then asked me to sit beside her and got my recommendation letter. While she was reading the letter, she kept on telling me that life goes on… and I smiled.

Once again, my friend ushered me to the laboratory where they will have my blood extracted. The nurse who’s going to facilitate was quite young and I can tell that she is still a student. I smiled at her and told her not to make it hurtful. She smiled back. As expected, she had a hard time in extracting my blood since my veins easily pops (pumuputok) or as they say, “sumasayaw”. After roughly 15 minutes, I was on my way back to the clinic. I was happy that at last, I am done with my CD4 test all I need to worry now is just the result.

Wanna know my latest CD4 count….? From 759 6 months ago…. It’s now…. 795!!!!
Yehey!!!! I though that my CD4 is going to drop since I am not taking ARVs. But I was wrong, thanks to Centrum, Vit. E with Selenium, Poten Cee and most of all YOGA for boosting my CD4 up!

Promotion

Posted in Personal, pozzie life, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2010 by iamhivpositive

I messed up. I screwed it up. I failed. Epic fail. I think this is going to be another of my down falls this year… I just let an opportunity for me to be promoted pass… =(

Almost 2 months ago, 2 of my lovely office mates decided to resign and look for a better opportunity with other companies. Although it’s sad that they are leaving, it has opened 2 a new door for growth for us, their assistants. After 2 weeks, the position was opened and so 3 assistants applied, including me.

I can say that I am a strong contender as I am the most tenured in the position, thus making me the more experienced one. I am actually assuming the position already as I am, most of the time, doing what our bosses were doing. So without hesitation, I updated my resume and submitted it.

After 2 weeks of waiting, we were given our schedules for the interview. Monday at 2pm is my interview and Tuesday at 230pm will be for my 15 minute presentation. After accepting the meeting request in my outlook, my heart started pounding. I suddenly became nervous. I am really bad with interviews, the last 2 interviews I had, I totally screwed it up and of course, I was not successful. I immediately booked meeting requests for mock interview with some of my bosses. I will definitely need some help with this.

Now it’s time for me to think of what will I teach them for my demo. It has to be something new according to the invitation that they sent us. And since I am into yoga lately, I decided to teach them office yoga. I know I am just a beginner and needs to be trained before doing it, but c’mon, this is just a 15 minute presentation so I told myself, why not! And there I was, studying and making a power point presentation about office yoga.

The day of our interview arrived and I was at first, not nervous. But I noticed that time seems to run so fast and with it, the beat of my heart started to join its rhythm.In a few blinks, it was already 2pm and off I was to the venue of my interview. The interview started and honestly, some of the questions, I find it easy to answer but the others, I was really lost. Epic fail!

The next day came and it was time for my presentation. I was more nervous this day than yesterday. But there I was… trying to be conceal the nervousness that I was feeling. I felt like luck was really trying to play with me because before I start my presentation, I experienced some technical problems like there was no internet connection in the PC, my presentation not playing and the video attached to my presentation is not showing!!!! As I flick my presentation from 1 slide to the next one, the more that my heart is beating so loud, my knees started to shake and my sweat starting to fall. There was even a time where in I don’t know what I’m saying anymore because I just hear my heart beat. For the first time after a long time, I got scared with presenting in front of people…

I went out of the room not satisfied with what I did… and I know they was able to feel it… this is more than just a promotion to me…this is a fight that I want to end up winning because it’s one way of me telling HIV that “hey! even though you’re inside me, I am still good!, I can still get promoted!” shallow right? But it means a lot to me….
the results will be given tomorrow… wish me luck?

54!

Posted in Medical, Personal, pozzie life, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2010 by iamhivpositive

Sad, I trailed my way going to the SAGIP clinic of PGH. While walking there were a lot of flash backs in my head. Memories from 4 months ago… memories that I now have to fully let go.

I arrived 5 minutes before 1pm which is my check up schedule. I decided to put my back my happy mood since I have to let my doctor know that I’m doing fine. I knocked in the usual closed door of the small rectangular room. No one answered so I tried to open it, the small reception or nurse’s table was empty so I decided to open it a bit more. There was a girl, say early 30’s who was on the second cubicle and looked at me.

JunJun: Asan po yung nurse?
Lady: Ah, wala pa e… magwait na lang daw…

I thanked the lady and closed the door. I decided to wait outside and I texted my doctor informing him I was already outside. He replied back saying that I could come in and wait there instead. I went back to the clinic and took the visitor’s chair in front of the nurse’s desk. Dr. D suddenly popped out from the 2nd cubicle and asked me to go there. He asked me how I was and if I was living healthy and I told him everything that I have been doing. He was satisfied, I can say he was also happy hearing my happy stories.

He then took the weighing scale and prompt me to weigh myself and check my gain weight progress. I was soo excited and I even bragged that I gained weight. I told him he would be surprised. I carefully stepped on the machine and a little while, the number was clear… it’s 54. Yes, I am 54 kilos only. hahahaha. Dr. D smiled.

Dr. D: sige nga, tingnan natin kung nag-gain ka talaga…

He took a folder with my name on it, check my lab results until he found what he was looking for. My previous check up files. He smiled. Then said, it’s also 54!

APE

Posted in Medical, Personal, pozzie life, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2010 by iamhivpositive

All of us in the department was surprised when we received the notification email. The HR department sent us our schedules for our Annual Physical Exam or APE. It was too early, we usually have APE on the latter part of the year but how come it’s different this year? It was the last week of May. We are only given two weeks to finish have our APEs and of course, Filipino mentality, we decided to have ours on the last day.

I wasn’t scared nor nervous when I had my physical exam. I think I was already used to the needles, the doctors and the smell of the hospital. The only thing that I am not looking forward to is the blood extraction for the CBC count. I think I associated blood extraction already with HIV that’s why. The Medical Technician had a hard time looking for my vein that’s why he ended up pricking me 3 times! I know right?!? I felt like I was a cross stitch pattern as he even moved the needle left to right while the needle is under my skin. Ouch! I had my chest x-ray afterward and the doctor consultation. During the consultation, the doctor asked me if I am feeling anything different… I said no… And that was the truth. He also asked me if I am taking any medication, I told him I’m taking multivitamins, Vit C and Vit E… he scribbled something in his notes. He then asked me if I had any surgeries done, I said no, I lied. He then smiled and said I’m done and I could go back to the office.

After almost 2 months of waiting, finally we received another email from our HR department that our results are in and is ready for pick up. Mommy (one of my colleagues) handed me my result and I eagerly opened it. I was waiting for this since weeks ago. I immediately hurried and grab the results and I just ignored the x-ray. I was browsing the results and summing it all up, it reads NO PROBLEM… I smiled. I then looked at my chest x-ray result and my eye brows raised… it says:

Chest X-ray: Abnormal
Chest X-ray result: Faint densities in the periphery of the right upper lobe
Recommendation: For Apico-Lordotic view Chest X-ray of the right upper lobe

Honestly, I don’t know what it means but my heart started beating faster. I feel like my heart wants to get out of my chest. I hurriedly look at the x-ray film but it looks normal. Questions started popping in my head…

what does this mean?
Am I sick again?
Do I need to be hospitalised again?
What do I need to do?

Panic was eating me and my focus was lost. I sat in a chair and mommy told me not to worry and we’ll just ask Sweety (another colleague) what it is since she is a licensed RT. I tried to compose myself. Mommy’s right. I need not to worry since I am living a healthy lifestyle. In fact, there might be a mistake since I also just had my x-ray last April and it was clear. It says in the result that everything is normal. Before the day ended, I texted babe (as you all know, he is a medicine student), Lil J (registered nurse) and Nurse A (from his name, registered nurse) if they know what it means. Nurse A immediately replied saying I should ask a doctor instead.

The following morning, I woke up to a brand new day and I found one new message in my inbox. It was from Little J saying the same thing like what Nurse A said, don’t panic, ask a doctor first or go for a follow up check up. I am less worried now since I was already able to rest and clear my mind from last night. I know I don’t need to worry and I need to wait for what the doctor will tell me since it says there I need to have another x-ray. For sure, the company will ask me to have a follow up check up since my result came back abnormal. After a few minutes, I received a message from Babe and he answered it in a very “doctorish” way… he asked me if I have a fever or cough and then explain to me that the infiltrates can just be artifacts and should be correlated with what I’m feeling. However, considering that I am immunocompromised, my body may not be able to mount the usual immune response to diseases like TB and pneumonia. He then asked me how was my CD4 count. Honestly, I only understood half of what he said but I replied saying he was of big help and my cd4 was high and it is 759.

When I got into the office, I immediately looked for Sweety and asked her what the result meant. She said that I need to have my upper chest be x-rayed again to check if I might have early signs of TB. My jaw dropped. TB?!? I started to get scared again… I think she noticed my reaction and told me that I need not to worry until I have my next x-ray result. She said that the result might be due to the bad positioning when I had my x-ray. I hope so. But the word TB marked in my head and I can’t stop myself thinking about it. Again, questions started popping in my head:

Does this mean, I will have TB anytime soon?
I will be hospitalised again?
Am I dying soon?

I shook my head. The last thing I need is to worry. With my worrying, I might really end up dying early so I decided to wash it off my mind and continue the day… Hopefully, this is something that I really need not to worry about… again, I’m scared… =(