Archive for screening

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!

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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… =(

Lunch Date

Posted in lovelife, Medical, Personal, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2010 by iamhivpositive

I found myself inside one of the karaoke cubicles in timezone.  I was sad and I needed to vent out.  I immediately took the song book look for a high song and entered it in the karaoke machine and sang my heart out.  I picked Michael Bolton’s “I can go the Distance… ”  I just felt the need to sing this song as well to make myself  stronger… for me to believe that I can still go far even though I have “it”… I know, you might be thinking that I’m emotional or a drama queen…but at that moment, I was thinking that I already reached the dead end and I can never make a U turn anymore… that everything I’ve worked for all went to waste just because of a night of being irresponsible… that all my plans are no longer possible….

I calmed myself and decided to distract myself  after realising that I am in a public area… there were already some people who were looking at me and wondering why I was crying… so I left Timezone and I went to an internet shop in the mall and decided to kill time there until my boyfriend arrives.  When I logged in to Facebook, one of my friends, who is now in Singapore was online.  He messaged me through chat and I suddenly blurted out what I just found out.  This friend of mine is a nurse by profession so I also felt safe telling him my new secret.  After a few seconds, my phone started ringing and his concerned voice filled my ears.  I was just quiet and I started sobbing then cried…  He was crying as well… I told him everything that happened and he gave me advices and educated me about the disease…  he also assured me that nothing will change in the way that he sees me… and I was relieved…

My boyfriend arrived after a few minutes…  as we were walking towards the restaurant where we are eating, he asked me about the result.  I took a deep breath.  I already prepared myself, and I want to be honest.  If ever he walks away and decides to leave me, I will accept it wholeheartedly… can I really?  Anyways, I told him the result.  He smiled and he asked me to stop bluffing.  I repeated what I said, this time more seriously… and he said, really?  I guess he was shocked.  No, he was shocked, maybe he didn’t expect it.  He smiled and once again, he told me that he will take care of me.  And this is the only time for this day, that I felt happy.  We became quiet as we continue to walk towards the restaurant…

Whilst waiting for our food to be served, I asked him again if it is really ok with him, and he told me that honestly, he is still in the denial stage and still thinks that I’m bluffing but if ever that it is really true, there’s nothing he can do but to be with me every step of the way.  I felt soo lucky.  That this guy loves me despite all of this that is happening to me.  I don’t know if it is my mood or the food but I really felt soo hungry that I was able to finish my chicken teriyaki so fast.  We then decided to leave as my boyfriend still has a class and I need to rest after a very long day…

Prolonging the Agony

Posted in Medical with tags , , , , , , on May 23, 2010 by iamhivpositive

I sat nervously in the chair that was offered to me by the nurse in the clinic… she smiled at me.  She asked me to wait since my doctor is still eating.  My eyes wandered… the clinic was of rectangular shape, it was kind of narrow with 3 cubicles.  There were 2 more guys in the 2nd cubicle… they were very thin and they look really sick.  I got scared.

After a few minutes, the nurse came back and asked me questions… if I have any history of any disease.  I told her I had hepa once, but was cured immediately.  She then asked me, “What if it’s positive? What will you do?”… I answered bravely, that it’s ok… be healthy I guess… but deep inside, I was really really clueless since I was really hoping that it’s going to be negative.  I never really entertained the possibility of the result being positive…

The doctor came in… the nurse immediately asked the 2 guys to move to the 3rd cubicle and the doctor ushered me to proceed to the second cubicle.  He asked me the usual questions and got my vital signs…  once he was done, he sat down opposite of me and told me that the result is not yet in and that they need to take more blood because the blood that they got from me when I was still admitted was not enough… of course, I let them take the necessary amount of blood.  Then he just said that they are going to text me once they have the result and that I could go home already…

I went home that day frustrated…I didn’t know what to feel… I was left hanging…  after waiting for so long… I have to wait again…

Waiting

Posted in Medical with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2010 by iamhivpositive

It has been a week since I was hospitalised and still I haven’t heard anything from my doctor regarding the HIV screening that I had… I’m already worried, could this mean I’m positive that’s why it’s taking them so long to inform me or give me my result?

Luckily, that weekend our department in the office has a scheduled team building somewhere in the south.  I felt that this is a good timing after all of the things that I’ve been through this week, it will also keep my mind off thinking about the result.  I had fun.  I really enjoyed our team building but there are minutes wherein I ask myself, what if it’s positive?  What will I do?

After 3 days of happiness, we went back to reality.  Even though I’m busy in the office, I can’t help myself from thinking about what the result will be.  Yes, I admit that there are risks that can make me assume that I am positive but the nurse also told me in the hospital that all of the other STD screenings that they did to me turn out all to be negative so there’s a big chance of me being non-reactive.

After a few more days, my boyfriend texted me informing me that the nurse in the IDS (Infectious Disease Section) clinic is asking me to drop by their clinic the next day for the result.  This is the moment I’ve been waiting for…  I prepared myself, mentally and emotionally whatever the result may be.  I filed a leave from work so that I can have the whole day for myself when I receive the result.

I went to the clinic early the next day.  I was very eager to know the result.  My boyfriend picked me up in a nearby fast food and accompanied me to the clinic… we waited for almost an hour before the nurse called my name… then my heart started to pound so loud….

Home Sweet Home

Posted in lovelife, Medical with tags , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2010 by iamhivpositive

A guy wearing white uniform,  sitting in a chair beside me was the first image I saw after opening my eyes… I feel dizzy.  The guy looked at me and smiled and told me that dinner is ready.  He was my boyfriend.  Hearing the word dinner made my stomach crumble…  I’m starving.  It feels like I haven’t eaten for the longest time.  My boyfriend adjusted the hospital bed so that I can position myself and eat.

After eating, a doctor came in and asked me to sign something.  It was a notice of consent for them to conduct the HIV screening.  Without any hesitation, I signed it.  That time, all I wanted is just for everything to be checked so I don’t have to worry anymore.   After signing the paper, they took 2 vials of blood from me and told me that they are just going to inform me about the result.

The doctor allowed me to already go home the next day.  We just waited for a few hours for our bill and after settling it, my boyfriend and I went home.  I felt relieved once we arrived at home.  At last, the fight  is over.

My Christmas present…

Posted in lovelife, Medical with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2010 by iamhivpositive

It was Christmas time and everyone was just soo warm and happy… There was not much in our small table but I can say it was enough to satisfy 3 people; anyways it was my mum, my youngest brother and I at home.  I was able to eat a lot that my tummy started to react and made me visit the loo and that is where I received the most unpleasant Christmas gift ever…

The warts are back.  I felt it while washing.  I was just so surprised that I ended up crying.  I don’t know what to do, the doctor told me that if ever that it is gonna come back, most likely it would be in 2 months time.  And he assured me that everything was removed and that it will not come back.  I was lost and scared.  There were a lot of questions in my mind, but I told myself that I need to be calm and find a solution.

It was already January when I was able to go to a doctor (a different one this time) and have myself checked.  He said that not all was removed that is why the warts were back but there is also a possibility that the viral load of my HPV is too strong that it was able to regenerate it 2-3 weeks time after my surgery.  The doctor said that another operation must be done to remove it.  He also advised me to undergo HIV screening as this might be another reason why the warts are back.

The thought of undergoing the HIV screening didn’t really scared me that time.  It was the money that I need to come up with again made me really sweaty.  I asked for advice from other people, my officemates to be specific, and they told me that I should ask for a second opinion, and so I did.

My boyfriend that time is a medical student and he was able to help set up an appointment to their dean who is luckily, the head of the Colorectal Surgery Department of that hospital.  I felt like a VIP as I was prioritized.  The doctor gave me the same advice, that I needed to undergo another surgery and that I need to undergo different lab tests.  He immediately scheduled me for the operation and said that I need not to worry about the fees as the hospital is public anyways.  My boyfriend also reassured me that he will be in every step of the way. I felt very strong as I know I have the support that I needed…