Yes, I'm gay. I probably was since the day I was born. On my 21st birthday, I sort of had my debut. I came out to my parents. A little drama from mom, and some indifference from dad. An above-average coming out. Almost perfect.

Nine years later, two weeks before my 30th birthday, I found out... I'M HIV POSITIVE.

And so my story begins... I'm BACK IN THE CLOSET.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Secret

Going for my CD4 count last week, I had previously heard cases of CD4s going up and down by over 150 points. With that in mind, the least that I was really wishing for was that it not go down and I be told that my ARVs weren’t working, and that they’d possibly have to be changed, which would mean another round of trials and adjustments.

Truth be told, upon receiving the slip of paper from Ate where she’d written our CD4 counts, I read it initially as 404. And with that, I was happy enough. But noticing a little loop on top of what I thought was a zero, Ate confirmed that indeed, it was an eight that she had written, making it a 484. That just left me even more amazed.

So with that accomplishment, I’ve been asked what my secret was. How did I do it? Geesh, honestly, I don’t know. Let me think.

When it came to food, I didn’t really make many changes. I’ve consciously been trying to eat more, increasing my rice intake from one a meal to 1½ or sometimes even 2 cups a meal. I’m still eating anything and everything there is. Rice, bread, pasta, pork, beef, chicken, fish... even fruits and vegetables.

I’ve always been a veggie eater, which I’ve heard is a good thing. My favorite? Gisadong ampalaya. Yum. I get that once a week from the little canteen near where I work. Luckily, ampalaya or bitter gourd was the particular vegetable that the resident counselor at the RITM says is good for people like us living with HIV. I don’t exactly know why that is. But I might be a testament to its efficacy.

Surprisingly, I’m choosier when it comes to fruits. First of all, I only like the fruits that I grew up knowing. I don’t enjoy “seedy” fruits either. And I hate the smell of oranges and the like. That leaves me with mango cheeks, canned pineapples, fruit cocktails, peach halves, seedless grapes, raisins and bananas.

I did try to get into a milk phase earlier into my ARVs. I started off with a glass of milk every night, but was overcome by my long-standing fear of milk causing me diarrhea, so I reduced my intake to just over the weekends, or with cereals for snacks. But I’ve just gotten too lazy. I’m now only able to take milk when I feel like it, when I remember it, and when I put my mind to it.

Food supplements are zero at the moment. I started off taking multivitamins, but ran out of them back in November. Anyone ever notice how expensive they are? So anyway, since that time, I haven’t gotten back to taking them. Despite that, I’m doing pretty good I think. I noticed I haven’t been catching coughs or colds as easily as before.

Alcohol intake is still the same as before, occasional. I did say I had my fair share of drinking during the holidays, but since that, almost nothing, which is normal for me. After the new year, the next taste of it I had was a single bottle of beer up in Tagaytay. That’s been the last, too.

I do believe that getting enough rest is a big factor. I’ve always been an eight-hour a day sleeper, and I make my zzz quota maybe 90% of the time. That’s just the way I was built, I’m practically useless past my bedtime. On weekends, I even sneak in afternoon naps when I can.

And then of course, there’s the compliance with medications. I’m still on Isoniazid, a tuberculosis prophylactic, which the Doctor put me on for nine months. It was fortunate, having been possibly exposed to tuberculosis when I found out that a couple of job applicants at work flunked their medical exams because of it.

As for the ARVs, I’m proud to say I have never missed a day of taking them. I’ll admit though that sometimes the timing becomes a problem, especially when I’m with people to whom I’d rather not explain what exactly all the tablets are for, or when I’m caught on the way home and would rather not risk drinking water from heaven-knows-where just to gulp them down. I think the most that I’ve missed my daily schedule by was maybe two to three hours. But shhhhh, don’t rat me out, okay?

Those factors might just be the tip of the iceberg. Of course, there are all the psychological, emotional, and maybe even sexual factors that might come into play. Heaven knows which ones I’m doing right, and which ones I’m not. In any case, I still believe thinking and living positively go a long, long way. My secret is out.


Anonymous said...

Congratulation is in order. Keep it up. And why dont you include these top 3 fruits which they say are best when it comes to nutritional values, Apple, Banana and Strawberry. 2 cups of rice wow big appetite.

Bon appetit.


MrCens said...

all the best e!

PinoyPoz said...

@ Fern: Bananas I like. Strawberries, mahal. Apples, I just don't enjoy the texture. Hehehe. Choosy me.

@ MrCens: Waaah! Di naman ako si E...

rubypurple said...

I think it's the sexual factors. *LOL*

Kidding aside, I'm so happy to hear that you're taking good care of yourself. I think you'll live longer than me. ^^

PinoyPoz said...

I doubt... you know what they say about masamang damo... teehee... :-) JOKE!

danyhael said...

have you read the news about an AIDS patient in germany who underwent a bone marrow transplant using stem cell and came out AIDS free?

i dunno if it will be the same with HIV but hey... who knows?

PinoyPoz said...

yeah, I heard of that. hope they can establish that as a cure, and make it available and affordable to Filipinos. but while that hasn't happened... think positive!

rubypurple said...

I doubt... you know what they say about masamang damo... teehee... :-) JOKE!

Yeah, you're right and based on that I still think you'll live longer than me! Bwahahaha. Love ya hun! ^^

PinoyPoz said...

Bwahahaha! Bang! Karma right back at me! Hehe... ONE MALICIOUSLESS MWAH!