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There is light at the end of the tunnel

My journey began three years ago. I was admitted to the hospital on April 1, 2000 after fainting in a neighborhood grocery store. The employees called the paramedics and they requested that I go to the hospital. After going back and forth a few times I finally agreed and went. I was in the emergency room for most of the day and into the night. I was poked and prodded, sent for x-rays and a catscan. They finally admitted me and took me to the Cardiovascular ICU unit. The doctors knew I was HIV positive but the tests kept coming back negative. All the tests came back as my having mononucleosis. I spent a week in the hospital hooked up to a heart monitor and an IV bag. I was told I looked like a homeless man, because I was not able to shave and properly bathe myself. I lost the ability to use my arms and legs and weighed 119 pounds. When I was discharged, I was allowed to stay home from work for 30 days. I found out my HIV status on my mother's birthday, which is July 28. I was immediately sent to the hospital by my work place and was started on a drug regiment. My initial CD4 count was 292 and viral load was over 10,000. I just knew I only had a year or less to live. I was also living by myself and feeling extremely depressed. I cried constantly and did not want to be around people. My nurse and counselor decided it was time for me to visit a psychiatrist. I did and was put on several drugs, which I only took a few months. My friends did not feel I needed to take them. Three months after I was diagnosed I met someone and we have been together since. I am now very healthy. My CD4 count is nearly 1000 and my viral load is undetectable. I also gained over 50 pounds. There is light at the end of the tunnel.


Sent via Email - Arlington, Virginia, USA, August 1, 2003.

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