My HIV Diary: Four Months In, Week 17
Ryan Dixon (a.k.a former porn star Kameron Scott) has started taking HIV medication. He’s keeping a diary of his experience.
Being in my mid-20’s isn’t easy, add HIV on top of that and we have one hell of a complicated life. I’m making the best out of the hand life has dealt me and the decisions I’ve made along the way. Writing helps free my mind. Hopefully these words will help you understand the plight of others like myself, and inspire you to live each and every day in the moment.
Week 17 (Dec. 22 – Dec. 27)
I become a little misty eyed thinking about the last four months I’ve been on the HIV medicine study. One hundred and twenty days may seem like a long time, but time sure has flown. I can remember sitting in my doctor’s office taking my first dose of medicine and the emotions I felt.
Fear of the uncertain was what plagued me the most in the first days of the study. I didn’t know how I would react to the medicine or if it would even work. I was honestly scared to death. If this new medicine didn’t work, how was anything else available going to help me? I thought I was dead in the water. My viral load was climbing and my CD4 count was dropping. I had been doing so well in the first years of my diagnosis so why the sudden swing for the bad? Why was I finally forced to make this life-altering decision?
The second month of the study brought along all the side effects. The side effects were there from the get go, but the second month is when they reared their ugly heads. The emotions that managed to harness paled to the physical ailments that I was suddenly hit with. I’m a huge baby when it comes to physical discomfort. I try to hide my emotions, but people could tell I was uncomfortable or not feeling well. All I could say back was, “It’s just the meds”. I’m looking forward to the day when a medicine can be made that you can take worry free. I wonder if people miss doses just to prevent the stomach pains, the diarrhea and the headaches. At least my viral load finally became undetectable and my CD4 count increased and continues to rise.
Month number three I showed signs of adjusting. My numbers didn’t change any, and my stomach was starting to calm down. I made diet and lifestyle adjustments such as cutting back on my alcohol intake and making myself get up in the morning to get a proper workout each day. I started dating again, which my doctor and psychologist agreed would be good for me. Aside from the fact that I seem to pick losers, dating was fun. I’m still keeping my hat in the gay dating ring, but I’ll be just as happy by myself with my amazing friends and Settlers of Catan.
So, here I am at month number four. I’ve fought off an intestinal parasite, seen my numbers make a good turn, gained and lost weight (mostly gained) and I’ve started seeing what a difference writing my thoughts down has made. I’d like to encourage everyone to keep a journal of some sort. It’s almost therapeutic to be able to channel my inner feelings and pen them as a release. Granted my thoughts are often shared for the entire world to see, but that’s okay. I enjoy getting the emails from readers who have been touched or moved is some way by my words. I started this diary as a selfish project to help myself, but it’s turned into a tool for others to better help themselves. I never want anything more than just one person to benefit from my trials and tribulations. Others have suffered and fought for me to be here today – why should I not do the same?