Why hello there,
As you may have seen on Twitter I was at the HIV clinic on Wednesday morning – collecting my results from my quarterly blood tests.
The tests monitor a number of things, my Viral Load (VL), CD4 count, CD4 percentage as well as kidney function, liver function, cholesterol, vitamin and mineral levels. The most important of these being my VL & CD4.
My VL has remained ‘undetectable’, and my CD4 has dipped a bit from 627 to 506 – but my consultant explained that whilst the count itself had dropped the percentage had actually gone up, this can be due to variation in sample sizes, the main thing to take away though is that my CD4 percentage is still rising, to 38% in fact, which is excellent. If you need further explanation of VL & CD4 head to this excellent interactive resource from aidsmap.com. I’ll make sure to get a record of my previous CD4 percentages next time I see the doctor to include in my graphs. Talking of which – HAVE A GRAPH…
I also started my new medication two weeks ago now. If you recall, I was experiencing horrible side effects on the ATRIPLA – which I talked about in my post ‘Am I mad, or is it the meds?’. My consultants changed me from ATRIPLA onto a newer medication, still in one pill format, called Eviplera. The pill is taking a little effort to integrate into my routine than I thought, previously I just popped my ATRIPLA when I climbed into bed at 11pm – but Eviplera is different, it has to be consumed with food (350kcal or higher). I’m finding myself having finished an evening meal and then suddenly thinking “Crap, I should have taken my pill with that meal!”, but I’m getting better at it.
The initial week was pretty hellish. As the ATRIPLA lingered in my system and the Eviplera started to take hold the two drugs (well six drugs, three per tablet) were clearly having some sort of battle royale in my organs. I felt dizzy, I was throwing up, I had headaches, I couldn’t eat – I could barely get out of bed. But now that I’ve adjusted I’m feeling so much better than I ever felt on ATRIPLA, I’m sleeping better, no more crazy dreams, no more hallucinations and I feel generally clearer in myself – almost like I’d been living in a fog before. Let’s hope that holds true in six months time.
Whilst I was at the clinic they mentioned that my red blood cells were larger than normal, but not by much. They’ve taken more blood to check for deficiencies in B12 and Folic Acid as a starting point. So I’m interested to see what comes back from those. It seems that in this case size really does matter.
Speak to you all soon,