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Wayne Bristow

Wayne Bristow

I'm a poz guy, just starting my tenth year living with HIV. I've been blogging here at since March 20th, 2011. I volunteer at two AIDS Service Organizations in my area, ACG (AIDS Committee of Guelph/Wellington) and ACCKWA (AIDS Committee of Cambridge Kitchener Waterloo and Area). I've also been blogging for ACG since November 2010. I am a self-taught social media junkie doing facebook and twitter. I'm a great retweeter. I was recently hired by the OHTN (Ontario HIV Treatment Network) as a Peer Research Assistant. In my spare time I am a hobby photographer; some of my photos show up in my blog. 

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A change can be the best medicine

Wednesday, 21 August 2013 Written by // Wayne Bristow - Positive Life Categories // Health, Treatment, Living with HIV, Wayne Bristow

Wayne Bristow has been seeing an improvement in his CD4 count recently. “I’m not going to jinx it by saying this is the fix I needed but I’m hopeful.”

A change can be the best medicine

Yesterday I was out with my camera enjoying a cool, sunny day. Not many people like the coolness in the air but I’m absolutely loving it. I had my (smart)phone with me. As I was walking I saw something I wanted to use the camera for and I noticed I had missed a call from my doctor’s office. In the text message the nurse said it wasn’t anything urgent but to call when I could. 

So I called and found out the call  was concerning my CD4 count. It had risen to 520; it hasn’t been this high in a few years. 

When I had my last blood work done, I had just gone through another stressful experience with a family drama.  I was named the number one suspect in trying to have someone cut off from their disability. This family member lives about five or six hours away and I like that. If this person has an income that keeps her there, then I would never report her.  

It would be almost two months before I went to see the doctor for my follow up and hear the results. Usually I go three to four weeks after the bloodwork but I had to cancel it once because of another commitment. As it turned out, that stress had caused my CD4 to drop down below 350. (Stress and heat are two things I don’t do well.) My doctor had me do another blood draw to see what was going on with the CD4. Now I’m enjoying an increase of more than 180. NICE! 

So I found somewhere to sit and think of what I was doing differently that would have helped it rise so much in a short time. One thing was going back to taking my HIV medications in the morning around 10 o’clock. Having the smartphone with an alarm clock on it helps me take them on time. When I used to take them, I was terrible with the times, often getting so busy on the computer I’d forget. 

Another change came from one of my peers when he mentioned he no longer took his cholesterol medication and some others at the same time as his HIV medications because some of them interacted. I had been taking cholesterol medication as well as another one that helps my acid reflux problems along with my HIV meds. I decided it was worth it to try splitting them up. 

I’m not going to jinx it by saying this is going to the fix I needed but I’m hopeful. I still have to work on how I react to drama and avoid stress; I think this is key.( My doctor showed  graphs he uses to track my numbers, when he showed me the one for weight, I told him not to do that again, it will only stress me out.) 

I am losing my doctor at the end of this month. I could still see him but he won’t be coming to my town anymore. I could go to his other office but it would cost me around $20 to do the trip and take several hours to get there and back.

I don’t have a problem changing doctors, I have confidence in who I’m being transferred to. She is the first doctor in town to work specifically with HIV and Hep C patients. I seriously want to approach her about changing my HIV medication to something that doesn’t promote this big belly syndrome, if that’s possible.  

In closing, all I can say is that I’m thankful for having peers to share all of these issues with. I’m grateful for my ASOs (AIDS Service Organizations) for being here and providing a safe space to meet with our peers to socialize and support each other; we learn so much more from each other. For me, I’d be lost if I only had my doctor to help me live through of all this. My two ASOs have really helped me become empowered to live a happier, healthier life. I now classify myself as “low maintenance”.   

And I’m grateful for social media and as well. Its here that I’m able to share and learn from so many others around the world. Plus it keeps me busy and out of trouble........