Mental Health Thoughts – Sometimes there is not Enough Money

I have problems, that I cannot solve on my own.

I have a collection of old photos of myself, that either I had taken and they ended up with someone who sent them to me, or people have old photos of me that they took, and also sent to me, I look at these photos and I think to myself, I have no memory of any of these photos.

I used to be young and pretty. As a young gay boy, young and pretty went very far, if you had both of those attributes. Add some alcohol, and like my shrink once told me … Fireworks will happen.

And that was definitely the case, until I hit the trifecta of bad alcoholic decisions. I was young, I was a drunk, I was drinking at 7 am in the morning, and I had sex with two men, one of whom shot that proverbial bullet at me, and it was definitely a direct HIT.

For a while, I was still pretty, until I wasn’t.

As I grew older, I hit several key moments in my life, where I looked in the mirror and said to myself, I really don’t like who’s looking back at me.

The first time, was back in Miami Beach, years ago, when I realized I was looking at my father, and I ran to the nearest hair salon, and went from dark hair to platinum blonde.

That was an expensive, I hate myself realization.

That stage did not last very long, because I could not maintain that luxury. Or that luxury I thought I really needed.

Nowadays, when I look in the mirror, I see myself. I don’t necessarily like the visual looking back at me either. My friends would disagree with me on this. Because none of my sober friends would ever tell me to my face that I had “issues” with my looks.

I have not aged gracefully. And in today’s reality, there is not enough money, nor the insurance, nor medical coverage, to correct my personal “looks” problems.

In the last two years, my tooth issues have brought me to an all time low, in self esteem. And I’ve accepted, however terrible that statement is, that, I may go to my grave, looking the way I do, because One, Quebec insurance does not cover major dental, and Two, There is not an insurance plan available anywhere that will cover the massive work I need done.

So I’ve accepted this truth. A bitter pill to swallow.

Let me tell you, I go to meetings, and see my friends, and I see that look. Some turn their heads when I talk to them, others, just nod.

I know.

Instagram is evil. Bot not as evil as Face Book.

I take pictures of myself for my feed, and I think to myself, why do I torture myself with images of myself? I don’t smile, I won’t smile. I keep my mouth shut, and I quietly hate myself.

Things are becoming clear to me about what I want out of time right now. I know that I won’t settle for second dibs on truth and sobriety. I’m not wasting my time with people who do not see me as equal or valued.

Like I said before, being GAY in a Straight Sober World has its perks, but also has its drawbacks. I know who my friends are, truthfully. They would stand with me at any point, for any reason, at any time.

If I had the money, and I know I don’t, things would be better. But nobody is going to loan me $25,000 for major dental work. And that is the cheapest route I can take, with a dentist I have been seeing for some time now. I mean they’ve removed enough teeth that I have to carefully chew my food, in the rear on the left and in the front on the right, because I don’t have enough teeth to do the job as a whole any longer.

UGH FUCK ME

You know those boutique dentist offices that give you these beautiful pictures of beautiful teeth, will run you over $60,000 for an entire mouthful of pretty teeth. I went to two of those boutique offices over the past six months. I sure as shit cannot afford that kind of cash and no bank in the city is going to front me that kind of dough.

We might have stellar medical systems here, and I want for nothing medically, because I have two of the best doctors in the world, on my speed dial. I can get in if need be, on a moments notice.

Too bad government medical does not cover dental too.

That’s not a high priority for the Quebec or Federal Politicians.

In one breath I hate myself, but out of the other side of my life, I am grateful I am still alive and have the life I do today, and the friend I have as well.

You’d never know how much I hate myself, because I work hard at being genuine to my friends, well as genuine as I can be on any given day.

Money cannot buy everything to make everything better. That is a bitter pill to swallow, but it is the truth. And sometimes there is not enough money to go around to make everything better.

That is the unvarnished truth.

Jardiance – Drug Failure Report

A few months ago, when I started my chastity run, I started having medical issues, that went un-diagnosed until today. I thought, when talking to a couple of “men in the know” who advised that it might just be my problem and to stop. I persisted.

I am on a massive regimen of drugs, both for my HIV and my Diabetes. Both programs must work in concert together. The failure of a drug is not common for me, because I usually tolerate medication without side effects. I really do not focus on the negative, which helps me move forwards every time we begin new medication.

This time, I did not heed the warning that had been in process for almost two months.

Because I do not see my physicians until later this summer, however, I did get medical intervention via phone and fax, and took the two rounds of Fluconazole in late April and early May. The infection was stemmed, but it was not apparent that a particular drug I was taking was failing.

One of the side effects of Jardiance, a Diabetes drug, is genital infections, that, if not addressed quickly, can spin out of control and can cause serious problems, both for MEN and WOMEN.

I’ve been watching the JARDIANCE drug commercial on television here, and they do speak about all the side effects of the drug in the ad.

For some reason, I was paying closer attention to the commercial.

This morning I called the Diabetes clinic and spoke to my nurse assistant who assigns my drugs and has been working with me for many years.

The pain and problems grew over the last 2 weeks, to the point that the pain I was feeling was getting out of hand. We spoke this morning and right away she knew that I had failed the Jardiance. And she said that we would stop the drug immediately. She got me another round of Fluconazole and some creme, that I got at the pharmacy tonight.

It is important to share this information because if you don’t catch a drug failing quickly, that failing drug can cause extensive medical issues for you.

As of tonight, I am off the Jardiance, full stop. I have my Fluconazole that I took earlier and then next time I see my primary care physician at the Diabetes Clinic, we will find a new drug to put in place, because now I am off a drug that not only maintains my A1C and my sugars, and helps my heart health.

I got my new CB-6000 a couple of weeks ago, and I like it much better than the previous chastity incarnation I had, at first chosen. I am unlocked until I finish this drug treatment and my body responds to medical intervention, again.

HIV and Diabetes are critical medical issues, and if you are on certain HIV or Diabetic drugs right now, you need to know that certain side effects can rear their ugly heads and cause you unnecessary medical problems.

So take this as a warning.

Be mindful of whatever is going on IN your body or ON your body. Genital issues, yeast infections can devolve into serious problems that can affect your body, both for MEN and for WOMEN.

BEWARE …

Walking in the Rain

It only took five minutes of walking in the rain, with just a toque on that caused me an immediate immune response.

It was dark outside when I got up this morning, so I knew it was raining outside, but the level of noise going on downstairs, was driving me crazy.

There was someone with a raging chain saw, going at something really hard. I’m not sure what that could have been, unless they were cutting down the trees that line the street downstairs.

I just looked downstairs and all the trees are intact and still standing. I guess we’ll never know who was wielding that chain saw.

Later on in the day, I needed to go to the store. I hate carrying my umbrella, so I got downstairs and was suited up as usual. The freezing rain was coming down harder than I supposed.

I walked to the corner, down the street, and returned on the same path. As I got upstairs, I knew I was in trouble. Getting a cold, when least expected, happens on the odd occasion.

I’ve been sniffling and sneezing all damned day. Thankfully I had some cold meds left over, from the last round of sniffles. Sadly, they aren’t working at this hour.

Eight days out now. And I am feeling quite good. Making a change in routine, was good. I crawl into bed after the news, and go right to sleep. I get a full nights rest, instead of wasting two hours screwing around.


Vanity

Do you ever ponder your body ? Do you think about changing something about your looks, often ? Are you obsessed with the way you are ageing?

Since beginning my gym career, I have realized that Gym Mirrors work against you, ALL THE TIME. It does not matter that you wear; tights and loose t-shirts and fitness clothing. Mirrors never lie, and in my humble opinion, the mirrors at my gym tend to accentuate the one part of my body that I am most self conscious about, my tummy.

Twenty five years ago, when I was diagnosed with AIDS, I was much thinner than I am today, MUCH. It did not help that I was terminally ill and slated for death. Many AIDS patients developed what is called “Wasting Syndrome” where your body fat melts and you become skin and bones, which usually led to a very speedy death.

I was on that road for a while. Until my doctor found the miracle drug that would change the game forever. MEGACE, was an oral suspension liquid that was dosed in shot form, once a day. You filled your little shot glass and hoped that it would do the trick.

IT DID.

Hunger is one thing that sick people loose from the get go. Things are really bad, and if you do not eat, or cannot eat, then the slide into death is fast and furious. Even today, we see it in patients who are terminal, and especially in the elderly population. It’s like they know the end is nigh, and hunger leaves them, and people stop eating, or their caloric intake falls exponentially. Hence, death is imminent.

Over a years time, I progressed from 98 pounds to almost 200 hundred pounds. I got so fat, I outgrew all of my clothing. With the weight gain, I gained what is called lypodystrophy. Which is fat gain in certain parts of your body, like your ass, your stomach or your chest.

I also suffer today, from a genetic dystrophy because of my diabetes. And I have a base layer of fat in my stomach, that no amount of exercise or stretching or crunches has ever been able to mediate.

Not long ago, I saw a young guy on Instagram talk about “Cool Sculpting.” This is a cosmetic procedure that freezes fat in the body and the frozen fat, works its way out of the body after each cycle of treatment is completed.

I thought to myself, I’m gonna go check this out and see if I could be a prospective patient. I filled out the questionnaire and had my intake appointment this afternoon. It was all straight forward. They explained that we have two types of fat, One, Fat that is attached to our organs, and Two, fat that is loose in the body, and not connected, that can be suctioned and removed by treatment.

I had both …

I think to myself that I have a few issues that are vanity related that bother me to no end. One, is my teeth situation, which is being worked on at this very moment, so I am spending money hand over fist for oral surgeries, every other week. They begin the rebuild in the coming weeks, so they will begin putting teeth back into my mouth, instead of taking them out.

The other vanity issue is my physical body. And I think, at fifty one years old, is vanity really a problem? My one mantra that I maintain is that:

I will not become Gay, Old and Fat !! Nor Frumpy for that matter.

I am not the run of the mill fifty year old, as compared to the men in this same age bracket, I call my friends. I really don’t want to become any of them either. Each has their own issues, looks and attitudes.

This little exploration of Vanity was vetoed over dinner.

I guess that is that for now.

Maybe if we hit the lottery, we can ponder vanity when it is more cost effective.

Wednesday: Diabetes … What’s New ?

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On Tuesday afternoon, a Micro Burst ran over the city.

In a matter of FIVE minutes, yes, FIVE minutes, entire sections of the city were FLATTENED to the GROUND.

Trees, Houses, Buildings, and Cars were CRUSHED …
Lights were knocked down, electricity was out for thousands of people across the island.

Parks with CENTURY old trees that have stood for ages, were snapped like twigs and scattered all over the ground, in the road and on sidewalks.

On my way to the doctors office, in NDG, one of the hardest hit areas of the Western section of the island of Montreal, when I came OUT of the Metro (there was electricity in the tunnels) and walked the 100 yards to the building where my doctors are, there were entire TREES down IN THE STREET, blocking traffic and the bike lanes.

The power was out above ground. And the building I was going to was working on emergency generators for elevators and lights. We sat in the dark because there was little light to be had.

That was a thing …

My new doctor, a very kind and funny Lady doc, took over my file a month ago. She is a specialist with combined knowledge of HIV and Diabetes and Triglycerides.

I had begin Insulin about two months ago. And we began at 10 units, that was followed up with a trial of twenty units, which failed. I could not handle the rise in insulin so fast.

We settled on 19, which funny enough, worked.

I was on 19 units a day for a month. I’ve been on Trulicity once a week, and Invokana daily. I dropped labs on Monday. And my A1C was at 13.

I gained 5 pounds and am sitting at 167. FUCK !!! Keto Diet is still in motion.

I was warned that Insulin will make one hungry and when one is hungry, one eats.

Not that I have been eating junk, mind you. I haven’t. But I did add some lunch food daily that is palm sized portions, which is, by my nutritionists rules, acceptable.

I suffer from mild lipodystrophy in my tummy, that I can’t seem to break, my ass is just fine, thank you very much. But I am eternally, a little bit pregnant …

We dropped the Invokana, because new data has shown a prevalence of shorter longevity and a rise in amputations of lower body parts.We added Jardiance, a drug that is in the same class as Invokana. With less amputation fears.

This morning I hit an 8 in my morning stick. Not that I have been checking my blood for the last month, MY BAD… ugh !!!

Anyways, she wants me to hit 6’s or 7’s in my morning stick. And to that end we are going to start insulin at 20, that was this morning.

I will check my blood every morning. And if the number does NOT go DOWN, we tick another unit up, into the pen, until we hit the optimum number of 6 or 7.

There is room to increase insulin safely.

However, when I stuck my insulin this morning I got one serious headache. It was massive, and I took some meds and took a nap, hoping it would go away.

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My triglycerides have come down from 15 to 7. Still not out of the woods, as my doc would like, she wants them lower. UGH ! Still 7 is a good round number.

We are trying NOT to add any more drugs to mys system unless medically warranted for one reason or another. There are drugs that can be prescribed to lower my triglycerides via further drug treatment.

The Insulin (TouJeo) I am on, brings those numbers down naturally. So while that is working ever so slowly, we are going to stay the course.

More to come.

Tuesday: Harmonization FAILURE !!!

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I have been riding a wave of feeling good, looking good, and hopeful that my medical condition was about to get much better with labs on the table coming today.

I was terribly Disappointed with my doctor visit today.

  • Yes, I have lost some serious weight
  • Yes, I have been on the Keto Diet since the end of March 2016
  • We added Edurant (HIV) medication (once daily dosing)
  • And upped my Trulicity (dosage weekly)

My HIV numbers are stellar. Cd4’s are above 1000, but:

  • My sugar test stick at the clinic was 20.7
  • My resting fast was 20 on paper
  • And my sugar number was 9.5
  • My Triglycerides were high as well (they have been see sawing for ever)

It was obvious today, that the Harmonization Tests of both types of medication have Failed. Either the drugs are conflicting still, the dosage is wrong, or put bluntly, my doctor could not find an “on paper reason” for my numbers to be so, “out of whack” today.

With serious weight loss, and corrective diet, and reworked medication, a change should have appeared on paper, and didn’t.

My doctors had a phone conference as I sat there, when they decided to test me right then and there to check my sugars, by test strip. Which landed at 20.7.

I test at home and my numbers bounce from 10, up to 20 on any given day. Even if I have a restricted diet, and I am not putting bad food into my system and I am eating a restricted diet, the numbers should be working in my favor, but they are not.

Friends have said that I need to keep my head on and wait to see what the Diabetes clinic says at my emergency appointment on Friday morning, and not jump to any conclusions.

I might need insulin corrective medication added, or just rework my insulin regulation  or they are going to change the mix again.

Some people, I have heard, cannot regulate their sugars successfully and need serious medical intervention. It seems I am at that point myself.

Stay tuned …

Thursday Episode 1 – Harmonization

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Years ago, when I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, I started drug regimens very slowly. Over those years, it seemed the drugs were not working as well as expected.

What we did not know then, was that having dual diseases meant that both sets of drugs had to harmonize, so that both regimens worked on their associated problems.

Together.

Last fall, Dr. George changed up my Diabetes medication and added Trulicity to the mix at a low dose. Trulicity is a once a week injection. I began to loose serious weight, for the first time in over twenty years.

In February when I saw him again, the numbers were still too high. I then went to see Dr. Chris, and that day both he and Dr. George were in the same office. They had figured out, for the first time since I got sick, that the drugs were knocking each other out, one for one, thereby negating the effectiveness of the drugs across the board.

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Dr. Chris took away a few drugs, and added new ones, on single dose daily dosing. Dr. George upped my Trulicity to a higher weekly dosage as well, he tweaked my other diabetes medications also.

I had lost ten pounds by the February medical check-up. In March, my friend Joe introduced me to the KETO diet. Which I jumped on furiously.

I have lost a total of thirty pounds so far.

In the words of the Divine Miss M … I Look Good !

Today, I was up at 6 a.m. to make my trek up the hill to the General to drop labs.

Three months of new drugs, one intense diet that has totally changed the way I live, and a lot more healthy living, we will see just how good this harmonization test worked.

If it was successful we will have found a new way to treat dual diagnosis patients with HIV and Type 2 Diabetes.

Let Us Pray …