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 …

Finding may help doctors target dormant HIV

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This is big and important news. If this works, it will change the ball game in our favor. Dormant HIV has been a long and unsolved mystery. Now, the mystery begins to unravel.
CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Monday, March 20, 2017 10:13AM EDT

European researchers say they have identified a key protein that can help them identify immune cells that are harbouring dormant HIV, opening up a new way to target these cells and pave the way for a cure.

Although HIV medications can greatly reduce levels of the virus in patients, there is still no cure. The drugs can’t kill all the retrovirus because HIV has a way of infecting immune cells called T-cells and then going dormant. The virus can remain inside the cell for years or decades, hidden from the drugs designed to kill it.

But if an HIV patient stops taking her antiretroviral drugs, the dormant retrovirus will “awaken” and rapidly begin reproducing.

AIDS researchers have long sought a way to find these T-cells infected with dormant HIV so that they can target them with therapies. But it’s remained a mystery how to identify them.

Now virologists at the University of Montpellier in France think they may have found a way to recognize these “sleeper cells.” They have identified a protein called CD32a that sits on the surface of HIV-infected T-cells.

Their experiments showed that healthy T-cells do not express the protein, and neither do cells carrying active HIV. Only T-cells hiding dormant HIV make the protein.

The team made their finding after placing T-cells in lab dishes and then exposing them to fluorescently tagged HIV. They watched cells become infected and searched for differences in the gene expressions between the infected and non-infected cells. That’s when they noticed the CD32a protein marker.

The researchers then tested their theory by taking blood samples from 12 HIV-infected people who were on antiretrovirus medication. Using an antibody that sticks to CD32a, the researchers were able to extract all the cells expressing the protein. As expected, all the cells were T-cells harbouring dormant HIV.

The research team says their finding paves the way to a better understanding of viral reservoirs. It’s also possible that CD32a could one day become a reliable marker of cells that are infected with dormant HIV, which could help in the creation of drugs to target these latent cells.

The findings are published in the journal Nature. France’s CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) has now filed for a patent for the diagnostic and therapeutic use of the biomarker.

Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Insitute of Allergies and Infectious Disease in Bethesda, Maryland, told Nature that the next step will be to replicate the findings by screening blood from patients of different ethnicities, ages and stages of the disease.

Fauci said he is excited about the potential of CD23a but remains cautious about the finding given the decades of research that have gone into HIV without the discovery of a cure.

Thursday: Dueling Dragons …

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It was a pleasantly BALMY day in Montreal today. This week, we saw temps that are darn right Springy … But we are warned that it won’t last, and that March is going to keep us in the cold for another month.

This week saw all kinds of change.

I live with competing dragons in my system. And either one can be in control, but not both at the same time. And one never knows who is in control until I drop labs. This round, my HIV is in good check but my Diabetes is all out of whack.

On Tuesday I went to clinic one for my lab drop session. Both brothers were in attendance, I got to kill two birds with one stone. The drawback is this, depending on who rules the roost, medication has to be adjusted, and you can’t adjust one side without adjusting the other accordingly.

Doctor Chris, over the years, has managed my medications very well. Because I’ve been testing drugs for him for many, many years. And if they work for me, (in our respective medical circle of drug testers), we are the main line to getting drugs approved in Canada on the whole. So what we do is very important for the community at large.

One by one, over the last five years, my twice a day drugs, have been dropped, opting for once a day dosing medication. But the Once a Day dosing takes time, because the new drugs in the pike were taking longer than usual to get to me, (read Us).

This week, new drugs came online finally. But, if you change one side of the equation, then you have to change the other in conjunction. HIV medications and Diabetes medications, don’t always work together. And I don’t know if one or the other is working well, without trial and error dosing.

If the trend drops either way, the HIV drugs come first.

If I don’t live, no other drug is going to make a difference. So Doctor Chris has to make sure that any new drug he gives me now, needs to plays nice with Diabetes drugs. This round, Diabetes lost.

A new Single dose HIV medication came online … EDURANT

Before I could take this pill, Doctor Chris had to make sure it would work with everything else I was taking already. It didn’t. Which meant my Diabetes drugs had to be tweaked.

Doctor George dropped my Janumet, because Metformin cancels out any good the Edurant will do. Which means I am down one Diabetes drug. And that was the end of that appointment.

Wednesday, I saw Doctor George at his clinic and along with his trial nurse, tried to figure out what they needed to do to make up the difference.

Three months ago, I went on Trulicity injections, once a week at a low dose. Now, it seems, that the low dose was not enough, because I am not managing well at all.

While they conferred together, I stepped on the scale and learned that I dropped ten pounds over the last six months. I knew something was up, when I put on a pair of hubby’s skinny jeans and they fit, WELL.

My Diabetes team upped my Trulicity to double the dose, weekly, along with Invokana, I have a bottle of Glyburide hanging in the wings if need be.

When I got home, I sat down with my nutritional map and planned another tweak to my diet, I am working to eliminate sugar intake at all levels. I put the new plan into action, and I have three months to see how all these changes work together.

If this series works, as it is hoped it will, I will manage both dragons better, and that is the plan. I can produce 1200 t-cells with my eyes closed. That is a given. I am over the ten year mark where my viral load is still undetectable.

Diabetes on the other hand is a capricious lady, who does not play well on the playground.

I have to test every other day to check my trends. I don’t have to prick myself every day any more. The Trulicity is a slow release, weekly dosage. Now that dosage is doubled, along with a moderated dietary plan, it should all work.

Now we dose for this observation period. And I hope to see further weight loss, and better numbers overall.

**** **** ****

Tonight’s take away … I would be ok, if everyone would just leave me alone.

How many of us got to this point before we stepped into the rooms.

Our speaker tonight got sober in December of 1994, the same year I got sober the first time, and I was reminded that had I stayed the first time, I would be 23 years sober now.

But that was not meant to be, and as he said to me, I had a hiccup.