I got an e-mail yesterday from my doctor telling me that my lab results have come in.
Your routine labs are acceptable.
Your CD4 is 526 (21.76%) from previous of 498 (18.4%) done last July. Congratulations, good job.
It’s the first time since I’ve been diagnosed with HIV in 2008 that my CD4 is above 500. And if things haven’t changed, I remember my first doctor telling me that people without HIV naturally have a CD4 of 500 and above. So, for the first time in seven years, I finally have an immune system that is the equivalent of someone who is non-reactive to HIV.
I don’t know exactly what has lead to this point. I have been taking better care of myself since 2010. I take my meds regularly. I sleep my 7-hours, and I try to sleep before midnight (I don’t always get to do that but I try), I force myself to eat at least my three meals a day, and when I stress out, I just lie in bed and relax. I try to do as much exercise as I can as well.
I’m still trying to quit smoking. Work has been piling up and I am having difficulty writing at the speed with which I need to make it to my deadlines without a cigarette. I’m working on that one. I’ve been able to cut down to less than ten sticks a day but that’s still a lot. It’s the hardest part yet. I really do want to quit but it’s not easy. I don’t think it’s the nicotine that is the problem; I think it’s the psychological act of lighting up a cigarette. It’s an oral fixation, for sure. And candies aren’t doing the trick. I’ve associated smoking with my writing habits and passing the time. It comes hand-in-hand already at those moments.
I think my mental state has been very helpful as well. I’ve grown up so much that I handle sadness, depression, disappointment, and similar emotions in a much more positive manner. I believe stress can damage your immune system and make you feel weaker. I have been better at managing my stress level.
So I’m still going to be around for a long while. I see this as a continuing upward trend. I know there are people living with HIV who have a CD4 of over a thousand. If they can do it, so can I.