Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Elixir Of Life

My Elixirs of Life.
Legend has it that whoever drinks the legendary potion, the Elixir of Life, shall be granted with the gift of eternal life.

While people struggle looking for and creating the perfect Elixir, I have just found my own elixir of life. My antiretroviral (ARV) medications, they are my Elixirs. And I got them easily and free from my treatment hub.

It's just that my Elixir is different from the legends. My elixir won't be giving me eternal life. However, it will be prolong my life, my shortened lifetime. And I am more than happy and contented with what my Elixirs would do for me.

Due to some personal issues, I have delayed starting my ARV trial. And only after a month or two was I able to finally prepare myself in taking them.

I went to RITM yesterday. I was expecting a heavy traffic, but I didn't expect that it would be that heavy. I left home around 8:30am, and got there at around 11am already.

There are a lot of patients when I arrived yet I thought I could still get done early since all I need to do is to get a hold of my prescriptions and get my medications, and that's it.

But, I guessed wrong. There were lots of patients who had their CD4 count that morning and I have to fall in line with them. Bawal singit.

Argh! Lunch time! I was supposed to go to PGH Sagip in the afternoon to get my confirmatory result. I was scheduled by their nurse at 1PM but I from the looks of it, I won't be able to comply with their schedule. My business here in RITM is far more important (getting my meds) than going to PGH Sagip (getting the confirmatory result, I already know the result anyway).

Lunch break has passed and I was still waiting. I had a few-minute lively chat with Nurse Roldan talking about some stuffs. One patient overheard our conversation and commented on Nurse Roldan's statement "Nurse lang ako." The patient said, "Excuse me, hindi ka lang nurse, nurse ka." (He said something like that. I forgot the exact words.)

Oo nga naman, he is a nurse and that is a very noble profession. And as for me, not only am I a physician, but also a nurse advocate.

Finally, I was told to go to the clinic, had a few chit chat with Ate Ellen who gave me a booster for my Hep B vaccine, and Doc Mark who prescribed me with my Elixirs (Lamivudine/Zidovudine and Nevirapine).

Aside from my prophylaxis medications (Co-trimoxazole and Isoniazid) and Cetirizine for my chronic pruritus (itchiness), now I have to take 2 other tablets alongside with them.

After my prescription was filled, I immediately left the hospital for I have another appointment with some guys (work-related) in the afternoon.

My thoughts on taking the ARVs:

* I know I'll be compliant. I have to. Or else, the virus would become resistant to the meds. But sometimes when negativity strikes, it's just sad that I have to take these meds for life, for the rest of my life. But don't fret. Since I started with my prophylaxis, I haven't missed a single dose. And on the lighter side, I have a shortened lifetime anyway. No worries that I have to take them for too long.

* I am really scared of the possible side effects the medications could give me. I don't want to be anemic. I had a history of anemia during my college years, and I just hope that won't happen again. I don't want to have the rashes from Nevirapine or any dermatologic side effects for that matter. I had enough scars and marks from my pimples and I don't want to have more. Please, I've been really praying hard for that. Any side effect will do, huwag lang yung napapansin at nahahalata.

* While I haven't really disclosed my status to my family, I have to keep my medications well-hidden in my room, only I should know of. I don't want to have a premature status disclosure if they found out about my meds. Just the other day, my dad was in my room and left him for a while there. He saw a tablet (Co-trimoxazole) without the foil on my desk. I was about to take the tab kasi, just waiting for the right time. He asked me what it was and I wittingly told him that it was my daily dose of vitamins. I didn't know if he bought it. He's a pharmacist, after all. He knows all the possible meds and all its various colors, shapes and sizes. Except for the ARVs of course, he probably won't know them. Wala sa botika yun.

Today marks the start of my 14-day ARV trial. They'll be monitoring any adverse reactions I'll be encountering with the meds. And if I do, I have to stop taking them and return to RITM to report the adverse effects and they will have to change my meds, until I have the right combination. But if my 14-day ARV trial would be uneventful, I'll have to continue with the same meds for the time-being.

Lamivudine/Zidovudine (bigger tablet)
Nevirapine (smaller tablet).
And just this morning I had my first dose of Lamivudine/Zidovudine and Nevirapine. A few hours later, I was hot. I mean, I was feeling hot. I don't know. Should I be feeling the adverse effects already that soon even with just one dose? Or am I just being too paranoid? I really hate this feeling. I am actually scared.

Inhale... Exhale... Inhale... Exhale... I've been trying really hard to calm myself, telling myself that everything will turn out good.

I need some more positivity in me. I know I can make it through. I would be perfectly fine with the meds I'll be taking.

Positive vibes and all will be well.

Besides, why should I be scared? I have my Elixirs with me.



  1. Please please be well!!! labanan mo yang anemia na yan at rash! ive heard so many horror stories about nevirapine, and so far ako alive and kicking! buti nga lumiit na yang nevirapine tablet dati kasing laki niya yung avacomb. mas madali lunukin heheh

  2. I hope you don't go through what I went, that infamous Nevirapine rash. I hope you respond well with that pill. :)