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ExWifeFriend 12-09-2010 01:02 PM

New (Ex Husband recently diagnosed)
My heart is racing even composing a new thread. I am looking for support. I am 42 years old and have been divorced from my ex-husband for 10 years. He and I have remained friends even after the divorce and we have one child together; a son who just turned 13.

He had been progressively ill for several months. He finally learned he was was HIV +. Two days later he was diagnosed with AIDS. His CD4 cell count was 30. It is my understanding that an HIV patient is diagnosed with having AIDS once their CD4 cell count falls below 200. Because his is 30, I don't know if that means he is "closer to death" than someone whose count is say, 150, 100 or even 50. I just know he is extremely frail, his speech is becoming increasingly incoherent.

Though we both believe he contracted the virus in the early 2000's after our divorce but he was unfaithful during our marriage and he and I were intimate one time after we had separated. He has never used IV drugs nor has he ever had a same sex encounter. I immediately had a rapid HIV test and it was negative. I'm not sure how often I should continue to get these tests, but I'm sure I will every 3 months or so.

In the past week he has been started on a series of the HAART drugs. I have no idea what to expect over the next few months.

We have decided to wait until school breaks for the summer to tell our son that his dad is ill, but not sure we should tell him it's AIDS or not.

Any comments are appreciated.

missy1983 12-09-2010 07:18 PM

Re: New (Ex Husband recently diagnosed)
How long ago did you guys sleep together?

ExWifeFriend 12-10-2010 10:02 AM

Re: New (Ex Husband recently diagnosed)
It's been at least 6-7 years ago. What 'cha thinkin' Missy??

missy1983 12-10-2010 01:42 PM

Re: New (Ex Husband recently diagnosed)
I think that you are all clear!!! Dont worry about it. I just got tested today and it was negative. My last exposure was 3 months ago and they said that my results are 100% conclusive!..... Although a person should get tested 2 a year anyway. Im sorry to hear about your ex husband. My mother died from this AIDS. Its a hard thing to deal with. As far as telling your son I dont think that you should tell him. My mom told me when I was young and all I used to think about was that she could die any day. It also brought shame to me. It took a toll on me. When he is a little older you can explain that to him. Let him live worry free for now. I wish you the best! Your a great person for being there for him at this hard time in his life..

ExWifeFriend 12-10-2010 02:00 PM

Re: New (Ex Husband recently diagnosed)
Yeah!! So glad to hear your (negative) news today!! Thank you for your support. I'm not sure what to think about his CD4 count being as low as it is (30) and I haven't been told yet what his viral load is. I just know he's not the same person he used to be. I am going with him next week to meet with his ID doctor, guess she will be able to tell me a little more. I work in the legal/medical field, so I should know what the hell she's talking about once I get there. lol

As far as our son, I think if/when we find out whether it's truly terminal then figure out what terminall illness he has OTHER than the dreaded A-word! One day at a time.

Take care sister.

missy1983 12-10-2010 04:27 PM

Re: New (Ex Husband recently diagnosed)
Your welcome. I really wish you the best. This is reall hard to deal with I know. Pls let me know if he is ok cuz it will be on my mind.

missy1983 12-10-2010 04:29 PM

Re: New (Ex Husband recently diagnosed)
some questions how long ago did he find this out?? Has he never had any symptoms?? When was the last time he tested before the final one??

ExWifeFriend 12-13-2010 09:57 AM

Re: New (Ex Husband recently diagnosed)
He told me on November 30 that he had tested positive for HIV about two weeks earlier. Two days after he told me he was HIV +, he got the AIDS diagnosis. They told him that if he hadn't come in when he did, that he'd be dead in 3 months. So, wham blam they started him a series of the HAART meds and vitamins and scheduled several tests such as a chest CT, upper GI and a colonoscopy. He has had some very serious numbness, tingling and pain in his calves and feet so he's have a nerve conduction and EMG studies done in a few weeks.

He first started having symptoms about a year ago with a couple of skin infections. We figured he just had a boil or something that wouldn't heal. Then he was having some horrible coughing symptoms. Actually, the first symptom, though I didn't realize it was a symptom of HIV at the time, was the white creamly growth on his tongue and his horrendous bad breath. I now know that thrush is one of the earliest symptoms one can get...that's probably been lingering for 2 years. Finally, when he started losing weight and his hair started thinning out, we knew something wasn't right. Not until the muscle soreness and weakness in his legs did he go to the doctor.

As far as I know, this was his one and only HIV test.

There's more than one moral to his story, the earlier you get tested/diagnosed, the sooner treatment can be started and the better chance you have of success with the medications.

smiteler 12-13-2010 01:42 PM

Re: New (Ex Husband recently diagnosed)
you will find out real soon if the meds will work.
as long as he hasn't deteriorated that bad
he should come back.
in a controlled study
i have had my cd4 levels as low as 185 and today
they are at 840 so the drugs will work.
it is more a matter of how much damage he has done
to his body and if it can bounce back.
good luck to you both

ExWifeFriend 12-13-2010 02:04 PM

Re: New (Ex Husband recently diagnosed)
Thank you smiteler. I am glad to hear you are responding well to your regimen!! He does state that he feels somewhat better already. I am so afraid of him catching something with all the bugs going around right now and him pushing himself at work and getting ready for the holidays. I am worried about his mentation too. It seems he has been struggling with pronunciation and finding the right words to express what he's trying to say. He has mentioned that it is getting difficult for him to write emails and he's also said that his memory is getting worse. Any thoughts regarding that phenomenon?

smiteler 12-13-2010 05:25 PM

Re: New (Ex Husband recently diagnosed)
i have had hiv for 13 years..
it does effect me mentally a little
i have found
it is a bit harder for me to concentrate on something difficult.

my memory seems to be fine to this point.
some of other study tests (btw i have been thru very many hiv studies)
i have done are tests of the brain function and memory
so i know for sure it is a effect of hiv
alot might depend how far it the hiv has progressed
and also on the individual person itself.

a good sign for him is he is still working and functioning
if he is still strong enough for that, hopefully his body
is strong enough to rebound and get better.

i won't sugar coat it
i have known of some people who didn't respond at all to the meds...
but they seemed to be a bit sicker and further along
then what you say your ex is going thru
as they couldn't function at all.
i will keep my fingers crossed for you it will all work out.

ExWifeFriend 12-14-2010 08:50 AM

Re: New (Ex Husband recently diagnosed)
I am going with him on Thursday for an appt with his Infectious Disease doctor. Is there anything specifically I should ask her? I think we need to know what his "viral load" is in addition to knowing his CD4 count being 30. If I am not mistaken, don't the two counts combined make a huge difference in determining his prognosis?

So far, he hasn't had any ill side effects from his meds. The B12 shots have made him stronger already.

Take care smiteler!

smiteler 12-14-2010 09:49 AM

Re: New (Ex Husband recently diagnosed)
that is a very great sign for him that he is feeling stronger..
it probably means the meds are working.
the side effects from the pills might take a little time
to surface as his body adapts to them.
it will all depend on the individual.

the two main things you will watch are the
cd4 and vl ,you want the cd4 to rise and the vl to drop.
also the doctor will keeping thier eye on other levels
in his blood as the hiv meds are very harsh on the kidneys and liver.
those will be monitored also.
he will end up having his blood tested 4 times a year for these things.
you should have no fear of him being around anyone..
as the only way he can infect someone else is by having sex with them.
i think its great he has support,and from an ex is even more suprising
he will need all he can get.
as long as the meds do thier job and he gets better
hiv will be just another problem he has to deal with
and not something that will doom him.

ExWifeFriend 12-17-2010 09:02 AM

Re: New (Ex Husband recently diagnosed)
Well, I accompanied my ex to his appt yesterday. Some not-the-greatest news and some pretty encouraging news. I learned that in addition to his CD4 count being 30, his viral load count is 5 million. I know that even in untreated, uncontrolled patients, it can be as high as 1 million, so 5 scared the **** out of me. HOWEVER, we met with his dr. for almost 2 full hours and she is absolutely on her game and already has incredible rapport with her and I am very impressed with the level of care he is getting. His doctor is extremely optimistic, so that in and of itself makes me feel a ton better.

In addition, this was the first I had seen my ex in a week and he looked, felt and sounded 100x better than even the week before. Obviously, he is responding well to his new HIV medication regimen. YEAH!!

Have a great weekend everyone - go hug someone you love!

smiteler 12-17-2010 01:00 PM

Re: New (Ex Husband recently diagnosed)
that is real encouraging,it might take a while
for that number to drop but at least you know that
things are going the way you want them to,
it is when you see no improvement is when you really have to worry.
as long as he sticks with it,he should be ok.
good luck

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