Well, life changes... Sometimes for the Good!

     I know it has been a while since my last post and I am sure some concerned readers are wondering what happened to me.  Well, things have changed (finally) and mostly for the good.
     Let's start where things left off.  As you might remember, I was a mess.  I was wondering if I had made the right decision to live when I was first diagnosed with AIDS after everything seemed to be going wrong with the deaths of family members and the seemingly impossible fights to get quality health care not to mention the decline of my quality of life that all in all made the start of 2016 one of the worst ever.  Well, things change...
     It all began with my wonderful husband, Jim, taking over and calling HealthPartners to complain about the pain doctor I was seeing.  Suddenly, I had an appointment with a new pain doctor plus a wonderful psychologist who specializes in pain management, a terrific psychiatrist who also specializes in pain management, a TMD doctor and physical therapist who will work on my clenching issues, appointments for acupuncture and finally, an appointment with someone at HealthPartners who is certifying patients for medical cannabis.  And all of these people working together to help the whole me!
     My new pain doctor is a young man with lots of sympathy and lots of ideas about how to deal with my whole body instead of just a certain part.  He suggested the others in my medical team to work together to improve my quality of life as a whole.  What a concept!  Now I will be seeing many who will all work towards the same goal. 
     With my therapist, we are working on my life as it is, with all my pains and exhaustion.  We are trying a rapid eye movement type of therapy that will work on ridding myself of the bad feelings of past trauma and letting go of those feelings.  She sees me and Jim together some of the time and me alone at other times.  She is also the one who kick started me on seeing one of two medical professionals in HealthPartners for the medical cannabis.  I am seeing her once a week and have really been enjoying these appointments!
     The psychiatrist is working on the medical aspect of my depression and has started me on a low dose of an antidepressant to take the edge off and to increase my energy level.  So far it seems to be working a bit.  I have seen her twice and she really takes the time to understand exactly how the medications are working for me.  I can't say they cure everything but I feel a bit better and with the rest of the work the team is doing, I should be getting back to my happier self soon!
     The TMD doctor set me up with the Physical Therapist to work on my stress clenching and he will also fit me with a brace to wear to help me stop the clenching.  He is a great doctor who spent time with me listening and examining my jaw and teeth to determine the best way to proceed with treatment.  Hopefully this will prevent any bad and expensive dental work.
     The physical therapist is working on exercises to help me to stop my clenching and to relax my jaw.  One not so good effect from the first session, I came home to one of the worst headaches I have ever had.  On a scale of 1 to 10, this one was a 12!  The only thing that saved me was the Imitrex that I had on hand for my cluster migraine headaches.  Yikes!
     Acupuncture has been nice too.  I am back at the Penny George Institute and working with a couple of terrific acupuncturists.  My first session was nice at the time but again, caused me pain after I was home.  In fact, the pain started around 5:00am and woke me up.  Once again, Yikes!  Thank goodness for the Vicodin I keep on hand.  The second session was not so much a problem compared to that!
  And finally, I AM NOW CERTIFIED IN MINNESOTA FOR MEDICAL CANNABIS AND APPROVED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH!  In fact, I purchased my first 2 doses yesterday.  I am excited to try it.  The one BIG downside however is the cost.  So, I will be reworking my budget and will figure out some way of paying for the cannabis!  Perhaps I could sell myself?  Okay, that wouldn't work since I would be the one to pay... 
     Anyway, things are finally headed in the right direction in my life.  I have a great medical team working on the whole me and not just bits and pieces.  And, as always, there is my terrific husband, my hero who is willing to kick some butt to get things moving!  I am starting to see just how terribly lucky I really am to have chosen to fight AIDS to live!

     Oh, and one more thing, in case you didn't see it, I was interviewed by Sam Radwany at WCCO on line for a great article.  Check it out -

For HIV/AIDS Patients In Minnesota, The Fight Is Far From Over: HIV/AIDS patients and activists say their cause has fallen to the wayside as public interest wanes.



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