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Posts Tagged ‘Health’

Possibly an Unwanted Visitor

02 Sep

Day before yesterday I wrote (on Facebook) that I’ll be sharing some personal concerns sometime soon. While nothing is definite, “sometime soon” is today. I spoke with Mom a short while ago and called one of my brothers (Wayne) directly after to give him a heads up because I know Mom will undoubtedly bring this up in conversation.

Close friends and family know that I’ve lived with HIV for twelve years now. You also know that I was diagnosed and treated for Stage 3B Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in late 2006/’07, having officially gone into remission around my 44th birthday (March of ’07).

My mantra has always been not to “borrow trouble” (simply meaning, “get the facts first and then deal with whatever may come“). So many assume the worst when there may be other explanations for why something is going on.

In 2006, I had begun to feel back pain around February and that pain got progressively worse as the year progressed. I mistakenly “thought” I would likely have to go in for back surgery as I’d done something really thoughtless some years earlier. As it turned out, the pain was due to a tumor (enlarged lymph node) located in my back that was pressing upon the nerve bundle. That same feeling is what I’ve been experiencing, along with a lot of upset stomachs over the past week or two. I had felt “some” back pain over the course of the past four or five months but it always seemed to abate (which was not the case in ’06) so I didn’t give it “too much thought.” Besides, the physicians were taking periodic CT scans to [supposedly] see to it that the cancer had not returned.

Those physicians were affiliated with the county hospital (Parkland) here in Dallas and to tell the truth, I’ve never had as much confidence in them as I had in the oncologist who first diagnosed and treated me for the cancer in 2006.

The last week has been especially difficult; the pain is pretty much constant, as is the upset stomach. I now have health insurance so I’m going to schedule an appointment with [hopefully] the same oncologist who first treated me all those years ago. He will likely need a referral from a family physician so I’ll see if I can locate the physician I was seeing in 2006 and have her refer me to both, the oncologist and my prior physician who was handling my HIV care from 2006 until I lost my insurance in late 2008. I am (perhaps unwisely) assuming and preparing for the worst-case scenario; that the cancer has returned and will again need to be treated with chemo, radiation or a combination of the two.

Not in the least happy with the circumstances; more than a little bit pissed that I may yet again be facing this dreaded disease but it is what it is. Everything in life happens for a reason so we shall see what the doctors have to say. I’ll share more as I know more…

Hugs, love and namaste,
Michael

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Testicular Cancer: Get a Grip!

24 Mar

Adam Levine for Testicular Cancer Awareness

Self Exam for Testicular CancerTesticular cancer is the number one cancer found in men between the ages of 15 and 40 (and isn’t something to be taken lightly). If you’re a guy, know what to look for. Familiarize yourself with the disease and learn how to recognize the symptoms early on. Regularly conduct self-exams and see a physician if anything at all seems out of the ordinary. Your own vigilance with regard to what is going on with your body may just be what saves your life in the end.

If you’re a parent, teach your son(s) how to look for any signs of trouble. One young man, Jordan Jones, was diagnosed with stage 4 testicular cancer at the very young age of thirteen (13). You can read all about his harrowing story here. Fortunately, Jordan’s story has a happy ending and he is alive and well today.

Testicular Cancer Awareness (facebook page)

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Posted in Health

 

HIV and Online Disclosure

14 Jan

I discovered this video-interview from a link shared on Facebook (original article appears here on Manhunt Daily, a “gay blog for your daily dose of news, celebrities, music and hot guys. Manhunt style.”) The site is an offshoot of Manhunt, a reportedly popular social networking site for men who seek men.

(In my opinion, Manhunt is pretty much nothing more than a sex hookup site; something I’m not into myself but I’m not judging.)

At any rate, I can totally relate to some of what Rory is sharing in the video about his status and his experiences; both, on Manhunt and off. Rory was apparently featured as the site’s “Man of the Week” at some point in time and he’s HIV-Positive. In the interview, he talks about some of his experiences; how he’s been treated and some of the messages he has received because of his HIV status.


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World AIDS Day (yesterday)

02 Dec

World AIDS Day (12/1)

Yesterday (12/1) was World AIDS Day and although the current theme is “Getting to Zero,” the fight against the disease is far from over. If you are presently sexually active or on the verge of becoming so, educate yourself on matters pertaining to your own health safety. Don’t forget to be careful; use condoms and make every attempt to do so correctly and help prevent the spread of HIV.

Namaste,
Michael

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Posted in Health

 

Condoms and the Porn Industry

03 Aug

A recent blog entry on a website that I sometimes follow mentioned an interesting article that appeared on the Courthouse News Service.

The focus of the article had to do with the hardcore pornography industry and how STD infection rates in Los Angeles County have spiraled upwards in recent years.

AIDS Group Can’t Force Safe Sex in Porno Films

     (CN) – Hardcore pornography actors in Los Angeles cannot be compelled to use condoms by the health department, a California appeals court ruled.
     The AIDS Healthcare Foundation and its president, Michael Weinstein, sought a writ of mandamus that would compel the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to require the use of condoms, as well as hepatitis B vaccinations, for actors in the adult film industry.
     Failure to act by the department allowed the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, the foundation claimed.
     The trial court dismissed the complaint, and the Los Angeles-based California Court of Appeals affirmed in ruling in an opinion written by Justice Richard Aldrich.
     STD infection diagnoses among adult film performers in Los Angeles County, the epicenter of the porn industry, have skyrocketed in recent years, according to the health department, which found that there were 2,847 infections among 1,884 performers between 2004 and 2008.
     An outbreak of HIV also afflicted the porn industry in 2004, according to the department.
     Even so, the foundation cannot tell the health department exactly how to control the spread of disease, according to the June 16 ruling, which was certified for publication on Friday.
     “Even if the foundation believes the department’s efforts are not effective, the foundation cannot obtain mandamus relief for this alleged violation,” Aldrich wrote. “The decision on what steps to take to control the spread of sexually transmitted diseases is entrusted to the department.” 

Not surprisingly, given that the fear of the spread of HIV has dissipated somewhat over the years, contributing to a lazy, unhealthy and irresponsible attitude toward the virus that is held by far too many. That attitude has [consequently] led to a rise in HIV infections in recent years (as compared to infections following the initial response and education with regard to the disease in the 1990’s).

I’ve included a copy of the original article, which appears here (see inset at right). My comment on the POZIAM website appears below.

 

I’m of two minds on this matter… On the one hand, I believe it is the responsibility of the employers in the industry to [freely] set the guidelines (and suffer the consequences when those of us watching their wares decide we don’t agree with their lack of personal responsibility in the matter and choose instead to boycott some of the filmmakers in favor of those who choose to require/encourage condom use and education instead).


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The Dirty, Ugly Side of Medical Research

12 Jun

Human Immunodeficiency Virus courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

I stumbled across this article while researching a couple of my more recent blog entries.

The article helps to explain why we all too often hear about some wonderful new advance in the search for a cure or magic pill, etc. for HIV/AIDS, only to hear little to nothing more about it in the news months later. We’re given reason to hope that progress has been made and then NOTHING.

If I’m to understand the article correctly, what they are describing is no different than what we see going on with our elected representatives in Washington, D.C. It’s all about getting your name out there before the public, regardless of whether or not you’ve really accomplished anything deserving of such attention.

In fact, perhaps the best comparison might be akin to the stock market. Good publicity begets a rise in your stock (or in this case, funding) whereas the consequences of bad publicity are that the price of your stock plummets.


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Integrity and Risk, What a Pair!

18 Apr

photo of a compass with the word Integrity printed on its face If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you’ll have realized one thing. I am NOT perfect. LOL!!

In fact, I’m so far from being [perfect] it’s not even the slightest bit funny… Nonetheless, I strive to be honest with my words, my feelings and if at all possible in my actions. I’ve accepted that I’ll never be perfect but I can at least try for integrity.

And the truth is integrity is more important to me than perfection anyway.

Most will agree that whereas people are concerned, perfection is a state of being none of us can achieve. The phrase, “We’re only human” comes to mind — and the implied certainty that we all have our weaknesses and fall far short of perfection, at any given point in time.

The truth is that the closest any of us can ever come to perfection is during those days, weeks and months when we are dating and our boyfriend/girlfriend is swept up in the “feeling” that we are everything to him or her. In THOSE moments, we are the closest we will ever come to being perfect in their eyes (and then they get to know us better and we’re back to being that silly schmuck that stumbles through life just as the rest of the boobs do). I mean, be serious for a minute… Haven’t you felt that way about somebody you were enthralled with and dreamt of spending the rest of your life with? You can’t imagine that he (or she) is anything but perfect. 😉 …but in time you’ll discover they are just as flawed as you yourself are — and that’s perfectly alright; it’s human.


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A Lad takes his Life

26 Jan

Photo of Sophomore Steven TaylorI was going to post a different blog entry earlier today but to be honest, it’s more of a rant and I just don’t feel like posting one of those right now.

Besides, this has been bothering me ever since I read about the death of this young man earlier in the month. To be honest I think it’s part of the reason why I haven’t been writing what some might call my “deeper, more thought-out entries” of late — that and not feeling too well there for a while.

That said, I’ve been intending on posting about this and tonight (even though I thought I was going to be in bed by now) seems to be the night to talk about it. I don’t know the details but I simply can’t stop thinking about the decision this teen (Sophomore Steven Taylor) did make to commit suicide (Thursday, January 6, 2011). I’m troubled every time that I hear about somebody so young taking their life because I know what it took for me to contemplate the same thing; a total feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. For our youth to feel this way so early on in their lives; it’s unsettling and…

It’s a [censored] tragedy, that much is for damn certain!

I can’t imagine the terrible loss Steven’s family must be experiencing; the feelings of confusion that must be going through the minds of his friends and classmates.


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Sick as a dog … and the weather is FREEZING!

11 Jan

sick as a dogIt’s funny… I’m usually not the kind of person who acts like a big baby when he isn’t feeling well but today I’m breaking from the norm.

Went to the doctor yesterday and sure enough, Charlie exposed me to bronchitis (which I felt totally obligated to play host to it seems). My voice was becoming increasingly hoarse, breathing labored and we won’t even start describing the congestion. Let’s just say that I’m doing a load of whites in the wash right now, which include a number of washcloths that I’ve been spitting phlegm into like a big, fat forty-seven year old baby.

It’s really every bit as disgusting as it sounds. LOL


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Sickly again…

08 Jan

cartoon characature of sick fish swimming over background of Dallas, TexasI just cannot seem to stay away from people who are ill — and, in turn they expose and often pass on to me whatever cold, virus, etc. that they’re afflicted with. {–grr–}

It’s not like I go out of my way to find these people. ROFL.

One is my upstairs neighbor and he was feeling sick last week so I had him come down for some homemade chicken soup. (Should have just put some in a throwaway container I’d saved from the store and handed it to him at his doorstep but I always enjoy seeing this guy. 😛 He’s sexy and has SUCH a fantastic set of pecs and cute tushy. Hahahahaha)


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