May 8, 2008

May 8, 2008
Thanks for joining me again. I would like to take a second and thank those of you who have emailed me about this blog. While I would never claim to have a whirlwind life, your emails expressing thanks for my blog have truly humbled me. I am so fortunate and glad to be able to help anyone in the journey and fight with HIV and AIDS. So keep the emails coming and thanks for all the kind words and encouragement.

It's another great weather day in Jacksonville, Florida. Although soon we will be leaving the comfortable temperatures in the 80s and entering the 90s and higher for the next five months or so. It is not so much the high temperatures that can make Florida weather unbearable to some as much as our high humidity which can literally add 10+ degrees to the thermometer reading. Not to mention how the humidity can make you sweat through your clothes within minutes of stepping outside. Even though I've lived in southern California and Florida for 2/3 of my life as I get older I find I am much less tolerable of the heat compared to when I was younger. Now I am not sure if being a long term survivor of HIV and AIDS plays a major factor or if I am just getting "older" and the intolerance of the heat and humidity are a result of aging. Either way, we are getting to the time of year where it is hard for me to breathe and function during the middle of the day when temperatures and humidity tend to be the highest.

I did make it out for a walk before 11am to get some fresh air and sun. I took my trusty digital camera with me just in case I saw interesting shapes or forms to photograph while walking and enjoying my day. I have been an amateur photographer for almost 20 years now. I originally became interested in photography while still modeling. I wish I had pursued my hobby more and gotten involved eventually as a professional photographer but with my activism and career I never seemed to have the time. Now I mainly do photography as a form of self expression and enjoyment while also using my skills for our website and other organizations such as Divided We Fail, AARP, THE ROSE and many others. After about an hour, the temps were already climbing toward mid 80s with traffic getting back during lunch hour so it was time to return home for a good nap.

For those of you who are not HIV positive, one of the main side effects of being HIV+ for many years is a problem with energy and stamina. Some scientists blame this on changes to the mitochondria part of our cells in our body. Mitochondria are responsible for using foods we consume to create energy. With long term exposure to HIV, it has been proven in trial studies to damage some people's mitochondria and can lead to HIV/AIDS waisting. I personally have been fighting HIV/AIDS waisting since the mid 1990s and it is a constant struggle to put on weight. Now I realize having to eat constantly to keep on weight might sound great to those who have a weight problem. However when you HAVE to eat constantly just to keep weight on it can feel like a full time job. I eat roughly three to four small meals a day AND drink at least 2 - 3 high protein shakes a day for roughly 3000 calories a day. Any lower consumption than that and I immediately start dropping weight. When you drop weight that rapidly it is not only fat you are losing but also muscle. Now I have tried marinol for HIV waisting but at $5000 per month, it was not only too costly but I was not getting the desired results. Basically all marinol did for me was give me constant dry mouth.

I was awaken from my nap by someone beating on my front door and making the dogs bark. By the time I woke up and made it to the door, whoever had been knocking had left and I didn't see any message. Guess if it was important enough, they will come back or contact me. I know I wasn't expecting anyone today. Then it was time to make another one of my delicious protein shakes. I make them using a can of milk chocolate flavored Slimfast (great vitamin and mineral content while being low fat), banana, 3 scoops of whole whey chocolate protein powder and about 10 ice cubes. Then I blend to make a frosty chocolate tasty treat. Each shake yields about 400 - 500 calories helping me get the necessary nutrients and calories in my diet every day.

Patrick called later in the day and asked if he could stop by and chat so I said sure. He's been going through a ton of stress between Dale and his father both having serious medical problems. Dale is still in the hospital and his father just returned home after a heart attack. Plus Patrick has his own health issues so I feel for him. The least I could do as a friend was lend an ear and shoulder for his to lean on. Patrick is going to give me a ride to my doctor appointment tomorrow so I am sure we will talk more then.

Tonight after Gary came home we ended up watching Ugly Betty on the tube while having grilled cheddar chesse sandwiches for dinner. It was another great episode with Whilimena telling the Meads she is pregnant with Bradford (the now dead patriarch) baby. In the story line, she stole his sperm and had it inseminated in Christina who is another employee at Mode magazine. Betty had also been dealing with her boyfriend's pregnant ex-girlfriend Charlie who ended up having her baby tonight. If you do not watch Ugly Betty I'm sure all of this sounds like a soap opera and I guess you would be partially correct. I like the way the weave social commentary and current events into the over the top story lines. The show has also won several awards in their first two years.

Heading off to bed after finishing this entry. I have a doctor appointment with my primary care physician in the morning. Hope you have a great Friday. Take care and be safe. Wishing you health, hope and happiness.

Big bear hug,

Daddy Dab