My 4-year Journey with Atripla/Mi camino con el medicamento Atripla

I want to start this blog by saying this: if you are taking Atripla, remember that everyone's body is different...I am talking about my own experience and this is not meant to scare anyone, but to make them more aware of a medication that is in Atripla called "Efivarenz".

I was very happy to get on Atripla. I was just coming off a 10-year regimen with Trizivir that I decided to change because it was enlarging my red blood cells and I loved that Atripla was a once a day pill! I was so excited, although I had been warned about the possible side effects like: vivid dreams, anxiety, depression and in some people, suicidal thoughts. I decided to get on it anyway against my ex-specialist's warning that he didn't think it was a good medicine for me. :( I wish I would have listened to him!

I started having the nightmares sometimes and I liked the drunk feeling when I took it at night…it made me sleep quicker, etc. I really felt that it was a good thing for me.

As the years passed I didn't realize that my motivation was leaving! I felt useless and felt like a burden. I describe my experience as having a dark cloud on me. I was living in a blur. I am an expert in hiding my feelings from the people that I love and the world… unless you live with me like my wife Lisa does. Most likely you will never know my struggles and my moments of darkness. I feel a huge responsibility to always look my best and motivate others that have hope because they see me so well (without knowing what I go through inside).

I started going down as far as depression and suicidal thoughts. I have two uncles from my mother and father's side that ended their lives...this is part of my family…maybe? I know we have a lot of mental illness in my family.

I got so so close to ending my life that not even my mother or Lisa knew how close I came to ending it all. I felt this was the only way out for me and that it would be a relief for the ones that love me and suffer with me to not have me around. These were some very hard times and the ones close to me were very worried.

I don't know why…this is not my style, but I decided to confide in a person that I consider my friend and sister. Her name is Martha Lang. She is also a blogger here at The Well Project :) and an administrator in one of my support groups online. Martha SAVED MY LIFE! And I want her to know this and the whole world to know this! She sensed the dark path I was facing and she sensed that I was having suicidal thoughts. I opened up to her and this is something I do not do often.

She began to ask me about the medications that I take. I told her. As soon as I told her Efivarenz (Sustiva) was one of them, she started alerting me and told me to try to talk to my doctor about changing this very toxic medication for me! I did and now it has been 3 months that I am no longer on Atripla. :) I take Truvada and Tivicay!! I feel like a veil has been lifted! I have no depression or suicidal thoughts. Oh, I forgot...I even started grinding my teeth because of this medication I believe. I never did it before until recent years. This is caused by anxiety and stress. I have always had this, but with Atripla it multiplied! It is so bad that part of my left jaw is bone on bone from this. I am no longer grinding, my PMS is better…just so many things with this change. :)

I recently started seeing a new HIV specialist who gave me the good news that there is a new type of Truvada that will come out with less toxicity and side effects like kidney damage, and he told me if I were HIV positive I would be taking both Truvada and Tivicay.

So I am very excited about this! It doesn't mean that I am 100 %…HIV/AIDS is a struggle…but I am a fighter and a warrior. <3 Next month I will see how this new medicine is working on me. I pray that I am doing well and with higher T cells and still an undetectable VL.

Until the next time...

Love and Light

Maria Mejia

Quiero empezar este blog diciendo esto: si estás tomando Atripla, recuerda que todos los organismos son diferentes...Estoy hablando de mi propia experiencia y esto no es para asustar a nadie, sino para que tengan más conocimiento de un medicamento que está en el Atripla llamado "Efivarenz".

Yo estaba muy feliz de tener el Atripla. Estaba saliendo de un régimen de 10 años con Trizivir que decidí cambiar porque fue engrandeció mis células rojas de la sangre y me encantaba que Atripla se toma solo una vez al día y es solo una píldora! Estaba tan emocionada, aunque me habían advertido sobre los posibles efectos secundarios como: sueños demasiado intensos, la ansiedad, la depresión y en algunas personas pensamientos suicidas. Decidí empezar de todas formas en contra del consejos de mi ex especialista que me advirtió que esta medicina no era tan buena para mi. :( Ojala le hubiera escuchado!

Empecé a tener los sueños fuertes a veces y me gusta la sensación de borrachera que me daba cuando lo tomaba en la noche…me ayudaba a dormirme rápido…realmente sentía que era una buena cosa para mí.

Pasaban los años y me daba cuenta de que mi motivación se iba! Me sentía inútil y me sentía como una carga. Como describir mi experiencia?? Era como tener una nube oscura sobre mi.. Vivía en una neblina. Soy experta en ocultar mis sentimientos de las personas que amo y el mundo. A menos que vivan conmigo...como mi esposa Lisa que sabe las cosas que me pasan. Lo más probable es que nunca los de mas sabrán mis luchas y mis momentos de oscuridad. Siento una enorme responsabilidad de siempre lucir bien o lo mejor posible y motivar a otros que tienen esperanza porque me ven tan bien (sin saber lo que paso en el interior).

Empecé a ir hacia abajo con la depresión y los pensamientos suicidas. Tengo 2 tíos de parte de madre y padre que se suicidaron...esto es parte de mi familia? Tal vez? Sé que hay mucha enfermedad mental en mi familia.

Estuve tan cerca de terminar con mi vida que ni siquiera mi madre y Lisa sabían lo cerca que estuve de acabar conmigo. Sentía que esto era la única salida para mí y que sería un alivio para los que me aman y sufren conmigo. Estos fueron tiempos muy duros y los más cercanos a mí estaban muy preocupados.

No sé porque…este no es mi estilo, pero decidí confiar en una persona que considero mi amiga y una hermana. Su nombre es Martha Lang. Ella es también un blogger aquí en The Well Project :) y una administradora de uno de mis grupos de apoyo en línea. Martha me salvó la vida! Y yo quiero que ella sepa esto y todo el mundo también! Ella sintió que estaba en un lugar muy oscuro y que lo estaba enfrentando y ella sintió que yo estaba teniendo pensamientos suicidas. Me abrí con ella y esto es algo que no hago a menudo.

Ella comenzó a preguntarme sobre los medicamentos que tomo. Y le dije los que tomaba. Tan pronto que le dije a ella que Efivarenz (Sustiva) fue uno de los que tomo, ella empezó a alertarme y me dijo que tratara de hablar con mi médico acerca de cambiar este medicamento tóxico para mí! Lo hice y ahora han sido 3 meses que ya no estoy con Atripla. :) Tomo Truvada y Tivicay!! Me siento como si me levantaran un velo de mi cabeza! No tengo depresión o pensamientos suicidas, se me olvidaba...Incluso empecé a morder los dientes a causa de este medicamento...creo...Nunca lo hice antes hasta hace pocos años. Esto es causa de la ansiedad y el estrés. Siempre he tenido esto, pero con Atripla se multiplica! Es tan malo que parte de mi mandíbula izquierda es hueso sobre el hueso a causa de esto. Ya no estoy mordiendo, mis síndrome premenstrual esta mejor…tantas cosas buenas con este cambio. :)

Recientemente he comenzado a ver un nuevo especialista para el VIH que me dio la buena noticia de que esta a punto de salir un nuevo Truvada con menos toxicidad y efectos secundarios como daño en los riñones, y él me dijo que si el fuera VIH positivo estaría tomando Truvada y Tivicay.

Así que estoy muy entusiasmada con esto! No quiere decir que estoy 100%...el VIH/SIDA es una lucha diaria…pero soy un luchadora y una guerrera.<3 El mes que viene voy a ver cómo esta nueva medicina está trabajando en mí. Pido a Dios que este haciendo lo que tiene que hacer y que tenga los cd4 mas altos y que la carga viral siga indetectable.

Hasta la próxima vez...

Amor y Luz

Maria Mejia

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Comments

I missed being a part of this awesome blog space

waheedahshabazz's picture

Far too long since I 

posted. Thank you all for carrying the torch.

Best

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I will continue till my last

Mariatmejia's picture

I will continue till my last breathe! love and light

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Thank You, Maria!

Martha E Lang's picture

I am so glad to call you sister, so honored by your words in this blog and so proud of you for both sharing this hard experience so that others can learn and navigating the switch of medications so gracefully and bravely. Thank you for sharing this part of you HIV marathon so that others can learn from your experience.  

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I am honored to call you a

Mariatmejia's picture

I am honored to call you a sister and a friend my dear Martha! Thank you for helping me in a huge time of need ! love you

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I am honored to call you a

Mariatmejia's picture

I am honored to call you a sister and a friend my dear Martha! Thank you for helping me in a huge time of need ! love you

like0

I am honored to call you a

Mariatmejia's picture

I am honored to call you a sister and a friend my dear Martha! Thank you for helping me in a huge time of need ! love you

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