the evil eye

he took one, deep look into my eyes & – he knew!  sounds like an entry in a bad bromance novel but it’s not – it’s my life.  MNJ here, i had a disconcerting experience friday that i’m wondering if anyone out there has further details for.  i’ll try to keep the intro as short as possible so as not to bore.

so, about a week and a half ago i started getting this small flash of light in the corner of my left eye.  called the opthamologist for a check up.  sat down in his chair & he starts the exam.  what he finds distresses him a bit cause he’s not quite sure what he’s seeing.  he thinks it might be a freckle on the inside of my eye, something that i’ve always had and that the flash has always been there but i’m just starting to see because it’s gotten more intense.  he happened to be facilitating a seminar with a bunch of regional doc’s at his office so he asked if i cared to have another opinion.  sure, bring it on.  the second doc sits down and starts his exam.  confirms that it is in fact a “freckle” but keeps probing.

here’s where i get lost & need more insight – the second doc point blank asks me what my sexual preference is.  a bit taken aback but i said “well, i’m married but i’ll be honest, i’m gay.”  to which he asks, “have you been tested for HIV?”
me:  “yes, i’ve been tested twice, about fifteen years ago.”
doc:  “you might want to get tested again.  does your wife know your gay?”
me:  “yes, she know before we got married.  but wait a minute, what’s going on here?  why would you ask such a question?”

this is where my mind goes blank while the two of them talk doc talk & use big words that on a good day i wouldn’t understand.  apparently there is something called CMV, traces of your body being overloaded with viral infection that can manifest itself in the tissue of the eye that is consistent with people carrying the HIV virus.  CMV is not ONLY related to HIV but he has seen many cases in his practice that link back to it.  they don’t seem too alarmed but proceed to tell me of a study on a product called propolis – some kind of bee extract that has been proven to cure HIV.  they even went to the computer, looked up an article, printed it off to send home with me.

this was friday morning.  in shock, we decided to move forward with our weekend plans; dropping the kids at a sitter & heading to nashville for carmina burana & music city half marathon.  we have had no time to research or dig or even go get a test.  i’m not sure what to think or where to turn.

the whole experience was like watching a talk by elder scott at conference.  you know what i’m talking about, even though you are sitting all cozy on your sofa at home in your PJ’s, when he looks at the camera, you know he’s looking through the lens directly into your soul!

does anyone out there know anything regarding this connection?  if not, we’ll keep digging and keep you posted.  UGH!  i hate when the past comes back to bite you.  they always say that the eyes are a passageway into the soul . . .

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8 thoughts on “the evil eye

  1. MNJ, you are beautiful.
    Can I be a bit nit-picky, though?? It’s just a terminology thing that obnoxious persons like me get caught up on, you know? (sigh) “Cure”. It’s not actually a cure. BUT, propolis HAS is being proven to be effective at blocking HIV entry into cells which means it may be able to be used in conjunction with medications which do similar things and/or prevent replication of HIV in human cells (aka antiretroviral drugs). It’s really quite an amazing thing. Essentially, propolis and antiretroviral drugs suppress HIV enough that HIV-positive persons can be quite healthy, though, unfortunately, these HIV-positive persons have continued to be HIV-positive, having small numbers of HIV still in their bodies.

    If you’re nerdy like me, you’ll like this (even though it was published in 2005 and is thus a little bit getting aged):
    http://www.extension.umn.edu/honeybees/components/pdfs/jethnopharmacology_102_2005.pdf

    • NOT nit-picky. this sort of info/explanation is exactly what i’m asking for. i know nothing about it and our limited search hasn’t really turned up much i can get my arms around. i don’t feel like this is something to be alarmed about because if i were HIV positive, wouldn’t i have shown some sort of sign by now? it’s been 15 years since my last test. i’ve had two. aren’t they pretty conclusive at that point? if positive – what does that mean for MH & the kidos? wouldn’t they have it as well? where is the best place to ask all these questions?

      ps – the only thing i take offense at is the “you’re beautiful” comment because a friend of mine & i use that line when we’re mocking someone! you best not be mocking me cause i know where you live!

  2. Okay. So since this post, we’ve talked and I’ve emailed you so many links and so much information you’re probably more boggled than before. But in the true spirit of being a know-it-all nerd, and in hoping to spread accurate information regarding HIV/AIDS (I’m a bit of a **freeeeeeak** about this topic), I want to answer your above questions (as best as I can) in case anyone who reads this would like some answers. (If you’ll let me?) 🙂

    First, some medical professionals should really just find different careers because they SUCK at being decent medical professionals. (I won’t further this rant)

    This is NOT something to be alarmed about, it’s something to be careful about. Alarm and stress and worrying just are never good. But, it is good to be careful and to wisely consider options and opinions regarding HIV/AIDS: it’s not something AT ALL to be trifled with. And, yes, typically, CMV retinitis is seen as an opportunistic infection in immunocompromised patients, i.e. HIV-positive patients; HOWEVER, CMV retinitis is typically seen in HIV-positive patients who have been infected with HIV for usually 8-9 years (without being treated). Typically, untreated HIV-positive patients live with an HIV infection for 10 years before death, usually gaining an AIDS diagnosis around 8 years after their T4 or CD4+ cells count falls below 200 per microliter of blood. In other words, the patients in which CMV retinitis is usually found in are VERY VERY VERY sick and weak and not at ALL feeling well (to say the least). Because they are weakened by HIV, their immune systems are impaired, meaning several other infections typically occur before CMV such as pathogens causing reoccurring minor and/or skin infections, shingles, oral thrush, severe athletes’ foot, tuberculosis, pneumonias, etc.

    HIV tests can be but may not be conclusive even after two tests. (How’s that for being definitive?) Depending upon the amount of time between your two tests, they may or may not be conclusive. Because HIV is a tricky bastard, it can be infecting a human host for up to six months BEFORE the human host’s body even recognizes that it’s being invaded with a deadly pathogen. This 3-6 month time period is commonly referred to as a “window period,” the time before seroconversion when the human body begins to make antibodies against HIV, essentially when the body starts to recognize its enemy. IF your tests were done 3-6 months apart (with no unsafe sexual intercourse or other behaviors that put you at risk for HIV infection being performed), and you are pronounced as being HIV-negative you can generally conclude that you are truly HIV-negative. If your latest test was done sometime after your initial test (with risky behaviors happening between), you should perform a subsequent test 3-6 months after your last risky behavior.

    If you are positive (I’m being very blunt and honest here… not to make you panic or worry), it means that MH and the kiddos have been at risk for HIV contraction also. This means that MH should DEFINITELY be tested. Via sexual contact, i.e. creating your three kiddos, MH could have come in contact with HIV. If MH is also determined to be HIV-positive, each of your kiddos should also be tested. Via birth through the birth canal and/or breastfeeding, the kiddos could have come in contact with HIV.

    As far as the best place to ask questions? THAT’S tricky. I feel like the medical professionals you visited with very much failed to give you thorough, logical, or even helpful information (or any information at all) (I mean, come ON, what did they LEARN in medical school????). BUT, there ARE decent health professionals out there who have had much experience with HIV/AIDS and whom are excellent caregivers. Start here. To find these persons, find a local HIV testing center. Inevitably, these testing centers are equipped with resources and contacts of professionals who can help. To find nearby testing centers, visit here: http://www.hivtest.org/

    Because your situation is not definitely HIV-related, (CMV retinitis can occur without a present HIV infection), you may or may not want to seek medical care and counsel from other medical professionals. Testing for HIV immediately may save you time, however, in getting direct and accurate treatment for your CMV retinitis as a medical provider will certainly recommend that you are tested as to rule out the possibility of an HIV infection.

    And by no means was I being snarky (though I AM quite talented in this area) when I say you are beautiful. Because that’s EXACTLY how I feel about you. You ARE beautiful. In every way. And this quality of yours is especially demonstrated in your above writing about your dilemma and experience. Very few, I feel, could be so poignant and calm and just kind in such a situation with so many difficult possibilities looming overhead. (I would be shooting obscenities off like fireworks and typing in all-caps)

    Take it easy (as easy as possible), and stay beautiful. (I about put “stay golden” just like my 8th grade English teacher, whom I adore, wrote in my 8th grade yearbook, but it made me feel weird inside and, no offense or anything, but WHAT kind of name is “Ponyboy”??)

    <33333

  3. My best straight sort of ex-friend is a pretty well respected ophthalmologist. I’ll see what he has to say. You and the fam will be in my prayers.

  4. Okay this really is Mandi responding this time.
    Looks like our county health dept does both the rapid test and the conventional test. However, I do like the idea of a trip to the Nashville HIV center as my Birthday outing. I like to try something new on my Birthday.
    I’m more convinced than ever that this CMV is coming from the lovely herpes. I’m pretty sure he will still get an HIV test just to clear the mind anyway.
    Is anyone getting why I’m so adamant about Keeping the Pants ON?? Good-NESS!!

  5. went in for testing this morning. our county health department doesn’t offer the rapid test – well they do but it still takes two weeks. the lab tech said that if the blood work shows anything if’y then they do the western blot test to confirm their findings. fingers & toes crossed. i’ll let you know in a few weeks.

    thanks to Avery James for posting the info & the links & thanks for talking us through last night! you are an amazing man – if you come across any other tips please post them in an effort to educate.

    thanks to steve as well – let us know what your x-bestie has to say.

  6. Was going to provide links to info on CMV (variant of herpes that over half the adult population likely carries) and CMV Retinitis (inflammation of the retina caused by CMV, usually only in immuno-compromised individuals)… But it looks like someone else who knows more than I do beat me to the punch! 🙂

    Hugs and best of luck–Often the worst part of any medical issue is the uncertainty that precedes the definitive diagnosis, so I hope that you can find answers quickly. You’re in my thoughts!

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