cartoon lungs covered in green goo associated with pneumocystis pneumonia

My Diagnosis Story, Part 1

We all have our individual stories on how we found out that we were HIV positive. My story ended up being an intense experience for me and my family. Due to the circumstances, I had an extreme recovery and acceptance period after my diagnosis.

A history of really bad migraines

I get extremely bad migraines. Honestly, I spent the nine years prior to my diagnosis trying to manage chronic migraines. One weekend, I had spent several days in bed with what I thought was just another bad migraine spell. I did not go to the emergency room for my horrible migraines because they ultimately did not give me anything to help break the migraine cycle. I went to sleep on October 30th at home in my bed and woke up two weeks later with a tube down my throat in the intensive care unit of the hospital.

A chest X-ray to look at my lungs

Apparently early in the morning of the 31st, my husband at the time, Steven, woke up a realized that I was burning up and breathing erratically. Like I mentioned, I was prone to migraines during which my body heat makes it seem as though I have a fever.

The beginning of a nightmare

Now, I do not remember any of the following events, but it is what I was told happened. He decided to take me to an urgent care center that his boss recommended. Once at the urgent care facility, he explained to them about my migraines and how a Toradol injection can help break the bad migraine for me. The doctor complied with the injection but wanted to do a chest x-ray because of my strange breathing. That doctor quickly realized my lungs were almost completely full of fluid.

He informed Steven that if he would have woken up any later, I would have passed away in my sleep. The urgent care doctor intubated me there in the clinic and called for an ambulance to take me to an actual hospital. To add to the drama, the first ambulance that responded was missing pieces from their machine for the intubation and, in turn, so was the second ambulance. The EMTs had to join members in one ambulance in order to transport me to the hospital.

Getting diagnosed with pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP)

The hospital understood that I had some type of pneumonia, but they did not know what kind or how I managed to get it. While I was intubated in the intensive care unit, they had me on three different broad-spectrum antibiotics.

I almost needed a heart transplant

Originally, they informed my family that I would need a heart transplant because my lungs had put such a strain on my heart. As the fluid slowly began to be removed from my lungs, my heart was able to start to recover to the point that I no longer needed to consider a heart transplant. Unfortunately to this day, I am still tachycardic, meaning my heart rate stays too high at 100 or more beats per minute.

It took the hospital about a week to find out that I was positive! The hospital, finally finding out about my status, allowed them to determine the type of pneumonia that I was battling, pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP). At this point, I still had another three weeks that I would spend in the hospital and a few of my family members knew that I was positive but I still had no idea.

Sadly, this is only the beginning of my diagnosis story. Watch out for the next part of this story.

Do you have a diagnosis story of your own that you would like the share?

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