HIV Longevity Still Fighting…

30Apr/13Off

The Truth About Hemophilia

Posted by Vaughn Ripley

A better title for this article might have been, Hemophilia is a Pain in the Butt!

Or even, Allow Myself to Explain -- Myself.

However, I stuck with this one. Basically, I thought I would introduce you clotting readers to the [...]

8Feb/13Off

Giveaway for Hemophilia Awareness Month

Posted by Vaughn Ripley

Do you want to win a COo.oOL prize?

I'm giving away a $67 Amazon Gift Card and a signed copy of my book, Survivor: One Man's Battle with HIV, Hemophilia, and Hepatitis C at the end of March. March is Hemophilia Awareness Month, and I decided to run a contest/giveaway to support Hemophilia Awareness, give back to my friends, and gain followers at the same time!

It's easy to enter and I will draw one lucky winner from the contestants on March 31, 2013. In order to qualify you need to [...]

1Dec/12Off

World AIDS Day 2012

Posted by Vaughn Ripley

Today is World AIDS Day. Please take 60 seconds out of your day to reflect and remember the millions and millions of people affected and infected by this horrible HIV virus.

No one knows the exact count, and we probably never will. But statistics and scientific estimates put the numbers [...]

7Jul/12Off

My Dream is a World Without AIDS

Posted by Vaughn Ripley

My claim to fame is being one of the longest surviving HIV+ people in the universe. This isn't exactly the coolest title to have, but I am proud of the fact that I've made it so far. I attribute much of my success and survivability to [...]

9Mar/12Off

Hemophilia Days on Capitol Hill

Posted by Vaughn Ripley

March is National Hemophilia Awareness Month. Groups like the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF) http://www.hemophilia.org and the Hemophilia Federation of America (HFA) http://hemophiliafed.org/ spend countless hours working diligently all year long to ensure that legislative action is kept up with and followed through to protect the hemophilia community’s rights and needs. Once a year, the NHF [...]

23Feb/12Off

Shoes of a Hemophiliac

Posted by Vaughn Ripley

We often hear statements like, "Oh yeah ... Well you should try walking in my shoes..." Today, I'd like to offer my shoes and allow you to see through the eyes of a hemophiliac. Let's start off by explaining what the heck hemophilia is. Hemophilia is a rare bleeding disorder in which your blood does not clot normally or properly. It is carried in the X chromosome, and is called an X-linked genetic disorder. Cutting through all of the obfuscation, it essentially means that [...]

14Feb/12Off

Giving Back

Posted by Vaughn Ripley

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Heart Shape

It is sort of fitting to have an article about [...]

6Feb/12Off

The War of the Body

Posted by Vaughn Ripley

In many of my previous posts I have talked about the war of the body. I've even posted some information about it. Today's Secret article is going to breakdown my idea and how it has helped me.

After all of these peaceful and loving blog entries, let me step out on a limb and discuss [...]

29Jan/12Off

Hobbies and Extracurricular Activities

Posted by Vaughn Ripley

Let's kick this bad boy off with one of my favorite quotes:

“Adventure is worthwhile in itself.”
—Amelia Earhart

Most of my blog articles about living longer have been about fitness, healthier living, mental toughness, medication, and other related subjects. One longevity subject that is often overlooked is [...]

21Jan/12Off

Stress (fancy word for life)

Posted by Vaughn Ripley

After all of the posts in the secret article thread, I figured it was time to tackle stress. It’s also a very good time to bring it up, considering our last post was about living longer. One thing we didn’t discuss during that article was managing your stress levels. The main reason for this [...]

16Jan/12Off

How to Live Longer

Posted by Vaughn Ripley

Don’t laugh; the fountain of youth does exist. Living longer does not only apply to HIV+ folks, this information will work for everyone. Following some simple guidelines and principals can have you on the path to increasing your life expectancy.

Many people from different walks of life told me precisely what I needed to do to prolong my life [...]

30Dec/11Off

Family and Friends (support system)

Posted by Vaughn Ripley

Most of us are looking for support systems in our daily lives. And, the funny thing is that our family and friends surround us and we often fail to recognize that they are [...]

27Jul/11Off

Suicidal Tendencies

Posted by Vaughn Ripley

Let me start this post by stating that I honestly believe that everyone has thought about, and/or considered suicide at some point in their lives. That said, I was told directly by a psychologist many moons ago, that I was wrong about that … I guess we must agree to disagree on this one, because I'm sticking to my guns. However, it’s probable that I am [...]

18Mar/11Off

Positive Attitude

Posted by Vaughn Ripley

Let me start by saying that I do not condone, nor believe in positive thinking/attitude without something to back it up. E.g. I don’t think you can look at a weed-filled garden and chant there are no weeds 1,000 times and then they mysteriously and suddenly disappear. That said, I do sincerely believe in [...]

19Feb/11Off

My First Book Signing was a Success

Posted by Vaughn Ripley

I had a great day in Boonsboro, Maryland. I was at Turn the Page Bookstore at my first ever book signing. That's right ... I popped my cherry today! And, it was thrilling to say the least!!!

The weather was mild for a mid-February day. But, the wind made up for the warm temperatures. Gusty blasts of cool air threatened to [...]

16Sep/10Off

My Memoir, Survivor, is Coming!

Posted by Vaughn Ripley

We are so close that I can smell it! That's right folks ... My book is coming. And ... Just in time for Christmas (oops ... I mean the holiday season). Don't forget to buy grandma fifteen copies (you know how she loses things).

For those of you who didn't know it, I [...]

27Aug/10Off

Colds, the Flu, and Other Painful Maladies

Posted by Vaughn Ripley

DISCLAIMER I really hate putting these things in here, but I feel that in today's letigious society it is absolutely necessary. That said, I am not a doctor! I don't even pretend to be one. These posts are merely my opinion and based on life experiences. If I made a mistake in this (or any) of my Blog entries, then I apologize. I also encourage you to post a comment and correct me. If you follow any advice or ideas in this Blog, you do so at your own risk! Enjoy!

I used to think that the word disease was simply [...]

25Aug/10Off

Sex, Drugs, and Rock-n-Roll

Posted by Vaughn Ripley

    WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!

DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!!!

This post is rated PG-13 ... It contains sexual inuendos, devious acts, and [...]

6Aug/09Off

Personal Hygiene

Posted by Vaughn Ripley

The term "hygiene" is derived from Hygeia, the Greek goddess of health, cleanliness and sanitation. It does not come from the other Greek word, Hydra, which is a 9-headed serpent whose breath was poisonous!

Personal hygiene is often overlooked as a simple way to stay healthy. When you ask most people to list some easy ways to maintain health, they immediately shoot back with [...]

19Mar/09Off

Nutrition in a Nutshell

Posted by Vaughn Ripley

…from soup to nuts…

Let’s talk about food! after I go over the rules of engagement: DISCLAIMER - the ideas presented here are merely guidelines to help you on your path to enlightenment. I strongly urge (and insist) [...]

5Mar/09Off

Fitness

Posted by Vaughn Ripley

There is a fad that is sweeping across America (and the world for that matter). It is categorized as healthier living. With more than 30% of Americans being classified as obese, it is time for this fad to kick into action!

Gratuitous Disclaimer: I am afraid that before I talk about this fantastic subject, I must first warn you of the inherent danger associated with it… Working out and exercise can be dangerous. You can be seriously injured, crippled or killed. The opinions, stories and ideas presented here are my own and do not constitute a recommendation of or endorsement for any particular or general use. You should seek a professional medical evaluation before starting an exercise program. If you choose to workout, you do so at your own risk.

With that painful dissertation out of the way...

Exercise is an essential part of life. Without it, our [...]

26Feb/09Off

Side Effects

Posted by Vaughn Ripley

Let's take a moment and talk about the confounded side effects of HIV and its associated medication. Sometimes side effects are unavoidable. And, we usually weigh the pros and cons... For instance, my current triple drug cocktail gives me diarrhea on a daily basis. This is a pain in the ass (no pun intended)! However, it is acceptable when you consider the fact that my other option is to die a slow and painful death... On the other hand, when I was getting Peripheral Neuropathy from DDI, I considered this a bad and dangerous side effect that I eliminated by switching medications. The picking and choosing of the lesser of two evils is obviously a personal choice...

Here are many of the side effects that I am currently experiencing, or have experienced in the past:

Diarrhea
This is a battle that I deal with on a daily basis. My gastro-Dr. prescribed Pamine Forte, which I took for a while. This appeared to subside my … ahem … issues. However, it was a pain to get the pills refilled, because my doc wanted me to keep visiting him. Juggling life is painful and throwing in frequent visits to a gastroenterologist wasn’t at the top of my list. So, I take Immodium AD (over the counter) and it seems to work just as well.

My daily regiment includes drinking a fiber supplement (Konsyl) every morning and every night. I know that most of you are like, doesn’t fiber loosen your stool? Well… Yes… But, it also helps to regulate and control your bowels. For whatever reason, I have found that it is better to have regularity… At least than I can predict my outcomes.

Also, I carry two Immodium pills in my pockets at all times. I have found that you can easily find yourself in remote places without a proverbial pot to piss in, and this helps curb things. In addition to the ones in my pocket, I keep a bottle of the little green gems (Immodium) in: my backpack, desk drawer at work and glovebox of all of my vehicles. Call me a Boy Scout, but I feel the need to be prepared

I think that’s enough talk about the runs.

Peripheral Neuropathy
In case you don’t know what it is, peripheral neuropathy is extremely painful and disturbing. My experience was tingling in my feet that feels similar to your foot falling asleep. Along with this, my toes became so sensitive that a simple stub against a shoe or something else on the floor would drop me to my knees in pain and anguish.

One of the worst experiences of my life was when I was sent to a neurologist to figure out my foot problem. He inserted long thick needles into my foot, ankle, calf and shin and then sent electrical shocks through my muscles to determine if nerve damage had occurred, and/or what my problem was.

Unfortunately, all of this severe probing didn’t uncover anything, but it did teach me to fear neurologists!

Dry Eyes
Over time, my eyes have become dryer. I’m not sure if this is purely allergy related, or if it stems from some of the medicine that I take. That is one of the many problems associated with HIV related side effects… Some of them could be happening for reasons other than medicines, etc.

I have found that eye drops help a lot with this problem, if I use them on a regular basis. Better than the old school Visine dropper, the newer single-serving droppers seem to be better for me. They don’t have any preservatives that you will find in a typical bottle. I use drops morning and night. During the day, if my eyes are bothering me I will dose them. For this reason, I keep eye drop packs in my desk drawer at work.

Sensitivity to Sunlight
This one comes and goes. When it comes, it comes with a vengeance… I am talking to the point of not being able to keep my eyes open while outdoors. I usually attack this problem by having extra dark sunglasses that cover a big area. Wrap-around style are very nice and eliminate some of the Sun creep that you get in the sides.

I would like to darken the tint on my vehicles, but Maryland has strict laws about this… I am currently looking into having an eye doctor write me a waiver so I can tint the truck and minivan…

Rashes, Hives and Other Skin Problems
Itchy skin comes and goes for me. I think that I have naturally sensitive skin, so it is tough to say what comes from what. I sometimes get little sections of hives that are itchy and bothersome. I also get dry skin, mostly during the winter.

Depression
This one may or may not be related to medicine… I mean, life is tough enough as it is… Throw hemophilia into the mix with HIV, medication and everything else associated with my health and you get a depressing combination. In the past I have occasionally been so depressed that I considered suicide. I always fought through it and looked toward a brighter day. For the most part, I consider suicide a weak solution. I love a challenge and when life is getting me down, it is no exception.

I’ve never taken anti-depressant, and I can’t imagine doing so. I’m not a proponent of all of these drugs that have been introduced to help depressed folks… I’m sure that there are many of you who would disagree with me on this point. I’m not knocking people who take them, I’m simply saying that I choose not to.

Vomiting and Nausea
This is a tough one. I think that everyone experiences this one from some degree or another… With DDI I was vomiting out of control. Sometimes, to this day, I vomit when I am taking medicine. Mostly I am able to hold it back. I will occasionally be coughing and it turns into a violent cough that ends with a vomit reaction.

Dunno how to cure this one, but I find that willpower and concentration can help.

Random Aches and Pains
Muscle soreness… Arthritic feelings… Joint aches…

More than likely, these come more from my active lifestyle and past mistakes.

Sleep Problems
I rarely experience this, but I have had some rough nights. Sometimes you simply can’t sleep. This is probably related to something other than medicines, but I included it none-the-less.

I like chamomile tea at bed time and this helps me to go down nice and easy.

Nightmares
I love nightmares. Seriously! Some of my medicines have given me some extremely realistic and vivid nightmares. I dig it. Even though I love them, I thought I would include this as a potential side effect… Especially because not everyone enjoys them as much as me.

Night Sweats
One of my old medicines (I can’t remember which) really gave me horrible night sweats. These days, I get them once-in-a-while, but they are far and few between. Plus, they aren’t nearly as bad as they were in the past.

Night sweats can be so terrible that you can’t sleep. Plus, the bed gets all stinky and impossible to sleep in. Horrible!

Trouble Waking in the Morning
Who doesn’t have this problem? I mean… Some mornings are simply tougher than others to get out of bed! Is it a side effect of medicine or life? Who knows…

Loss of Fat in the Butt and Cheeks
This one has bothered me in the past… I mean, every guy wants a little meat in his behind. Chicks look at your butt… That’s a fact. I want something there to see.

As far as my other cheeks, it is similarly painful to see the gaunt fatless features of my face. I think that most of this problem came from my hepatitis medicine that I was on years ago. It rid my body of Hep-C, so it can’t be all bad… However, it also stripped the fat, which gave my face definition, etc. Now I look like a wasting-away human being and this bugs me, because I am more healthy now than I have ever been in my life!

Excess Fat in the Belly and Upper Back
As if it wasn’t bad enough to take the fat from my butt, the medicines seem to have put it in my belly! WTF?? Just like butts, chicks dig abs. I pride myself in a fit and strong body, yet my distended abdominal region is a rascally sucker that pisses me off! I do a lot of hard work on my abs (1,200+ crunches per workout) and they still poke out some.

One thing that I have found useful, is working the transverse abdominis muscle. This is a muscle that wraps around your core underneath your abs and obliques. You can work it out by doing stomach vacuums and 2-point bridges among other things. I have found that the more effort that I put into this muscle region, the better my abs look and the more pulled in they become. Give it a go!

Gas and Bloated Belly
Gas might simply be a side effect of the Immodium. I dunno about you, but I get the farts a couple of hours after I take Immodium.

Sore Throat
Many mornings I wake with a sore throat. Usually it is minor and goes away after breakfast. Sometimes it is more serious and I take a couple of sprays of Chloraseptic to help soothe it. That’s about all there is to say about that…

Excess Phlegm
Who knows why I included this… I would swear that I have copious amounts of snot that shouldn’t be there. Does that mean it’s from HIV or medicine?? No… But, I just thought I would mention it.

See ya next time!

p.s. This post is a chapter in my blog-book, The Secret to Longevity. Checkout my similar posts here: http://hivlongevity.com/the-secret. Or, follow the goodie trail:
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