Diagnosed with MAC a week ago and can’t quit smoking

Posted by brownie1 @brownie1, Dec 28, 2022

G’day! I’m Karen, 42yo living in Australia.
Freshly diagnosed with Mycobacterium Avium Complex 21/12/22. My doc said I got this through cleaning out my family pet galah’s cage. Jake the galah I have had since I was 10yo so being told I can’t live with him anymore is heartbreaking.

I also smoke about 10 cigarettes a day and have done so for quite a few years. Seems silly to say out loud but the idea of quitting smoking, being separated from my support bird/best mate knowing my lungs have been ravaged scares the absolute crap out of me. I’m not ready to process this info yet.

I still am yet to see a specialist as because I have been diagnosed over the Christmas break, everywhere is shut! I have received an email saying a specialist will be in touch with me soon to arrange an appt.
I guess I just wanted to jump on and say g’day and ask if anyone has any suggestions as to how I best approach things without my brain exploding and me being an emotional mess!
Sorry for the long novel!

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the MAC & Bronchiectasis Support Group.

Everyone processes differently. For me, I just found out the news as well. I LOVED to smoke, but knowing that it would further damage my lungs… I just quit cold turkey with no problem. The possibly of having my lifestyle severely compromised scared the hell out of me and that was enough. Best of luck, maybe try a nicotine patch and wean off as best you can.


I hope maybe you could get one of those respirator masks (like my niece uses when working around special powder paints), so you can keep Jake.
Keep us posted. Cindy


@brownie1 I'll play devil's advocate here… while you may have NTM (non-tubercular mycobacteria) – this stuff is everywhere – in our air, water & soil, so while one may assume the infection came from your buddy Jake, it might also be from something else.

You could ask for Jake to be tested & and any MAC found in him compared with the strain you have…if he was my lifelong companion, I would do so, even if I had to pay out-of-pocket for his test. If your infection is not from your bird, then you can explore how to safely keep him in your life – masking when you feed, clean cage, not having him sleep in your room, etc.

Do you think if you didn't have this double trauma, you could more easily quit smoking? (Caution – do not think switching to a vape pen would be safer – a number of our friends have found out otherwise!)

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