Extreme fatigue with MAC

Posted by src3acs @src3acs, Feb 26, 2018

Good Morning, I am new here so this may have been discussed before. I was diagnosed with MAC in 2012 after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a biopsy and lung wedge resection…both confirmed the MAC. In 2015 I had a bronchoscope done which again confirmed the MAC and bronchiectasis. I have seen a Pulmonologist, infectious disease and my primary care doctor. Everyone seems up in the air whether to treat or not. They seem to be leaving the decision up to me. I don’t have a cough, I do have some shortness of breath occasionally but I am always tired. No matter how much I rest or sleep…..I am tired and sometimes exhausted after minor activity. Is fatigue a main symptom of the disease. Would treatment help my fatigue or make is worse. Thank you!

@src3acs

@tdrell ….hi there and thank you for your response. Lets see where to start. I had an echocardiogram on my heart almost a year ago. Did a sleep test over the summer…all normal. Just has blood work done 2 months ago all normal expect my Vit. D is low again and I do take supplements every day. No sputum cultures because a biopsy, then wedge resection, and bronchoscope all showed positive for MAC. Yearly CT show the MAC and bronchiectasis. Where the MAC came from I do not know. Starting at age 17 I had a spontaneous pneumothorax……again in my early 20's and I was a smoker at the time. Had surgery on both my lungs by the time I was 21. Had a few bouts with pleurisy, in my 20's and 30's and had pneumonia 3x in my 30's. Quit smoking 16+ years ago and I'm in my early 50's now. Spent some time in hot tubs in my 20's and I've been to Florida several times. Like you said there is the shower head and soil. Yes, it's very green where I live but I have never had allergies. Not to say I can't get them now. I have had shortness of breath for a year or so now and I use ProAir Respiclick when needed……the fatigue would come and go…..now it's here more often. By 2pm yesterday I wanted to crawl under my desk and take a nap. Today not as tired. I over sleep just about every morning! To be honest…sometimes I am just too tired to take a shower. Going for a pulmonology follow-up the 12th. Maybe I need a new pulm function test to see if there are any changes.

I will say I am happy to hear you caught the blockage in your heart before there was any damage.

I am so grateful for the responses I am getting from everyone. I will take a look around and see what other information I can find. Thank you!

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Src3acs…..wow you have had thorough work ups! I had had echocardiograms every 2 years that showed no evidence of the blockage of the coronary artery. Echos looks at the size , structure and movement of various parts of heart❤️Tdrell

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@windwalker

@src3acs, As far as treatment goes, different doctors have different ideas about how to treat mac/bronchiectasis. That is what makes it so frustrating for us patients. One thing for sure is, you must arm yourself with as much information as you can about it. That way you know what questions to ask and also things you can do to help your situation. I have been on this site since 2016. I have seen one person come back on here and say that she has gone through the Big 3 antibiotic regimen and is mac free and has been for years. We can speculate that others got better also and just left the site. I have asked that those who are concluding their treatment to please check back and let us know how they are doing. They can be the beacon of hope to others. @irene5, had once said that she wishes she had gotten the Big 3 antibiotics sooner because of lung deterioration. (that was you wasn't it Irene?) I cannot say for sure that my delay in a regimented treatment didn't cause my lungs to get to the point where they are at now, which is very low lung function. Please do not panic or get depressed because of your diagnosis. Everyone's experience with this is different. For example: look at @ling123, she is proof that we can have this disease at varying levels. For some it is a minor impairment, for others it can be deadly, and most of us are somewhere in the middle. There is a lot of good information on this site about dealing with this disease, how you get it, how you prevent re-infection, etc. Medical sites like Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins, and National Jewish Health are also good sources. It is important that you do the work to learn all that you can about. We are here for you!

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@ling123, Thank you Ling; that means a lot to me.

Liked by tdrell, ling123

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@windwalker

@src3acs, As far as treatment goes, different doctors have different ideas about how to treat mac/bronchiectasis. That is what makes it so frustrating for us patients. One thing for sure is, you must arm yourself with as much information as you can about it. That way you know what questions to ask and also things you can do to help your situation. I have been on this site since 2016. I have seen one person come back on here and say that she has gone through the Big 3 antibiotic regimen and is mac free and has been for years. We can speculate that others got better also and just left the site. I have asked that those who are concluding their treatment to please check back and let us know how they are doing. They can be the beacon of hope to others. @irene5, had once said that she wishes she had gotten the Big 3 antibiotics sooner because of lung deterioration. (that was you wasn't it Irene?) I cannot say for sure that my delay in a regimented treatment didn't cause my lungs to get to the point where they are at now, which is very low lung function. Please do not panic or get depressed because of your diagnosis. Everyone's experience with this is different. For example: look at @ling123, she is proof that we can have this disease at varying levels. For some it is a minor impairment, for others it can be deadly, and most of us are somewhere in the middle. There is a lot of good information on this site about dealing with this disease, how you get it, how you prevent re-infection, etc. Medical sites like Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins, and National Jewish Health are also good sources. It is important that you do the work to learn all that you can about. We are here for you!

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@macjane, Hello Jane. The weather always tormented my lungs, especially when I lived in Va. Whenever the barometric pressure would drop, so did my lung function. The air would get heavy and thick. I found it difficult to breathe in extreme humid air. Also, cold dampness of winter would bring on bronchietis, and cold air would cause my lungs to seize. I have moved to a coastal area in southern S.C. This move has been a great improvement to my health.

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@windwalker

@src3acs, Hi there, and welcome to our group. YES! MAC & Bronchiectasis definitely cause extreme fatigue. I combat it with .05 mg of Adderall, (I have ADD) I am prescribed 20 mg, but take only a quarter of the dose and I sometimes use ginsing with royal jelly (bee pollen) that comes in the little bottles. That gives you stamina to go all day without feeling hyped up. The days that I don't use these are spent on the couch all day. My spirit is rearing to go, but the body says "absolutely not". The first important thing I can tell you is; it is crucial that you see a doctor that knows a great deal about this disease. Most doctors are 'old school' and follow the same course of treatment. You also need to see a good Infectious Disease doctor. I was diagnosed in 2005 with MAC. (I had bronchiectasis also, but was never told that. It came up in old dr. reports that went back to 2001.) The doctor wanted me on the BIG 3 antibiotics, but I opted not to. I made that decision after getting a second and third opinion. Plus, I did my homework and found that the drugs can be toxic and hard on your other organs and only had 50% chance of working and that despite treatment; the mac comes back later eventually in many people. After refusing the usual treatment; I was put on Azithromycin and Ciprofloxacin for several months. That knocked the mac down to where I was no longer sick. I should have been routinely tested since 2005, but due to my ignorance and doctors not being on the ball, I was not tested again until 2013. During that eight years I was not treated or tested; my lung function slowly deteriorated. I believe that was due to bronchiectasis. I went to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fl. where my doctor there had a different way to treat MAC. He put me on monthly doses of alternating antibiotics. I would do 10 days of ciprofloxacin one month and then 10 days on Doxycycline. I did that cycle for three years and I saw improvement in S.O.B. and no coughing. Today, I have good days and low energy days. I do not cough. My rate of decline is very slow, so am hoping we are slowing down the progression of bronchiectasis. Because this is getting long, I will start a new reply to you about getting treatment.

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What was the dosage of each of these drugs? Would you take them 10 days in a row, or every third day? Would the same regimen be for each drug? Cipro one month then doxycycline the next? My husband's major complaint is extreme fatigue, too. We're going to see Dr. Aksamit in April, so maybe we'll find out about a new therapy.

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@windwalker

@src3acs, As far as treatment goes, different doctors have different ideas about how to treat mac/bronchiectasis. That is what makes it so frustrating for us patients. One thing for sure is, you must arm yourself with as much information as you can about it. That way you know what questions to ask and also things you can do to help your situation. I have been on this site since 2016. I have seen one person come back on here and say that she has gone through the Big 3 antibiotic regimen and is mac free and has been for years. We can speculate that others got better also and just left the site. I have asked that those who are concluding their treatment to please check back and let us know how they are doing. They can be the beacon of hope to others. @irene5, had once said that she wishes she had gotten the Big 3 antibiotics sooner because of lung deterioration. (that was you wasn't it Irene?) I cannot say for sure that my delay in a regimented treatment didn't cause my lungs to get to the point where they are at now, which is very low lung function. Please do not panic or get depressed because of your diagnosis. Everyone's experience with this is different. For example: look at @ling123, she is proof that we can have this disease at varying levels. For some it is a minor impairment, for others it can be deadly, and most of us are somewhere in the middle. There is a lot of good information on this site about dealing with this disease, how you get it, how you prevent re-infection, etc. Medical sites like Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins, and National Jewish Health are also good sources. It is important that you do the work to learn all that you can about. We are here for you!

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Last yr in March, I took Azithromycin 500 mg 3x’s a week @ noon, RifAMpin 300mg 3x’s a week in morning and Ethambutol 1200mg at night.  I was very allergic to Azithro and medicine stopped.  Started over with same med and ended up in ER with cluster headache and very high blood pressure.  These meds did not help me.  

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@windwalker

@src3acs, As far as treatment goes, different doctors have different ideas about how to treat mac/bronchiectasis. That is what makes it so frustrating for us patients. One thing for sure is, you must arm yourself with as much information as you can about it. That way you know what questions to ask and also things you can do to help your situation. I have been on this site since 2016. I have seen one person come back on here and say that she has gone through the Big 3 antibiotic regimen and is mac free and has been for years. We can speculate that others got better also and just left the site. I have asked that those who are concluding their treatment to please check back and let us know how they are doing. They can be the beacon of hope to others. @irene5, had once said that she wishes she had gotten the Big 3 antibiotics sooner because of lung deterioration. (that was you wasn't it Irene?) I cannot say for sure that my delay in a regimented treatment didn't cause my lungs to get to the point where they are at now, which is very low lung function. Please do not panic or get depressed because of your diagnosis. Everyone's experience with this is different. For example: look at @ling123, she is proof that we can have this disease at varying levels. For some it is a minor impairment, for others it can be deadly, and most of us are somewhere in the middle. There is a lot of good information on this site about dealing with this disease, how you get it, how you prevent re-infection, etc. Medical sites like Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins, and National Jewish Health are also good sources. It is important that you do the work to learn all that you can about. We are here for you!

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@macjane , Are you on any antibiotics now?

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@windwalker

@src3acs, As far as treatment goes, different doctors have different ideas about how to treat mac/bronchiectasis. That is what makes it so frustrating for us patients. One thing for sure is, you must arm yourself with as much information as you can about it. That way you know what questions to ask and also things you can do to help your situation. I have been on this site since 2016. I have seen one person come back on here and say that she has gone through the Big 3 antibiotic regimen and is mac free and has been for years. We can speculate that others got better also and just left the site. I have asked that those who are concluding their treatment to please check back and let us know how they are doing. They can be the beacon of hope to others. @irene5, had once said that she wishes she had gotten the Big 3 antibiotics sooner because of lung deterioration. (that was you wasn't it Irene?) I cannot say for sure that my delay in a regimented treatment didn't cause my lungs to get to the point where they are at now, which is very low lung function. Please do not panic or get depressed because of your diagnosis. Everyone's experience with this is different. For example: look at @ling123, she is proof that we can have this disease at varying levels. For some it is a minor impairment, for others it can be deadly, and most of us are somewhere in the middle. There is a lot of good information on this site about dealing with this disease, how you get it, how you prevent re-infection, etc. Medical sites like Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins, and National Jewish Health are also good sources. It is important that you do the work to learn all that you can about. We are here for you!

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No but on other meds given to me. The MAC was never discovered until 1 year ago after one misdiagnosis after another. I was told that I was a "liar" and that I had clearly was a heavy smoker. When two physicians tried to step in to speak with my PCP about the records and gross errors, he refused to even look at these. My medical records turned up "missing" when I changed to the University of Michigan. A request for records had been hand-delivered to my PCP's office months before.

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I was on an antibiotic for a short period of time but had to get off it because of hearing loss. I, too, suffer from extreme fatigue. I prop myself up with various "tricks," they may or may not be helpful to others. I take vital reds daily…Grundy. This gives me an almost immediate boost so I can go out and run errands. I also, at my doctor's suggestion take an energy drink. I like Energy Shot from Whole Foods. It has some caffeine in it but it's a very small bottle, slips into your pocket or purse and I have it available in case I feel on the verge of collapsing while standing in line etc. I also, just recently, committed to drinking 8 glasses of water a day. I am surprised how much the water has helped. Fatigue is one of the primary symptoms of MAC so you have to come up with ways of getting through that work for you. With sympathy, Flib

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@windwalker

@src3acs, As far as treatment goes, different doctors have different ideas about how to treat mac/bronchiectasis. That is what makes it so frustrating for us patients. One thing for sure is, you must arm yourself with as much information as you can about it. That way you know what questions to ask and also things you can do to help your situation. I have been on this site since 2016. I have seen one person come back on here and say that she has gone through the Big 3 antibiotic regimen and is mac free and has been for years. We can speculate that others got better also and just left the site. I have asked that those who are concluding their treatment to please check back and let us know how they are doing. They can be the beacon of hope to others. @irene5, had once said that she wishes she had gotten the Big 3 antibiotics sooner because of lung deterioration. (that was you wasn't it Irene?) I cannot say for sure that my delay in a regimented treatment didn't cause my lungs to get to the point where they are at now, which is very low lung function. Please do not panic or get depressed because of your diagnosis. Everyone's experience with this is different. For example: look at @ling123, she is proof that we can have this disease at varying levels. For some it is a minor impairment, for others it can be deadly, and most of us are somewhere in the middle. There is a lot of good information on this site about dealing with this disease, how you get it, how you prevent re-infection, etc. Medical sites like Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins, and National Jewish Health are also good sources. It is important that you do the work to learn all that you can about. We are here for you!

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Eight years ago my doctor and I agreed I would not do the antibiotics because I was not sick at all even though I had been diagnoised with Mac and Bronchiectasis. I had five good years of living my life, traveling etc. Since, I do feel sick; tired, short of breath, unable to make plans and follow through because I'm having a bad day. I do not regret my decision. I treasure those years of still feeling healthy. I am not on any antibiotics now as I was losing hearing as a result of them. My life is a daily challenge but I've got a routine that works for me. You will find that some people take the meds and come out doing fine and that others are miserable. There is no one answer and ultimately, the decision is yours. I have not had one doctor making it for me, and that's after seeing quite a few. I think age can be factored into the decision. Good luck.

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@windwalker

@src3acs, As far as treatment goes, different doctors have different ideas about how to treat mac/bronchiectasis. That is what makes it so frustrating for us patients. One thing for sure is, you must arm yourself with as much information as you can about it. That way you know what questions to ask and also things you can do to help your situation. I have been on this site since 2016. I have seen one person come back on here and say that she has gone through the Big 3 antibiotic regimen and is mac free and has been for years. We can speculate that others got better also and just left the site. I have asked that those who are concluding their treatment to please check back and let us know how they are doing. They can be the beacon of hope to others. @irene5, had once said that she wishes she had gotten the Big 3 antibiotics sooner because of lung deterioration. (that was you wasn't it Irene?) I cannot say for sure that my delay in a regimented treatment didn't cause my lungs to get to the point where they are at now, which is very low lung function. Please do not panic or get depressed because of your diagnosis. Everyone's experience with this is different. For example: look at @ling123, she is proof that we can have this disease at varying levels. For some it is a minor impairment, for others it can be deadly, and most of us are somewhere in the middle. There is a lot of good information on this site about dealing with this disease, how you get it, how you prevent re-infection, etc. Medical sites like Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins, and National Jewish Health are also good sources. It is important that you do the work to learn all that you can about. We are here for you!

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No

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@tdrell

@src3acs….agree with you totally Re this group….amazing…supportive…knowledgeable …empathetic…,the list goes on. When you have time ( and energy) try to review from the start. When you do, you will come across links to various taped workshops given in the past Re NTM and treatment etc.
Also do you know about the site “NTMinfo.org”….interesting. With lots of links.
Questions /comments that I have after reading your messages and that of others
– have you had sputum cultures done…how many and their results?
-have you ever had a sleep study done to see if you have sleep apnea?
– are blood studies normal…do you have anemia?
– you mentioned cardiology… have you had a stress test and nuclear scan.,,,I ask cause 3 years ago I had extreme fatigue….BUT my EKG AND Stress test were normal…..my sharp cardiologist ordered

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What info for me. I got so much from your info.

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@flib Got to be a little careful about sticking to 8 glasses of water everyday for long term. There is no consensus in the medical community as to the benefit of drinking 8 glasses a day. Besides, vegetables and fruits and other foods provide plenty of water unless you have very little of them in your daily diet. Water is a good thing for the most part. But it can also be dangerous if we have too much of it. Here is an article from Huffington Post in which people are debating the pros and cons. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/14/drinking-8-glasses-of-wat_n_899276.html

Liked by Jen_b

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@windwalker

@src3acs, As far as treatment goes, different doctors have different ideas about how to treat mac/bronchiectasis. That is what makes it so frustrating for us patients. One thing for sure is, you must arm yourself with as much information as you can about it. That way you know what questions to ask and also things you can do to help your situation. I have been on this site since 2016. I have seen one person come back on here and say that she has gone through the Big 3 antibiotic regimen and is mac free and has been for years. We can speculate that others got better also and just left the site. I have asked that those who are concluding their treatment to please check back and let us know how they are doing. They can be the beacon of hope to others. @irene5, had once said that she wishes she had gotten the Big 3 antibiotics sooner because of lung deterioration. (that was you wasn't it Irene?) I cannot say for sure that my delay in a regimented treatment didn't cause my lungs to get to the point where they are at now, which is very low lung function. Please do not panic or get depressed because of your diagnosis. Everyone's experience with this is different. For example: look at @ling123, she is proof that we can have this disease at varying levels. For some it is a minor impairment, for others it can be deadly, and most of us are somewhere in the middle. There is a lot of good information on this site about dealing with this disease, how you get it, how you prevent re-infection, etc. Medical sites like Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins, and National Jewish Health are also good sources. It is important that you do the work to learn all that you can about. We are here for you!

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That was very well said!

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@ling123

@flib Got to be a little careful about sticking to 8 glasses of water everyday for long term. There is no consensus in the medical community as to the benefit of drinking 8 glasses a day. Besides, vegetables and fruits and other foods provide plenty of water unless you have very little of them in your daily diet. Water is a good thing for the most part. But it can also be dangerous if we have too much of it. Here is an article from Huffington Post in which people are debating the pros and cons. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/14/drinking-8-glasses-of-wat_n_899276.html

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You had me go to the article and it was quite interesting. One of my meds produces so much dry mouth and my PCP just told me that I might need to drink more water. I drink at least 8 glasses a day and my mouth is still dry. I had to really fight hard with 2 medicines clearly prescribing my tiredness as being depression. It made no sense and my Pulmonary doctor was angry that the MAC was clearly diagnosed as a psychological problem. After being diagnosed at 45 with Psychomotor Seizures, I had brain surgery with no follow-up care. Wrong diagnosis after another – wrong meds. Withdrawals were horrendous. I feel when I ask a question here, people try to answer or give you some support. There are so many people finally talking to me and I am going to approach my doctors with some straight questions about MAC and why it has been put on the back burner. Ironically my brother is a cardiologist who appears concerned about the diagnosis of MAC and my direction or lack of direction. He 's had some major medical himself so this group has become so important to me.

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@windwalker

@src3acs, As far as treatment goes, different doctors have different ideas about how to treat mac/bronchiectasis. That is what makes it so frustrating for us patients. One thing for sure is, you must arm yourself with as much information as you can about it. That way you know what questions to ask and also things you can do to help your situation. I have been on this site since 2016. I have seen one person come back on here and say that she has gone through the Big 3 antibiotic regimen and is mac free and has been for years. We can speculate that others got better also and just left the site. I have asked that those who are concluding their treatment to please check back and let us know how they are doing. They can be the beacon of hope to others. @irene5, had once said that she wishes she had gotten the Big 3 antibiotics sooner because of lung deterioration. (that was you wasn't it Irene?) I cannot say for sure that my delay in a regimented treatment didn't cause my lungs to get to the point where they are at now, which is very low lung function. Please do not panic or get depressed because of your diagnosis. Everyone's experience with this is different. For example: look at @ling123, she is proof that we can have this disease at varying levels. For some it is a minor impairment, for others it can be deadly, and most of us are somewhere in the middle. There is a lot of good information on this site about dealing with this disease, how you get it, how you prevent re-infection, etc. Medical sites like Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins, and National Jewish Health are also good sources. It is important that you do the work to learn all that you can about. We are here for you!

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@macjane Jane that is horrible mistreatment! Never give up on finding GOOD healthcare.

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