Just found out I have mycobacterium abscessus!

Posted by jammer @jammer, Mar 18, 2020

AM VERY SCARED HAS ANY ELSE HAD THIS STAIN OF THE MYCOBACTERIA. WOULD LOVE TO TALK WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS GONE THROUGH THIS!!!

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Just got the results back re: sputum sample that I sent to National Jewish. Sputum grew mycobacterium abscessus (5 colonies-small amount) and they will not be treating at this time. Diagnosed with MAI so was surprised at these results. Anyone else have this experience and/or can help me not to be alarmed.

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@terryb1 Frustrating! I had three different cultures that grew out mycobacteria other than MAI, and each time the docs said not to be alarmed, the numbers were small. Right now, I had positive cultures for MAC in December but have been off meds anyway – the ID doc says we'll retest sputum only if symptoms return, or if CT after one year off meds shows increasing problems in my lungs. He says there are many reasons for positive cultures, especially with small numbers of colonies, and unless you are feeling ill or showing lung deterioration, the cure may be worse than the infection. So, for now I neb 7% saline, levalbuterol if needed, and go on with life. At 4 months, so far, so good. Sounds like your doc is recommending a similar conservative approach.
Have you been scheduled for any followup cultures? Are you feeling okay?
Sue

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@128128terry11t

Just got the results back re: sputum sample that I sent to National Jewish. Sputum grew mycobacterium abscessus (5 colonies-small amount) and they will not be treating at this time. Diagnosed with MAI so was surprised at these results. Anyone else have this experience and/or can help me not to be alarmed.

Jump to this post

Hi @128128terry11t, I moved your new post to this existing discussion where others have received advice from members after getting a new diagnosis of mycobacterium abscessus. Click VIEW & REPLY to scroll through past posts in addition to the reply from @sueinmn.

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@sueinmn

@terryb1 Frustrating! I had three different cultures that grew out mycobacteria other than MAI, and each time the docs said not to be alarmed, the numbers were small. Right now, I had positive cultures for MAC in December but have been off meds anyway – the ID doc says we'll retest sputum only if symptoms return, or if CT after one year off meds shows increasing problems in my lungs. He says there are many reasons for positive cultures, especially with small numbers of colonies, and unless you are feeling ill or showing lung deterioration, the cure may be worse than the infection. So, for now I neb 7% saline, levalbuterol if needed, and go on with life. At 4 months, so far, so good. Sounds like your doc is recommending a similar conservative approach.
Have you been scheduled for any followup cultures? Are you feeling okay?
Sue

Jump to this post

I am feeling ok. Sputum a little more yellow than usual but that could mean a million things. The doctor said for me to send another sputum sample 3-4 months after I had sent this one. I was alarmed because it was abscessus. Thank you for sharing that you had different mycobacteria cultures in the past. By the way, doctor is Dr. Huitt from National Jewish. Better known as the "Queen of Mac". I see a local doctor as well.

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@colleenyoung

Hi @128128terry11t, I moved your new post to this existing discussion where others have received advice from members after getting a new diagnosis of mycobacterium abscessus. Click VIEW & REPLY to scroll through past posts in addition to the reply from @sueinmn.

Jump to this post

I am so grateful for this helpful compilation. I remember Kathryn but did not remember that she had abscessus. Every time I say "phooey" I think of her. These replies have lessened my fear and anxiety significantly. Reading that I grew out abscessus other than MAI had me in quite a tailspin. Thank you.
Forgot to ask @sueinmn: did the different mycobacteria's numbers stay small; did they disappear completely, or grow larger? Did the doctor say what some of the reasons for the positive cultures were? Thank you both again.

REPLY
@128128terry11t

I am so grateful for this helpful compilation. I remember Kathryn but did not remember that she had abscessus. Every time I say "phooey" I think of her. These replies have lessened my fear and anxiety significantly. Reading that I grew out abscessus other than MAI had me in quite a tailspin. Thank you.
Forgot to ask @sueinmn: did the different mycobacteria's numbers stay small; did they disappear completely, or grow larger? Did the doctor say what some of the reasons for the positive cultures were? Thank you both again.

Jump to this post

@terryb1 One, M gordonae, continues to be present in small numbers and the ID doc, in consultation with NJH, says they are not significant. 2 others (I forget which) each only appeared once, in small numbers, then disappeared. One was though to be a contaminated specimen because of 3 taken and tested the same week, it only appeared in one.
I like that you have a plan for retesting – and that you are dealing with the best experts.
Do you nebulize and use an airway clearance device regularly? I feel that really helps keep my sputum thin & clear.
Sue

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Thanks, Sue. Do airway clearance twice a day. I am trying!

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@128128terry11t

I am feeling ok. Sputum a little more yellow than usual but that could mean a million things. The doctor said for me to send another sputum sample 3-4 months after I had sent this one. I was alarmed because it was abscessus. Thank you for sharing that you had different mycobacteria cultures in the past. By the way, doctor is Dr. Huitt from National Jewish. Better known as the "Queen of Mac". I see a local doctor as well.

Jump to this post

I spent two weeks in January at NJH after testing positive at home for MAC and finding local doctors each had their own opinion on treatment plans for me. After an extremely thorough work up at NJH it was determined I don’t have MAC at all! My wonderful doctor at NJH is Dr. Kasperbauer. I loved their team approach. I have complete faith in their methods and conclusions. Best decision I ever made was to consult with them before going forward with a treatment plan! Best wishes!

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@sueinmn

@terryb1 One, M gordonae, continues to be present in small numbers and the ID doc, in consultation with NJH, says they are not significant. 2 others (I forget which) each only appeared once, in small numbers, then disappeared. One was though to be a contaminated specimen because of 3 taken and tested the same week, it only appeared in one.
I like that you have a plan for retesting – and that you are dealing with the best experts.
Do you nebulize and use an airway clearance device regularly? I feel that really helps keep my sputum thin & clear.
Sue

Jump to this post

@sueinmn @terryb1 I have just had gordonae show up also, but as sue says my Dr thinks it will just go as small amount probs contaminated specimen.

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@128128terry11t

I am feeling ok. Sputum a little more yellow than usual but that could mean a million things. The doctor said for me to send another sputum sample 3-4 months after I had sent this one. I was alarmed because it was abscessus. Thank you for sharing that you had different mycobacteria cultures in the past. By the way, doctor is Dr. Huitt from National Jewish. Better known as the "Queen of Mac". I see a local doctor as well.

Jump to this post

@128128terry11t Wow. You are so lucky to have Dr. Huitt. I understand she is one of the best in the country. Nan

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