(MAC/MAI) Mycobacterium Avium Complex Pulmonary Disease: Join us

Posted by Katherine, Alumni Mentor @katemn, Nov 21, 2011

I am new to Mayo online .. I was hoping to find others with .. MYCOBACTERIUM AVIUM COMPLEX PULMONARY DISEASE (MAC/MAI) and/or BRONCHIECTASIS. I found only 1 thread on mycobacterium accidently under the catagory "Lungs". I'm hoping by starting a subject matter directly related to MYCOBACTERIUM AVIUM COMPLEX PULMONARY DISEASE (MAC/MAI) I may find others out there!

I was diagnosed by a sputum culture August 2007 (but the culture result was accidentally misfiled until 2008!) with MYCOBACTERIUM AVIUM COMPLEX PULMONARY DISEASE (MAC/MAI) and BRONCHIECTASIS. I am now on 5 antibiotics. Working with Dr. Timothy Aksamit at Rochester Mayo Clinic .. he is a saint to have put up with me this long! I was terrified of the treatment . started the first antibiotic September 3, 2011 … am now on all 5 antibiotics for 18 mos to 2 years. Am delighted at the very bearable side effects!

I wrote on the 1 thread I found: If you google NON-TUBERCULOUS MYCOBACTERIUM AVIUM COMPLEX PULMONARY DISEASE (MAC/MAI) you will learn a LOT about the disease. But PLEASE do NOT get scared about all the things you read .. that is what I did and nearly refused to do the treatment until after a 2nd Micomacterium was discovered! Educate yourself for "due diligence" .. but take it all with a grain of salt .. you are NOT necessarily going to have all the terrible side effects of the antibiotics! Good luck to you!

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January 2017 Update

One of our great Connect Members .. @Paula_MAC2007  .. had a wonderfully helpful idea that I wanted to share! Her idea .. as you read through the pages to gather information on our shared disease of MAC you can develop a personal "file cabinet" for future reference without the necessity of reading all the pages again!

If you have the "MS Word" program on your computer:
– Document Title Example:  Mayo Clinic Connect MAI/MAC Information
– Then develop different categories that make sense to you such as:  Heath Aids .. Videos .. Healthy Living .. Positive Thinking .. Baseline Testing and Regular Testing .. Antibiotics ..
Tips for
– As you read the pages .. copy/paste/save things of interest into that MS Word document under your preferred categories for future reference.

Then as you want to refer back to something in the future .. YEAH!  You have now created your own personal "file cabinet" on MAC/MAI!  Go to it!

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

@gaelawree

Hello group, my name is GaeLawree, I was just diagnosed with Mycobacteria Avium Complex (MAC), I haven’t started treatment yet, appt with doc next week. I am 66 & have had shortness of breath for a few years. I was diagnosed with COPD & got progressively worse. I had to really push to get doctors to find the MAC. I don’t seem to have other problems. I am active as much as I can be. I have horses & ride three times a week & I like gardening. I have a stationary bike to ride too. This diagnosis gave me hope of getting over this but as I researched it I got worried, I’m worried about the long term antibiotics. I have hypothyroidism & Hoshimoto’s & went through a 9 month protocol & got that under control. Now I think the treatment for MAC will really mess that all up. I have read a lot of previous posts & learning a lot. I am glad I found this group because I think this treatment is going to be tough.

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It seems as though doctors do not prescribe antibiotics like they use to.

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@gaelawree

Hello group, my name is GaeLawree, I was just diagnosed with Mycobacteria Avium Complex (MAC), I haven’t started treatment yet, appt with doc next week. I am 66 & have had shortness of breath for a few years. I was diagnosed with COPD & got progressively worse. I had to really push to get doctors to find the MAC. I don’t seem to have other problems. I am active as much as I can be. I have horses & ride three times a week & I like gardening. I have a stationary bike to ride too. This diagnosis gave me hope of getting over this but as I researched it I got worried, I’m worried about the long term antibiotics. I have hypothyroidism & Hoshimoto’s & went through a 9 month protocol & got that under control. Now I think the treatment for MAC will really mess that all up. I have read a lot of previous posts & learning a lot. I am glad I found this group because I think this treatment is going to be tough.

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@gaelawree Hello, and welcome to Connect. We are glad you found us also. I am not surprised that you had to push for your doctors to find the mac; not many are aware of it to check for it. Are you seeing a private practice physician?

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@joan912

My husband was diagnosed with MAC and subsequently bronchiectasis. His doctor at first prescribed the big 3, but later told him not to take any, if he won’t take all 3. He had a bad reaction to Rifabutin, which caused chest pains. He asked if there was a substitute for that, but apparently not.

He had 2 CT Scans, one in March, the second in May. The second did show some improvement, but also diagnosed bronchiectasis, which the first Scan did not. He asked for another one this month. Now his doctor told him that he doesn’t need another CT Scan at all, and, if anything, he could have a Chest X-ray. A chest X-ray cannot diagnose bronchiectasis so, to me, her response is outrageous. His doctor seems to be very ineffective and doesn’t seem to care about his well-being. She never asks how he is, nor offer any solutions to his constant sputum. I’m afraid to ask for another pulmonologist at Kaiser, because I’m afraid they will back each other up, or at least not contradict each other.

Does anyone have experience with Kaiser? My husband wants to see numerous other pulmonologists in other cities and wants me to take time off from work (let alone spending a lot of money since it will all be out of pocket), to make appointments for him (he doesn’t work). I simply cannot do so, since I have no backup for my job. I’m willing to travel to one place, maybe Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

If I can stay local, does anyone have a recommendation for a well-respected, knowledgeable MAC doctor in the Bay Area of California?

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@megan123 Jennifer, I found info on the NIH.gov website about mac being in pools, hot tubs, lakes, rivers, and the ocean. The warmer ocean water of the southeast coast contains 20% avium bacterium, lakes about 30%, pools usually 80%, hot tubs are loaded with it. The mac has become resistant to chlorine. It takes a whole lot more and frequent doses, but it colonizes in the filtration system so it readily re-infects the pool water. Plus rain water dilutes the chlorine as well when it rains over a pool. I was on my phone when I found the site so I could not copy and paste. I will try to find the site again on my laptop where I can do so. The bottom line is, we have compromised immune systems and shouldn't risk picking up what is in the pool. I will do a quick 'fanny dunk' to cool off at the beach or outdoor pool. I absolutely WILL NOT get into a hot tub ever again.

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@joan912

My husband was diagnosed with MAC and subsequently bronchiectasis. His doctor at first prescribed the big 3, but later told him not to take any, if he won’t take all 3. He had a bad reaction to Rifabutin, which caused chest pains. He asked if there was a substitute for that, but apparently not.

He had 2 CT Scans, one in March, the second in May. The second did show some improvement, but also diagnosed bronchiectasis, which the first Scan did not. He asked for another one this month. Now his doctor told him that he doesn’t need another CT Scan at all, and, if anything, he could have a Chest X-ray. A chest X-ray cannot diagnose bronchiectasis so, to me, her response is outrageous. His doctor seems to be very ineffective and doesn’t seem to care about his well-being. She never asks how he is, nor offer any solutions to his constant sputum. I’m afraid to ask for another pulmonologist at Kaiser, because I’m afraid they will back each other up, or at least not contradict each other.

Does anyone have experience with Kaiser? My husband wants to see numerous other pulmonologists in other cities and wants me to take time off from work (let alone spending a lot of money since it will all be out of pocket), to make appointments for him (he doesn’t work). I simply cannot do so, since I have no backup for my job. I’m willing to travel to one place, maybe Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

If I can stay local, does anyone have a recommendation for a well-respected, knowledgeable MAC doctor in the Bay Area of California?

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@128128terry11t, We have a salt water pool in my community. It is small and only 4 feet deep. LOTS of kids swim in it, babies and toddlers in diapers swim in it. I sat by it last week, the water was murky and I kept thinking about diapers in there. I just packed up and went home. I did not have a good feeling about it. Public pools are just nasty. I think that if it is a private well maintained pool, you may be able to swim safely, but I'd keep my head out of the water and avoid breathing in droplets. I have not come across anything about well water pools.

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@hallann

Would appreciate any information on this mac lung disease was just told I have it scared of what I have read

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@hallann Hello Ann. Welcome to Connect. The mac diagnosis scares the bajeezus out of everyone who gets it. There is lots of information about it on our forum. Read older posts, especially those of @kateman andmyself @windwalker. Also, you will find topics at the very beginning of signing onto this support group. You will have to scroll back because we have been at this awhile. In the meantime, feel free to ask specific questions. Usually, several people will jump in and respond. The main thing with this disease is getting competent care. Sometimes that is easier said than done. Do you feel like your physician has current knowledge on how to treat this?

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@hallann

Would appreciate any information on this mac lung disease was just told I have it scared of what I have read

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@hallann Breath Easy tea by Traditional Medicines is great too. It got me through a lot of tough times when my chest was unbearably tight and I thought I would drown in phlegm. Kroger's carries it in the natural food aisle. If they don't have it where you live, you can request that they carry it. That is what I did. It flies off of their shelf. You can also order it online.

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@boomerexpert

@hallann we all understand that scary dx! Read through postings here…you'll find many folks, like me, who are asymptomatic and don't as yet require treatment…you'll find others who found great docs and treatments far less problematic than simply taking the "big 3"…first step is to find the finest doc in your area for MAC…just any pulmo or infectious disease doc won't do. If near a Mayo clinic, go there. Are you experiencing symptoms?

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@nick52 Nicole, that is not totally true. The Mayo docs in Minnesota like to use the Big 3 cocktail a lot. My Mayo doc in Jacksonville does not readily prescribe that. He says it is over-used. I am a Mayo patient and was never recommended to be put on the Big 3. It is def something regional. For example, I think NJH performs way too many lobectomies. That is their treatment of choice.

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@jspremich

I was diagnosed with MAC and another bacteria over two years ago. Apparently, one is not good enough. Out of the ten antibiotics that were capable of working wonders on my bacteria, only 2 would be effective and only 50% of the time. Lucky me. Fortunately, my infectious disease (one retired and another took over) specialists, both discouraged me with starting the cocktail of drugs. They advised me to stay clear, because of obvious side effects, of the medicine as long as I was feeling o.k. Over the years the symptoms would come and go. For the last 6-7 months, I have (knock on wood or maybe gold) had minor flare-ups. For whatever it's worth (And I'm not claiming anything here), I'm a vegetarian and have been for 45years. (I'm 81)
MAC periodically reminds me that its still there, waiting to strike at any moment.

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@jspremich please read https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/how-to-prevent-re-infection-of-macmai/ this info will help you to not add to the bacterial load in your lungs.

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@gaelawree

Hello group, my name is GaeLawree, I was just diagnosed with Mycobacteria Avium Complex (MAC), I haven’t started treatment yet, appt with doc next week. I am 66 & have had shortness of breath for a few years. I was diagnosed with COPD & got progressively worse. I had to really push to get doctors to find the MAC. I don’t seem to have other problems. I am active as much as I can be. I have horses & ride three times a week & I like gardening. I have a stationary bike to ride too. This diagnosis gave me hope of getting over this but as I researched it I got worried, I’m worried about the long term antibiotics. I have hypothyroidism & Hoshimoto’s & went through a 9 month protocol & got that under control. Now I think the treatment for MAC will really mess that all up. I have read a lot of previous posts & learning a lot. I am glad I found this group because I think this treatment is going to be tough.

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@gaelawree as you've read here, there's many forms of treatment, many varieties that don't depend on just the "big 3" anymore…so take heart (and lung…)…with a good doc you'll find help best suited to your needs and with the least side effects!

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@joan912

My husband was diagnosed with MAC and subsequently bronchiectasis. His doctor at first prescribed the big 3, but later told him not to take any, if he won’t take all 3. He had a bad reaction to Rifabutin, which caused chest pains. He asked if there was a substitute for that, but apparently not.

He had 2 CT Scans, one in March, the second in May. The second did show some improvement, but also diagnosed bronchiectasis, which the first Scan did not. He asked for another one this month. Now his doctor told him that he doesn’t need another CT Scan at all, and, if anything, he could have a Chest X-ray. A chest X-ray cannot diagnose bronchiectasis so, to me, her response is outrageous. His doctor seems to be very ineffective and doesn’t seem to care about his well-being. She never asks how he is, nor offer any solutions to his constant sputum. I’m afraid to ask for another pulmonologist at Kaiser, because I’m afraid they will back each other up, or at least not contradict each other.

Does anyone have experience with Kaiser? My husband wants to see numerous other pulmonologists in other cities and wants me to take time off from work (let alone spending a lot of money since it will all be out of pocket), to make appointments for him (he doesn’t work). I simply cannot do so, since I have no backup for my job. I’m willing to travel to one place, maybe Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

If I can stay local, does anyone have a recommendation for a well-respected, knowledgeable MAC doctor in the Bay Area of California?

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@windwalker Thank you.

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