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!

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:

  1. Document Title Example:  Mayo Clinic Connect MAI/MAC Information
  2. 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
  3. 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!


Imee, what good news! I am so glad you are letting us know how you are doing! I think whatever seems to work for anyone .. go for it .. each body is so different .. what will work for one might not work for another. I feel each of us must do our “due diligence” check things out and do what works for each of us!

For me, I think the
Expand-A-Lung Breathing Fitness Exerciser http://www.expand-a-lung.com
has helped me so far. I actually think it is long term benefits we are looking for. Just as we exercise our bodies .. we want to exercise our lungs .. and I’ve never even HEARD of anything that could does it as easily! Fact is when my husband’s best friend heard about it (that I was using it) .. he immediately purchased one for both himself and one for his wife. Himself because he had JUST been diagnosed with some lung issues .. his wife because she has been a professional singer and as she has aged she felt it would help her lung capacity! For $30 I personally think I is worth a shot! Hugs! Katherine

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Bruce, I’m not familiar with the disseminated MAC that you mentioned, but did a quick Google search. From what I could find “disseminated MAC disease is typically associated with defective cellular immunity such as hairy cell leukemia, chronic myelogenous leukemia and AIDS.” This means it usually affects people with an already compromised immune system. Whether you have disseminated MAC or merely MAC, it is VERY important that you find a specialist who is familiar with MAC .. as MANY members of this Forum can attest to! Many members have found .. as you have .. that they have more knowledge of MAC than many of the doctors do.

That is WHY I told you it was SO important for you to do your “Due Diligence” and read past pages of this Forum to educate YOURSELF so you will truly understand your disease and it’s ramifications. THEN you can seek out proper medical care for yourself and your wife. THEN you WILL NOT be put off by doctors ” acting like it’s nothing”! When you have educated yourself .. you will feel comfortable being your BEST medical advocate with doctors!

That said .. did you see our wonderful member Janet’s .. @justjanet‘s recommendation of the clinic at UNC in Chapel Hill? You may also consider traveling to Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. Might Chapel Hill or Jacksonville be an option? Mayo Clinic appointment offices. The contact information for Minnesota, Arizona and Florida can be found here http://mayocl.in/1mtmR63.

As I told you before .. you are given but one body in this lifetime .. if you don’t take care of it RIGHT NOW .. it can’t take care of you for the rest of your journey in this lifetime. Bruce, I know you are in a REALLY tough time .. BUT you MUST gather together whatever energy and strength you can for this next REALLY important next step in finding the right doctor. If money is an issue .. perhaps this is the time to swallow your pride and call upon those who care about you .. explain the IMPERATIVE for you to travel to get the BEST care at this CRUCIAL point in your health. Sorry .. but this may be one of the most important decisions you may make for you and your wife. The old saying “If it is to be .. it is up to me!”

PLEASE keep us posted Bruce, we will be keeping you in our thoughts and sending the two of you LOTS of positive energy and LOTS of Hugs .. .. because all of us on this Forum have been on our own MAC journey .. and know it is a tough one .. though yours is a REALLY tough one! Katherine

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Thanks very much and lets hope all of us have some better days ahead. I would like to ask, for my first two years of this disease i thought i was litterally going to die. But now , i still have the fatigue , lots of sputum , my bones hurt , sometimes my skin hurts and i dont feel well most of the time but my breathing has gotten much better . why would my breathing get any better without treatment ?