It manifested in my company-sponsored Annual Physical Exam last year. Xray said there were infilrates seen in the left upper lobe and that the impression is PTB, LEFT UPPER LOBE, CONSIDERED. It further stated: CONSULT A PULMONOLOGIST.
Having this kind of result for the first time got me thinking there must have been a mistake and maybe it was nothing after all. So to prove my belief, I went to see a pulmonologist for the first time in my grown-up life. I was confident in answering NO as she asked me if I smoke, did I have TB before, and many things that comprise an unhealthy lifestyle. She scanned the xray image and started pulling out a booklet from her desk and wrote my name on it. That booklet, as I later learned, was the thing that I should use to monitor that I comply with the medication. Things went by so fast. She was writing her prescription as she was telling me to drink the medicine faithfully everyday for the next two weeks, and then I’ll see her again after that to check on my progress.
I mumbled, “Doc, do I really have TB?” She casually answered with a yes and she doesn’t seem to be enthusiastic in explaining to me what’s going on. I asked her to explain more about it. I learned that TB is present in my lungs and we need to suppress it or make it dormant. TB cannot be removed totally, but it can be treated. I might have gotten it from anywhere and it will take 6 months of rigid medication.
A lot of things got battling in my mind during those moments.
First I have a one-year old child whom I kiss a lot. Could he have it, too? Well, thanks God he was vaccinated against TB in the form of BCG. That brought me tons of relief.
Second, people in my household and in my workplace could have it too – whether I am their source or I go it from them. This got my husband rushing to the pulmonologist too and although his results turned in negative, he was given his share of the medications, only the lower dose I think, just to be sure there’s nothing in him. For the other people, I wouldn’t know. TB is not an openly-discussed disease.
Third, I will have to take an antibiotic for the next six months! You see I am this person who would choose to bear the pain than to take a pain-reliever, considering how my kidney would suffer in filtering the medicine. Now this, six months of taking in tablets with possible side effects.
It was difficult but I should undergo the medication. I faithfully took in the three tablets first thing when I wake up. I’m blessed to have experienced no side effects aside from the brownish-red urine starting 9am until the evening.
My lungs were cleared up some time during the second month and that was a success! That time the prescription was also changed to just one tablet.
I’ve completed the medication two months ago and I’m happy about it. It was like I’m free at last, hopefully for life!