Thursday, March 20, 2008

This blog is turning into an episode of 'House'

Here's the good news first:

Dylan's pinkeye is responding to the eyedrops and seems to be relenting. His poor eyeballs.
More good news, he actually LIKES getting the drops put into his eyes. He requested a second drop for each eye at his last administration. What a looney tunes.

OK, now for the rest of the news:

After many suggestions that I get a second opinion on my TB PPD test I called the county health department this morning to see if I could get a blood test or something else to better determine whether or not I actually have TB infection (latent or otherwise) in my otherwise PERFECT body. :)

In not so surprising news, the nurse at the county TB program seemed shocked that my OBs office had a) diagnosed a 3 mm lump at my test site as a positive reaction (too small in an otherwise not at risk patient) and b) they had me starting on the isoniazid while pregnant.

In other not surprising news, I cried on the phone talking to her. Nay, I sobbed and wept like a baby.

So, she's getting in contact with my OBs office to find out more information and she's going to call me back. I have no doubt that this will result in more testing for me. Yay.

Because I am impatient and have internet access, I began researching myself and found out that false-positive TB skin tests can result if you have any other sort of mycobateria in your system. Tuberculosis is caused by mycobacteria.

This reminded me of the granuloma annulare I was diagnosed with a while back. The medical community generally has NO idea what causes granuloma annulare BUT there is a certain kind of mycobacteria (mycobacteria marinum) which causes a granuloma annulare type pattern of skin lesion...

Now, I don't think I HAVE mycobacteria marinum by any means (you get it from working in aquariums or with fish) but if ONE kind of mycobacteria can cause the type of skin lesion I have, couldn't another!?!?

That's when I found out that granuloma annulare was historically linked to TB infection, though that association has been largely disproven.

I called the doctor who did the biopsy for my GA diagnosis but he wasn't sure if simply having GA could cause a false-positive PPD test. They told me to let them know what the health department comes up with.


I just got off the phone with the health department nurse. She said my test was definitely a positive. I swear the gal who checked me said 3 mm, not 10 mm as was written in my chart. I told the county nurse that my spot was about dime-sized for reference and she said that was definitely a positive test.
Since I'm totally low-risk (I don't travel, go on airplanes, have 6 hours+ weekly contact with a person with active TB, leave the country, use IV drugs etc etc) she has NO idea where I was exposed, or when for that matter. Could have been someone with active TB sneezing in my direction at Safeway.

Long story short, I have to start the treatment (which I already did) it's safe for baby while he's in and when he's out and nursing. No idea yet on whether baby will have to continue his own course of treatment after he is born.
The kids and Bob are going to get tested by the county on Tuesday, luckily we don't have to go to Holbrook (45 minutes away) we can just go to the satellite office here in town. Yay!

Good news, I never would have known I had latent TB if I wasn't tested, and not treating the latent TB can cause it to activate when my immune system is low, say, after MAJOR ABDOMINAL SURGERY perhaps...
Last thing I need after a C-section is to get active TB. That shit's fatal, haven't you heard?

Also, apparently lots of people have latent TB and don't even know it. At least I know it and can get treated for it.
Bay Area kids! SF is the No. 1 region for TB infection in all of California!! Watch out!

So I hope the baby won't have to go on the treatment since the pills can cause liver damage. Same for the kids and Bob. I hope they test negative and I was just unlucky enough to be the only infected family member.

The bad news...the treatment doesn't get RID of the bacteria, it encapsulates it. So I'll always have TB bacteria in my body, and I'll always test positive for TB in a skin test, forevermore.
If I start to get sick, nagging cough, chest pain, that sort of thing, I'll have to get a chest x-ray. The county nurse also recommended that I get a chest x-ray every five years or so regardless of how I feel just as a precaution.

If anyone is still reading, thanks. I know it's a lot of medical gobbledygook. I really imagine that only Andrea is still with me here...Hey Dre!

I'm totally overwhelmed and worried at this point, though everyone keeps telling me it's going to be fine...

I know better, I have the internet.


Andrea said...

Yep, I'm still here! It is a good thing they caught it now so you didn't get the active kind. Can you even imagine?! Dan was exposed as a child and had to do the year long antibiotics when he was around 2. If it makes you feel any better, he's had no problems since then and no chest x-rays. You will be just fine!

Jessica said...

That does somehow make me feel better...though, I still sort of want to either run to the Mayo Clinic and get a total blood and body part tranfusion/transplant or run to Mexico and hide from all this.

Did you like all my rambling mental gymnastics to try to make it so I DON'T have TB infection??
Am I ever a piece of work.

Chris said...

It's a lot easier to communicate things like this between guys. I can say "Dude" and that's pretty much the end of the conversation. Everything is taken care of...

That sucks. I'm sorry you're having to deal with this on top of pregnancy, sick children, and all sorts of other things going on. In other words...


Jessica said...

I hear you.
I have a little parasitic dude living inside me, so I'm not immune to dudespeak. :)

Jason said...

Well, on the plus side, you can rent "Tombstone" and start practicing all the Doc Holliday lines.

"I'm your daisy."

Jason said...

If anyone else in your house tests positive, you might want to look into getting your air ducts cleaned and sanitized. That would be the most likely source of the mycobacteria.

Anne Marie said...

This totally sucks. How much can a gal go through in the course of a month?!?! My goodness. I hope things will get better and maybe the rest of the fam wont test positive... good luck and our thoughts are with you guys.

Meredith said...

Oh my WORD, what is going on over there??? You poor thing, this is NOT what you need when baby #3 is set to arrive in 8 weeks. Just trust that the doctors know what they are doing, and know this is most likely an isolated case and your family will be fine. We are praying for you!

Jessica said...

I never even thought of the air ducts, but we never ever ever EVER turn on our central heat...Still, worth investigating.

Here's the abridged list from the prescription information of things I must avoid while on my year-long course of treatment...
Alcohol of all kinds
Aged cheese
Sour Cream
Certain meats and sausage
Liver (noooo problem)
Soy Sauce


Jessica said...

Jason had a great idea, so I altered my blogheader ever so slightly...

eva said...

I just got caught up with your latest nonsensical medical drama. I think they could make an excellent Lifetime miniseries out of your life. You should consider pitching it!

Also: someone in my department at school was diagnosed with active TB over the holidays and DC public health tracked down EVERYBODY over the Christmas break (including someone in a village in freakin' India) to get tested and make sure they weren't spreading the germs around. I apparently never had contact with the TB dude b/c I didn't have to get tested, but a friend was also diagnosed with the latent TB and she's gonna be just fine -- and so are you!

Thinking good thoughts your way!