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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'm Officially Cleared!

Last week and this week was a bit of a roller coaster ride for me. While I was on a completion for my medical exam, a person in scrubs orally told me "You have TB", period. I was shocked by the inaccuracy a certain medical laboratory in Makati told me I had tuberculosis- I understood they were trying to assist me in the fastest way possible but declaring something that is untrue is quite unprofessional. Don't you think so?

Later on when I read the findings it turned out I was just 'suspected' on having tuberculosis. I wasn't shown my X-ray plates to give solid evidence of my tuberculosis. I talked to the doctor and said yes I had TB before and yes I underwent medication.

True enough, my speculation on their false declaration of TB is right- the TB marks they saw was my previous battle scars with TB.

You know, keeping a patient worried like hell with their false oral statements WILL give me much stress that's enough to get me my TB back. 

The doctor asked me to have AFB smear test for 3 consecutive days. Later that day my mother called up my cousin Dr. Sherwin Paglinawan to ask about AFB testing. My cousin explains that Acid Fast Bacilli smear tests are done in the morning when you wake up; you can't brush your teeth or gargle, as much as possible don't take a bath or do anything yet. You go straight to the medical laboratory and extract your sputum for testing. Sputum specimen are valid for an hour only so it's the best to extract your phlegm when you get there. My cousin Dr. Sherwin Paglinawan also referred me to several doctors who are expert on lungs in the hospital nearest to my place- Chinese General Hospital. I really thank God I have a cousin who's a doctor, it makes life more easier for me and I'm not so afraid to talk and trust the doctor about my illness because I know underneath the intimidating lab gown is my own cousin.

I did have my AFB smear tests for 3 consecutive days and it turned out clear. As clear as my phlegm. You see, I don't have any coughing, coughing with blood, loss of appetite and recurring fever. What's painful in AFB is that you have to try your best to extract phlegm even if you don't have phlegm even in the morning as you wake up (because phlegm is as it's best in the morning, I was told). Thirst and the feeling of trying to get something out of your throat is painful but that's okay; it's something I won't die from.

Yes, I admit I had tuberculosis during my second year college and I'm not ashamed of my medical history.

Medical terms should be revised in order to become politically correct. 
"TB suspect"- why, is having tuberculosis a crime? No. 
Is it our fault if we acquire TB? No. 
Did we even choose to acquire TB? No. 
It's biological and we don't have in any way control over it. 

I know it sounds pilosopo but these little things matter because it will create an effect to other people and stigmatize you if you have tuberculosis. I see people reacting when a patient goes in the TB center in E. Rodriguez and it's not nice to judge and stigmatize people who have Tuberculosis.

People would say "Yaks! May TB kadiri wag mo lapitan yan" (Yuck! they've got TB, ew, don't go near them") I know for medical reasons yes you shouldn't go near people with TB because you might catch it too but calling it 'Yuck' and 'Ew' is a stigma and it is a baseless accusation. It's discrimination against people who did not choose to acquire tuberculosis.

I would accept it if people would say 'Don't go near them, you might catch TB too'. It is acceptable since that statement has medical and scientific grounds.

I developed tuberculosis because I have weak lungs; ever since birth that is my battle. Did I choose to have weak lungs? No. My father even purchased an air pump when I was a kid just so I could get my nasal medication without going to the hospital on a daily basis.

During my college years, stress was really getting in the way. Who wasn't stressed? Everybody was trying to meet deadlines pre-production paper deadlines, thin girls are carrying production props, solid steel camera tripods, dolly and broadcasting quality camera (AKA the really big ones you see camera person carries on their shoulder). We carry these equipments up until we go to the editing bay. While doing these things you are constantly thinking and thinking. Most of the time even at your sleep you're still thinking.

I'm not an exception to that. I can carry on with mental demands of the curriculum but combining mental and physical demands of carrying heavy equipments did take a toll on my lungs. I did undergo medication, however, it did not stop me from doing my best and finishing my work. After curing my TB I even forgot I had it and just went on smoothly with my academic life fulfilling my tasks. The show must go on, as we say. Dedicated much? Yes, I believe so. Sometimes I even do my peers' work just so the group could perform well. Nonetheless, I still get high marks no matter how stressful it seems to carry my work and others' work on my shoulders and lungs.

I am actually proud that I graduated with flying colors while undergoing tuberculosis treatment. Not a lot can handle work stress and work properly while accepting that they have a potentially deadly illness that takes 2 million lives away every year according to the World Health Organization. 

So people, don't judge without knowing the other side of the coin. Know the background story before judging.

I am proud of my Tuberculosis battle scars. It proved to me I survived and I will survive. I am alive and kicking- and I will continue to enjoy life to the fullest by having another Jill Stuart haul (plus a bit of Benefit) hihi ^.^



  1. You poor thing!! I picked up Rheumatic Fever as an ADULT, and had the tell tale rash too--the Dr. couldn't believe I picked it up, but I do travel a lot.

    Glad to hear that your well!!

  2. Thanks Jamilla! =) Doctors do know well with the medical technicalities but I believe we ourselves know best with our own bodies and what we go through so it's the best to take what medical experts say with a grain of salt...

    Glad to hear you're well too! =)