shit shit shit, so the health dept nurse called me yesterday.
missed her call cuz I was doing laundry, but got her message.
test results came in, and it is positive. which means I do have TB bacteria.
the nurse said nothing more than just "your test results came in this afternoon, and it is positive, please call my number @ xxxxxxxxxx and let me know if you want me to mail it to you or if you would like to pick it up in person."
I didn't freak out while hearing her message, but my brain did stop processing for a few minutes.
I think my brain simply refused to think.
After calling back and leaving a message to that nurse, regarding when to pick up the result and chest-x-ray, I went back to eating dinner and watched Mr. Popper and his penguins. Told my parents about it over Skype video chat at around 9pm. Dad and mom had similar but still different reactions. Mom's first words to me after hearing it was "oh my, that's scary" with a scared face on. Then asked the treatment process and when I told her she should do a skin test too, since she and I have spent 3 days in Tokyo together last October, mom simply said "hmmm." Dad asked more questions and told me I'm much more likely to be latent, and should not worry about it as this is no longer an un-treatable disease. While telling me all "not to be afraid," I could still tell his face had some pretence. He was worried, but he didn't show, he did not want me to know. Dad wants me to reconsider about whether or not I should head back to school for that second Master's. He said what I'm about to study in prepares me for a job that will be at higher risk of becoming sick, even sicker, and hearing the blood test results should have been a lesson. I didn't want to think much, so I said nothing.
This morning when I woke up, first thing that popped into my head was "I have TB, I have its' bacteria, I can die of TB any day, this disease might become active tomorrow if I only have latent today."
Then I started the brain process,
whether active or latent, I must do a chest x-ray to find out.
either active or latent, I will be on meds for up to 9 months.
meds of course will have potential side effects such as nausea, dizziness, discoloration in urine, loss of weight, chest pain, and the most scary one is liver damage...liver damage happens in 1 out of 1000 people taking these TB meds. To me, that's a pretty darn high risk.
the second most scary one, or some people might consider this as the most scary one, is once a body has had TB bacteria and been treated, this body will need stronger meds to treat it if becomes affected again. Yes, the body will not become immune to TB once it's been treated. In fact, someone who has had a positive TB is 8 times more likely than normal people to get it, again.
I couldn't help but kept thinking about the meds side effect (liver damage) and the "what ifs." "What if I get TB again in the future? stronger meds cost more money and give more body damage, should I take the free lower-tier meds now and put myself at a greater risk of having body failure?" "treat now even if not active and forget the 8-times-more-likely-to-get-it-again-in-the-future?" The word "meds" and "TB" kept going over and over in my brain while I was still laying in bed hearing the pouring rain just outside my window.
I worry a lot about many things. I worry easily. But tell me, this is something I shouldn't be worried about? The health dept nurse has also told me I have blood clots while drawing my blood last week and earlier this week. So far she's right, regarding TB positive, can she be right about blood clots too? I'm 26, first time diagnosed with a disease and it's TB. My family history has no TB, so I'm the first in generations and generations for both my dad's side and mom's side. Family history, however, does include multiple types of cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure from both my parents' sides which means I'm genetically possible of getting those too.
Is this it? A sign that I should not go back to school? Or is it a test?
Dad is right, about having this 2nd Master only sets track to have a career in a place where would have a higher risk of getting more disease. Before getting that phone call, my plan was to go to China or Peru, and Thailand for health promotion/education among the underserved population, and refugees there in the next two years. The goal was to do as much international fieldwork as I could because I wanted to. I also wanted to get EMT certificate so I can have an option of working in the ER or as a medical assitant at any hospital/clinic. Now, I'm not sure anymore. I definitely don't want to have this again once it's treated. Wait, so that means I will take the meds, to treat it.
International fieldwork? Refugee health promotion? What if I become sick because I help others? Putting myself in exposure of any underserved population would mean a much much much more likelihood of getting TB again in the future. I know a few people who told me they've got TB and where clients were diagnosed with TB. I won't say who they were and where they were clients of, but, my knowledge in this has put me into thinking. So far, I don't think I'm any less human than anyone. I'm afraid of getting any disease. I want to help others but I don't want to put myself at risk.
But school-wise, what should I do?
Should I email the school and say thanks, but no thanks?