I’ll always remember it as a horrible experience — that bronchoscopy I had on December 29. But looking back, I can at least say the doctors made the absolute most of the opportunity.
Today I received a notice that yet another report from that day had been posted on My Health Connection, the online portal where UC Health patients can see their test results, messages, appointments, and records. It brought to 12 — an even dozen — the number of different tests/reports emanating from that one procedure. The system isn’t perfect; three of the reports appear to be identical and contain no information. But still, there’s an impressive amount of information.
The names of the reports mean little to me and I can only guess at their meaning. Examples of their cryptic titles: cytomegalovirus culture; respiratory viral panel PCR; respiratory culture; cell count, body fluid (performable); immunophenotyping-leuk+lymphom; non gyn cytology request; and xr chest single view. (I understood that last one — a chest x-ray.)
Basically the tests were looking for a variety of viruses (none detected), different types of cells and their numbers (red blood cells, T-helper cells, T-suppressor cells, lymphocytes, monocytes, other mononuclear cells, etc.). I’ve no idea what their presence or absence means, but to the experts their numbers and percentages of the whole tell a great deal about what’s going on in my lungs. They analyzed fluid samples, tissue samples, and slides. And the chest x-ray confirmed there was no pneumothorax (lung collapse).
As for the actual content of the reports, much of it was numbers and percentages and counts that I can’t begin to interpret or evaluate. The pulmonologist did tell me that the relatively high lymphocyte count was indicative of the hypersensitivity pneumonitis for which I’m now being treated.
But the most recent report revealed something no one had previously mentioned. Maybe they thought it was obvious under the circumstances. The doctor requested an evaluation for “malignancy, bronchiolitis [inflammation of the bronchioles], HP [hypersensitivity pneumonitis], and infection.” The finding:
– Airway and alveolar tissue without significant pathologic abnormality
– No evidence of metastatic carcinoma
Not once in all the months I’ve had this cough has anyone suggested it might be more cancer, and the scans haven’t shown anything. But of course it has crossed my mind. How could it not? The tumor was right in the middle of my chest, and there were internal chest nodes involved. The whole show was right there where the cough seemed to be coming from, right there next to my esophagus and trachea and lungs. Of course I worried that cancer might have spread to those areas.
But the report that came in today says “No evidence of metastatic carcinoma.” Whew.
I will, of course, be asking the pulmonologist to explain and elaborate, but even I can understand that last statement — “No evidence of metastatic carcinoma.”