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My 3-day Sputum Exam Experience

#1 LarryandChristine

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 11:15 AM

It's going to be hard for me to share about this since I'm still upset with what's going on with my medical examination at St. Luke's. Yes, I had to undergo the horrifying sputum exam. Now all that was left was for me to keep it together and time trial to the end, easy enough right? But I figured, for the sake of my friends and readers,I am writing this post to share my experience. I am not sharing this to anyone who will just criticize what I've been through or judge me based on my history.

"The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted."
-Mother Teresa


I, too,am a person who had a history of TB way back 2006. I am treated without previous manifestations except for the positive x-ray. After years of keeping my experience with tuberculosis a secret, a few months ago I decided to become open about my condition.I cannot tell you how difficult it was for a person to accept the fact that he or she has tb. Since the time when we were very young we have all been conditioned to accept that if someone is contagious, that person should be avoided.I was more concerned of how others will look at me when they will find out because I am aware healthy people are not comfortable with the thought of living with a seriously ill person in their neighborhood, being in school with them, or being in their workplace. We still frighten them. But life in general is beautiful! My world should not stop because I had it. There are still people that love and accept me, my hubby, my family, and my friends. So there is no need for me to push people away.

After the first day of my medical exam last September 19, 2011 when I blogged about it here, the next day I was going to get my result. The guard at the entrance stamped my receipt with "For Sputum Exam". Those with no problem on the first day will be asked to proceed to the 2nd floor for the immunization. At the 4th floor, I waited for half an hour until called and given instruction. The nurse told me to come back on October 3,4, & 5 for my sputum exam. For others it might be a surprise, but me and my hubby were a bit expecting the worse already that I too will be asked to take the sputum exam since I had the tb before. I even asked the staff nurse if there is a possible way for me to have the sputum exam the next day,so I don't need to go back home and spend another plane fare plus it will be too stressful to be flying home and back again but, she didn't give me my request. She gave me back my receipt, passport,yellow form(to be submitted during the first day of sputum exam), and a small paper containing instructions on how to properly collect the sputum.

FIRST DAY
-I couldn't sleep that night. I woke up around 1 a.m. and stayed awake until it was about time to shower. I arrived at St. Luke's before 5 a.m. although the instruction said the sputum exam will start at 6:30 a.m. I was sure that a lot of people will also come early, and I was right! I was one of the few people to start waiting in line and got no.6 since it was still early but after a couple of minutes there were already several people behind me. The guard at the entrance allowed us to get inside around 5:30 a.m. We were given a mask after presenting the documents. We put on our mask and used the big elevator going to the 4th floor. We were seated and waited for the next instructions. The staff nurse then called numbers from ascending order and collected our documents excluding the receipt. After a few minutes, they called by batches of 20 to proceed to rooftop for the collection of the sputum.

Posted Image

-At the rooftop, we were seated and called one by one and asked to sign somewhat like an attendance sheet, one signature every day for 3 days. The staff nurse checked checked the file at the computer and scan the label at the sterile sputum container which are specifically assigned to each applicant. The nurse then gave me back my passport and a piece of paper then asked me to proceed to the collection area. At the collection area, I rinsed my mouth with the purified water. Another nurse asked me my full name and escorted me to a vacant seat where I will be seated during the sputum collection. She also instructed me what to do and what not to do. I tried to cough but it was hard since I don't have a cough. I tried and tried until I was able to collect enough then she asked me to come back tomorrow early and gave me back my passport and the appointment slip. My throat was beginning to sore from forcing myself to cough several times.

SECOND DAY
-It was the same process except that during that time it rained so we had the sputum collection at the 4th floor Sputum Collection Area between the Female restroom and the Reception. There were sealed cubicles inside. When It was my turn, I was seated inside the cubicle facing the posted instruction. I am not sure why they prefer the fresh air but maybe it cost more to use the cubicles because when I was done and gave her the collected sputum, she pushed a button near the door maybe to disinfect the cubicle for the next user;while at the rooftop they don't need to do that. And so, I was told to come back again early tomorrow.

THIRD DAY
-There were few people that day compared to the first two days. We were back to doing the sputum collection at the rooftop. After giving the nurse the collected sputum, she instructed me to come back tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. for the pulmonary evaluation.

FOURTH DAY
-I was at St. Luke's at 5:00 a.m. although my appointment was still at 8:30 a.m. I was already worried what my initial result would be. I got inside around 7:00 a.m. and the guard stamp my appointment slip "Pulmonary Evaluation (2nd Flr)". I was number 1 but the nurse arranged us so that those who had undergo tb treatment and those who already waited 2 months are called first, my number became no. 13. Oh my! I was scared and thinking. Isn't 13 is an unlucky number. I was praying all the time until it was my turn. When inside the doctor's cubicle, I smiled and greeted her and she did the same. She asked me if I have family/relatives with previous tb and I said "No one doc, only me". She asked me if I have felt any symptoms like backache,cough for 2 weeks, or coughing out blood,I replied, "None doc". She asked me questions such as when I was treated, what medications I took, the dosage and if I have a medical certificate. I showed her my medical but she asked me to go back to my doctor and asked her to add few details that are missing. She also added I can just send them the revised medical certificate through a courier. She explained to me what she saw in the x-ray. Thank God, the result of the sputum smears are all negative. I guess not all no.13 are unlucky. She just told me to wait for the 2 months just to be sure I don't need another treatment and I am really healthy to go to America.

-I gave the papers from the doctor to the staff nurse, then he explained to me what day should I call. He said the sputum culture will end on November 30 but I will have to start calling them on or after December 5. He also told me to give the PDS no. when calling the clinic. Regarding the expiration of my medical exam, he said I should be able to leave the country before March 5,2012 or I will have to do the medical exam plus the 2 months sputum culture again. So I guess I will just have to pray for them not to call me before Nov.30. Please help me God...

Before ending this post, I would like to share some tips regarding the sputum culture.
1. Do not eat your breakfast before the sputum collection. It will be a waste of time and effort for you to be coughing out and if they see food particles in the specimen they will not accept it. They will ask you to come back. Only water is allowed.

2. For those who wants to brush their teeth inside the clinic or those who traveled from afar, they may brush their teeth at the restrooms. Do NOT use any mouthwash before the test, as these contain anti-bacterial substances that can affect the outcome of the test. So too is the case with antibiotics, so if you have taken any recently, inform your doctor about it.

3. Do not wear any lipstick or lip gloss, for females.

4. You should be able to provide 5-10 ml of the sample sputum.

5. Keep the container closed until you are ready to spit into it to avoid contamination from the mouth or saliva of the individual. .

6. Bring a handkerchief or tissue with you during the collection because you will be asked to cover your mouth when coughing.

7. For you to be able to collect sputum fast even if you don't have a cough, I suggest you cough continuously. Do not swallow the sputum,expel it only when you feel like spitting out.

8.If St.Luke's will call you before the two months is over, it means you are positive and will be needing treatment for 6 months.


Let's all hope and pray for the best. God is always has reason for everything. We may not know it yet but I believe we will all be able to reach our destination in His time...

Posted Image


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"In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities."


Christine's Blog---HERE


*USCIS*
02/15/2010-Met online
03/15/2010-Met in person & got engaged
03/30/2010-Wedding day!woohoo!
11/09/2010-I-130 package sent
11/17/2010-NOA 1 received
04/19/2011-NOA 2 received
*NVC*
05/04/2011-NVC case # assigned
05/26/2011-IV & AOS fee paid
07/26/2011-AOS & IV package sent to NVC
09/14/2011-Received interview date from NVC
*ST.LUKE'S*
09/19/2011-Medical exam -First day
09/20/2011-2nd day-Bad news-told to have the Sputum Test
10/3-5/2011-Sputum Test for 3 days!!!
12/06/2011-Sputum Smears-all negative!Thanks God!
*US EMBASSY*
12/12/2011-Interview date-VISA approved!
12/24/2011-Visa on hand
12/28/2011-Arrived in the USA,POE Detroit

#2 saraio

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 04:34 PM

Wow, I didn't know about this, I guess it never crossed my mind, but thanks for sharing your experience. Praying that you hear back from the medical place real soon :)
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#3 babystef

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 04:56 PM

i also went to sputum exam and i must say that it is very stressful. but after 2 mos and the result were negative, it all paid off..goodluck and just keep relaxed..
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#4 DanTes

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 09:38 PM

I must say that the St. Luke's experience (3 day sputum test, and 2 month culture) was the most agonizing experience of the whole process. Just keep on praying, and good things will happen for you. My wife had to contact the local county health dept upon arrival here in the States. My wife had been treated for TB about 2 years ago. The health dept doctor looked at all her past x-rays and record of medication she had taken in the Philippines, and told her that no further follow-up was necessary. USCIS was notified of this fact, and the case was closed.
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NATURALIZATION

02/25/2014 - Eligibility date.

03/03/2014 - N-400 package mailed.

03/11/2014 - Check cashed.

03/14/2014 - NOA received.

04/09/2014 - Biometrics.

04/28/2014 - In-Line for Interview - 6 hours later Interview Scheduled!!

05/02/2014 - Interview Letter received. (Mailed on 29 April)

05/26/2014 - 3 year anniversary.

06/02/2014 - Interview. PASSED!

09/11/2014 - Oath Ceremony.
 


#5 LarryandChristine

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 09:54 PM

I must say that the St. Luke's experience (3 day sputum test, and 2 month culture) was the most agonizing experience of the whole process. Just keep on praying, and good things will happen for you. My wife had to contact the local county health dept upon arrival here in the States. My wife had been treated for TB about 2 years ago. The health dept doctor looked at all her past x-rays and record of medication she had taken in the Philippines, and told her that no further follow-up was necessary. USCIS was notified of this fact, and the case was closed.




Good to hear that your wife is now with you. Is it true that she had to have the sputum exam again when she got there?
  • 0

"In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities."


Christine's Blog---HERE


*USCIS*
02/15/2010-Met online
03/15/2010-Met in person & got engaged
03/30/2010-Wedding day!woohoo!
11/09/2010-I-130 package sent
11/17/2010-NOA 1 received
04/19/2011-NOA 2 received
*NVC*
05/04/2011-NVC case # assigned
05/26/2011-IV & AOS fee paid
07/26/2011-AOS & IV package sent to NVC
09/14/2011-Received interview date from NVC
*ST.LUKE'S*
09/19/2011-Medical exam -First day
09/20/2011-2nd day-Bad news-told to have the Sputum Test
10/3-5/2011-Sputum Test for 3 days!!!
12/06/2011-Sputum Smears-all negative!Thanks God!
*US EMBASSY*
12/12/2011-Interview date-VISA approved!
12/24/2011-Visa on hand
12/28/2011-Arrived in the USA,POE Detroit

#6 chris&merli

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 09:57 AM

A friend of mine experienced the same test at St. Lukes. She didn't even suffer from tb before but she had to undergo the same process because the doctor found a little spot in the x-ray result. Thank God her sputum result was negative. I can't help but wonder why she was found positive for tb in St. Lukes when a few days before she went to manila, her x-ray result in CDO was negative.

This medical test at St. Lukes sounds scary. My husband and I are in the process of getting me a US visa and I am praying that I won't have problems with my medical exam. I undergo an annual physical exam and so far, all my test results are good.

Thanks for sharing your experience and I hope your sputum result will come out to be negative. God bless you.
  • 0

#7 Bob 4 Anna

Bob 4 Anna

    Resident Crazy on VJ



Posted 10 October 2011 - 01:28 PM

A friend of mine experienced the same test at St. Lukes. She didn't even suffer from tb before but she had to undergo the same process because the doctor found a little spot in the x-ray result. Thank God her sputum result was negative. I can't help but wonder why she was found positive for tb in St. Lukes when a few days before she went to manila, her x-ray result in CDO was negative.

This medical test at St. Lukes sounds scary.

Something we all need to remember is that the Medical Exam is to protect everyone in the US from communicable diseases. I know it's nerve-wreaking when it our loves one or ourselves going through it but we need to look at the larger picture.

There are many reasons for an unclear X-Ray result and they can't reliably use the Skin Test in the Philippines because BCG Vaccination does cause false positive results.

I know it's easy for me to say since my wife is already here but wouldn't we all honestly prefer 100 people have to endure the sputum test and have negative results than one person is admitted with active TB? Remember that the US doesn't vaccinate against TB so one contagious person could cause an epidemic.

My step-mother had to go through TB treatment when she immigrated from Korea in the early 80's. I'm glad it's something USCIS takes seriously.

I could be worse, they could simply deny Visas for anyone who tests positive or the sputum process could take a lot longer.
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#8 LarryandChristine

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 03:23 AM

If the result of the x-ray film is not reliable whether you have it or not or still active, I guess it is just fair to have all applicants to undergo sputum exam...just my opinion..

[img][IMG]http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/7936/christinesignaturethree.png[/IMG] Uploaded with ImageShack.us[/img]

Edited by LarryandChristine, 11 October 2011 - 03:28 AM.

  • 0

"In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities."


Christine's Blog---HERE


*USCIS*
02/15/2010-Met online
03/15/2010-Met in person & got engaged
03/30/2010-Wedding day!woohoo!
11/09/2010-I-130 package sent
11/17/2010-NOA 1 received
04/19/2011-NOA 2 received
*NVC*
05/04/2011-NVC case # assigned
05/26/2011-IV & AOS fee paid
07/26/2011-AOS & IV package sent to NVC
09/14/2011-Received interview date from NVC
*ST.LUKE'S*
09/19/2011-Medical exam -First day
09/20/2011-2nd day-Bad news-told to have the Sputum Test
10/3-5/2011-Sputum Test for 3 days!!!
12/06/2011-Sputum Smears-all negative!Thanks God!
*US EMBASSY*
12/12/2011-Interview date-VISA approved!
12/24/2011-Visa on hand
12/28/2011-Arrived in the USA,POE Detroit

#9 Tr. J

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 09:32 AM

It's going to be hard for me to share about this since I'm still upset with what's going on with my medical examination at St. Luke's. Yes, I had to undergo the horrifying sputum exam. Now all that was left was for me to keep it together and time trial to the end, easy enough right? But I figured, for the sake of my friends and readers,I am writing this post to share my experience. I am not sharing this to anyone who will just criticize what I've been through or judge me based on my history.

"The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted."
-Mother Teresa



I understand your feelings about it. Me too had undergone Sputum Exam last September 19,20 and 21. At first I cried, because my husband and I was expecting that I would be there this October but unfortunately this came up. When I had Sputum test I met a nurse and explained to me everything about it and right there and then I understood about the whole procedure, however, she said 2 months of culture is too long :( I told her we can't do anything about it that's the procedure all we have to do is to wait and pray that the results are negative. I went on the fourth day and thank God :D the 3 smear tests are all negative. I just hope and pray that also the culture will also be negative. Don't be sad my friend God is good and all of us who went through this will also be with our love once in his perfect time. Cheer up!


Psalms 37:4
Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. (F) (L) :) (L)

Edited by Mrs. DiGiovanna, 11 October 2011 - 09:34 AM.

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Posted Image

"最も堅い部分は一緒にあるのを待つていた"


12 Dec 11 - USEM Interview [221g - employment letter]
17 Dec 11 - Sent additional Docs via 2GO
28 Dec 11 - Received e-mail employment letter not detailed
04 Jan 12 - Sent another Employment letter from new company + old pay stubs
20 Jan 12 - Again... Sent another Employment letter from new company + 2 new pay stubs
31 Jan 12 - Visa Approved [thank you father God]
06 Feb 12 - Sticker from CFO

#10 Bob 4 Anna

Bob 4 Anna

    Resident Crazy on VJ



Posted 11 October 2011 - 10:06 AM

If the result of the x-ray film is not reliable whether you have it or not or still active, I guess it is just fair to have all applicants to undergo sputum exam...just my opinion..

The whole point of the X-Ray is to eliminate as many applicants from the Sputum Exam as possible. If the X-Ray is clear then you are eliminated.

It's as fair as the process can be. Exclusion is reliable (in that if you're x-ray is clear there are no signs of an infection current or previous) which is the important part of the process.
  • 0

#11 LarryandChristine

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 11:59 PM

The whole point of the X-Ray is to eliminate as many applicants from the Sputum Exam as possible. If the X-Ray is clear then you are eliminated.

It's as fair as the process can be. Exclusion is reliable (in that if you're x-ray is clear there are no signs of an infection current or previous) which is the important part of the process.


I respect your opinion...but I am saying this based on what happened to me because I brought with me the old xray films from 2006 up to June of this year and they did not bother to look at it.The films showed inactive ptb.
  • 0

"In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities."


Christine's Blog---HERE


*USCIS*
02/15/2010-Met online
03/15/2010-Met in person & got engaged
03/30/2010-Wedding day!woohoo!
11/09/2010-I-130 package sent
11/17/2010-NOA 1 received
04/19/2011-NOA 2 received
*NVC*
05/04/2011-NVC case # assigned
05/26/2011-IV & AOS fee paid
07/26/2011-AOS & IV package sent to NVC
09/14/2011-Received interview date from NVC
*ST.LUKE'S*
09/19/2011-Medical exam -First day
09/20/2011-2nd day-Bad news-told to have the Sputum Test
10/3-5/2011-Sputum Test for 3 days!!!
12/06/2011-Sputum Smears-all negative!Thanks God!
*US EMBASSY*
12/12/2011-Interview date-VISA approved!
12/24/2011-Visa on hand
12/28/2011-Arrived in the USA,POE Detroit

#12 LarryandChristine

LarryandChristine

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 12:03 AM

It's going to be hard for me to share about this since I'm still upset with what's going on with my medical examination at St. Luke's. Yes, I had to undergo the horrifying sputum exam. Now all that was left was for me to keep it together and time trial to the end, easy enough right? But I figured, for the sake of my friends and readers,I am writing this post to share my experience. I am not sharing this to anyone who will just criticize what I've been through or judge me based on my history.

"The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted."
-Mother Teresa



I understand your feelings about it. Me too had undergone Sputum Exam last September 19,20 and 21. At first I cried, because my husband and I was expecting that I would be there this October but unfortunately this came up. When I had Sputum test I met a nurse and explained to me everything about it and right there and then I understood about the whole procedure, however, she said 2 months of culture is too long :( I told her we can't do anything about it that's the procedure all we have to do is to wait and pray that the results are negative. I went on the fourth day and thank God :D the 3 smear tests are all negative. I just hope and pray that also the culture will also be negative. Don't be sad my friend God is good and all of us who went through this will also be with our love once in his perfect time. Cheer up!


Psalms 37:4
Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. (F) (L) :) (L)



Thanks for the inspirational thoughts. It makes me feel I am not alone on this case. :)
  • 0

"In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities."


Christine's Blog---HERE


*USCIS*
02/15/2010-Met online
03/15/2010-Met in person & got engaged
03/30/2010-Wedding day!woohoo!
11/09/2010-I-130 package sent
11/17/2010-NOA 1 received
04/19/2011-NOA 2 received
*NVC*
05/04/2011-NVC case # assigned
05/26/2011-IV & AOS fee paid
07/26/2011-AOS & IV package sent to NVC
09/14/2011-Received interview date from NVC
*ST.LUKE'S*
09/19/2011-Medical exam -First day
09/20/2011-2nd day-Bad news-told to have the Sputum Test
10/3-5/2011-Sputum Test for 3 days!!!
12/06/2011-Sputum Smears-all negative!Thanks God!
*US EMBASSY*
12/12/2011-Interview date-VISA approved!
12/24/2011-Visa on hand
12/28/2011-Arrived in the USA,POE Detroit

#13 babystef

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 12:34 AM

I respect your opinion...but I am saying this based on what happened to me because I brought with me the old xray films from 2006 up to June of this year and they did not bother to look at it.The films showed inactive ptb.



me too i had my xray one month before i have my nedical like what you said they didnt bother to look at it. Eventhough we had a clear xray way before the medical took place, it doesn't matter. What matters is their findings on your xray done only in SLEC. I asked them why i had a spot wherein i am physically fit?She told me that their radiologist were trained for that and anything they saw something suspicious will undergo the sputum and culture test. Its a long wait but we can't do something about it but obey..dont worry, time flies easily you will never know ur done with the culture test..gudluck
  • 0

#14 Bob 4 Anna

Bob 4 Anna

    Resident Crazy on VJ



Posted 12 October 2011 - 09:18 AM

I respect your opinion...but I am saying this based on what happened to me because I brought with me the old xray films from 2006 up to June of this year and they did not bother to look at it.The films showed inactive ptb.

I'm not a doctor and never played on on TV (ha ha ha) but I'm not sure how an x-ray can determine if pTB is active or inactive.

me too i had my xray one month before i have my nedical like what you said they didnt bother to look at it. Eventhough we had a clear xray way before the medical took place, it doesn't matter. What matters is their findings on your xray done only in SLEC. I asked them why i had a spot wherein i am physically fit?She told me that their radiologist were trained for that and anything they saw something suspicious will undergo the sputum and culture test. Its a long wait but we can't do something about it but obey..dont worry, time flies easily you will never know ur done with the culture test..gudluck

In every country there are Medical Facilities that are contracted by the US Embassy for Immigration Medicals. There are reasons for that. If the contracted facilities allowed everyone to bring in previous x-rays, test results, psych exams etc then there would be no point n having the specific facilities contracted by the US Embassies would there?

Hey I'm still a bit peeved that they made our little guy go through a psych eval because a 2 years old he wasn't talking. They didn't care that he was clearly deaf just that it wasn't within the norms for a 2 year old. Of course it was a waste of time and 2,000Php but in the end he landing in the US and can hear now thanks to Cochlear Implants!
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#15 LarryandChristine

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 10:58 AM

[quote name='Bob 4 Anna' timestamp='1318429100' post='4948175']
I'm not a doctor and never played on on TV (ha ha ha) but I'm not sure how an x-ray can determine if pTB is active or inactive.


I am nurse,but not a doctor either. They used the old films to compare it with the new one.
  • 0

"In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities."


Christine's Blog---HERE


*USCIS*
02/15/2010-Met online
03/15/2010-Met in person & got engaged
03/30/2010-Wedding day!woohoo!
11/09/2010-I-130 package sent
11/17/2010-NOA 1 received
04/19/2011-NOA 2 received
*NVC*
05/04/2011-NVC case # assigned
05/26/2011-IV & AOS fee paid
07/26/2011-AOS & IV package sent to NVC
09/14/2011-Received interview date from NVC
*ST.LUKE'S*
09/19/2011-Medical exam -First day
09/20/2011-2nd day-Bad news-told to have the Sputum Test
10/3-5/2011-Sputum Test for 3 days!!!
12/06/2011-Sputum Smears-all negative!Thanks God!
*US EMBASSY*
12/12/2011-Interview date-VISA approved!
12/24/2011-Visa on hand
12/28/2011-Arrived in the USA,POE Detroit



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