The Strain that Stained

01 July 2011

It was November 2001, I was 19 years old and was at my last semester in college when I was diagnosed of tuberculosis. I most likely acquired the disease from my father who was diabetic as well. During that time, my father already had resistance to most of the first line TB drugs. Little did I know that there were different levels of tuberculosis resistance and that I was not aware that I could acquire the MDR-TB disease instantly even though it would be the first time for me to have the disease.

The only test that was done to me was a chest x-ray. The private doctor which happened to be the same doctor of my father gave me the fixed dose first line drugs for TB which I took everyday. Though I knew that people with this kind of disease were discriminated by the society, it didn't make me stop to fulfill and reach for my dreams. I continued my studies while I was undergoing treatment. I finished Bachelor of Science in Accountancy on March 2002.

During that time, the only idea I knew on TB treatment was that I have to finish the 6-month treatment and after that I would be cured. My high hopes of being treated started to diminish when after 3 months of treatment I started to vomit blood which the doctors called hemoptysis. I was wondering why it happened even though I was taking my medicines "religiously". I completed the 6 months of treatment but I was not declared cured as shown by the chest x-ray. I have to start another treatment which, aside from the oral pills, would include injection. I never thought that this re-treatment would be just one of the many re-treatments I would undergo and that this disease would stain my life for the next 10 years.