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.

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Comments

12 Responses to The Strain that Stained

  1. I admire your courage to tell the world about MDR TB and share your experiences to other people. You inspire me to continue helping MDR TB patients to fight for their life and give me strength to maintain my compassion and dedication to work and assist MDRTB patients in their struggle to battle the disease.

    • Thank you Dra. Nancy. I really hoped that sharing my TB experience here at TB & Me would capture the attention of all health workers around the world who have the capacity to make things better for TB patients under going treatment and that they would take extra effort in eliminating the occurrence of DR-TB. I was glad that somehow I was able to inspire you to continue to be of service to all MDR-TB patients needing the proper care and treatment. Thanks and be blessed. =)

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  3. I hope the best outcome for you. May the Buddha bless you and may you be free from this suffering. Dont give up,hope you see lots of lights.

    Love
    Sylvia

    • Thanks Sylvia… Please continue praying for all MDR/XDR TB who are undergoing treatment. The disease is too much of a suffering and the treatment is also equally the same.

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  5. your strength and endurance in these tough times will be a source of inspiration for many of us.praying for your recovery…:))

  6. I believe that’s why there should be good and accurate diagnosis before treatment. With this, Mildred will be treated appropriately and no time is wasted for Empiric or shot-gun therapy. X-ray will not tell us if it’s MTBc, MOTT or any underlying TB Disease. If poorly treated, any disease will progress.
    We pray that Mildred will finish the SLD therapy! You’re a living example and hope everybody will learn from your experience. Thank you for sharing your story… To Successful and speedy recovery!

    • I absolutely agree with you Claire. The best way to treat the disease is to have a reliable and appropriate way of diagnosis and not just through a simple form of x-ray. It was such a waste of money and time being treated with the wrong combination of medicines. I also think that it is the responsibility of the health worker to provide all the necessary information that the patient must know about his/her disease. When I got my treatment from TDFI and learned that the mismanagement of my previous doctors caused my drug resistance I was badly disappointed. But I knew I should not dig too much on that but instead move forward and stay focus with my treatment. It was a good thing that TDFI was able to provide me with the quality care. The treatment they gave to patients was very holistic. Aside from the professional care given by qualified health workers, they also educated the patients and their families on how to avoid further infection in their household. They strengthened and built the confidence of their patients to prepare them once they were cured and were out in the real world, a world which was not always fair for (ex)TB patients.

  7. “There’s always a reason for everything that happens under heaven.”

    I vividly remember the time we went to QI to visit you on your birthday. Alone in your room, I can feel your pain but you still managed to smile while updating us with your situation then. As we always tell you the “BIG TB” can never put a good person down”

    Keep on inspiring people. Your parents in heaven are surely proud of you. God bless.

  8. I’ve personally seen how Mildred has been battling everything that this world has thrown at her. Having TB is just a fraction of her woes. She’s such an incredible person that eventhough many would see similar conditions to be enough of a reason of to give up, she does otherwise. I tell you what, for me, she always emerges winning. She draws and radiates inspiration from her life’s journey and this is just a prelude of how positively influential her words can be. She never runs out of steam.

    Mildred, keep it up sister. Remember, when you are put to the fire, you’ll come out shining like gold. God will always be there for you as He has always been. I wish I can give you a very big hug right now.

  9. Mildred, you are a very strong woman and that strength which has kept you pursuing your treatment will serve as an inspiration to other patients. Indeed, we all go through some sufferings of sort, waiting for so many questions to be answered, but just keep on going for God will not ever leave you.

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