TB & Me: If I am asked “What is happiness?”

Abatgul is a journalist and a tuberculosis (TB) patient advocate. In 2008 she was diagnosed with a drug-resistant strain of TB, and began a long, difficult course of treatment, eventually making a full recovery. In this post, she reflects on what the experience has taught her about happiness...

Previously, I was searching for different definitions of happiness.
I associated my happiness with living a pleasant life, finding the things that I had been looking for in my life, making achievements, the huge number of dreams that I had.
But, now, I consider happiness to be being alive, to live carefree life because of my health. Of course, if a person is healthy, he can make the mountains move and knock the world flat.
If I take a look back to my life, it was worth trying to survive. In 2008, when I realised I was sick, I had to take a whole handful of drugs, every day for 21 months. At the end, I have had a chance to see such happy moments.
I even cannot recall how many years passed since my treatment, because I am a healthy and happy person now. Walking with firm steps, achievements in my work, wrinkles appearing on my face – these are all signs that I'm approaching older age.
I am very glad that rate of tuberculosis has decreased in our country.
Nowadays, having heard that treatment course was shortened from two years to 6-9 months, I am delighted to see the advancements in medicine and the chances of our contemporaries to succeed in defeating the disease.
Doctors who work risking their lives, MSF personnel who feel wholehearted love towards their work awarded happiness to us.
Now, I am working for the benefit of other people, which means that I am happy. If I am asked “What is happiness?” I will answer “Happiness is to be alive and to be healthy”.