After 18 months of hard treatment for Multi Drug Resistant TB, I have finally come to a point where I feel like I can let my hair down a bit.
Tomorrow, I am scheduled to have my last dose of TB medications. This is a great celebration for me, because I have been on a strong combination of medications - which has been required over this long duration to ensure that the TB won't come back.
I've been very strict on myself during the treatment process, and feel proud that I've reached the end without pushing any of the boundaries. I took every tablet that was put in front of me, and never missed a dose. I also did my best to take good care of my body and mind, by eating as healthily as possible, not drinking any alcohol, openly sharing my experience with friends and family, and finding new ways to stay positive and busy. There have been heaps of times when this has been hard, because the medications put you under hectic mental stress. I have sworn at family members, accused good friends of things they haven't done, thought that the walls were caving in, and pretty much driven my brother crazy. But that's okay - I've been lucky enough to learn that when people really love you, they'll help you through anything, and if you're open about what you're going through, then it helps them understand where it comes from.
I know that millions of other people with TB are not as lucky as me to have access to the treatment that I received, or be in a position where their Government and family are as supportive as mine have been. So every day I am thankful for this.
I wish that every country was able to share the same medical privileges that are available to us here in Australia, and I wish that we didn't need organisations like MSF, but we do. It doesn't seem fair, that just because I live here on an island called Australia, I'm able to receive better attention than someone just like me who is born somewhere else, on another island, or another piece of land. Part of me feels a bit guilty that I have been so fortunate, but then another part of me feels that it should be a human right shared by all. The right to be given the chance to survive.
But that is one of the reasons that I support MSF. Because they help fill that gap, by bringing medical care and assistance to those who are in exactly the same situation as me, and are just as treatable as I am. It is only fair, that everyone is given the chance to survive.
If TB is treated early, strictly and effectively then it is affordable. But if the TB becomes MDR, or XDR then it costs about 100 x more per patient.
I have been playing with some numbers of what I have been through in the last 18 months, since I was originally diagnosed with TB, and for me, it's pretty interesting to look at.
500,000 dollars in medical care
4,488 hours in isolation
382 visits to doctors and clinics
and now 3 blogs on my MSF profile!
BUT, if I hadn't gone through all of this, then I wouldn't have made the 30,000 new friends that I've made on Facebook along the way (facebook.com/fullysickrapper) or the 22,000 people that have Subscribed to The Fully Sick Rapper's Youtube Channel (youtube.com/christiaanvanvuuren). Come and say hi there if you want to, I'm always up for a chat!
Also please feel free to ask me any questions here on the MSF Blog, it would be my pleasure to get back to you. Especially if you are going through your own medical difficulties, or are going through a hard time in your TB treatment. It is good to reach out and share your own situation with others who are going through it, or who have been through it too.