Treatment is very difficult but there is hope

Colisile: I was first found to have TB in 2008. I took tablets for six months and was told that I was fine and stopped the treatment.

Colisile: I was first found to have TB in 2008. I took tablets for six months and was told that I was fine and stopped the treatment. In 2010 I fell sick again with the same symptoms I had had in 2008. I went to Edwaleni Clinic and was found to have TB again. I was told I would have to get an injection every day for two months, while also taking pills. I would then have to continue with the pills for another eight months.

This time I was very sick and was admitted to Hlathikhulu hospital for three weeks. My mother looked after me during this period, sleeping on a mattress on the floor next to my bed. After some time, the hospital staff told her to stay away, saying she was at risk of contracting TB as well.

Zanele (Colisile's mother): I went away for a day, but had to go back when my other daughter called me and told me Colisile’s condition had worsened, I couldn’t just sit at home and let my daughter die without doing anything. If I was going to get TB by looking after her, then that was a risk I was prepared to take until she was well enough to go home.  (NoteYou can follow Zanele's story on TB&ME as well)

Colisile: I had the injections for two months and started feeling better. During the third month, while I was continuing with the pills, I received a call from Edwaleni Clinic telling me that my latest sputum tests had shown that I was not responding to the treatment. I was told that  I was resistant to one of the tablets I was taking. The clinic referred me to Nhlangano Health Centre, which is where I was diagnosed with MDR-TB.

On the 31st January 2011 I started my MDR-TB treatment, getting injections every morning at the TB clinic in Nhlangano Health Centre. A short while after starting the injections and the new TB pills, my health condition seemed to get worse. I still had no appetite, had constant diarrhoea, felt dizzy all the time, had sore bones and muscles, my whole body was aching and I couldn’t walk well. This made it very difficult to walk to the station every day. Fortunately, MSF gives us transport money to come to the clinic and go back home every day. If it wasn’t for this, I would probably be dead because both my mother and I are unemployed and cannot afford the fares for the 45 minute drive to the clinic each day.

I take 10 pills in the morning, together with the injection. In the evenings I only take ARVs. Although I am slightly better than I was at the start of my treatment, I am not yet feeling very well. I am still coughing, though not as much as I used to. I still vomit a lot, especially after taking the pills. I have to say that this treatment is very difficult and, right now, I am still feeling very weak and unsure of where I will be in the next few months. My only hope is that I have seen other patients who are much better after being on MDR-TB treatment for a while.