I started pre-XDR TB treatment 23 March 2012, finishing my 24 months next year.
I have ulcerative colitis and went onto strong drugs which decreased my immune system. South Africa has a high burden of tuberculosis and I was working as a dietitian in government hospitals where I was exposed to TB.
In 2011 I finished 9 months TB treatment and then got TB the second time 2012. I was hospitalised 75 days, about a month in ICU where I had liver failure. I was in a coma from the TB medication. My family was told to fly down and say goodbye. But I miraculously recovered and many people were praying for me, so I am grateful that Jesus saved my life. I was also fortunate to have an absolutely brilliant physician (and friend) whilst in hospital. Some days he would just come and sit on the bed, with so much kindness in his eyes I will always be grateful for that. The nursing staff were also very kind to me and also made me laugh. They called me “8 months”, not Ingrid, as they said I looked eight months pregnant being so swollen after the liver failure. Despite being uncomfortable and in pain, it made me laugh and I appreciated them being so honest.
However, I really struggled to be so sick. I was kept in isolation in the ward, had chest drains, abdominal taps, nasogastric tubes for feeding and was very, very weak. I could not get out of the bed and was washed in the bed, lying on my side.
After being discharged home, it still took months to see improvement. My story is long. What I can say is that I am much more my old self. A friend started giving me physio (in a swimming pool) and later I trained with a biokineticist, this was invaluable for my recovery!
TB has taught me that you cant be proud. Others had to take care of me physically and also see my frustration and hurt. I used to cry a lot in this time. I remember feeling very overwhelmed like a wave had crushed over me.
Dealing with TB takes time, it can get better although it doesn't feel like it. That's me in the photos. Just before being discharged and a recent one.