“There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something better tomorrow” , Indeed a strong quote from Orison Swett Marden (American writer) on which I lived.
I was on the second line of treatment which had a massive regime. The drugs were; oral tablets; pyrazinamide, cyloserine, ciprofloxacin, prothionamide, and intravenous injection; amikacin. Pyridoxine was given to counter the side effects of the medication. I was also on steroids (prednisolone) as I had quite a bit of inflammation near the heart lining. These medicines made me feel miserable. I had a fluffy face due to the steroids, and terrible nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. The condition improved a bit with the addition of anti-emetics and anti- diarrhoea; but this means more tablets to swallow.
I was on these medicines for about 15 to 20 days and then something happened which I would never ever have wished for for my worst enemy.. The drug sensitivity results arrived…. These results were of the drugs in the second line of treatment. I was RESISTANT to 2 of them…. namely; ciprofloxacin and intravenous injection amikacin which were the strongest of the second line of treatment. These 2 drugs were stopped and third line drugs were added. The drugs of the third line were weak drugs against the disease and had a lot more side effects. The nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea were even worse. I started losing weight; became anaemic and pale. The medicines included; PAS, Linolezid, Azithromicin and intravenous injections of meropenem and clavulanic acid. The intravenous injections were given through the cannula which was changed every three days, which means I was pricked in by needles every 3 days.
Gradually I ran out of veins for the cannulas to go in to. So the doctors decided that I need a hickman line; as I will be on the intravenous injections for a while.
A Hickman line is an intravenous catheter which enters through incisions, one at the jugular vein or another nearby vein, and one in the chest wall. The catheter advances into the superior vena cava, preferably near the junction of it and the right atrium of the heart. The entrance site is sutured. The catheter at the exit site is secured by means of a "cuff" just under the skin at the exit site, and the lumens are held down otherwise by sterile gauze or dressing centered on the exit site, which also serves the purpose of preventing potential contamination at the exit site.
Introduction of the Hickman line was an unpleasant experience. It stayed dangling on my chest, made lying-down even more uncomfortable and felt heavy on my throat and gave me a pricking pain. Now the intravenous drugs were administered 3 times a day.
As I mentioned earlier the side effects worsened, and there were a few things more happening in the body. Thyroid and Iron levels dropped so I was given more tablets, one for thyroid (Levothyroxine) and one for Iron (Ferrous fumarate). Swallowing all these medicines was a trip to hell 4 to 5 times a day, every day. It was hard to swallow those big tablets and capsules. It was a period where I was tortured physically, mentally and emotionally. It was almost a month since I had seen my son. The mother in me was traumatized and I was on the verge of break down. The only relief was that he was in the safest hands and was in good care; obviously with his father and my parents i,e. his grandparents. I believe that it was a great fortune that my parents could travel from india to visit me and look after my family.
While going through all this and having these toxic medicines, the only hope which helped me to hang on and to look upon the brighter side was being cured and living a healthy, long life with my son, my family……