Fieldset
TB&Me: “This could happen to anyone – the stigma must be overcome”

Svitlana recently started treatment at the Tuberculosis hospital in Zhytomyr. Two months since her diagnosis, she describes her experience so far.

Svitlana is an MSF TB patient in Zhytomyr

I received my diagnosis two and a half months ago.

At the time, I didn’t know anything about tuberculosis (TB). I didn’t know anyone else who had gone through it, so I worried that my family would stop talking to me.

Originally, I was so scared about the disease that I didn’t want to take the drugs, but since being admitted to the TB hospital I have learnt a lot about the disease.

A psychologist here has supported me and helped me to understand my options, and my husband has been a huge support to me. He is working in Poland but even from afar he tells me that everything will be okay.

I said to myself: I don’t want to die. I want to live.

It didn’t take long for me to start to feel more hopeful.

I said to myself: I don’t want to die. I want to live. I want to be with my husband. I want to have children with him. I want to get back to work.

I was ready to fight for my health.

“I need to be here until I am better”

After only a few days of taking the drugs, I already felt some change. Now it has been a month and I am hopeful that this improvement will continue.

I am not experiencing any of the bad side effects that I was warned about.

For me, the worst thing about the treatment is that the days can be long and boring. I wish I could be at home with my dogs and cats, but I know that my diagnosis is serious and I need to be here until I am better.

There is a community spirit. It has to be this way – we look out for each other through the tough times.

Personally, my faith helps me in these times. I pray and I look to God to help me to let go of my worries.

I am building friendships with the other people being treated here, too. There is a community spirit.

It has to be this way – we look out for each other through the tough times. Sharing our fears and supporting one another helps us to stay positive.

“This could happen to anyone”

My message to the world is that it is so important that people are given options to be cured. This could happen to anyone. TB treatment must be financed, and stigma must be overcome.

After all, you never know what might happen tomorrow.