Fieldset
TB&Me: "This treatment programme is my last resort"

One tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis is hard to swallow, let alone four. Yurii, 33, thought he had beaten TB after overcoming the disease three times and being declared cured. Then he fell ill again...

Yurii is being treated by MSF for DR-TB at the TB hospital in Zhytomyr, Ukraine

I woke up one night freezing cold but my temperature was 40 degrees Celsius.

I had a job working in a forest at the time. The days were long – I woke up early and worked all day.

I had been feeling weak and nauseous, but my symptoms seemed like a common flu. I got some medication from the pharmacy and my temperature went down again.

The dreaded diagnosis

But then the same thing happened again. I woke up in the night, cold but sweating. This time, the people I was living with called for an ambulance.

The doctor asked me whether I had been losing weight. He asked me about my relationship with alcohol and then he asked about my previous tuberculosis (TB) history.

I had never heard of MSF before but now I thank God for their programme in Zhytomyr as I have access to the drugs I need

I cannot describe how it felt to think that I might have TB again.

I had already experienced TB three times in my life while I was in prison but had been declared cured in May.

From bad to worse

Only a couple of months had passed and now an X-ray examination was revealing lots of cavities in my lungs. They said I should go to hospital immediately.

Later, doctors in Zhytomyr diagnosed me with drug-resistant TB (DR-TB).

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Yurii has received a 9-12 month treatment regimen after being diagnosed with drug-resistant tuberculosis
Yurii has received a 9-12 month treatment regimen after being diagnosed with drug-resistant tuberculosis

It was very confusing to me.

I had been cured only a few months ago and now my situation seemed so bad.

Last resort

I am now on a treatment regimen for DR-TB, which should last nine to 12 months.

I had never heard of MSF before but now I thank God for their programme in Zhytomyr as I have access to the drugs I need.

This treatment programme is really my last resort.

So far, I don’t feel much improvement in my health but I know the staff here are committed to helping me.

I am grateful for their care – there are psychologists and social workers who give me their time when I’m struggling. 

For Nastya

Soon I will be discharged from the hospital to continue treatment in a residential healthcare facility.

I know that I need to stay motivated.

When I am finished with my treatment, I’d like to rent a flat for myself and my daughter, Nastya.

She’s 15 and currently lives with her grandmother.

She is my motivation.