Fieldset
A Mother's Story

My name is Zanele Mavuso. I was born in the community of Umhlanga at eDwaleni in the Shiselweni Region. I grew up in this community and only left when I went to live with the Lushaba family after I got married to Colisile’s father.

My name is Zanele Mavuso. I was born in the community of Umhlanga at eDwaleni in the Shiselweni Region. I grew up in this community and only left when I went to live with the Lushaba family after I got married to Colisile’s father. Colisile, our first born child was about six years old when we got married. (Note: You can follow Colisile's story with MDR-TB on TB&ME too) After a number of years living there, the Lushaba family paid lobola (money that the husband’s family pays for his new wife usually handled in cattle equivalent in rural areas) for me and I became their wife in the true sense of the word. However, some years later, my husband started treating me badly, being physically abusive and bringing other women to our home and telling me to get out. He slept with these women in our house and, if I complained, would beat me up. After enduring this treatment for some time, I eventually decided to leave him and go back home to my family. I left my children behind with the Lushabas. I lived with my family for many years and even had a child with another man, my last born, a girl. During my absence, my husband fell ill. I am told he was coughing and vomiting and eventually passed away in 2007. My husband’s parents also passed away shortly after him and this is when I decided to come back and live in my home with my children for good. Early this year (2011) I started feeling unwell. I was suffering from constant headaches, was coughing non-stop and sweating a lot at night, waking up with very wet blankets each day. I though I might have diabetes. Realising that I was seriously ill, I went to Edwaleni Clinic, where I had an HIV test done and also got screened for TB.  I was told that I have HIV and TB. Meanwhile, I was told to wait while they checked what kind of TB I have. Three different sputum samples were taken from me in bottles for checking. A month later I received a call from the clinic telling me to quickly go to Nhlangano Health Centre and see the doctor at the TB clinic there. This is where I was told that I have a resistant kind of TB and would need to get injections for six months or more and also take pills for a period of two years. For me it was not too difficult to accept my HIV status because, by the time I went to test, I had already told myself I might have HIV because I had been sick for some time. I had also seen two of my brothers very sick and later getting better after starting ARVs (antiretroviral pills). This gave me hope that I would get better once I started treatment. However, I am still waiting to be started on the ARVs. I have been on MDR-TB treatment since last month (February 2011), although I cannot remember the exact date. On the fourth day after I started getting daily injections for MDR-TB, I started feeling dizzy, my feet started swelling and there was an itchy discomfort in my vagina. I informed the nurse at the TB clinic about this and she gave me pills for these problems (side effects). Now the itching has gone and the swelling of the feet is on and off, while the dizziness is still there. I now also suffer from constant nausea, especially after the injection and after taking the pills, 10 in the morning and four in the evening. Although I am not completely sure, I suspect that I got this TB while I was looking after Colisile, my daughter, in hospital. Colisile was admitted in the TB ward at Hlathikhulu Government Hospital last year when she was sick with TB. She can tell you herself about her sickness as you can see how frail she looks even now. She is much sicker than me at this point in time. Follow Colisile's story of her life with DR-TB on TB&ME