I Survived TB and This is My Story | Blushing Geek

I Survived TB and This is My Story

What is TB?

Tuberculosis (TBT) is a disease that primarily affects the lungs. It is a potentially serious disease that is infectious. The bacteria that cause the disease can be spread from one person to another through airborne droplets from coughs and sneezes. There are many strains of tuberculosis, which do not respond to most drugs for treating the disease. The treatment usually takes several months involving several types of medication.

You can read more about TB along with its signs and symptoms, and more at Consumer Health Digest.

Introduction

It has been 4 years since I conquered TB. It wasn’t really my favorite topic to discuss but I don’t hate to talk about it either. Only a few knew about it and I want to keep it that way…until now. I’ve searched about it online and was appalled with other survivor’s stories. I heard that TB has been around for a very long time but it’s still one of the top 3 sources of deaths in the world. Imagine that!

Three days after I got a fever last week, I then caught a cough. For 4 years, this is the first time I was reunited with this wretched disease and I can’t tell you how much it frightened me, thus making me write about TB after all these years. But thankfully, it’s just a normal cough with sore throat thus making it hard for me to talk clearly because of the phlegm.

It’s Positive

It was on the third week of July 2013 that we confirmed that I’ve got a TB. I’ve been coughing uncontrollably a few weeks after my College graduation, which was on May that same year. So yep, imagine how long I endured before finally facing the inevitable and consult a doctor, thanks ofcourse to my grandfather’s insistent demands. I’ve been drinking a lot of cough supplements and Vitamin C but my cough seems to have gotten worse, that’s when my grandfather told my mom to have me checked up, and I’m really thankful about it.

You see, my mom is a very busy person and she doesn’t like doing errands. But after hearing grandfather’s demands over and over again, she finally sent me for a check-up. Don’t hate my mother about it because I’m also partly to be blamed. I’m a 20 year old college graduate so I should be able to go on my own, but as a fresh graduate, I don’t want to think that I could really have a TB. You’ve been a fresh graduate once, so you’ll know that feeling of wanting to be the first one of your batchmates to land a job eh? So yep, instead of heeding the warning, I’ve been sleeping really late even if I was very uncomfortable with my cough which sometimes makes me vomit what little I’ve eaten each day.

So that day at the clinic, after doing all the tests, we need to go back or wait for 1 hour to get the result. If I could picture out myself that day, I have to say that I was quite composed even if I’m in the verge of finally knowing what’s really wrong with me. My mom is quiet too and we never talked of a possibility that I could have a TB, which I’m sure she think that I have. I know deep inside that’s what I thought too at that time, but I just can’t accept that, I can’t picture out myself doing a medication and then stuck in the province while my friends and batchmates are enjoying their very first job. Did I tell you I’m stubborn? haha.

After an hour of waiting, we finally had the result and it was positive. After that, all seemed to have happened so fast that I didn’t even recall the time the doctor prescribed the medicine that I need to maintain. When we got home, my mom then follow what the doctor prescribed and isolate my personal things like eating utensils so no one in the family would get infected too. When I was alone in my room, I was really really down. I don’t remember if I cried that day but I can still feel that sinking feeling so clearly like as if it was yesterday.

Job Hunting

Even with my current situation, I didn’t gave up and still applied for some job openings. I’ve been to tons of interviews but no one called. It was obviously a sign from the One above but I’m so hardheaded. I applied and applied but it seems I am getting worse especially after failing to drink my medicine for a day. Then my mom and family in the province convinced me to go to Bohol so I could avail their free TB treatment there and to stay away from the busy and polluted life of Cebu City.

DOTS Program Bohol

Since I’m originally from Bohol, I am entitled for their free TB treatment where the government will be providing us free medication for 6 months. Since my grandfather knows almost everyone in our village and he happened to be our Barangay Captain too, I asked him if he could accompany me to the barangay Center. I filled up the forms that needs to be filled up and then I was told to come back the next day for confirmation.

The next day, we got the confirmation and I was introduced to my very own health worker that will make sure that I take my medicine each day. That said, the head doctor also advised me not to work for 6 months or until my medication ends. I really don’t want that, but I can’t have these medicine shipped to me all the way to Cebu so I could apply for a job. And with all the stress and pollution, I’m pretty sure I won’t be feeling better sooner, so I stayed in Bohol.

After 6 months and a lump near my left breast

The barangay center only provides a free 6 months TB medication because that’s how long TB medication usually goes through. While I was finishing my medication, I noticed a small lump in my armpit that when I touch it, it kinds of sting. I taken it for granted because I thought it’ll just go away. But after some few weeks, it got a little bigger and is now in my left breast, and as usual, I took it for granted.

One day, my sister noticed a white stain in my shirt, when I checked what causes that, I was surprised to find out that my lump was now open and is spilling out white creamy substance. When my aunt found out about it, she sent me to a specialist because she was afraid it’s cancer. When we went to the doctor, she asked about my recent history then she referred us to a doctor who specializes in internal medicine.

He then asked me to do an X-ray then afterwards asked me about my TB. I told him I am finishing my medication this month but he noticed that my lungs still not cleared of TB so he suggested me to extend my medication to 1 year. But before that, he scolded me for not taking good care of my health and for neglecting to drink my medicine that’s why it become extra pulmonary TB instead of just an ordinary TB. Yep, I’m guilty and I can never forgive myself because of that.

After giving me another prescription and saw my lump, he then wants me to undergo biopsy to check what is it or what causes it. I’m not sure what biopsy is but it sounds really painful.

First Biopsy

A day after my doctor suggested a biopsy, I was accompanied by my sister to our town hospital. There’s a lot of patients waiting with lumps in the different parts of their body and I can’t help but think of the worst. After TB now cancer? What is wrong with me? Or should I say, what’s 2013’s problem with me?! First having TB, then the earthquake and now a possible cancer?!

But even with that thought, I was surprisingly calm while waiting for my turn. When it’s finally time, I was really distraught to see the needle. My! I was really right that it’s going to be painful. The needle needs to get injected in and out of my lump to get a sample tissue to be tested for any possible cells that are cancerous. Oh boy, they didn’t gave me anesthesia, so I can feel the needle in and out of my chest.

We got the result a few days after and I’m so happy it’s negative. So the only thing I need to focus on is my additional 6 months of medication.

Another lump

On my way to 11th month of taking my medication, my doctor requested for an X-ray to see some improvements in my lungs. And when I think all’s going to be better now, I was then greeted with another problem, a lump problem to be exact. But this time, the lump is inside my lungs. It’s in the lower part of my left lung.

There’s no specialist in Bohol that do internal biopsy so he recommended me to a doctor in Cebu and I need to do it as soon as possible.

Second Biopsy

I am terrified to get my body sliced or operated so I was really scared when we’re finally in Cebu for my biopsy. The more terrified when the nurses asked me to remove all of my clothing and put on their white robe. But very very terrified when I was ushered to the operating room.

During my first biopsy, I wasn’t given anesthesia but luckily this time, I finally got to have one. The doctor then injected the anesthesia through my back and it was the most painful thing I’ve ever felt in my whole life. A few minutes after that I felt that my back was kind of limp that I don’t feel anything at all. That’s why I thought what’s going to happen next will not hurt anymore because of the anesthesia but when I saw the very big needle, I almost collapsed. So when the doctor told me to get ready, I closed my eyes and just pray that I won’t feel anything. But even with the anesthesia, it still hurts.

And that day, I made a promise to myself not to get involved into any of this ever again. I’ll never take for granted my health and strive to be healthy.

Luckily, the result was negative and all of my family was really relieved.

Completion of 1 year medication

So finally, after the nasty year 2013 had given me, I finally able to give him the middle finger and shout, I SURVIVED!

My doctor was delighted of my recovery and finally gave me the go signal to find a job.

Symptoms I had while having TB

The symptoms I had were what you commonly noticed to a person having a TB, but knowing all of TB’s other symptoms, I confirmed that I got my TB as early as February that same year but got it active when I spent less sleep because of my thesis on the month of March.

  • Chills – especially when going to sleep at night
  • Cough
  • Pain in the chest when breathing and coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive sweating
  • Night fever
  • Lumps (mostly for extra PTB)

Any advice?

Of my 1 year medication, the only thing that I regretted was skipping to take my medicine. The virus tends to get stronger when you skipped even just for a day and that it could lead to a more serious problem. After what I experienced, I’m still lucky I only got to experience having two lumps while others suffered more worst than that. So for those who just found out that they have TB, just remember to ALWAYS take your medicine. Forget anything, but never your medicine. The tablets for the first 3 months is hard to swallow because they’re big, but trust me, it’ll be all worth it. Having to take it for 6 months sounds like a drag but if you’re doing good, some treatment only lasts for 3 months.

For those who are afraid that they’ll get TB someday, don’t worry. You just need to make sure you have a strong immune system, always eating what’s healthy, exercising and having enough sleep. Do all of those, that even if you catch the virus, you will be guaranteed that it will never be active.

Final Words

Having a TB doesn’t mean you’ll be the only one affected by it. During my treatment, I’ve seen how my family struggled especially that time when they found out about my lump. It wasn’t just about the money but they struggled physically. I never saw them cry but you can see them in their eyes. Even if I say it lightly, that was absolutely the darkest stage of my life and I never wish to experience that again.

I hope with this post, all of us will be more inspired about life and start taking good care of ourselves because Health will always be Gold.

 

I Survived TB and This is My Story | Blushing Geek

 


 

I am just a simple girl who loves to combine my two favorite things in the world - books and travel. I enjoy discovering new places, either real or fantasy, and share them through my blog. Other than that, I'm a Filipina, photo junkie, Otaku, 100% geek, a lover of all things cute, movie/tv buff, in my 20s and a proud book hoarder.

    • Wow, I’m so sorry that you’ve had to go through all that. My husband had AIDS so his doctors wanted both of us to be up on all our vaccinations. I got a TB vaccination along with all the other vaccinations a few years go.

      • Yeah me too. I’m just happy it’s now over.

        Oh, I’m sorry about that Mary. I hope your husband is doing better now.

    • What a scary situation, I’m glad you and your doctors were able to get it in control. I bet you weren’t the only one that’s ignored it at first *hugs*

      • Yeah. I have to say that my doctor scolding me have woken me up and finally seeing how serious it is.

        Yes, that’s what I thought too. So hopefully, with this post, people would be more mindful to their body and if they experience cough for weeks, then it’s time to visit the doctor.

    • I’m so glad you are doing well now. I’m sorry you had to go through all that so young. I think it is great that you are sharing your story with everyone and hopefully it will get to those that most need to hear it and get tested. ((HUGS))

      • Aw, thanks Melissa. Thinking about it now, I guess it’s a great eye opener for me too. I seldom got sick even when I was younger so I never see the reason to take up vitamins and worst, I always eat everything without moderation and deprived myself of sleep. I’m really so stubborn that even after I got dengue, I never took care of myself until TB came along and slapped me so hard until I realized what I have been doing to myself.

    • I can’t begin to imagine how scared you must have been. Thank God it is all behind you now and you are taking better care of yourself.

      • Yeah, I was. I’m just so glad that I wasn’t just fighting it alone but I’ve got my family and some friends with me too πŸ™‚

    • Karen

      That must have been a very scary ordeal for you. My father had TB when I was very young (probably close to 30 years ago) and he had to stay isolated in the hospital for a few months. They would let me in the room with him but I remember my mom could if she wore protective garments. When he came home he had all his own utensils and all of that like you.

      He did do very well after though and lived a very healthy life but it’s tough to go through.

      I’m glad to hear things have turned around.

      {hugs}

      For What It’s Worth

      • Yeah, it is. I’m just lucky all turned out ok. Also, my journey towards recovery were a little pleasant because of books πŸ™‚

        Oh? I’m delighted to hear about your father’s recovery.

        Thanks Karen

    • Oh goodness. Very scary. I’m glad that you’re doing better!

      • Yeah, me too. Thanks Anna πŸ™‚

    • OMG. This just reminded me of my own ordeal. It was like a bomb dropped on me when my doc told me I had stage 3 TB. She told me If I hadn’t had my x-ray done on that time, I would’ve died not knowing. It’s great to know that TB is now curable.

      • Same here. Good thing this terrible disease is now curable. It really pays if we atleast go for a checkup once in a while.