In today's article we feature a first hand experience of how a patient was successfully treated for MDR-TB.

My name is Leandro Valentyn and this is my story of how I was treated for MDR-TB. In the beginning before I knew I had MDR-TB, my body began to feel very weak so I decided to go to the clinic; I sat on a chair until they called me in and asked me what the matter was. I told them that my body was weak and that I felt very tired, sweated at night and coughed non-stop.

 

The tests

The sister told me what she thought was wrong with me and told me to spit in a jar and that they would send it to the laboratory to be tested. My test results came back and I went back to the clinic and the sister told me that I had MDR-TB and I asked her what MDR-TB was, she explained all about it and how dangerous it is and that I can infect other people especially those that do not take their treatment.

The sister told me that I needed treatment but the clinic does not have MDR-TB treatment and that there is a hospital (Bruwelskloof Worcester) where they care for TB patients with MDR, I agreed to be admitted and arrangements were made for me at the hospital.

Treatment

When I got to the hospital I met a friendly and wonderful Doctor who welcomed me warmly, she explained that she specializes in TB and especially MDR and told me how dangerous it is to me, her and all the staff, and offered me a mask  to wear to protect myself from spreading it. The doctor explained about the sputum culture being positive and about the treatment I need to take so that I can get better. I had to have an injection every day for 6 months and take pills for 2 years.

I started my treatment and drank 22 pills every day for 2 years, in the beginning I felt very nauseous and vomited, my head began to spin, it felt as if I was going to die. I thought of giving up many times but carried on when I saw how other patients were getting better which gave me the courage to strive on with the treatment. The staff were also a great help, they encouraged me not to give up and to continue my treatment as well as speak up about how I was feeling. The hospital began to feel like home as all the staff showed me they cared.

Lessons learnt

I learnt a lot about TB and how it affects your life and everyone around you, there were lots of talks in the ward about TB and I attended them all, they also asked me questions to see if I understood.

My Doctor told me that I could go home because my sputum culture came back negative after 2 months of treatment but that does not mean that I can stop my treatment and I must go to the clinic every day to take my pills but I told her that they do not have my pills at the clinic, the doctor told me that they will send my pills to the clinic every month and I understood what the Doctor was telling me. I was only in hospital for 2 months when my system felt much better.

I went home and went to the clinic every day to take my pills, I met a very nice TB sister who was very kind, cared and did a lot for all the TB patients and her assistant helped us when she was not there.

I want to say thank you to the clinic that gave me my pills every day and to Hospice that came to visit sick people and to help where they can.

Lastly, to other people that may find yourself in a similar situation like I was, you must not be scared. Anyone can get TB and remember the treatment is for free at any clinic and once completed, in due time you will become healthy again.