“Sorry, I’ve had a busy day, you know everyone wants everything on a Friday.” D settles herself in for an interview after finishing her part-time job, which she does while also running her own marketing company with her brother.
A busy young professional, she looks like she has to make an effort to think back to find an answer to my next question, “Have you found it hard to keep working, during your treatment for tuberculosis?”
D sighs and says, “I’m sad, I lost so much time when I was ill. I started my bachelor’s degree in 2010 and I couldn’t finish it until 2020. Now I just want to get on and make up for all the opportunities I lost in that time. I would like to travel, earn money, finish my master’s degree, and have time for relationships.”
It has been 5 years now since D fully recovered from a multidrug-resistant (MDR) form of TB which she had recovered from once already as a young teenager. A new treatment finally gave her a chance to return to normal life but, before that, for over 4 years, she followed several treatment regimens which didn’t work.
Even the walls can cure you
During those 4 years, D’s treatment programmes included daily injections which sometimes lasted for months on end, necessitating either long hospital stays or gruelling trips to outpatient clinics.
“At the hospital, the patients in the next department looked like the walking dead,” she remembers. “Many were so depressed, and the side effects of the treatment were awful. It was difficult for a 19-year-old girl to see. Then, after being in hospital, I still had to continue treatment every day on a regimen including injections. I remember the one-and-a-half-hour journey to and from the hospital, feeling sick, no car, and I just wanted to lie down.”
D therefore jumped when she was offered the chance to take new drugs from the comfort of her own home. “Some really good patients lost their chance to be at home, to be in a pleasant, cosy environment, to eat food they liked and watch what they liked on TV,” she muses. “I hated being in hospital; the new treatment is so much better. When you’re at home, you’re at home. It’s your castle and they say even the walls can cure you.”
New, fully oral treatment
In D’s case, despite her careful adherence to medical advice, …….