"It was in April 2016 that I fell sick. I was coughing for three weeks. Fever would come and go and I had lost upto 4 kgs. "

Himanshu Patel Operations Analyst, MDR TB Survivor

It was in April 2016 that I fell sick. I was coughing for three weeks. Fever would come and go and I had lost upto 4 kgs. During these three weeks, I visited the doctor twice. The doctors suspected it was just a viral infections so I was given some pills, but they didn't work. I was eventually referred to a chest specialist. The doctor told me that it was mostly TB but he said he would require my sputum sample to confirm the diagnosis. I thought to myself: “TB? How could I have TB. I have never smoked a cigarette or consumed alcohol.”

The doctors explained to me that TB could happen to anyone. They also explained how one gets TB and how it would spread to others if I didn’t cover my mouth for a temporary period of time. Further, when my sputum test came positive, he sent the sample for drug sensitivity test (DST). It was found to be resistant to both the first line drugs.

TB is not very scary, but the treatment is quite difficult to follow. There are side effects which might scare you. You might even think about not taking the medicines. These were the kind of thoughts running through my mind:

What will happen if I go mad and start harming others around? What would my parents do if I committed suicide? I am an only child and we don't even have our own house. How would they take care of themselves? If I am paralyzed, I would become a burden on my parents and end up making them suffer. All these negative thoughts seemed like an inescapable trap for me. Luckily, I neither became blind nor deaf.

My work performance was affected. I couldn't remember things. One day my manager had a one-on-one discussion with me. He was aware of my illness as I didn't hide it from anyone. My manager said: “Come to office, just sit, roam around and do not worry about the work.”

My best friend’s entire family made me a part of their family which was one of the biggest factors in my survival. My mom would feed me every 2-3 hours. My relatives, best friend, his family and even my office colleagues assured us that we would have enough funds for treatment and food.

Despite all this support, it was difficult. I am grateful I got to meet two new beautiful people. Yes, it was a very threatening experience but these people made my struggle with MDR TB easier.

Now, I have once again started working on my career goals. I believe together we can put an end to TB.