On Friday I took a humbling yet comforting deep breath as the doctor came into our consultation room and announced that once again ( yes that means P’s had this twice) Priscilla will be fighting TB. We are awaiting a test that determines whether her TB is a recourrance of her previous spout or if it has come back in a bigger manner MDR TB ( Multiple Drug Resistant TB ). This means at least 6 months of breathing treatments, blood work, X-rays, and a very heavy dose of medication ( that is defined as chemo-like ) to take everyday. If we are told it is MDR our treatment period is a 9-36 month period.
At this point you might be shaking your head saying ummm what is TB?
Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but TB bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal. In fact at one point it was the leading cause of death in almost every country. Tuberculosis (TB) is a top infectious disease killer worldwide. In 2014, 9.6 million people fell ill with TB and 1.5 million died from the disease. Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, and it is among the top 5 causes of death for women aged 15 to 44. It is considered the top pediatric killer of children living with HIV.
How does someone get TB ?
TB is spread through a infected person’s sputum being coughed up. This poses a risk to both Rhoda and I. We will be wearing face masks until Priscilla is not longer in the contagion period which usually last 2 months for typical TB and 6 months for MDR. You can also get latent TB and never show symptoms depending on how well your immune system can fight the infection.
What are they symptoms of TB?
Symptoms of TB disease include:
- a bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer
- pain in the chest
- coughing up blood or sputum
- weakness or fatigue
- weight loss
- no appetite
- sweating at night
How can you diagnose TB ?
In places where TB is not common it is often misdiagnosed several times as different lung/chest infections. There are a few different test that indicate TB.
1. Skin Test
2. Chest Xray with blood work
Who is at risk for TB?
- Those living with compromised immune systems and most commonly those living with HIV.
- Health care professional that come in contact with those who are coughing sputum.
Is there a vaccine to prevent TB?
Yes, there is a vaccine for TB disease called Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG). It is used in some countries to prevent severe forms of TB in children. However, BCG is not generally recommended in the United States because it has limited effectiveness for preventing TB overall.
Rhoda and Priscilla’s vaccination history is unknown but she does have a BCG scar which we think indicates a vaccine unfortuently with her compromised immune system, previous neglect her body has been unable to fight TB effectively.
Where can I find out more about TB?
We are currently fundraising for a care to give some relief as we seek daily medical treatment. If you are led to donate please visit Liddy Family Car Fundraiser
Tomorrow on Instagram ( @meglidds) we will be hosting an Auction to help get us closer to buying a car. We will also be selling shirts and holding different raffle prizes for the next few weeks. Stay Tuned!
With love from the equator ,
Meghan, Rhoda + Priscilla