Meet Pat Bond.

    My name is Pat Bond,  and I am a registered nurse who was working in a private dialysis unit in Cape Town, South Africa when I contracted MDR TB in 2010.

I was initially diagnosed with a lung infection, and treated with antibiotics and a corticosteroid inhaler.  My health did not improve,  but I continued working at the unit. In December, I began having night sweats and had more chest X-rays and a TB skin test. That was the last day I worked at the unit.

    The X-ray showed TB in my right lung and the skin test reacted immediately. I was very concerned as only 2 days previously I had been in a car traveling for over 4 hours with my Mom, son and his girlfriend, to have Christmas lunch with my daughter in Langebaan. Fortunately, nobody else was infected.

I was admitted to hospital, still not fully realising the implications of what having TB meant. To me it was unheard of to contract TB. I lived in a well-ventilated flat. I was not malnourished or sick.  Then a few days later I was given the news that I had MDR TB!

Even now, I feel nauseous when I think of that medication. I felt so ill, weak and tired. My hearing deteriorated, a side effect of the Amikaycin. I now struggle with deafness and need to wear hearing aids. Another very important but often unspoken side-effect of the medication is depression.  Mine would continue long after I stopped taking the medication.

    I was readmitted for extreme nausea and vomiting, and my meds were adjusted. Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, during my last hospital stay,  my flat was burgled. I felt so vulnerable.

    There’s more: I had to have a lobectomy. Around April 2012 I started to turn a corner. I was still taking my medications and suffering through depression, when I was pronounced clear of MDR TB.

    Unfortunately, I have not been able to return to nursing, which has left a massive void in my life.  I feel that MDR TB has robbed me of so much.

    But here’s the thing: after all this I still feel lucky. I survived TB.  And I’m here telling my story.  Now it’s time for other healthcare workers to tell their stories. If you know a healthcare worker, please, ask them to share their #TBunmasked stories here:

http://www.tbunmasked.org/#tell

But thankfully, on a positive note, I became a member of TB PROOF in January 2013, and gain such pleasure by doing TB advocacy work, speaking to other healthcare workers and raising awareness about TB.  If I can prevent just ONE person from being infected, by telling my story, then I believe it was not in vain.

    Thank you and all my best,

    -Pat