The instructions were easy. I take a pill once I’ve woken up, and six other pills once I’ve eaten—all to be taken in the morning. It seems futile, because no matter how religiously I take my pills everyday, my illness won’t just go away.
It was in my final year in the university when I was diagnosed with tuberculosis of the lymph nodes. I asked my doctor to let me finish my degree provided that I had to deal with medications while attending school and to take a full year’s rest after graduation.
I had no problems with that. I just had to alter my plans. After a year, I can look for a proper job, save enough money and pursue graduate school. I had a scar on my right neck, between the shoulder and neck to remind me to take life easy and get enough rest.
It was stupid. Two months after my year-long break, I had another lump forming under my right jaw and my doctor panicked. I was sent to the hospital, had undergone another biopsy and gotten myself a new scar to remind me that there’s no getting away with it.
The only thing wonderful in this type of tuberculosis is, it isn’t contagious. It’s the latent type of tuberculosis that was just reactivated. It’s already been in my body and I just had to take my pills, and get plenty of rest to cure it. I thought it was facile.
In all actuality, it was never easy; it was awful. I feel like suffering every time I drink my pills that have effects lasting for an entire day—wobbly, weak and creaky.
I’m on my second year of TB now and I don’t really see any silver lining yet. Or will I ever be any time soon.
My doctor said the disease will relapse and will possibly lead into cancer. But how, pray tell, can I stop something like that when I don’t even know how to prevent TB from occurring again in the first place? It’s always the argument I raise with my doctor because I’ve been following routines to stop it from getting worse and yet here I am fearing that one day, all the pills I’m going to take one morning will be resisted by my body and there’s totally no way I’m getting away from it.
At some point, I stopped talking to my friends. I locked myself in the house, since getting a job is pointless right now, and turned myself into a big blanket burrito reading novels. I would only respond to people that I know who will understand me. My mum would be there cheering me up, giving me motivation and making me realize that it’s never the end.
Whenever I start doubting myself that I’ll be better again and that one day, I might need a new set of medication for a different kind of sickness, I would always plug my earbuds on and listen to Morrissey’s singing there is a light that never goes out in full blast.
I mean, if it is not yet better, it clearly is not yet the end.