TB Personal Stories – Laura’s Story
Laura had been coughing for many months. Several doctor visits had resulted in a range of diagnoses: acid reflux, pneumonia, and bronchitis. Yet her symptoms continued to get worse. She was having night sweats, weight loss, severe fatigue, and still, the persistent cough. After many misdiagnoses, she eventually was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) disease.
She didn’t know much about TB at the time other than that it was contagious. As a school teacher, one of her main concerns upon learning she had TB was the welfare of her students. Her friends, family, and people in her community were also worried.
“The community where I live is very small. Once they found out that I had TB, of course they were very scared. They didn’t know how TB works and how it’s contracted. And once they were educated by the health department, they were more open to take me in — to show me their support,” recalls Laura.
The support of her parents, husband, and children helped her get through the difficult nine months of treatment. Her local health department also played an important role. “I see them coming to my door every day to provide me with the medicine that I needed and educate me a little bit about tuberculosis,” says Laura.
With her TB disease behind her, Laura is now an active member of the TB survivor network We Are TB. She wants to share her experiences with TB to raise awareness about the disease and to help others.
Laura speaks Spanish and English. She wanted to share her story in both languages to further expand the reach of her message and increase the chances of reaching more people to raise awareness about TB.
“I wanted to bring awareness to other people. To bring awareness to the public about tuberculosis and how can it be contracted. And to the doctors to find a better cure or to diagnose TB faster. And to researchers, to come up with a better treatment, shorter and efficient for the patients,” says Laura.