The training was an absolute life line for me. Until that point I had lived for a year and a half after contracting TB without having met, talked to or emailed with anyone who had TB. I felt afraid to tell people and felt I was holding in a terrible secret. I had been quarantined for six months and it took a year for me to get my strength back since becoming ill in July of 2014. Initially the medication doses were not right and for the first two months my condition steadily worsened. Finally I slowly improved. I was left with some lung scarring and was thin and weak.
The training in Denver was in February of 2016 a year and a half after I had gotten ill. While I was ill my husband fell in love with someone else and we separated in December of 2015. The whole experience was totally isolating for me, especially since I had just moved to a new part of the country and could not see family or friends. Reentering the world after the long time of total isolation was difficult especially without support.
Then the training changed my life. It was empowering and comforting to hear the other survivors stories and to realize that I was not alone. I learned a great deal about the disease and treatment. I formed permanent bonds with some of the survivors. I lost my shame. Most importantly I saw that I could turn my experience into something that could help others. I have have been going to Washington to advocate for funding, have been filmed by the CDC in Atlanta, have volunteered to communicate with current patients and have participated in other venues to help those who have or have had TB
I feel so lucky to have been chosen for the training which literally transformed my story of what happened to me and g
ave me courage to turn it into something positive and enriching for me and I hope for others.