Tuberculosis (TB) as we all know is a disease that somehow affect the lives of our fellow Filipinos, and worldwide  as well. It can’t be deny that until now, there is no exact cure or vaccine for TB. Though there are treatments and medicines, enough rest and enough care for people who are positive from it. And with that they survived.

Just like the virus that we are experiencing today, Covid-19. It all started from a virus that came from China, that many people all over the world have already been killed and are positive from covid19, and sadly, still counting. And as we observed, both TB and Covid are affecting the lives of so many people around the world, but the cure isn’t coming yet, and as we think that if someone is positive from that, how is the emotion going on? How can he / she cope up from that? How can somebody reacts or what’s the first thing you’ll do when you found out that you are covid or TB positive? Will there be a feeling of being unwanted from people whom we love the most? Or the feeling that we want to overcome fighting from this disease?

As we continue to read the story of Noel, after the confirmation that he has TB, how he accepted it, how life will like be during the treatment, especially now that we are into an extraordinary season, that nobody wants to happen, that we are on pandemic. I asked him again several questions and throughout our sharing or  “kwentuhan”, I just can feel the pain, the sadness and the burdens that he is facing right at the moment.

I asked Noel, what’s the very first thing he did, finding out that he is positive on TB. He said that after reading the x-ray result, the doctor immediately gave him medicines of course for the treatment, and he also went to TB DOTS, so he can have free medicines, since it’s an agency program from the government, which helps people with TB. There, they can give medications, learnings and other matters that will help the patient to fully recovered from that battle.

Then after that, he saw this page from the internet, TB People Philippines, there he met Ms. Louie Teng, President of the said organization, helping people with TB on how to cope up from that battle. According to Noel, Ms. Louie helped him a lot to move on. She discussed and explained it well, on the truth on having a TB. It was really mixed emotions for him. Imagine, battling your life with two giants, TB and Covid, how in the world can you survive with this kind of “pagsubok”.   It is hard for him being a TB carrier, because as they say, it is “nakakahawa”.  So right then and there, he decided to quarantine himself for 14 days. “Pinalipat ko agad ang mag-ina ko sa bahay ng mama ko”, simply because he wants an assurance that his family is safe.

He said that during his 14 days quarantine, there were many things that occupied his whole being, first, gout is attacking him, he can’t move his knees, there were so many things he is thinking of, all of the why’s, what, and how come did it happen  to him.

Total adjustment period, as per Noel. Before pandemic, the challenge was his Gout, the very high uric acid he experienced his whole life. For him, it was just normal days and normal life because he thinks he can cure it though. But when the time comes that he needs to cure both of his gout and TB, during pandemic, then the challenge arise. For Noel, the hardest part of it was that curing of his Gout (uric acid). The side effects of both medicines, as per Noel, “sa gout ko kasi mahirap siya mawala agad kasi dahil din sa gamot na nakahalo sa TB meds na PYRAZINAMIDE, pinapataas nya uric acid ko. Bukod pa yung pagkawalang gana mo kumain at anxiety”.

Hearing these lines from Noel, makes me feel sad. Not because of the fact that he has TB but the feeling of loneliness when he was there inside the quarantine house, for 14 days, alone. And that when he needs something, his live in partner will come to the rescue to assist him, to give him food and the moral support as well. And the pain of the gout that it brings. Definitely, an unexplainable feeling and so hard to imagine, what has life to offer him in the future.

As Mother Teresa quoted, “The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted”. True enough, it is not the disease that gives a feeling of sadness but the feeling that it brings to him, the feeling of being unwanted, that will make you fall, or might even break you. It is how you respond to the situation. It is how you react. It is indeed the most painful and not t that the disease that it brings to him.

In every story, there is always an end, and hopefully, we want to see and hear a good result, a happy ending of course, just like reading fairytale stories, just like in the case of Noel. Since he is still on the process of treatment and curing of his TB, his story doesn’t stop there at all. There is always a continuation, an update and a very good feedback. Adding a special treatment or cure, he himself is doing an extraordinary cure, and here goes his piece:  “ang treatment na ginawa ko piliting kumain ng kumain at uminom ng maraming tubig. Matulog at ipahinga ang sarili at palagiang pagdadasal sa ating Panginoong Diyos”.

Noel, might be in a situation today that is really very hard to think of. Fighting his very own battle. It may not be a punishment, but it maybe to remind him on things he did before, his lifestyle. But of course there is a second chance and will always be. Learn to love yourself is the greatest love of all, as the song says.

On the next part of his story, we will read the other side, his loved ones, family and friends, closest to him, their reactions and concerns towards his situations. Let’s always be on the look and be accountable to every people we meet along the way and our prayers for them most of all.