Family Support is Crucial in Overcoming TB

Many treatment failures are caused by not adhering to treatment.
── Li Lulu

Li Lulu, 21 years old, was 8 months pregnant when she was referred to the Beijing Chest Hospital. The diagnosis was crushing: she had tuberculous pleurisy. Doctors advised her to begin immediate treatment. Aware of the toxicity of the medication and fearing the side effects on her unborn baby, Li Lulu made the difficult decision to postpone treatment.

After giving birth, she developed postpartum fever, the tuberculosis (TB) bacteria in her body spread, and the disease progressed to tuberculous meningitis, a particularly dangerous type of TB. In a critical state, Li Lulu was immediately admitted to the hospital.

There are many patients who have undergone years of treatment for this disease, but have not seen much improvement. Without the support of friends or family, it is easy to become discouraged.

Li Lulu was lucky amid her misfortune because she had the support of her loved ones. Her husband, Guo Zhichao, would not allow her to give up on treatment and, no matter how busy he was, paid her daily hospital visits. He would tell her about their baby daughter, who couldn’t be close to her mother because of the infectious nature of the disease. The couple was determined to beat TB. Guo Zhichao cared for Li Lulu and encouraged her, strengthening her will to live.

Many treatment failures are caused by not adhering to treatment. Every day, patients must swallow 10 pills or more, causing various side effects. Once the patient starts feeling better, it is tempting to discontinue taking the medication, a decision that may lead to an even more severe, drug-resistant disease later on.

Li Lulu and Guo Zhichao closely followed the doctor’s directions, remembering that with appropriate treatment and medication, TB is a fully curable disease. Though at times discouraged, the thought of her loving husband and eagerness to be with her baby daughter helped Li Lulu overcome the difficulties.

Today, Li Lulu is fully cured. Her life is back to normal. Once her daughter is old enough to go to school, she is planning to open a clothing store. The experience of illness has made her cherish her life even more, and she is full of hope for what the future will bring.

Download "FIGHTBACK," a magazine featuring former patients who have been treated for tuberculosis (PDF, 7.91 MB)