Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Chapter 12: The real truth. What would you do?

Sitting 5 ft away, down wind from MDR-TB patient outside.
It’s been several weeks since I last wrote a Nomsa blog.  It is not because I haven’t gone to see her on a regular a basis. It is not because there is nothing to say.  It is not because the news it’s all good so there is no “story” to tell. It is simply because I just don’t know how to write what I need to write.

My head and my heart hurt.

My learning curve on Tuberculosis (TB), Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (DR-TB), Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and Extremely Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (XDR-TB) has been steep to say the least.  In fact, there is so much unknown and so much under study that answers seem to change depending on who you ask and when you ask, or at least that is what I thought.

Sadly, I think I wasn’t getting a straight answer because no one had the heart to give one to me, until I met the Producer/Director of a Documentary film being done on MDR-TB. She is a reporter. She has investigated and learned. She speaks the truth.  The truth sucks.

The doctors are 99% certain that Nomsa has XDR-TB.  All patterns of testing are pointing directly there and they are only waiting for the last DST test results to confirm it.  When this woman asked them directly about Nomsa last week they said that they would move her in to an isolation ward now if they didn’t have someone in there with a highly infectious case.  Nomsa’s sputum is not infectious right now, or at least it wasn’t when last tested, but that doesn’t mean she won’t be infectious tomorrow.

What is the prognosis?  Can’t get a direct answer from a medical professional, but the Documentary film maker says there has been no one survive in Swaziland with MDR-TB.

What happens if /when she gets the DST results and they are negative? She moves into an isolation room, until she dies or until she demands to go home and die.

Can we build room for her at Project Canaan that would be safe for all of us and safe for her? Yes.  Will she get sick there (from chicken pox or the flu or a cold) and have to be rushed back to the TB Hospital in the weeks/months to come?  Yes, unless she is healed (which I do believe is possible if it is his will).   Are there risks for those of us here?  Yes, but can be calculated and mediated by education and government support.  Will she need an injection every day for the rest of her life along with dozens of pills? Yes.  Can we facilitate that? Yes. Will it be easy?  No. Is it wise?  Each of you will have your own opinion.  What would you want if you were Nomsa or if she was your daughter?

Poster at the TB Clinic explaining transmission prevention.
To say I have lost hope would be untrue because I believe in a God that is bigger than any level of Tuberculosis.  To say that I am hopeful would be an overstatement. If her test comes back negative and they pack her in to the isolation room, what do I say?  What do I do?  What would you do?

Truthfully, my heart is breaking. There is a lot going on in my world these days that is hurting my heart, and this is just one of those things.  But I know that El Roi sees me too and I pray for His mighty hand of protection and healing.

That is all for today. It’s Tuesday, so consider this last Wednesday’s blog.


PS – read janinemaxwell.blogspot.com from last Saturday and you will see what Nomsa was doing to save the life of a pregnant woman at the hospital and her unborn child. There is no question that God is using her in a mighty way and has her there “for such a time as this”.  I am eternally grateful to know this remarkable young woman.


  1. I do believe that God put her in your life for a reason...

  2. Praying for her and praying for all involved in the decision making and treatment.