Natalie Joy Carelse – Topform Athletic Club
I was 22 years young when I was diagnosed with TB (pleurisy).
This all occurred in mid-October 1999, and in a short period of time, the pain experienced became excruciating and unbearable. It left me with the thought that I was approaching a heart attack. I constantly felt exhausted, out of breath and felt chest pains, which was unknown to me
What was happening to me was petrifying knowing I was soul alone without my mom. My mom was away in London on a vacation. I pleaded for her to come home immediately as I needed her warmth and comfort around me.
When she arrived back on a Wednesday. the following day I was taken to a local doctor in my area. The doctor had run a few tests on me.
I awaited the results and was referred to Groote Schuur Hospital on the Thursday afternoon.
The news was broken to me; I had water on my lungs which spread to cover my heart completely. Doctors requested the fluid to be drained immediately; the experience of long needle was inserted in my back to drain the fluid. Once the hospital had me under control I was discharged.
I was asked to visit the local day clinic in Lotus River. At the clinic is where I got the help and my medication (4 huge red tablets) to be taken each morning at 7am. The nurses would not let me leave unless I finished these tablets.
My body could not consume the medication, everyday it became a struggle for me. I became so weak I could not use my limbs to walk or do anything for myself.
At this stage I had the clinic sister coming to my home to assist me. It had been exactly a week on the TB medication and my body was rejecting it, I gagged the week’s medication and could not stop convulsing. With no time wasted I was admitted to Victoria Hospital,
I was told my stomach and liver was damaged due to the TB medication. The clinic had not consulted with the doctors of Groot Schuur nor checked what Type of TB I had and gave me the exact same medication as those who was currently diagnosed with TB.
I now weighed 35kg and it’s just been one and half weeks since
I was diagnosed with TB. The hospital had requested that I be kept over till I reach the weight goal they wanted. Days, Weeks and November passed by me, here I am still bed ridden. December approached and I remember begging doctors, that I get discharged from the Hospital for a day to spend Christmas with my family. My health was in a dreadful condition yet I was told I am free to go home.
Coming home to Christmas Lunch was half a Weetabix that was all my body could consume, being with my loved ones filled my heart with joy, only for the day to past by so very fast.
I found myself back in my hospital bed fighting my battle of TB.
On a lighter note visits from everyone to the hospital gave me hope and I was gifted with a Xmas tree from my store manager (I was working at Woolworths Tokai)
Her words to me were : As this tree grows you will get stronger each day”
It was only a matter of days for the new year to be welcomed but yet my mind could not keep track of what was happening around me. I was now at my weakest , I could not help myself, I could not eat ,
I was useless . My pain was increasingly getting worse and I prayed to God and asked him to fetch me and because I was tired of fighting and not getting healthy, it was time to say goodbye.
My family all knew how difficult my battle towards fighting my condition was, but due to the amount of constant prayers I received from my family, friends and Colleagues. God Knew that my time was not to leave this earth but to show the world how strong I am and to fight for my life.
Today I am a healthy 40 year old who has the biggest love for running and nature, and could not be more grateful and thankful for the love and support I received over the months I was in hospital fighting TB.
I would never be able to repay anyone but I can assure everyone out there, with the will of God and family by your side you can combat anything that comes your way.