Mumbai: Filmmaker relives 1.5-year-long fight with tuberculosis on reel
Lobo shared her story at the recently-held TB Summit at Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh to raise awareness about extra-pulmonary TB.mumbai Updated: May 11, 2017 00:02 IST
In January 2008, when filmmaker Rhea Lobo, 30, experienced excruciating pain in her left foot, doctors said it could be either a bacterial infection, cancer or tuberculosis.
In a week’s time, a biopsy sample from her foot was sent to two laboratories- one at the hospital where she was being treated, another, to a private laboratory.
The report from the private lab put her fears to rest. “The report said it was a regular bacterial infection,” said Lobo.
Her doctors put her on antibiotics, but in a few weeks, she remembered about the other report. “ I asked the hospital about the second report, and it turned out that they had misplaced it,” she said.
When they finally located her report’s duplicate copy, she found out she had tuberculosis of the bone - a diagnosis which was unsettling.
Soon, there was swelling in her lymph nodes and she had to undergo three surgeries that year. She took TB treatment for over one and a half years to fully recover.
“For four years after the diagnosis, I didn’t talk about it. My immediate family knew and were my strongest support system and saw me through my recovery. But I was told it would be best to hush it up for fear of getting stigmatised,” Lobo said.
Lobo shared her story at the recently-held TB Summit organised by the Union at Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh to raise awareness about extra-pulmonary TB.
However, her biggest aim, she said, is to alleviate the social stigma that surrounds the disease which infects 2.2 million people in India each year.
“They told me no one would marry me, and that I won’t be able to conceive. The list of rubbish I heard was endless. There are so many myths about TB that need to be broken,” said Lobo, who is now a mother of 2 kids.
In a five-minute film called ‘Fight TB, stay beautiful’ which she directed, Lobo shares her story, which resonates the voices of many women TB survivors.