A Disease that Transformed my Lifestyle.
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I was on the verge of giving up when someone encouraged me to go to another medical centre where I would be assured of my condition.

It was the sixth month of my struggle to scientifically confirm if I really had a disease, I was sure I had it, thanks to the internet and all my efforts to study the symptoms.

I went to the centre. I really had the disease. I felt relieved because of the stress I had gone through in months trying to find out.

Sleepless nights from severe coughs and excessive sweating, the weight I had lost in a short time, and how I used to look whenever I stood before the looking-glass, plus the sneering I used to be met with from my colleagues, and just random faces, all got me so self-conscious that I even used to find my own cat looking down on me.

I had eight months which later on turned into sixteen months of medication.

Taking four pills everyday at 5 am, was a must.

Quitting what put me in trouble which was an addiction, was a must.

Avoiding all situations that might endanger my health, was a must.

Yes, I was supposed to avoid any kind of smoke, booze, dust, riding motorcycles, bicycles (my favourite means of transport), some exercises, like bench presses, running, lifting and/or carrying heavy things, and... hey! I wasn't even supposed to... . Yes that's right.

A totally different lifestyle awaited, and I hadn't figured out how to go about it.

Weeks after I had started taking the meds, and generally getting used to the new lifestyle, I remember, for the first time, sitting back on purpose for introspection.

It was the only moment that took me back to memory lane when I could realize how far I had come, from my so-soish upbringing to where I had reached at the time; one hell of a roller-coaster.

Mentally, all kinds of demons were having their moment inside my head.

"What's wrong with my life, why me? What wrong have I done?"

"You deserve it."

"Wait, is it a payback of some kind? But I don't owe anyone anything"

"Remember your cuz who helped you with the loan for the uni?"

"But it all went south earlier on during my sophomore, I had to postpone, they couldn't find my name in their systems, though I showed them I was one of the beneficiaries."

"Whatever, just know that life isn't a bed of roses, you're never gonna make it."

"But why?"

"We're a legion and we know a lot about you, if you get close to that God of yours and abide, you surely gonna be very successful, but you belong to us, you belong to poverty, ignorance, despair, and... . Now we have given you that disease, luckily you got over that addiction, but your lungs are useless, you will never be the same, they will be useless for the rest of your life. Remember your father? his addiction? Yeah we put him six feet underground, you're next. And one more thing, do you remember that STD you had? HIV was around the corner, that was a life sentence, not this one. Some people beat addiction, we don't find it a big deal."

The voices would not stop, at times I felt insanity was closing in on me. But hey! Here I am dammit.

The Process

To many, Tuberculosis seems like an unlikely catalyst for positivity, but for me, it became the unexpected key to unlocking a new way of being.

It all begun with acceptance. Right from the beginning when I realized that I was sick, I had to affirm to the reality and soon (it was a process by the way) I found myself going with the flow, and that was when I kinda grasped my fears:

  1. Dying a Sinner.

  2. Dying Poor.

  3. Not Fulfilling my Dreams.

Some kinda deathbed mentality had struck me.

I had to grab a notebook and put down all the unfinished ideas, articles, the book I was reading at the time, and the tracks in the studio.

Almost a year before the disease, I had started writing a novel, I wasn't even close to the half of it when writer's block struck me for good.

It was about time I went back to it and set daily routines for dealing with it. I finished it.

The unfinished articles, well, I had several, all I had to do was prioritize, then embark on the journey.

Church going became the ritual, quite different from the excuse of not having time, but planning and goal setting had me getting all the time I thought I never had.

It also forced me to slow down. The way my Life often rushed by in a blur, leaving unfinished projects and unexplored dreams was never an issue.

The enforced stillness of battling TB gave me the pause I needed to reflect on my life in a way I never had before.

It sorta ignited Self-discovery. It was an introspection that led to a profound moment of self-awareness - the unfinished projects and unfulfilled dreams I discovered, and the desires I may have pushed aside in the whirlwind of daily life.

I couldn't really tell how it fueled goal setting as well, maybe because of the newfound self-knowledge, I just started being more intentional.

Setting goals and plans gave me a sense of purpose and direction, transforming passive dreams into tangible aspirations.

And yeah! I still believe that was the moment I had unleashed hidden talents. Indeed, by how I was focusing on these projects, I kinda felt I may have unearthed previously unrecognized talents and capabilities.

Facing the challenges of completing them instilled resilience and a newfound confidence in my abilities.

The experience fostered a deeper appreciation for life's simple blessings. I appreciated the gift of recovery and it fueled a more positive outlook and an openness to new experiences. I cultivated gratitude, been that ever since.

Never before in my being these made any sense in actuality.

I find the experience as a testament to the power of adversity leading to personal growth.

Whatever you're facing, just know that, there is a potential for transformation and positive change.

Shilinde x+

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David Ng'honi
Written by

David Ng'honi

I am just an amateur reader, writer and a recording artist.

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