In 1990,  Chris's mother was a single, independent mom with two teenage daughters. She had realized her dream career of traveling around the U.S. as a medical claims adjuster when she was exposed to TB through a faulty ventilation system at a convention center in Pennsylvania.  She took TB medication for 6 months for latent TB, keeping the TB from turning into an active disease. 

 Chris reflects on how our country has yet to eliminate TB; instead, our healthcare system “manages” it and most Americans have little knowledge of the disease. Chris shares how the stigma of TB followed her mother years later when health care workers, reviewing her health history, demonstrated by their comments and body language that they were in need of greater sensitivity and understanding about TB.

In Chris' words...

When my mother discovered that she had latent TB, there was a sense of surrealness because how in this day and time, 1990, could she have gotten TB and there was this shock of it. She wasn’t really familiar with it because, why be familiar with it? It has been managed, and I think that is often a misplaced attitude —that TB is managed so you can’t be affected by it, and we learned that you can.
I could see how it was challenging for my mom when she was applying for jobs, applying for new insurance or something else that requested medical records. There was a lingering stigma associated with TB, yet it was something that could have happened to any of us.

Chris, Snohomish County