In 1968, Jeanne was the mother of five children and six months pregnant when she was diagnosed with TB. She took the TB medication for one year, yet the family stress and her own fear were almost intolerable. She found the strength to complete her treatment and make changes in her life to provide a healthier environment for herself and her children.
In Jeanne's words...
Jeanne, Snohomish County
Jeanne's Full Story
In Washington, D. C., where I was born, I met a neighbor who was a carrier of TB and she had lost her little boy. I had lost my son from crib death, so we were really close. Neither one of us knew she was a carrier for TB. Her husband and daughter also finally came down with TB and were hospitalized. I helped her regain the two children she lost when her husband took them to Arkansas.
My husband wanted a divorce after our son died, so distraught I moved to Seattle with my sister and her family. I went to work for the Space Needle. There I was required to have all the health qualifications. I passed because the x-ray person did not see what the University of Washington doctors later saw in 1968; I had a positive x-ray along with the positive arm test with needles, I had TB. They told me to never get another test as they would always be positive.
I was six months pregnant at the time. It was an awful experience and fear was all I felt after reading about all the things when my neighbor in Washington, D. C. dealt with it. Just when you need all the support in the world everyone shunned me. I was a whole ninety-nine pounds when I delivered my daughter in January 1969, and on isoniazid for one year. My world was turned upside down. Raising four of my own kids and my new husbands two boys. The health department sent a homemaker who took things that did not belong to her. More stress! After my husband became violent and I was put in the hospital, I began to think for myself. I escaped and left with my children.
Divorced again and alone with four kids. The car broke down and we hitch hiked to Idaho where a friend of mine lived. Managed to get things done with the help of the kids and pretty much became a hermit. Diagnosed with agoraphobia and finally came out of the shell in 70s. It was always x-ray after x-ray. Even the kids had to go through the x-rays and shots. We hated it and wished it would end.
Married again this time for almost forty years. All kids did not have medical issues related to the disease. The issue with kidney infections was I heard later related to the drug. Survived that! The battle was a tough one but you have to stick in there. Applying for jobs was not an option. If you were truthful and told medical history they ignored you. I sorta understood them. I would in that era be concerned for other employees, health cost, etc. Nothing was really locally known about a person who recovered and could function without spreading the disease again. In conclusion you have a weak immune system for life. Go with the flow is all ya need.