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Friday, 6 April, 2001, 12:18 GMT 13:18 UK
'I lost a lung to TB'
Janeanne Gunson
Janeann Gunson had a lung removed following TB infection
One TB patient tells the BBC how the disease has devastated her health and thrown her family life into chaos.

Janeann Gunson, from Suffolk, was infected while at university - she has never found out the source of her illness.

For months the symptoms went undiagnosed, despite repeated trips to her GP, and by the time TB was spotted, she was in a serious condition.


I've missed out on three of the most important years of my life

Janeann Gunson
"I was the last person who should get TB, I thought. I came from a middle class background, and I believed TB was a disease of deprivation.

"I always thought it was a disease of the 1920s."

She had the classic signs - a severe, persistent cough, combined with weight loss and fatigue.

"I basically felt really awful."

Her illness became so severe at one point that she even developed bedsores from lying in the same position for too long.

Her weight plummeted from nine stone down to seven-and-a-half.

"I couldn't even talk, I was coughing so much," she said.

However, her GP at the time initially diagnosed asthma, prescribing steroids and inhalers.

When she finally reached a specialist six months later, she was suffering repeated collapses of one lung, and required several operations to help her breathe.

Unfortunately, her left lung had to be removed because the disease had spread too far.

Drug treatment

A year of unpleasant chemotherapy followed, and Janeann, 27, still does not feel well.

nephew
Her nephew needed a year of drug treatment
Nearly as bad was the fact that her TB had been infectious - her boyfriend, nephew, and even her sister, who was pregnant at the time, required medical treatment for months.

"I had to give up studying because I was so ill, and I'm still ill, very very tired. My life has been very difficult."

"It's been a horrendous experience, and my life is never going to be the same again.

"I've missed out on three of the most important years of my life. I feel the length of time I was misdiagnosed cost me my lung."

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See also:

10 May 00 | Health
Warnings as TB jabs stay on hold
22 Jun 00 | Health
Scientists fight back against TB
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