Lexi's Story of #TBCourage

In December 2019, Lexi was a student in Business School on Long Island, New York when she began to feel very unwell. One day, Lexi began coughing a lot and felt like she “couldn’t breathe,” and even coughed blood. She immediately went to the emergency room where she was diagnosed with TB.

As TB is an infectious disease, she had to stay at the hospital for two weeks undergoing treatment until her physicians could be sure it wouldn’t spread to anyone else. After two weeks, “they found they couldn’t cure me” with the standard treatment. Lexi was told, “you don’t have normal TB, you have the most dangerous form of drug-resistant TB.” Lexi said, “I was prepared to die. I didn’t know if I could be cured or not.” Lexi was an international student from China, and she was completely alone in New York.

She was transferred to Bellevue Hospital in New York City where she would continue her treatment in isolation.

She remained in an isolated hospital room through December and January, with only her team of nurses and physicians for company. Lexi remembers feeling “lonely at that time.” She recalls, “the nurses and doctors were like my family members.” By the end of January, Lexi was given a new treatment – the BPaL regimen. After about two to three weeks of treatment, she “felt much better,” and by mid-February, she was testing negative for TB.

She was ready to leave the hospital on March 27, 2020 – into another pandemic that was rocking the world. Lexi remembers how her “doctors and nurses shared their limited resources, share their life-saving resources, shared their masks” as she left the hospital in New York City to return to school on Long Island that was in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lexi is now doing well in New York after completing her MBA in 2022. She is a TB survivor and advocate.