How Impilo saved my life – Cynthia Khumalo

This week through #HospiceVisits we highlight MES Impilo Care Centre. MES a non-profit organisation (NPO). They are well established primary health care facility providing HIV, AIDS and TB-related treatment, care and support services.

We had a chat with Cynthia Khumalo who was a previous patient of MES. She touched on how MES really had such a positive impact on her life when it was filled with a lot of negativity. This is her story. Cynthia is originally from Mpumalanga, but grew up in Johannesburg her whole life. In 2006 is when things went downhill for her. She fell extremely ill and showed symptoms of someone that had TB (Excessive coughing, loss of weight, sleeping a lot and excessive sweating).

She then went to the clinic to check for TB, and to her surprise there was TB, however, she tested for HIV and they found her to be HIV positive. Cynthia was very negligent around her diagnosis of HIV and at the same time, she requested not to be counselled after finding out her status which meant she was very uneducated about the virus and going forward, and because of that, Cynthia treated the HIV virus as any other disease. She treated it as one that would eventually go away.

Eventually, she became extremely ill in the space of two weeks to the point where she could not even get out of bed because of being so weak. She was on no medication for HIV because of her negligence and she was now paying the consequence of that.

“I knew I was HIV positive, however, because of not going to counselling, I was very uneducated and extremely negligent about the seriousnesses of my situation. I treated it as any other illness which was my mistake” she added. 

Eventually, she realised that enough was enough and with the support of some family members she mustered up some strength and courage to go the nearest clinic that she was situated nearby too. At the clinic is where she found out that she actually had TB hidden in her lungs and that was the silent killer, coupled with being HIV positive that was killing her.

Cynthia stayed at the clinic, but she admits the condition were appalling and although they helped get her to a decent level of health she was not happy at the clinic and in particular the emotional support that she was not receiving. She then got referred to Impilo and that is where things became much more positive for her.

“At first I did not know that Impilo offered this sort of care. They really helped me a lot, they were so patient with me, they always wanted to know how I was feeling, they made sure my diet was correct and that was I was taking the proper medication. They were a true blessing” she said.

Many times Cynthia said that she wanted to give up and had it not been for the nurses at Impilo who offered her such unconditional support she would have probably given up.

We salute Impilo for the great they do and the amazing support they provide. To find out more about this organisation, click here.