We didn't get to Capetown in October to start the parallel study - mainly down to money. Our revised plan is to start in February - the importance of starting as soon as possible, however, has been magnified by another batch of feedback we've gathered this month from Kampala.
Overwhelmingly, the patients have reported positive responses to moxa, sometimes noticed after only a few days. Some of them had begun moxa at the same time as their TB medication so it would be hard to know for sure how much the moxa had helped, but Sister Magdalene Ichumar, who's in charge of TB treatments at Kiswa, said that in some cases the improvements had been far in excess of anything she would expect from drugs alone. Others had started TB medication but found it did not help much or made them feel worse, but then had begun moxa treatment and then quickly improved. These people were quite sure that moxa had helped them where drugs could not.
Almost everyone reported less coughing, less leg pain, better appetite, weight gain and more energy – although one man said that his improvement had been rather different – he had only felt like “half a man” before he started moxa. Quickly his libido began to improve and his wife is now very happy!
There were some really moving stories of dramatic recoveries from people who had been close to death.
One woman had been so ill, weighing only 18kg, that her family had already arranged the funeral. The TB drugs had made her feel worse for 2 months, but then she started moxa and after only one week began to notice the change. Seven months later, she now looks strong and happy, and feels “very well”, but is determined to continue her daily moxa.
Our favourite story concerns Colette, aged 30 who came with her mother (who is her treatment buddy). Colette had an abdominal form of TB which had taken months to diagnose, by which time she was in agony with stomach pain, and extremely weak. Her mother thought she was close to death. She had started TB drugs but on that same day she saw some people being trained to use moxa and asked if she could enrol. She started using all the points at once, determined and convinced that this was the only treatment that could help her. Her mother, who treated her every day without fail, says “After a week I could see huge improvement – she was asking for drink and food which she had not done for a long time. I was so happy”. All the stomach pain disappeared after 2 weeks. Now after 8 months she looks strong and healthy and has a busy job as a cleaner. Both Colette and her mother spent time encouraging the other patients to persevere with their moxa regimes, even if they found it difficcult at times. As Colette told them: "Moxa gave my life back".
Colette (left) and her mother this November