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For each time I stumbled and fell, I rose again. Giving up was never an option. The path was not easy, yet I did overcome one of the toughest phases of my life. I did it.
“You are losing strength in your legs.”
As long as I live, I shall never forget the enormity of this sentence stated by my doctor in October 2021. Speaking in layman language, it simply implied that I won’t be able to walk again. I would become an invalid.
I remember sitting stunned. I wasn’t even 40! The mere thought of spending the rest of my life confined to a wheelchair sent chills down my spine. Inadvertently, I cursed the day I took the second dose of COVID vaccine. Because the problem arose immediately afterwards.
A small ache in my knees which soon catapulted into severe pain in both the legs thereby restricting any kind of movements. Simple tasks like getting up from bed or merely walking to the kitchen or standing straight even for 1 full minute became a herculean task.
We decided to consult an orthopaedic surgeon. After a few failed medications, he sent me to a renowned neurologist. Some crucial tests and the diagnosis was confirmed. I had CIDP – a neurological disorder that targets your body’s nerves. Causes may be many. In my case, it was due to the vaccine. The doctor prescribed steroids to be taken orally. And along with it, commanded a total ban on fatty and fried foods. He also asked me to do simple leg strengthening exercises.
Intent on recovering quickly, I started following his instructions to the T. Although exercising my inert legs proved to be more difficult than I had imagined, I still persevered. Also, added to it were the severe side effects of steroids!
Within a few days of taking the medicine, I noticed my face puffing up, a small paunch had formed in my belly, my hair was falling off in dozen and my whole body shook tremendously. My fingers trembled so much that I couldn’t even hold a mobile, pencil or lipstick in my hand. As if these were not enough, I struggled with insomnia too. No matter what time I went to bed, my eyes would snap open at 4 in the morning, sometimes even 3. It was so frustrating not being able to sleep while the whole house snored away in glory. I don’t know how many nights I just spent crying.
Apart from these physical changes, my hormones too were playing foul. My mood swung faster than a pendulum. And the amazing thing was that I understood it but was somehow unable to control it. Though I had an extremely supportive and caring family, I could see that my relationships were developing cracks.
It was around the same time in May, when another misfortune struck. My husband broke his leg. Now who would pick and drop the children to school? There was no one other than me.
That was the turning point, I guess. I promised to myself – No more wallowing in self pity. I had to accept my situation for what it was and do what I needed to do.
I started by changing my perspective towards things that were out of my control. If I woke up in the middle of night, I no longer fretted. Instead I read or listened to some podcast.
I installed a meditation app and listened to it religiously. I persued my exercising routine knowing very well that the progress rate was very slow. ‘Some progress is better than no progress’ is what I kept reminding myself constantly. There was some improvement in my legs.
However, the biggest challenge came when I stepped outside my home. I was visiting my children’s school for the first time after my husband’s accident. To my utter disbelief, the moms who were also my friends, failed to recognise me.
“What happened to your face? You don’t look like yourself!” They exclaimed in shocked unison.
Their reaction tore me apart. Infact, I faced it almost everywhere I went. However hard I tried to ignore, the negativity ultimately got to me. My self image and confidence shattered into pieces. I hated seeing my reflection in the mirror and masked up promptly in the presence of others. I skipped wedding invitations, get togethers and stepped out only when it was an absolute necessity. Thankfully, I had few wonderful friends who helped me sail through this turbulence.
Honestly, I have lost count of the number of times I had to explain my medical condition to someone. Because you can see a fractured leg, plaster and all. But you can’t see a neurological condition. People saw me limping but they didn’t know the reason behind it. It was an invisible disease but one that turned my life upside down.
After 10 long months, I was finally taken off steroids. I wasn’t cured fully and faced a lot of ‘after effects‘. But I continued to exercise. I knew I couldn’t rest until my legs regained their lost strength.
It’s been more than two months now and I am happy to announce that I have recovered completely. My moon face is gone and there’s no more mood swings or shaking of hands. It feels like I have taken a rebirth. I absolutely love the sensation of walking , bending and standing pain free, without any constriction.
We never really appreciate our body unless something goes wrong with it. This is the first major medical issue that I have ever faced in my life. It has taught me lessons which otherwise I wouldn’t have known. Patience, acceptance, surrender and faith are some of them.
Today when I look back on my long journey, honestly speaking, I can’t help feeling proud of myself. For each time I stumbled and fell, I rose again. Giving up was never an option. The path was not easy, yet I did overcome one of the toughest phases of my life. I did it. And I know I will in the future if life decides to punch me again.
Image source: a still from the short film Ghar ki Murgi
An avid reader and recently a writer . I like to pen down my thoughts and experience. read more...
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