Hope you all had a great festive time last week and enjoyed the “Rakshabandan” celebration with your loving family.
For me, last week was pretty emotional and I had missed a lot my brother and whole family. Here in USA, festival time always made me nostalgic and I re-called awesome old memories of celebrating festivals with my family.
For writing this week’s blog post, I had decided to share My brother’s inspiring journey of winning a battle over a serious auto-immune disease, called Ankylosing spondylitis. I believe his journey is truly inspirational and can motivate many people who suffer from serious and life-threatening disease at young age.
Read the post to know more about it!
This whole journey begins with a normal, pleasant life with my parents and my sweet little brother. I love my brother. I believe, the sibling relationship is the most beautiful relationship in the world. He is my greatest gift from God.
I am absolutely blessed to have a loving brother like him who is always by my side to share my ups and downs.
His unconditional love and care are priceless and he is most influential person in my life.
I want to say thank you to him for everything. Having a brother like him make me a happiest person.
Well anyway back to the story, it was the time of early 90s, when we were enjoying a wonderful childhood with many wonderful blessings from God (good grades in school, love and support of loving family and amazing friends, great vacations etc.) . Everything was amazing and life was smooth.
As days became years and we grew up, life has changed and became a little bit challenging. After completing my Bachelor’s degree in the medical field, I got married and he got busy in his new job in aeronautical engineering. We were busy with our lives but still he was my best friend.
Suddenly, the life has turned upside down and time seems to freeze when we have been through the toughest time of our lives.
Unfortunately, we have been in a situation which we had not imagined ever.
It was the most unfortunate moment, when we unexpectedly shattered within few minutes by hearing the final diagnosis of the doctor.
It was 13 years ago; when we had an emotional shock as a family when my healthiest little brother was diagnosed with a severe autoimmune disease called ‘Ankylosing Spondylitis”.
Anger, sadness, frustration and depression…. we were frightened by the intensity of many negative emotions.
Why us? Why is this happening with our family? Were the most obvious questions that came to our mind instantly? It took almost 1 year to make a proper diagnosis of his disease.
Initially, he used to complain about extreme rigidness in all joints of his body, accompanied by a typical cracking sound from joints.
The rigidity was so severe and it was affecting his everyday routine. He was restless and anxious…and so we were too. We had consulted many physicians but they would not able to make a proper diagnosis of his disease.
After consulting so many physicians, at last, a well-known rheumatologist from Pune was able to make a proper diagnosis of his disease (after positive C-reactive protein and Ra factor test). He had explained that Ankylosing Spondylitis is an autoimmune disorder in which all body joints have a tendency to fuse together.
‘Bamboo spine’ is the most dangerous complication of this disease. as the name suggests, the spine will look like a bamboo, all spinal joints fuse together and the diseased person loses mobility in his joints. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this severe form of arthritis. Only proper diet and exercise are the ways that could save diseases person from further complications. We were feeling helpless.
After a period of depression and frustration, I thought we should start a new journey to give a tough fight to this serious auto-immune disease.
I had gathered all information regarding Ankylosing Spondylitis from various sources (online and books) and learnt that only proper diet and exercise can save him from disastrous complications.
My brother had planned a strict healthy diet and exercise routine recommended for Ankylosing Spondylitis. Although there is no special diet that is advised for this condition, but you have to focus on eating healthy and nutritious food and avoid certain foods. He had included:
- The Whole grain especially whole wheat and oatmeal in his diet and eliminated the refined and unhealthy carbs (potato and rice) to maintain an ideal body weight. Maintain an ideal weight is a must for all the diseased persons who suffer from any kind of arthritis.
- He had limited the intake of proteins and dairy products in the routine diet. Because some scientific studies suggested dairy products can cause an increase in inflammation of joints.
- Added plenty of fresh veggies and fruits in the diet to boost the immune system and resistance power of the body.
- A handful of walnut, almonds and pistachios in a diet as they are rich in calcium and vitamin E. these essential nutrients can reduce C – reactive protein level in arthritic patients.
- Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water per day to clear toxins and excess sodium from the body.
Along with these dietary modifications he had also started a regular and guided exercise routine to overcome the rigidity and stiffness of joints.
As we all know “Hard work and dedication always pay in life”. And the same thing has happened with us.
He has also got a fruitful result with his hard work. Within few months, his joint stiffness got improved and he got a better mobility in joints. He was feeling much better not only physically but mentally as well. His C- reactive protein report was normal and he was again able to perform his daily routines smoothly.
With this result, we were feeling overwhelmed with a viable spirit of optimism, courage and hope. He has proved himself as a “Real life hero”.
Now he is 38 years old and living a healthy and successful life. He has managed his serious disease with diet and exercise, which is truly inspirational and can be a source of motivation for other people who suffer from life-threatening diseases in an early stage of their life.
Now, he always participates in various “Arthritis awareness programs” and motivate others to adopt the healthy lifestyle.
It was an incredible experience of my life when we triumphed over a life-threatening disease together as a family and our relationship just grew stronger with this amazing victory.
Do you have an experience of victory over any life-threatening disease in your family? Did you have seen a “Real life hero” whose story can be a source of inspiration for others? Please share with me.