A Tale Of A Victorious Journey

We all love our family. It is a difficult moment when our dear one is in trouble. I had an indelible experience in my life, when we had a victorious journey over a threatening disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis. How…let’s explore.

I love my brother. I think the sibling relationship is the most beautiful relationship in the world. He is just two and half years younger than me but I share all kinds of equations with him. Sometimes I am his second mom and he is my first baby. And sometimes he is my mentor and I am his student. In one moment I fight with him and within few minutes I’m over protective about him in front of others. I remembered all those memories of our younger years, when we shared everything. His presence has filled my life with a joy that is unsurpassed. I wouldn’t like to change one minute of my experience with him. His antics have given me many hours of fun and laughter together, along with typical concerns of sibling relationship.

I want to say thank you to him for all those lovely moments when his presence and motivation was the biggest inspiration for me. And I am sorry for all my silly mistakes or when I hurt him with my harsh voice.

Well anyway back to the story, we were enjoying a wonderful childhood with good marks, best friends, great vacations and unconditional love of our parents. Everything was amazing and life was smooth. As days became years and we grew up, life changed and became a little difficult. 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. That is when a situation arose which challenged all of us.

9 years ago, he was diagnosed with a severe autoimmune disease ‘Ankylosing Spondylitis’. It was a difficult time for our family. It took almost 1 year to make a proper diagnosis of disease. He used to complain about extreme rigidness in all joints of his body, accompanied by a typical cracking sound from them. We consulted many physicians but they were not able to make a proper diagnosis. At last a well-known rheumatologist was able to make a proper diagnosis (after positive C reactive protein and Ra factor test). He 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, where 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 him from further complications. We were feeling helpless. After a period of depression and frustration, I thought we need to start a new journey to fight this dreaded disease. I had gathered all information regarding Ankylosing Spondylitis from various sources (online and books) and found that only proper diet and exercise can save him from disastrous complications.

My brother planned a strict healthy diet and exercise routine recommended for Ankylosing Spondylitis. Although there is no special diet that is advised for this condition, you need to focus on eating healthy and nutritious food and avoid certain foods. My brother’s diet included:
1. Whole grain especially whole wheat and oatmeal. He eliminated extra carbs from his diet (potato and rice) to maintain an ideal body weight.
2. Limited intake of proteins and dairy products, because some studies suggested dairy products can cause increase in inflammation of joints.
3. Add lots of veggies and fruits (restriction of certain vegetables like cauliflower, eggplant and beans) in diet. Avoid all refined carbohydrates, processed and fried food.
4. Add a handful of walnut, almonds and pistachios in diet as they are rich in calcium and vitamin E. They can reduce C – reactive protein level in arthritic people.
5. Proper water intake up to 8-10 glasses per day to clear toxins and excess sodium from body.

All of his hard work and dedication to his diet and exercise was fruitful. The rigidity in his joints reduced remarkably. C- reactive protein report was normal and he was able to perform his daily routines smoothly. Now he is 32 years old and is leading a healthy and successful life. He has managed his dreaded 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 early stage of their life.

So it was an unforgettable experience of my life when we triumphed over a life threatening disease together as a family and our relationship just grew stronger through the ordeal.

Surbhi is a qualified doctor (B.H.M.S.) with 5 year of teaching and clinical experience. She started her writing journey at the age of 17 and published various articles in famous news paper and magazines. The most incredible experience of her life is being a mommy of two cute dolls. Recently she started her own blog Positive Parenting. She loves to write on crafting, parenting issues and kids activity and wants to share my parenting journey with others.