“Let me take care of you!” are the words that I always lived by.
Whether it was supporting my husband or taking care of kids or helping my in-laws through the hard times, I was always there to put my family and my loved ones as a priority. I was always the last one on my priority list.
And, I don’t think I am alone.
Like many Indian women, I grew up looking at mothers who have dedicated their lives to their children or their husband or their parents.
But sooner than later, I realized that ignoring myself or my health was the biggest mistake that I ever did.
My nightmare started a few years back.
I would get up in the middle of the night to find my left leg and hand completely numb. But rather than taking it seriously, I used to massage them by myself and then when it used to feel better I used to go off to sleep.
It went on for some years but I kept ignoring the signs. Though I engaged myself with YOGA and some exercises. But, I was never able to commit myself to them. I used to do it for a few days and then discontinue because I used to get busy helping people.
I was so engrossed in my responsibilities that I forgot myself completely.
I kept abusing my body to ensure that I serve other people well. Even with the pain, I ensured to play the role of best mom, best wife and best daughter.
But one fine day, almost 2 years back, I lived through hell. When I got up in the morning, I realized that I couldn’t move my right leg. As usual, I thought if I massage it a little bit and stand up it would be fine.
But, what happened broke me completely. I couldn’t move my right leg at all.
I was screaming in pain as I was trying really hard to move my leg. Suddenly, I realised that I couldn’t move my left leg either.
I was wheeled in for X-ray and MRI. I was so scared as the tests and checkup started. And, my nightmare turned into reality. I was diagnosed with acute arthritis.
With time, my patience started withering away and I started being frustrated with myself. The person who was the backbone of the whole family now had to depend on others.
What was more saddening than anything was to give up small things like sitting cross legs to going for long walks to standing for as long as I wanted to.
Slowly after three months, I started walking but with a stick that was my constant companion for another three months.
The biggest mistake that I ever made was that I ignored the early signs and symptoms of this deadly disease. I showed a lack of discipline to yoga and exercise.
If there is one person in my entire life whom I want to apologize is my own self. I ignored my self so much that I got myself the worst lifelong companion ever – Arthritis. There are days when I have dreams of going on long walks. Every night when I sleep, I sleep with a single wish – O Lord give me the life of a lesser pain or give me the courage to embrace it.
Arthritis tries really hard to win over your dreams, life and happiness. But, it is up to us to let it win or fight back to regain control of our life.
So, I promised myself to take care of myself and try to minimize the damage that Arthritis could do my life. I started focusing on my exercise as well as on my diet. I started appreciating the small things in life more than ever.
I made sure arthritis could never extract colours from my life. So, even the days when I am in pain, I make sure that I pull myself together and hold my brush to paint colours back into my life.
If you know anyone who has any joint pain – be it your mother or your sister or your daughter or yourself, I just have one humble request – please tell them to take care of themselves before its too late.