Fighting a disease that took years to diagnose, and days to even pronounce correctly, Ankylosing Spondylitis had turned my life upside down. It couldn’t crush my never-give-up approach, but my body was getting crushed by the endless battle between fever and joint pain and the cocktail of steroids, painkillers and medicines. From physiotherapy to diet changes, from AIIMS appointments to Ayurvedic treatments, I had tried them all, tested them all, and had been failed by them all.
I found the answer in the last place that I expected – within myself. Let me tell you how I reconnected with my healing power to reverse my problem.
Age23 years old
|Workshop attended None
Time taken to heal6 months
Satvic Lifestyle steps followed
“When every bone in your body turns into a painful bondage, what do you lean on to support yourself?”
From being athletic to feeling pathetic
I was a promising Taekwondo practitioner in school, but I didn’t know life would roundhouse kick me off my feet by the time I got to engineering college. How was I brought down to my knees so swiftly? Let me correct that. My knees were too swollen to bear my burden, so even kneeling down to pray for a cure was out of the question.
To be honest, I spent more time praying just for the right diagnosis more than the cure. I spent almost a year wandering from door to door, test to test, and diagnosis to diagnosis, cycling between 15-20 doctors. Each time I would wonder whether they’ll tell me if I have arthritis, Chikungunya, or if I need a hip replacement.
In the meantime, I experimented with an Ayurvedic medicine for 10 months, which gave me enough relief and encouragement to going medicine-free. For almost a month, I stopped being a patient and got to be a normal student again. There was laughter and energy in my dorm room again as I invited friends over for push-ups and planking challenges. I was finally beginning to believe that I could take off the FRAGILE stamp this disease had marked my body with since it entered my life. But little did I know, it wasn’t ready to leave just yet. This time it returned as a persistent pain in my rib cage. It felt like an invisible bear was squeezing my rib cage all the time.
My 4 years in college felt like 40 years. While my classmates bunked, played, and celebrated together, I isolated, medicated and studied. But who had time for studying Physics or Mathematics when my own biology was failing me? I was studying for survival. Want to know what a snapshot of my daily Google search history looked like?
“Why is my neck stiff?”
“Why is my rib cage paining?”
“Why is my back not straight?”
“Why are my knees swollen?”
But I found no clear answers. Desperation had already kicked in. Now it was depression’s turn to sink in as suicidal thoughts invaded my mind asking – “Why me?”
The puzzle ends; a new struggle begins
After months of fruitless diagnosis, one of my biggest voices of strength through my college days, Shubham bhaiya guided me to a rheumatologist in Cosmos hospital. I heaved a sigh of relief after finally finding out what I was suffering from – Ankylosing Spondylitis. But I lost my morale as soon as I found out there’s no medical cure for it.
He offered words of encouragement, but they fell on deaf ears as I was shocked to find out that I was going to start a lifelong medicine routine. And this time, I would be increasing my dose every week.
By now, my body had already been a testing lab for allopathic, Ayurvedic, and homeopathic remedies. Of course they had made my life bearable, but I wanted a solution that could give my life back, not just another life support system. I decided to dive deep into naturopathy next and discovered some promising healing plans by New Diet System, NLS, Satvic Movement, and DIP.
But there were still a lot of moving parts in each system that I wasn’t sure about. For instance – eating 100% raw food, juicing, mud packs – these were things I couldn’t practically implement in my daily life.
Getting back on my feet one step at a time
I’ve always believed that half knowledge is worse than no knowledge. So after spending a long time reviewing the best natural healing solutions, I was taking baby steps to follow the Satvic lifestyle. So I decided to take up a simple practice that was close to doing nothing - 16 hour fasting. Little did I know my first baby step itself would turn out to be a big leap forward.
Prashant starting his morning with the most powerful detox juice - ashgourd juice.
I wasn’t able to prepare detox juices where I lived. So I changed the plan a little by preponing my breakfast. It was a welcome change to see some more life-giving colours on my plate aside from the life-draining colours of my medicines. I gave up my morning chai and biscuits. I even ditched my special Maggi recipes by dumping all processed foods for good.
After 1 month of not getting any benefits from 16 hours fasting, it was a tough battle fighting with my former self trying to pull me down. So after a month, I added enema to my routine as well. Now even though I was underweight, my body felt so heavy because of my bones. But once the toxins in my body started rapidly unloading, I could feel a joyful lightness return to my body that I only felt when I was a kid.
Giving up milk wasn’t easy at all because of the immense family pressure. “Where would your bones get their calcium and vitamin D from”, they protested. But I just lay down on the terrace, pointed at the sun and explained – “I’ll get everything I need directly from where everything comes.” The sun was my new favourite natural healer and I was spending 1-2 hours sunbathing every day.
My search history, which was full of “why’s” was now replaced by “where’s” as I wondered where my neck pain went, where my spinal problems went, where my knee swellings went. They were nowhere to be found. The pain had become a lot more bearable and I could get unbroken deep sleep once again.
Prashant slowly challenging his body’s limits by increasing his Surya Namaskar cycles every week.
Becoming the change that I want to see
I decided to take a leap of faith and halve my morning dose of Prednisolone 10 mg down to 5 mg after 2 months after following the Satvic lifestyle. After 3 months, I halved my night dose as well. 4 months later, my morning medication was out of the picture. Within the next one month, I plan to leave the remaining dose too. After losing a lot of weight over the last few months, I’ve also added more lentils and nuts in my food plan
I can’t say I have been following all the steps of the Satvic lifestyle since the beginning. And I know my healing is still in progress. But what I’m certain of is that Mother Nature didn’t just want me to get back on my feet, she wanted to see me fly. The patient who couldn’t take one step out of bed without a cocktail of medication is now becoming an athlete free from limitation. Running, riding scooties, playing badminton, doing handstands, setting Surya namaskar records, these are all part of my day now.
I used to feel discouraged when I wasn’t able to find many promising stories of people who have reversed their Ankylosing Spondylitis. Now I feel that God blessed me with both the disease and the opportunity to transform so that I can become the change I want to see, so that I can inspire others like me trying to find a way. So I am documenting every step of my journey on my YouTube channel to prove just how powerful and beautiful this path can be. It has allowed me to share the ups and downs on my journey and inspire many others who were lost like me to find the cure.
Prashant using his wet pack while preparing some vegetables for lunch
If I had one message for all those reading this, it is to look beyond temporary relief. Have enough self-belief to look for a cure and the cure will find you. The people you meet, the videos you see, the knowledge you discover will be exactly what you need if you do this with all your heart.