I’m a decorated army officer. That line itself tells you a lot about my physical fitness levels. Having been a sportsman and athlete right from school days to University level education, in 1963 I joined the Indian Army and actively participated in 1965 War with Pakistan in J&K sector and in 1971 in Fazilka-Abohar sector, apart from serving in all types of terrain from snowbound high altitude areas and plains/deserts of Rajasthan sector.
I took over as PRO (Indian Army) Ministry of Defence in 1976 and later as spokesman of the Armed Forces till I retired in 1992. This job also entailed conducting & apprising the media about the deployment of Armed Forces in various terrains from Sia-Chin glacier to High altitude deployment in the Eastern Sector and formations in the Thar desert. I had to be physically fit, my lungs had to be strong, and my limbs agile.
All along I maintained a very high level of fitness.
But there’s always a twist. In a road accident in 2001, my left leg was severely injured and immobilised for over six months. Due to disuse, my left leg became very weak and in subsequent years I developed a knee joint problem. After undergoing treatment from a number of specialists, they all announced that I needed knee replacement surgery. I researched, spoke to some experts and people who had been through knee replacement, and realized that a knee replacement will erode me of my normal flexibility, and has a lot of if’s and buts as well as collateral damages.
In 2009 Rachna Chhachhi advised me some simple curative steps that included many dietary changes, yogic and physiotherapy exercises and steps to lose weight. As a first change, my pain started reducing and the capacity to walk also increased. I reduced my weight also by about 10 Kg. It was a tough regime. I had to eliminate certain food groups and replace them with what she called “healing” ones so that my underlying problem went away instead of just suppression of pain and symptoms. For 6 months, I was religious and disciplined. The first off symptoms of healing began to appear: the pain was less. Slowly, over 2 months I began realizing that I was able to stand for longer with less pain than before. And my earlier levels of agility began to return (see me ready for my para-sailing at age 72 in the pic, and you know what I mean!).
When I met my orthopaedic surgeon later with the latest x-ray, he said there was no requirement for surgery and I could carry on with some pain-killers as and when required. I had avoided a major surgery that people my age are asked to take for granted, and their quality of life suffers. Today, at my age and for all of you, remember: it’s always about the quality of life. If medication and treatment cannot improve it, you must look for alternate ways. Or as I believe, the mainstream way of healing.
If you don’t believe me, Ask Rachna!
Col P N Khera, VSM (Retd)
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