On March 23, 2014, I received a query on my website from a young girl.
“Hi Rachna, came across your website. My mom has been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis for the last 5 years now. She has tried all kinds of medications – ayurvedic and allopathic, but to no avail. I came across your blog and read your story. Is there something I can do to help my mother get past this condition? I wanted to get her to you for consultation also. Please advise.” – Diksha Bhandari
And hence began my journey with Deepika, Diksha’s mother, to reverse her RA.
Deepika Bhandari, 47 years, is a quiet, strong woman. Her suffering was not evident if you met her over a cup of tea, as she would put others before her and still push herself to do chores that seem normal to you and me but was excruciatingly painful for her. But when she came to me, she broke down.
“Sometimes I feel, I’m lying in so much pain, unable to move… it would be better that I quietly die. Then my family’s suffering and mine would all end.”
Deepika had tears in her eyes, and her husband choked, unable to come to terms with his helplessness for his wife’s condition. It isn’t that they hadn’t consulted rheumatologists. She was just not getting better.
“Being a lecturer in college, I used to be busy from morning till night, juggling my job and family responsibilities. Though I had some problems such as backache, neck-ache etc. I never really paid heed to these dismissing them as normal. But one day, I felt a sudden spike in the pain in the knee after which I was unable to walk. I was unable to read the signs and wrote the event off considering it as a one-off event. When the pain refused to subside even after 3 days, I planned on seeing a doctor. I got all the blood tests done and tested positive for RA. I did not know anything about this condition except the name but I definitely understood that it was something serious as the pain was uncontrollable. Within a month, my condition deteriorated and I had to quit my job.”
At that time, the Bhandari’s were posted in Punjab and decided to consult the best RA specialists in Punjab at Ludhiana.
“The doctors told me that the disease was incurable and I would have to bear the pain for life. They said that the medicines will suppress the disease to a certain extent and advised me to follow the medicinal regime religiously. I was told I would feel better after 6 months.”
By this time, Deepika’s hair had started falling. Her disease was suppressed but her immunity had suffered tremendously.
“I visited my doctor in Ludhiana whenever I was called. After a four-hour drive from Bhatinda to Ludhiana, my doctor used to give me barely 5 minutes of his time. He used to prescribe the same medicines again and again and the conversations were very mechanical, his tone bordering between outright rude to disinterested at times. I did not see any significant improvement in my condition and hence after a year, I stopped visiting the doctor. I had given up and my life slowly crawled on medicines.”
Around this time, Deepika’s husband got transferred to Mumbai. Her daughter was already away for her job and her son also went off for his graduation.
“I used to be alone for the most part of the day in Mumbai and this loneliness increased my disease and pain. We consulted one of the best RA specialists in the city in a very reputed hospital, but to no avail. I was so depressed that the idea of death seemed better than living such a life. I was sure I will not survive this pain and asked my husband to take care of the kids.”
Meanwhile, Diksha, Deepika’s daughter, who saw her mother writhing in pain, searched the internet for any alternative treatment available. And that was when she found me. When I replied to her email, she wrote back:
“It was so nice to see your email.
My mom told me about the meeting she had with you. After a long long time, she has this little hope that she will be absolutely fine soon. I can understand she feels lonely. I do try to make efforts to engage her at least over the weekends. But I’ll take more care.
She has been keeping very depressed lately because she feels that she has lost her stamina to do anything. I hope things turn around soon. Thanks for all the assistance and help. Really means a lot.”
But while Diksha was reassured, Deepika began my program with some scepticism.
“I was not very convinced of how helpful diet could be in treating a disease as dire as RA. But going through Rachna’s own story on her website, made me curious about meeting her. Seeing her was nothing less than a surprise. Here was a lady who had overcome RA herself and emerged a winner. I was also hopeful that I might also emerge healthy out of it. We talked about the history of my problem, got my blood tests done and there I was ready with the treatment to get started.”
Deepika took to the new eating regime like a thirsty man to water and followed my health plan strictly. She never missed an appointment or any part of the prescribed health plan. She ate as prescribed, did her pranayamas and yoga on time and slept and woke up on time. It’s important with RA and other autoimmune disorders, that the patient rests and sleeps a lot for recovery, as fatigue is very high in such diseases.
“After 3 weeks there was a noticeable improvement in my health. I continued following the health plan seriously. After 3 months, I got my tests done again and to my surprise, my RA had drastically come down. My pains had also subsided. I could feel the energy coming back to my body again. The Anti CCPs had come down to 64 from 174 three months earlier.”
The health plan needs to be followed for a full year for blood reports to come back to normal, but the patient begins to see reduced pain within the first 3 weeks. Anti-CCP itself never comes down so much with the medications rheumatologists prescribe, so in Deepika’s case, this was a big sign that the disease was receding.
“There is still a long way to go before I become the healthy person I was before, but I believe some very crucial first steps have been taken in the right direction. I can’t thank Rachna enough – A thank you seems too less and too insignificant in return for what she has done to me. I owe my life to her. I had stopped laughing. But today, laughter has returned back to our conversations at home. I am sure I will be able to make the most out of life now or perhaps even more. After all, we are all a little selfish when it comes to spending time with loved ones.”
Deepika continues to stay committed to the next 9 months of discipline. Nothing will make her go back to those painful days and months, and it took just 3 months’ of commitment to make her 80% pain-free without medication. It’s amazing how the human body heals so fast if you give it the right input.