When a person is affected by any ailment, in my case, multiple sclerosis, or MS, it is not he/she who suffers alone. Like many others who suffer from chronic conditions and diseases it becomes a struggle for the entire family. What compounds it for the patient and family is that no cure has been found yet and there are no set lists of dos and don’ts.
There are many family members of those suffering from MS who have been impacted by this ailment and handled it in their own ways. We need to understand we will only make ourselves stronger and wiser by handling it wisely.
Former US first Lady Michelle Obama’s father was a pump operator who was diagnosed with MS when she was young. Despite his struggle, she is proud of the fact that he strived to be a loving and supportive father and helped educate her and her brother; never compromising on giving them a better future. In that sense, he has surely been a role model both for Michelle and for me.
Famous author J.K. Rowling’s mother, Anne Rowling, suffered from MS and died in 1990 at the age of forty-five, before Rowling had achieved staggering literary fame as the author of the Harry Potter series. I truly admire the fact that Rowling has donated a lot of funds to MS research, hoping that a cure is found soon.
In my case, I have seen how this ailment has strengthened my family. In 2013, my daughter was with me during a long walk. At the end, a lady asked me if something was wrong, for my legs were aching and it showed. I got really irritated but just kept quiet. As we were walking home, my daughter, Samyukta, counselled me.
‘Remember when people would ask me about why I had not bought new shoes or dresses for an event, you used to tell me the only person we need to please is our own self. The same is true for you, Amma. You are trying your best to walk a bit more than you can. Even when Appa (my husband) tends to strain himself, it shows. However, he says he knows he has to stretch himself to the maximum extent always. He does not take the comments of others seriously at all. You too should not take these comments seriously. All you need to do is to please yourself,’ said Samyukta.
Wow! This was serious food for thought for me. My daughter had become wise way beyond her age.
Now, the journey continues. Having healed myself, sometimes there are many calls and discussions on health, healing and recovery in my expanded circle of friends. Here, I do feel a tinge of irritation when people do not take the steps I think they should take. Here I need to learn that I cannot and should not judge anyone as each of us is unique.
While it is good to share information, I still need to realise that everyone heals when they are convinced of recovering/ healing as the human mind is supremely powerful and is the real driver of our lives.
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