TREATMENT AS A MANTRA

BY BILYANA SAVOVA FOR EVA MAGAZINE, BULGARIA

GENERAL

22th September 2012

I get off the plane and for the eleventh time I step on Indian soil. After flying for 15 hours, the hot brush of ocean and moist tropical forests in the air of Kerala, the southernmost state of India, makes me dizzy. I see my name on a plaque held by a smiling young Indian. We leave in a taxi to one of the many Ayurvedic clinics in India, but this is the only one that specialises in treating Multiple Sclerosis. The diagnosis I have been fighting for the last 5 years. I feel tired. Not from the fight, but from the long trip. While colourful houses, forests, rubber plantations pass in front of my eyes I remember how I fell in love with India 12 years ago. How I dreamt of coming back here again and again... As they say "Be careful what you wish for because it may come true".

Four and a half years ago

I thought I have my life under control. I was planning the changes in it. I worked hard, sometimes to exhaustion. One beautiful May morning everything fell apart. I was sent to an MRI examination to get my pituitary gland checked. I received a folder with the results and was asked to discuss them with the doctor. I opened the folder feeling something is wrong, and started reading the unfamiliar terminology. Finally, I found the sentence that changed my life: "More than half of the macromorphological factors for MS presence are flagged."

MS, MS, MS ... I kept repeating it in my mind trying to recall what that was. It is Multiple Sclerosis, I remembered terrified! The doctor began explaining something, but I only saw his lips moving, refusing to accept this is my story.

More bad news followed afterwards. Different doctors half-heartedly admitted that medicine is powerless against this disease. Searching online day and night I tried to figure out by myself how other people handle MS, how they treat themselves; I was looking for every little piece of information I can find in order to plan how to fight the illness. The real shock came when a doctor told me my MS is progressing rapidly and within two years I will be in a wheelchair. I couldn't believe it. I would have never thought I could be helpless, that I wouldn't be able to move.

There were some honest doctors. One of them explained that the disease is different with different people; that the medicine knows almost nothing about what causes it or how to treat it; that the medicaments prescribed only ease the symptoms but have many side effects. He also told me that unless I become part of a Government organised MS list, I will be paying at least 2000 leva per month for drugs. "By the way, he told me, I know some people with MS who go to India. I do not know what they do there, but they feel good!" At this moment I saw light in the darkness, suddenly I could see and breathe again. I took a deep breath and saw an exit. I saw the choice I had to make. India!

You might think my decision was irrational and made in a state of shock. No, I tried to analyse my life and see what path I chose to follow – whether I prefer to be an obedient patient given no promises for improvement, stuffed with drugs simply suppressing the symptoms; or I want to change my life, get to the cause of the illness and chase it away.

A month later I was already on my way to an Indian Ayurvedic clinic. I knew very little about Ayurveda, but I could instinctively feel this was my path. For Ayurveda doesn't simply see me as a set of organs that can be attacked with certain drugs; but as a personality where the emotions, the soul and the body are inextricably linked.

In Sanskrit Ayurveda means Science of life. After five years of Ayurvedic treatments I draw the line: step by step I learned how to live truly, fully and with love. I learned how to preserve my energy and how to eat properly. I learned that changing my eating habits can affect my health. I learned how to practise yoga without being a yoga myself. I realised few things in life are really important and nothing is a matter of life and death. Now I believe there is no need for fate to put you down on your knees to arrange your priorities. Once you start from the beginning everything is possible.

Just 6 months following the "sentence" I've been given by medicine I was already reorganising, rearranging and emptying "the closet". I turned my life 180 degrees around. Not just my own but the lifes of the people closest to me; my children – my greatest support in the decisions I've made.

Ayushprana Clinic, Kerala

Day 1

Curious glances follow me on the way to my "house" where I will be spending the next seven weeks. Some patients are on wheelchairs, others use walkers. They are all smiling at me. I not smiling back – I'm too tired. The room is spacious, the bed – canopy. The bathroom itself is as big as a room in the last two clinics I would go to twice a year. There is hot water in abundance – an absolute luxury for India. I take a shower and fall asleep. For 24 hours.

Day 1

Curious glances follow me on the way to my "house" where I will be spending the next seven weeks. Some patients are on wheelchairs, others use walkers. They are all smiling at me. I not smiling back – I'm too tired. The room is spacious, the bed – canopy. The bathroom itself is as big as a room in the last two clinics I would go to twice a year. There is hot water in abundance – an absolute luxury for India. I take a shower and fall asleep. For 24 hours.

Day 1

Curious glances follow me on the way to my "house" where I will be spending the next seven weeks. Some patients are on wheelchairs, others use walkers. They are all smiling at me. I not smiling back – I'm too tired. The room is spacious, the bed – canopy. The bathroom itself is as big as a room in the last two clinics I would go to twice a year. There is hot water in abundance – an absolute luxury for India. I take a shower and fall asleep. For 24 hours.

Day 1

Curious glances follow me on the way to my "house" where I will be spending the next seven weeks. Some patients are on wheelchairs, others use walkers. They are all smiling at me. I not smiling back – I'm too tired. The room is spacious, the bed – canopy. The bathroom itself is as big as a room in the last two clinics I would go to twice a year. There is hot water in abundance – an absolute luxury for India. I take a shower and fall asleep. For 24 hours.

Day 1

Curious glances follow me on the way to my "house" where I will be spending the next seven weeks. Some patients are on wheelchairs, others use walkers. They are all smiling at me. I not smiling back – I'm too tired. The room is spacious, the bed – canopy. The bathroom itself is as big as a room in the last two clinics I would go to twice a year. There is hot water in abundance – an absolute luxury for India. I take a shower and fall asleep. For 24 hours.

Day 1

Curious glances follow me on the way to my "house" where I will be spending the next seven weeks. Some patients are on wheelchairs, others use walkers. They are all smiling at me. I not smiling back – I'm too tired. The room is spacious, the bed – canopy. The bathroom itself is as big as a room in the last two clinics I would go to twice a year. There is hot water in abundance – an absolute luxury for India. I take a shower and fall asleep. For 24 hours.