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Preethi’s TM Story – Hope Forever Prevails

Posted by: The Sumaira Foundation in NMO, Patient, Voices of NMO

I am Preethi, residing in Coimbatore, famously known as the Manchester of South India. This narrative is a chronicle of my journey, one that reflects my triumph over adversities and my embrace of inner strength.

When I was 30 years old, I was in Bengaluru to undertake my LLB exams, aspiring to earn a dual professional degree by 2018. Little did I anticipate that life had a distinct course charted for me, one that would unveil a path laden with formidable challenges.

On December 29, 2016, an unexpected obstacle emerged as I found myself unable to rise from my bed post-midnight. An overwhelming sense of helplessness enveloped me, signaling something was profoundly amiss. Little did I grasp then that this seemingly ordinary nocturnal event would herald the onset of an extraordinary and demanding journey.

The following day, the emergency medical team at the multi-specialty facility pronounced a diagnosis that would alter the trajectory of my life – transverse myelitis (TM), as revealed by my MRI.

Until that moment, I had never encountered the name of this disorder, nor did I comprehend its implications.

A barrage of inquiries surged through my mind:

Could this prove fatal?

Would I ever regain my former vitality?

What was to become of my future?

The medical professionals, regrettably, were unable to furnish answers, thrusting me into a realm of apprehension and ambiguity.

Transverse myelitis, an autoimmune disease marked by inflammation within the spinal cord – a critical constituent of the central nervous system, materialized as my nemesis. It disrupts the transmission of nerve signals to and from the brain, yielding an array of distressing symptoms. I found myself ensnared within a tempest, embarking on a path veiled in uncertainty.

The confines of the ICU embraced me for a grueling 45 days, my immobile form bereft of any bodily sensation. The days were shadowed by profound darkness, yet I resolved vehemently to not succumb to despondency. Every dawn brought with it a renewed resolve to reclaim my life, to rewrite the narrative of my existence. It was through intensive steroid treatments and an arduous journey comprising seven sessions of plasma therapy that I commenced my ascent toward recovery.

Amidst this tumultuous ordeal, the steadfast support emanating from my family and cherished ones emerged as an unwavering beacon of hope. The financial strain of medical treatment and the absence of adequate insurance coverage weighed heavily upon my family’s shoulders. Yet, through the benevolence of kind-hearted souls, we navigated the tumultuous sea of challenges before us. My heart brims with boundless gratitude for their selfless contributions, for they extended their hands to guide us through the storm.

After being discharged from the hospital, I turned to a regimen of medication and primarily focused on physiotherapy. As I set foot on my path to recovery, the steadfast support of my physiotherapists emerged as a guiding light. Their unwavering dedication and profound expertise played a pivotal role in my progress. Their consistent encouragement acted as a driving force, propelling me forward even during the toughest times. I remain eternally grateful for their presence in my life during this arduous phase.

In addition to this, I underwent a series of diverse treatment combinations, diligently observing the slow yet steady improvement in my health condition. The journey was marked by gradual progress, but each small step forward infused me with a renewed sense of hope.

Striving for independence on my own terms, I harnessed my professional qualifications as my beacon. Engaging in a spectrum of activities – teaching, tutoring, and employment – I carved my own path. The unwavering support of my employer became a wellspring of strength, as their commitment to inclusivity propelled me forward. This support allowed me to maintain work, continue my studies, and lead a rich and fulfilling life.

Amidst my battles, I chronicled my experiences – the highs, the struggles – on my blog. This virtual haven became my refuge, a place where solace intertwined with connection. It was through these written words that I discovered fellow warriors united by similar fights. As stories intertwined, I found kinship, realizing I was far from alone in my journey.

Today, while sensation remains, my mobility is greatly confined, and a wheelchair becomes my ally in venturing outside. This chapter of my life has been one of profound growth and enlightenment. An advocate for myself and those with chronic illnesses, I’ve sown seeds of empathy and understanding in society’s soil. Guided by radiant souls during my darkest hours, resilience has unveiled its true essence, shaping me into a testament of strength.

Transverse myelitis may have reshaped my trajectory, but it will never alter my essence.

This condition, a badge of courage, won’t dictate my identity. Every inhale echoes with the reminder that my battle isn’t over. Despite the twists, my spirit perseveres, unwavering.

As life unfolds, I ascend the ladder of existence, eagerly anticipating what awaits. Gratitude floods every corner of my being, for each experience, has sculpted me into the person I am today. With newfound wisdom, I cherish every fleeting moment, relishing in the once-overlooked splendors.

Determined, I seize each opportunity, stepping forward on my journey of healing. Together, we transcend challenges as hidden warriors, our indomitable spirits casting light on the shadows. Through trials, we kindle hope, inspiring others to draw strength from adversity. As life’s tempests rage, we stand resilient, a testament that hope forever prevails.

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