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... About living with MS in India.

I was 18, at the culmination of my school life, when MS struck. I was taking my examination and lost hand control. This was followed by incontinence. When the examiner realized I was not playing a prank, the seriousness of the affliction took over and I was rushed to the hospital.

I spent 10 long days at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, methyl prednisolone being pumped into me. The MRI showed demyelinating lesions, but no mention of MS was made. I was treated for bowel incontinence. Eventually I got back to my normal self and resumed school.

But while studying for another set of examinations I got stabbing pain in my lower back, lost my bladder control again, and lost so much strength in my limbs that I couldn't stand on them. I was again rushed to the hospital. This time, the MRI confirmed MS.

Confined to a room in my house, I would spend time staring at the ceiling, developed bedsores and battled with many issues of daily life. I continued with oral steroids. I skipped my exams for two years.

I finally got in touch with the hospital specializing in spinal injuries and started physiotherapy. One of my brothers would take me.

I was not meant to live like this. My inherent nature and the sportsman in me goaded me to start life again. I did physiotherapy in the mornings and spent the afternoons studying privately for my examinations. I scored distinctions in Sanskrit, Economics, and Accountancy. I had a purpose in life and I had decided to cross one bridge at a time.

My journey to independent living

There were not many institutes where I could have happily pursued my further studies. My counselor, Shivjeet Raghavan, advised me to study medical transcription at Pan American Institute of Medical Transcription. I took the entrance exam, which I cleared easily.

Studying there was a challenge and I was discouraged on a daily basis by people who said things like, "an MT needs to use foot pedals for making files, how can you do that? Who is going to give you a job?" But I refused to give up and finally got selected to intern at a medical transcription firm.

Gradually I made my presence felt. After completing my course, I started working in the production house of the institute. After working there for two years, I was offered a position as a medical transcriptionist.

MS Awareness

I now head my own medical transcription firm, Medtrans Solutions. I am also pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Delhi University.

My first passion, sports, is still an integral part of my life. For the last three years, I have been playing wheelchair tennis in the courts of the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association. Of the seven or eight wheelchair lawn tennis players in India, I am the youngest.

Meanwhile, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of India (MSSI) got in touch with me and I started mingling with other members in various stages of the disease. MSSI Delhi guided me to focus on my potential and invited me to join their executive committee. My mission is to create awareness about MS.

In 2005 I decided to participate in the Delhi Marathon, which includes participants from all over the world. I won the special category race. A prestigious newspaper did a write-up on me and I was interviewed on a few TV channels. The happiest moments were when people started questioning me about MS, the Society, and myself. One part of my mission was complete: The MS Society of India and its Delhi chapter received much well-deserved publicity and their endeavor to spread the message "One should never give up" was effectively conveyed.

Being a person with MS used to make me feel incomplete, but now it gives me great pride to know that I am able to contribute to society in an effective way.

A slightly longer version of Rajiv Virat's story originally appeared on the Multiple Sclerosis International Foundation's Web site at: with_ms/people profi les/ january 2006.html.

The MSIF was founded in 1967 by National MS Society founder Sylvia Lawry to link the activities of MS societies around the world. The Federation works in world-wide partnership with member societies and the international scientific community to eliminate MS and its consequences, and to speak out globally on behalf of those affected by the disease.
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Title Annotation:let me tell you
Author:Virat, Rajiv
Publication:Inside MS
Date:Feb 1, 2007
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