A woman in cool, sad colors, hunched slightly over a poorly lit kitchen table alone.

Onset Of Adversities

After I completed my graduation in English literature, my parents had decided that it was imperative for me to tie the knot. My newly acquired independence was short-lived. While I was still in my early 20’s, I was married to a general physician. Like other relationships, ours too witnessed highs and lows but we survived through tough times and learned to embrace one another’s imperfections.

Some early signs

For a long time, we assumed that parenthood wouldn’t be a possibility. But fate had other plans for us. Excited and nervous as we both seemed, we had agreed to become adoptive parents to a baby girl. We left no stone unturned in caring for our little one. Pink ribbons, stuffed animals, Barbie dolls and building blocks filled our home. Primarily, it was of utmost importance to provide our newborn with all the necessary nutrients. This would invariably reduce the risk of chronic ailments in the future (we hoped). We believe breast milk contains all the antibodies required to fight bacteria and viruses and wanted to give breast milk to our daughter, but unfortunately, donor breast milk was unheard of in the early ’80s in our part of the world.

As most babies start well on dairy-based formulas, milk was undoubtedly our first choice. Multiple brands had flooded the market shelves. But to our disbelief, none seemed to agree with her. She kept incessantly throwing up everything that was fed to her. It was gut retching to see our newborn trapped inside the four walls of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as it had caused severe dehydration. Doctors had finally diagnosed her as lactose intolerant and they decided to put her on soya milk straightaway. An alleviated sense of relief calmed my restless mind when I watched her lap it all up. With my husband monitoring her, the situation was under control.

The worst was yet to come

All seemed well until one day, an incident from the pages of destiny crushed me from within. My husband passed away. Nothing seemed to make sense anymore. But with a growing child and an ageing mother to care for, I didn’t have the time to even grieve. I couldn’t allow myself to wallow in self-pity as I had to fulfill my duties of playing the role of both a caregiver and a breadwinner for the family. With my husband not being around even a minor cold or fever affecting my daughter would make me anxious. Little did I know that the worst was yet to come.

My daughter was in her late teens when our long-drawn battle with HS had just begun.

Hidradenitis suppurativa changed everything

So, what is HS and why was life never the same again for us after she got diagnosed with it? At first, Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) appeared as a small boil in her underarm. It resembled acne but it was a very painful one. We assumed it could have been due to bad weather, eating junk, sweating or woollen clothing and hoped that this temporary phase of grief would also pass.

At first, I decided to try a few home remedies before taking her to the doctor. Turmeric powder - a spice widely known to possess anti-inflammatory properties is used extensively in Indian cooking. I added a little pepper to about half a teaspoon of turmeric powder, mixed it with honey. Every morning my daughter would consume it religiously on an empty stomach. Initially, the intensity of the pain did subside for a few days, but the mystery boil soon turned into an oversized puss filled lesion. Sadly, it was nowhere even close to remission.

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