What happens when you wake up one day partially blind only to find out that you may wake up another day partially paralyzed?
Hita Prem, a young and jolly Indian at the mere age of 19 was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a term that she had never even heard of, overnight turned into her reality. But did she let her reality snatch away her dreams?
Not a chance. But was it easy? Not even a little bit.
The age of 19, where you are stuck between choosing what to wear and what to watch, Hita Prem, the young Indian was challenged with a life-threatening disease and with no cure in far sight, her parents and their courage became her survival kit. But their journey was nothing short of a roller-coaster ride,
The young Indian woke up one sunny morning partially blind from her left eye. Little did she know that what she thought was a sleepy eye was soon going to turn into her biggest nightmare. Battling her fear along with the crippled healthcare system in India, she was made to wait for hours after rushing to a government hospital before she could be examined only to conclude that the prescription to her eyesight may have changed. This is not what one wants to hear when you’re partially blind and so her father demanded her to get re-examined only to find out that it was something way bigger than a changed prescription. The government hospital suggested that it may be an eye tear and they recommended that they seek professional help and meet a neurosurgeon for there is only so much they could examine.
Having previously battled anxiety, which was now skyrocketing as stress builds up as Hita, the young Indian went to the neurosurgeon. But alongside her were her parents and their brave charisma that kept her sane. After a couple of tests and 5 painful MRI’s over the course, the young Indian had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. A foreign term to the Prem family, her parents turned to google in a jiffy to know more. Hita says, “people know what cancer is and that it is bad and then know what the next step is but when you are diagnosed with something you don’t know anything about what do you do? You google it. But that is the last thing you should do “. She yet recalls the expression on her parent’s faces when they googled the meaning of her diagnosis and that it yet haunts her to date.
What do you tell a 19 year old full of dreams, aspirations, and the world under her feet that one day she may never be able to walk? This incurable diagnosis of MS had turned Hita and her entire family’s world upside down overnight. With no warning symptoms and cure in sight, all Hita had in her hands was her own faith.
The young Indian could either succumb to life’s tricks or take them as it comes, one step at a time and that is exactly what her parents made her do. Instead of keeping her comfortable, her parents decided that it was time she continued with life!
But the challenges that tagged along with the mainstream regular chores and activities after being diagnosed became a whole lot harder. Hita, the young Indian recalls how she was always mentally pumped up to conquer the day but was always physically drained out to do anything. Eventually, her parents started blaming themselves for having let their daughter go through so much pain and misery at such a young age. Stress had then become a part of their family and it was heartbreaking or Hita. From being dependent on her parents at the age of 20 to take her everywhere to watching her parents sleep on plastic chairs all night while she got treated, eventually, soon enough, she started blaming herself for putting her parents through so much. She always believed at that age she would be the one taking care of her parents but the role reversal was eating her up and filling her with guilt.
The young Indian recalls that the lowest point in her life being the day she got Vertigo and along with the world spinning around her, stress, anxiety, and guilt did so too. It was just like any other day but this time when she woke up she was hit with a Vertigo attack. Having panic called her mom over 20 times but with no response, she dragged herself up the staircase to her moms room and almost crashed for it wasn’t easy for her to carry her own body weight.
She recalls the frightful eyes and panic her mom had when she saw her daughter I that state and her doctor being the only doctor to treat MS in India, it took her more than a week to get an appointment with him. Following this incident, fear, the blame game, and guilt had become a part and parcel of Hita’s family.
But her parents didn’t let her give up so easily. Hita says, “I may have brave ideas but my parents are the real one’s always pushing me to do it”. With her health being in a fragile state they didn’t let her career and life be in a fragile state. Hita’s parents were done playing the pity game and decided it was time that she stood up on her own feet. Hita packed up her belongings along with courage and went on to pursue her post-graduate degree in Ireland, miles, and miles away from her parents.
Life had become a rollercoaster ride for Hita, it was in her hands to choose to be scared of it or enjoy the highs and work on the lows.
On graduating, the young Indian had saved up money and decided to face her biggest fear, i.e. being alone. Am I capable of being alone in my fragile health? What if something happens to my health? I’m miles away from everyone what will they do if something happens? Although these doubts had eaten her up before she didn’t let them eat her up this time. On being nudged by her parents, Hita took a solo trip to Manchester something she had neither done before nor dreamt of ever doing. She recalls the first day being the biggest nightmare for her when she walked 20 kms to save up on money and towards the end of the day she was unable to move anymore and had to drag herself and limp her way through the night. But soon enough, the nightmare transformed to a daydream. Hita had that life changing moment when she entered the old Trafford stadium to witness one of the best games in history! Entering the stadium all by herself and the aura and vibe of the fans not only gave her goosebumps but the feeling that she can accomplish anything in life.
This experience gave her the confidence to come out of the shell the world made for her, i.e. the sick kid being fat shamed with severe hair loss to starting her own company and becoming the CEO of it.
The digital marketer by day and founder&CEO by night, Hita, the young Indian is driven to break stereotypes and normalize imperfect physical appearance with her company – NYW Hair.
Since there is no accurate prediction of the timeline to her incurable condition, Hita, the unstoppable courageous Indian has befriended her biggest enemy, fear, and is checking off everything on her bucket list before she is confined to 4 walls.