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Group Captain Prabal Malaker(Retd) – My MS Story

By April 25, 2024Uncategorized
Name: Group Captain Prabal Malaker(Retd)
Age: 68

My journey with multiple sclerosis (MS) began in the mid-1995 when I started experiencing symptoms such as stiffness in my legs after exercise and issues with balance. Initially misdiagnosed as orthopedic arthritis, it wasn’t until three years later in 1998 that a neurologist correctly diagnosed me with MS. The delayed intervention highlighted the low awareness of MS among doctors at that time, leading to a diagnosis of Primary Progressive MS (PPMS), for which no Disease Modifying Treatments were available.

As a former fighter pilot in the Air Force, the diagnosis of MS permanently altered my medical category, rendering me unfit to fly and ineligible for further promotion. Transitioning from airborne to chairborne, my career trajectory came to an abrupt halt. Despite this setback, the Air Force retained me in service with the approval of the Ministry of Defence, allowing me to continue serving until my retirement at the age of 52.

The news of my diagnosis devastated my wife, Renuka, especially since she had a relative who also battled MS. In contrast, I approached life with a sense of resilience, unaware of the challenges that lay ahead. Back then, the internet was not as readily available, sparing me from the overwhelming information that often accompanies an MS diagnosis.

Acceptance was key to navigating life with MS. Embracing the reality of my condition empowered me to face the challenges head-on and manage the disease effectively.

Despite the constraints imposed by MS, I continued to lead a fulfilling life. Over the past 29 years, I’ve adapted to life as a wheelchair user due to the loss of mobility in my legs. Yet, I remain active, engaging in activities such as yoga, weight training, and swimming. Traveling has been a passion of mine, and I’ve been fortunate to explore destinations both within India and abroad. None of this would have been possible without the unwavering support of my wife, Renuka, my sons Gaurav and Aditya, my caregiver Birju, and the support network provided by friends, gym staff, swimming pool staff, colleagues at the MS Society, and the wider community. Despite the challenges, life remains a journey worth embracing.

Additionally, I am actively involved in auditing accessibility issues in the built environment, advocating for universal accessibility guidelines, and ensuring the rights of persons with disabilities are upheld, drawing from my knowledge of Civil Aviation Regulations. I’d like to share about my involvement with MSSI Delhi. I am dedicated to the welfare of People with Multiple Sclerosis (PwMS) at MSSI Delhi. Currently serving as the Honorary Secretary, I am fully immersed in our organization’s activities. My goal has always been to streamline the work of MSSI Delhi, offering valuable inputs to enhance our services and support for PwMS. I take pride in being an integral part of the Delhi MS Society, working tirelessly to ensure the well-being and empowerment of individuals living with MS in our community.

Group Captain Prabal Malaker(Retd) | Age – 68

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