Published: 29th August 2020
Bengaluru girl suffering from dermatomyositis scores 76 per cent in SSLC, dreams to become a lecturer
Sushma who scored good marks in her SSLC exams this year has been suffering from this rare auto immune disease since she was in class 9 and has been under continuous medication
At that point, both she and her parents thought that it was the end of life. But with the intervention of the medical team from Aster CMI hospital, Sushma's life was saved. Sushma's father, Srinivas who works for Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), says, "When the government announced that they will conduct the exams in the midst of the pandemic, we were worried about our daughter's health. But she convinced us and went ahead to write the exams. The moths of June and July were testing times for us. We breathed a sigh of relief only when she walked out of the exam hall. And the day her results were out, it was no less than a festival for us. She secured a place in the first class and what more can we ask from our daughter in the severe health crisis that she has been facing."
Since the disease is mainly related to the skin, Susham underwent intensive care in the form of regular blood transfusions, platelet transfusions, broad-spectrum anti-microbial, dialysis support, and immunomodulation (immunoglobulin injections, steroids) etc. Srinivas recalls this gut-wrenching story. "One day, she suddenly complained of high fever and swelling on her face. A day before she fell sick, she danced and sang on an occasion. So, we thought those activities might have strained her. But after a couple of days, her hands and legs were completely swollen, and rashes were seen on her skin and she fell unconscious. We quickly consulted the doctor who told me that she is very critical and fighting for her life with a rare disease that is affecting major parts of her body. We were shocked and did not know what to do. But all we understood was that there was very little time left to save her, so we immediately admitted her in ICU where was put on a ventilator."
Given the severity of her illness, Sushma's treatment would cost over Rs 14 lakhs. But the humble economic condition of the family did not leave room for such a huge expenditure. Sushma's father, who is the sole breadwinner for the family and is a priest at the temple, was able to collect a sum of Rs seven lakh. But luckily, the hospital came forward to raise funds through an online crowd-funding platform. Dr Battad, Consultant Pediatric Immunology and Rheumatology who treated Sushma says, "By the third week, she started showing signs of recovery and by the sixth month she started doing all her activities on her own. However, she still faced a challenge to hold a pencil or a pen due to the severe muscle weakness in her hands. With the help of aggressive physiotherapy, she regained regular movements of the hand and could finally start writing again. She fought for her life with sheer determination and her will-power enabled her to continue pursuing ambition. Truly, her journey in the past two years has been exceptional and can inspire many youngsters.”
Sushma's recovery is a true tale of grit and self-belief, "My father used to hold the books in his hand, facing me and I read them. My books were the only source of distraction that made me forget my pain. Even during times of extreme pain and agony, I had a willingness to learn. I have always dreamt of becoming a lecturer and hope to turn my dream into a reality someday," she says