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How A LAM Diagnosis Changed My Life In Wonderful Ways!

How A LAM Diagnosis Changed My Life In Wonderful Ways!

Health & Wellness, Mindset
Guest Writer Guest Writer
Health & Wellness, Mindset

Seven years ago, I was a 24-year-old young woman with a wonderful life. Out of nowhere, my left lung collapsed. I was in the emergency room of a hospital, fighting for my dear life. 

Soon after, came the news of a diagnosis. A progressive rare lung condition known as LAM, which is an acronym for Lymphangioleiomyomatosis, a word I couldn't even pronounce at the time. 

I spent the next two years in denial of my diagnosis, and then I had my other (right) lung collapse while mountain biking in Colorado. That was the turning point of my life. I had an awakening and decided to work on my lifestyle, both mentally and physically. 

Life has changed for the better since then in various ways. This positivity has become intentional. It took practice, but it’s second nature to me now. Since my last lung collapse, I have gone the extra mile to take care of myself, both in mind and body. The two practices that have helped me stay in the present are meditation and yoga. 

Nikita Rath Yoga

Credit: Instagram: nikita.rath

These practices have changed me as a person. Meditation has made me realize that I give my life more value than I ever had before the diagnosis. I’ve become very grateful for every moment I have. I set my mind to seek life and breathe in this beautiful world. Every night before I go to bed, I make sure I reflect and commit to paper three things I am grateful for that day. I live in the present and try not to ponder too much about the past or the future. These seamless yet important, little practices have helped me cultivate mindfulness of positivity and happiness onto my life.

I am very fortunate to have come across some of the best yoga teachers and meditation mantras in my community here in Chicago, IL. Every morning I set aside time to meditate, and by meditating, I mean to sit down, breathe, and do nothing for a few minutes. It has helped me stay calm, reset my day and mind, and focus on improving my lungs and breathing. Overall, my self worth and wellbeing in life has become my priority. 

LAM Foundation Event

I wonder if it would have been the same if I did not have LAM. Perhaps not!?

LAM still has no cure, and personally, not doing anything to find a cure bothered me. Therefore, three years ago, during some downtime, I started talking to my family and friends about how I wanted to raise money and awareness about my lung condition. As I spoke to people around me, I realized that most of the people had never heard of LAM. It’s rare and unknown nature was evident, and I wanted to change that. Since that moment every year, I’ve organized a yoga fundraiser, which helped me raise money for The LAM Foundation – I have done it every year since. 

Nikita Rath LAM Foundation

The Lam Foundation is an organization that is working towards finding a cure for LAM, which primarily affects women in the prime of their lives. So far, in these three years, my friends, family, and hundreds of local businesses in the Chicagoland area have helped me raise $35k towards finding a cure for The LAM Foundation. 

Never in my dreams could I have imagined the overwhelming support. I never considered I could have pulled off an event like this, especially three years in a row if it was not for finding a cure for LAM and a passion for yoga. In my journey of creating these events, I have not only developed some amazing skills but also cultivated relationships that will stay with me throughout my life. 

In the recent past, I have collaborated with lung doctors in India, my home country, to create awareness about LAM. It was such a proud moment when the first LAM clinic was set up last year in Andhra Pradesh to help diagnose and treat patients in India. 

Here is the video clip from the fundraising event last year: https://vimeo.com/328339725

The fact that my future is uncertain makes me do things I want to in life. Right now, this moment. Because of this I have traveled to so many places in the world. I thank God for my ability to continue to do the things that I enjoy, such as cleaning, cooking, planting, reading, and writing. All activities that I took for granted at some point in life have now become valuable, and I believe that acknowledging this will have a significant impact on the rest of my life.

Nikita Rath Garden

Credit: Instagram: nikita.rath

Today, after seven years of my diagnosis, I am a different person altogether who wants to cherish every moment with positive emotion. I love myself, my family, my friends, my home, my garden, and everything else about my life. Someone once asked if I would ever trade my life for someone else’s, and my answer is no, even if I might get to live longer otherwise. It’s because the life I have is just so precious and special. 

I will do everything to fight this lung condition. I have committed my life to continue to stay just as strong. I firmly believe there will be a cure in my lifetime. 

If you find my story motivating or inspiring, please help me raise money for The LAM Foundation. Click here to donate.

With love,

Nikita Rath

Guest Writer

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