A New Way of Moving Through Life (Part 2)

Editor's note: This is part 2 of a two-part series. Part 1 can be found here.

We must constantly adjust to the things that happen to us, like course correction to right a ship or a plane. There are so many people whom I never would have met were it not for my heart problems, nor would I have been led to think about new approaches to problem-solving in areas where I want to bring change to communities and the world.

Heart Failure advocate Bouba Diemé's abdomen showing his LVAD and open heart surgical scar

Me and my LVAD (shown – batteries, controller and driveline cable)

Lying in bed because your body is sick isn’t something anyone wants to do, but when you’re forced to do it for a while, other gifts come. They might arrive in the form of innovation, in how you’ve been approaching challenges, as well as intensified relationship-building, both those with whom you’re closest to and people you’re just getting to know.

Down and depressed

To be completely candid, no matter how upbeat I feel today, there were long periods when the change in my health status caused me to feel down and depressed, often with suicidal thoughts. Slowly and with great effort, and with the relentless help and support and optimism of my support systems, I found small ways to blend goals that I cared about before my diagnosis with a new vision of what social entrepreneurship and health advocacy mean.

Enjoying life again

I’m happy to say that a few years after learning that my heart is too big for my body, I’m enjoying life again. I feel ready to continue the journey. My future is hopeful, not fearful. It is faithful, not full of worries. I am dreaming again. I am living to the fullest again. I am staying positive, looking out for the goodness in everyone I meet, and every action I undertake.

Making a difference

You can do it, too. I’m here to remind you that no matter where you are on your journey and how dark the tunnel may seem right now, there’s always hope for a brighter day. If you’re going through a health crisis or other forms of hard times, you may feel like you’re alone in your suffering or that no one understands what you’re going through, but hear this: you are not alone, and you have so much ahead. The things you do along the way do make a difference. With the Vovinam salutation “Iron hand over a benevolent heart,” I thank you for sharing this part of my journey with me.

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