Heart of a Giant Support System, Part 1: Even a Giant Needs Shoulders to Stand On
Last updated: March 2021
Life is by itself hard enough. Living with heart failure, I must fight for every day, I must work harder for everything - to live, to be fit and get stronger physically, mentally and spiritually. I must fight to remain motivated and hopeful about the future and to believe that all the hard work is worthwhile. Although I am an African giant, this is a tall order I couldn’t conquer by myself.
Daily life with heart failure
Day-to-day life with heart failure involves a lot: self-management, symptoms management, medication compliance, following liquid and diet restrictions, side effects, office visits, hospitalization, and of course, financial provision.
Having a good network of people who provide you with care and emotional support is essential. This network could consist of partners, family, mentors, coaches, trusted friends, colleagues, or community as well as medical professionals, people you can rely on when times get tough. Together, they not only help you navigate the day-to-day, but they also help decrease stress and worry.
Support comes in many forms: emotional (e.g., nurturance, esteem, or appraisal), informational (e.g., advice, guidance or useful information), or companionship (e.g., sense of belonging); tangible (e.g., financial assistance, material goods, or services) or intangible (e.g., personal advice, or career advice).
Research has shown that a social support system can bring many improvements in health and well-being, both physical and mental.
Fortunately, I have a great support system around me. I have a lovely wife, motivating parents, encouraging family and friends, the best medical care teams of doctors, cardiologists, nurses, therapists, and other specialists, and a very supportive team at work.
I have gratitude
This is my life and I have gratitude. I have gratitude for my family who has been there every step of the way. I have gratitude for their sacrifices, hopes, and deferred dreams. I have gratitude for everything gifted to me by my healthcare team and everyone who has contributed to my well-being.
As such, every time I can, I share my story and express my gratitude to my wife, my family, my care team, and everyone else in my support system. I have written extensively about all of them on my blog at heartofagiant.org. They are not only helping me to stay alive but also to be productive and useful to the world. Because of their support and their work, I still have faith in life, hope for tomorrow, and dreams for the future.
Have you ever avoided going to the doctor out of fear?