Slowly but Surely
I wanted to travel the world. I wanted to be a powerful business woman (like Samantha Jones in “Sex and the City”) and have a family. Also, I love sport such as swimming, bicycling, playing basketball, playing badminton and playing tennis. Most of my childhood was filled with fun activities, travelling, hanging out with friends and breaking the rules. But those dreams were crushed when my doctor told me that I will not be able to do sports that I love, I will not be able to travel, and having children is out of the question….
I was diagnosed with Primary Pulmonary Hypertension when I fifteen years old when I moved to the U.S. Back in Indonesia, I was always chubby and sluggish back in middle school and part of high school. My parents thought it was because lack of exercise and my general doctors in Indonesia did not detect any health issues. When I was about to start high school in U.S., through regular check-up, the family doctor detected irregular heartbeat and I started to notice apparent health issues such as difficulty breathing, chest pain and blue lips. So, I was urged to see a cardiologist and pulmonologist. Sure enough, I had VSD (Ventricular Septal Defect) and PPH (Primary Pulmonary Hypertension).
I was devastated…
For a while, I could not understand why this defect happened to me. Although, overtime I realized that wallowing is not getting me anywhere.
After the diagnosis, I had my open heart surgery on my 16th Birthday to close the hole in my heart. I am taking medications to control my PPH. It is not easy to integrate this disorder into my life at first.
I realize that I am rare. So, as long as that is the case, why not go all the way. So the key is to accept that I do have this unique condition and I am going to have to live with it for the rest of my life.
So I learn to get to know myself.
I am thirty years old now. I am working full time as a supervisor, I volunteered at convalescent homes, I go to the gym at least three times a week, I went hiking (5 miles up the hills recently) and I am finishing my bachelors in Management and International Business. I do what I can now and everything else will fall into place. I may not go with the phase of normal people, but I will finish what I start slowly but surely.
I changed pulmonologist who is better and gave me support. She advises that I should exercise and keep doing what I do at my own phase.
I believe that our journey gives us strength; the destination is just the icing in the cake. And getting to know myself is the fundamental part of starting the journey and setting up goals. Also, it is important to surround myself with people who are supportive of me and my goals.
Life may not always go as planned, but it does not mean that I cannot make the best out of the one I have now. Like Mother Teresa said ““Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”