Support system: Parents

Right now, my life is a culmination of the immense work that has gone into making sure that I can continue to live life to the fullest and for that, I am truly grateful. I am especially grateful for my family for carrying me through all of this. I appreciate the sacrifices, the deferred dreams, and the adapted hopes. I am grateful for every moment made possible by my care teams, and everyone involved in my care. 

I can go on and on forever about everybody in my support system (aka international village) but let me start at the beginning – with my parents. They prepared me well to face the world and any kind of adversity, in the best possible way – relentlessly and always with the right attitude. They always tell me to remain true to myself, no matter what. I also think that the loving community and caring environment I grew up in helped develop in me unwavering confidence, a positive self-image, and healthy self-esteem.

For instance, my dad, always kind, would very rarely complain. Leading by example, he made sure we learned not to make excuses, even when the odds were against us, whether at school, during sports or life in general. Watching him being the man he is and doing his work as an engineer and a manager surely shaped my attitude toward having a bias for action – towards wanting to get things done and to solving problems at home and the world. Incidentally, I became an engineer just like my dad. He set the bar very high as a dad but I hope to surpass him or at least to reach his level.

Merci Papa!

Pâm, a Barika!

Me and my dad, Pâm, January 2012

My mom, always caring, spoilt us and everyone around her with unconditional love. She taught me to be highly aware, mindful and very patient. A doctor herself and long-time kidney disease patient, she is my biggest inspiration.

Watching her effectively manage her illness daily, with so much courage, grace and resilience was great preparation for me. She made sure we were all aware of the situation, so we all knew the challenges she faced and why she wouldn’t eat this or that, or why she only drank mineral or filtered water. She is very disciplined with strong attention to detail.

Fast forward to when I got sick, I could always count on her composure and strong faith. She often reminds me of her own experiences and the fact that she never let go and never gave up, no matter what she was faced with. With that in mind, her advice on managing my illness has carried even more weight with me and helped me communicate better with her and respect her suggestions beyond a mother and (favorite) child talk. Also, being a doctor, she would share stories about other inspiring family members including my many grandfathers/uncles and grandmothers/aunties.

My mom has also helped me understand some of the key dynamics of my condition, explaining that my therapy goes beyond the prescribed medications and treatments. Living well with my heart condition involves dealing with stress and worry, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes watching my moods and emotional triggers.

Merci Maman Jolie, Tati.

Djâm, I ni ce!

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