Today I graduated.  There was no cap and gown—no pomp and circumstance–just sheer joy and renewed hope.  Today I became a graduate of the Cardiac Heart Failure Program at Duke University Medical Center.

When I signed up back in September, I saw this as my last hope.  I was taking medication but didn’t feel I was getting any better.  When my doctor suggested the program, I knew it was something I just had to do.

For the past three months, I went to the facility for cardiotherapy and nutrition assistance, faithfully, twice a week–24 sessions in all.  

I’ll never forget how hard it was to walk a few short feet from my car to the gym without being out of breath for the first couple of weeks and how often I cried because I was so embarrassed to be the youngest patient there.

But as time went on, here’s what I learned:

Stay out of the pity pool:  It’s too easy to jump into but hard to get out of.  And some well meaning folks will keep you there if you let them.

The mind is powerful:  In order to achieve it, you must first believe it.  Getting healthy required a strong, positive attitude and a determined spirit and will.

You reap what you sow:  Bad habits of any kind will eventually catch up to you.

Be a testimony:  Use your trials and tribulations to be a testimony for someone else   so that they may be encouraged. 

Never, ever give up!

As a final requirment for graduation, I had to take a test and I’m happy to report I did a little over two miles in 39 minutes and had NO shortness of breath! 

Yes, I will live the rest of my life with congestive heart failure but how I choose to live will be totally up to me.

Advertisements