10th Jan
Rishabh Puri

How Hope Saved My Life

If you heard my story without knowing me, you might think that my life has been a series of tragedies. From infancy, I’ve undergone a series of surgeries and treatments to heal my ailing body. I had barely entered the world before I was diagnosed with hyperlipidemia at just six months old. As a child of ten, doctors discovered a leak in my aortic valve. They tried to put off replacing the valve as long as they could, but eventually, they could no longer hold off. I had not completely healed from the first surgery when some blockages were discovered in my heart. Bypass surgery was required to save my life.

Not long after that, I began to suffer intense pain in my hips. Doctors realized the immense pain in my hips was a result of avascular necrosis, caused by my old childhood friend, hyperlipidemia. I faithfully underwent stem cell therapy, but I eventually required a double hip replacement in order to be able to walk again. It’s been a long, hard path I walk each day towards recovery, and I haven’t always had the use of my legs to take me further and further. Though many days, full health seems miles away from me and possibly unattainable, it doesn’t mean my time on Earth has to be miserable.

I’ve suffered immense pain, long stretches of hopelessness and depression, and have lived a life unlike that of many of my peers. I spent much of my childhood in hospital, with doctors as my playmates and hospitals as my playgrounds. I could not attend regular university and took correspondence classes in order to prepare myself for a future that always seemed one wrong move away from slipping from my grasp. But though this story might seem grim to a stranger, my friends and family will tell you that I am one of the happiest people they’ve ever met. My secret? The hope that lives inside me.

I decided to write my book, Inside the Heart of Hope, because I had a message inside of me bursting to get out. I found a new way to recover from what others might consider a hopeless circumstance: relying on the hope that never abandons you. The hope within your own heart. When you look inside yourself you will realize that nothing is impossible and that miracles do happen. You cause them for yourself when you decide to feel joy in spite of your circumstances.

If you’ve suffered tragedy, be it a loss, a chronic illness, or some other traumatic incident, you may think that your life ended when your troubles began. Nothing could be farther from the truth! The life you are living, no matter how bleak, is still a good one, of great benefit to this world. When you find the strength inside of you, the inexhaustible optimism you feel will allow you to change not just your own situation, but the world around you!

As time goes on, you’ll discover inside yourself an inexhaustible source of strength that will guide you out of your darkest days and into the light of love. The fullness of your potential is achievable when you realize that you are the person responsible for deciding that your life will be a good one and living it to your fullest each day. The scars on your skin will act as a map to the place where you’ve come from, and will no longer bind you like ropes holding you back. You are the person who can free yourself from suffering.

I’m not saying that I don’t suffer from bad days. In fact, there are days where I can barely think from the pain that I feel. Days where I am weak and the people who love me and take care of me are the ones who are strong. But I find even when I’m grimacing from the suffering I’m feeling, that I can still look back on those days and count them among some of the best days of my life. The days when I have suffered most have been the days where I have been most loved and supported by the unconditional love my family and the blessings of my God. Even my worst pain cannot tarnish the eternal well of hope springing from my heart.

If you feel like giving up, give up on that feeling and give in to the realization there are endless possibilities waiting to be discovered before you. And never forget that I am out there fighting along with you, living each day as fully as I can. May God abundantly bless you the way that he has blessed me, and may you realize the blessings He has given you, every day of your life.