Greetings! I am thrilled and blessed to share this message of hope with you. It fills my heart with joy to declare that the past week marked the 7th month since my life-changing heart transplant. Each new dawn reminds me of the tremendous strength that lies within the human spirit, and the power of love and connection to conquer any challenge. We are forever grateful for the privilege of a quality life and the unwavering support of those who have walked alongside us throughout this journey.
My post-surgery experience has been excellent.
The transplanted heart has been a perfect match, with no rejection or infection. I am very fortunate. Challenges and setbacks will always occur with such a significant health crisis – I had to be patient as I adjusted to my new meds.
Now, I’m feeling terrific, emotionally and mentally. There was no complication related to the heart or operations. However, I caught a cold in February that led to a respiratory infection. Then, in March, I had a weird lesion inside my hand. After a barrage of tests and examinations, I underwent minor surgery to remove the infection. By the 6-month follow-up, it had healed.
From the 6th-month post-transplant, everything’s manageable. Recovery is going well, the chest wound has healed, and the new organs are adjusting to each other… You’re in what the medical team would call ‘maintenance mode.’ My follow-up visits moved from monthly to quarterly. The Care Team reduced my medication pills by over half, including the main prophylactics. As a result, my steroid meds are seven times less.
On the Homefront, we have been great.
We had just moved into the new home about two months before my call; Desi finished decorating the house while I was recovering at the hospital. Buraq and his brothers were impressive during my hospital stay. They got to visit me a couple of times. Their teachers and counselors commended them, especially Buraq, who apparently informed everyone of my progress.
The months that followed were quite an adjustment for all of us. The transition was tense and scary, including my reactions to the steroid meds. But we’ve made it through intact.
We are grateful for the hard work, prayers, love, and support from family and friends, the medical team, our Boston/Milton community, and our International Village. We’re appreciative of all from the day of the call for the transplant, before and since.
We are also planning family trips, starting with visiting home (Mali and Senegal) later in the year. In addition, Buraq is becoming quite a Taekwondo champ. He will be in Florida this Summer, competing at the National US Tournament. His brothers are following his example though they still don’t seem too impressed by his accolades.
Becoming more and more active and useful at home and work.
In April, I began exercising after surgery. I don’t push myself too hard. On Saturdays, I walk with the Milton Men Walks group. I see a trainer once a week and also have a heart rehab session. At home, I stretch, walk, run, bike, or play with my kids. I am also practicing Vovinam Viet Vo Dao again after taking a three-year break (blame the Covid-19 Pandemic)!
I continue to work in the energy sector I love; while championing Heart Health.
Perhaps, as a sign of the Universe, I received a call from National Grid the day before my medical team called me for the transplant. I was coming off over three great years with a fantastic team and membership at the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE). It was a tough decision, but I accepted it after negotiating the terms and conditions, all while in the ICU. The transition to my new role, now in Corporate Affairs, went smoothly. I started in late November, the team was flexible, and at the end of the year, not being so busy, I had the time to heal, onboard, and slowly pick up the pace. So far, it’s been great working with the team, colleagues, and stakeholders in the community, and I’m excited about the next years to come in my role.
HGF is growing tremendously this year.
Heart of a Giant Foundation (HGF) – We’re growing tremendously this year, continuing off the excellent year that was 2022, and all signs point to a remarkable 2023. I am grateful to the team and our growing HGF Community of Supporters for helping us continue to grow in terms of operations and participants reach beyond expectations. We partner with strong community organizations, including community development centers like ABCD or major churches like Bethel AME, New Life, or Jubilee. In addition, our flagship Healthy Hearts Community program (2HC) is underway thanks to great partners, including the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the AHA, BCBS MA Foundation, CVS Health, and many more. See the HGF 2022 Annual Report for more.
We’re incredibly grateful for everyone and everything.
Thank you for always being by our side.
Life with a transplanted heart is a long, challenging journey. A journey that wouldn’t be this easy for us without the community we have. When we first moved into our new home in Milton, we slowly began to know our fellow community members at school, parents, staff, Milton Men Walk Group, or the Milton ‘Senegal’ 2nd & 3rd graders I coach in the town’s football league. All these good folks had heard the news of my transplant.
They came through for us with so much love and support. We are grateful and happy to have so many blessings rooting for us. The same happened at school, Taekwondo, and other places throughout town. One of Buraq’s friends, classmates, and football teammate gave him a Black Panther book for me. At first, I thought Buraq was mistaken or just being kind, but he clarified that the book was meant for me. So I am the ‘Black Panther 😁.’
“Thank you for being here and supporting us. We are grateful to have you in our lives. We look forward to what’s next in the next six months.
– Somaneh Bouba.”