I'm Aware That I'm Rare: Amina Berbić
Amina Berbić is a pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) patient from Bosnia and Herzegovina. She is a student and a local non-government organization (NGO) project manager who works to help empower 300 unemployed women through developing new skills to increase employability, as well as positivity and stress reduction.
Hi, my name is Amina Berbić I’m from Bosnia and Herzegovina. I’m 20 years old, and I’m a pulmonary hypertension patient.
When I was 17, I was playing a volleyball game, and when it finished, I felt in bad shape and had shortness of breath and dizziness. So I was hospitalized. In January 2014, I started to use daily medication. It’s oral medication. My life has been changed 360 degrees, so it was really a rough time. Because I was 17 years old, I had a pediatric cardiologist. On ultrasound, he saw something was wrong, so he sent me to his colleague, who was working with the patient that already had the PH in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
He did some trials and with the ultrasound, and I had the test for nine minutes running, and he told me that I have a PH, even though we didn’t do any serious [further] testing. On ultrasound, it showed that I have 95 pressure, so it was really high, and I stayed there in the hospital for 10 days.
My doctors gave me oral medication, and I started to feel really good. At the end of my days in the hospital, they told me that I needed to use that medication for [the rest of] my life. My parents were really scared. I was really stressed out. I was in a high school, and I needed to go a university.
One day, one man, he approached me in our school, and he told me that he has a proposition and that he wass director of American University here in Bosnia. And they had a lot of things that they could provide me with that could help me to adjust my disease to the university and work.
Now, I’m in my fourth year of international finance and banking here on American University in Bosnia. Next week, we are finishing. After that in July, we will have a ceremony to get our degrees, and I think that I will go for higher education for master degree in a field of business administration.
Beside that, when I was diagnosed with my pulmonary hypertension, I went to a workshop for oil painting, where I learned how to paint, and I started my hobbies with oil painting, painting on silk and glass, painting on aluminum foil. Also beside that, I started a gardening and cultivating herbs and organic gardening. I starting eating healthy food. It was really helpful for my PH.
In my city, which is named Kakanj, my friends and I, we created a non-government organization, whose mission is women empowerment and fostering culture and tradition in this region. I wanted to help other people in this country, because there are a lot of people that are not working, even though they are healthy. They have the ability to work, but they don’t have a chance to work or to apply for some positions. In last two months, I have been working on a project for 300 women to help them find a job and to learn new skills and maybe they can start working on a startups or something like that.
For me, everything is family. My parents and also I have two younger sisters, and they are my role models in everything. Also with my religion, I started to believe that I can do anything. Maybe God sent me a message that I need to stop and not think about myself and think about other people, that I’m not the only one and that I can include PH in everything and not go through things that I can’t do, but to achieve things that I can do with my PH.
I’m a fearless person and have a strong personality and I can do everything that I want. And even though that I have this disease, this disease doesn’t define me, and I can live with the PH and be the same person.
My name is Amina Berbić, and I’m aware that I’m rare.
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