Heart to Heart with Anna

The Bionic Man of Table Tennis

April 28, 2020 Navin P. Kumar Season 15 Episode 256
Heart to Heart with Anna
The Bionic Man of Table Tennis
Chapters
Heart to Heart with Anna
The Bionic Man of Table Tennis
Apr 28, 2020 Season 15 Episode 256
Navin P. Kumar

Navin P. Kumar is an extraordinary person who has met medical challenges head-on with a positive attitude and a smile. As a child of the 1970s born with a rare, severe congenital heart defect, Navin has endured multiple open-heart surgeries. He was operated on by cardiac surgeon legend Denton Cooley and feels he owes a debt of gratitude to many for his survival.

In this episode of "Heart to Heart with Anna," Navin shares with Anna what kind of surgeries he has undergone, what challenges he has faced, and how he believes that he has a purpose in life that has transcended any medical obstacles that he may have encountered -- including early-onset Parkinson's disease. He shares his philosophy of life, and in the final segment, he tells Anna about some new and upcoming projects he is excited to be working on.


To read more about Navin P. Kumar here is his IMDB page

Table tennis articles:

https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Table-Tennis/Features/2014/September/16/Navin-Kumar-Feature

http://www.mhtabletennis.com/2015/01/the-bionic-man-ping-pongs-ultimate.html

Parkinson Article:

http://www.parkingsuns.com/2017/03/19/navin-kumar-parkie-ping-pong-powerhouse/

General Articles:

https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201910/30/WS5db86fb5a310cf3e355744d7.html

https://dbknews.com/0999/12/31/arc-wnpcjswzuzdp3egmwowzv2d7ci/


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If you enjoy this program and would like to be a Patron, please check out our Patreon page  

Show Notes Transcript

Navin P. Kumar is an extraordinary person who has met medical challenges head-on with a positive attitude and a smile. As a child of the 1970s born with a rare, severe congenital heart defect, Navin has endured multiple open-heart surgeries. He was operated on by cardiac surgeon legend Denton Cooley and feels he owes a debt of gratitude to many for his survival.

In this episode of "Heart to Heart with Anna," Navin shares with Anna what kind of surgeries he has undergone, what challenges he has faced, and how he believes that he has a purpose in life that has transcended any medical obstacles that he may have encountered -- including early-onset Parkinson's disease. He shares his philosophy of life, and in the final segment, he tells Anna about some new and upcoming projects he is excited to be working on.


To read more about Navin P. Kumar here is his IMDB page

Table tennis articles:

https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Table-Tennis/Features/2014/September/16/Navin-Kumar-Feature

http://www.mhtabletennis.com/2015/01/the-bionic-man-ping-pongs-ultimate.html

Parkinson Article:

http://www.parkingsuns.com/2017/03/19/navin-kumar-parkie-ping-pong-powerhouse/

General Articles:

https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201910/30/WS5db86fb5a310cf3e355744d7.html

https://dbknews.com/0999/12/31/arc-wnpcjswzuzdp3egmwowzv2d7ci/


Please take a moment to follow us on your preferred social media platforms:

Apple Podcasts

Facebook 

YouTube 

Instagram 

If you enjoy this program and would like to be a Patron, please check out our Patreon page  

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/HearttoHeart)

Navin Kumar:   0:00
I don't view my heart issues and my Parkinson's disabilities- I don't feel disabled. I feel enabled.  

Anna Jaworski:   0:18
Welcome to Heart to Heart with Anna, I am Anna Jaworski and your host! We are in our 15th season, and we're happy you are with us today. I'm very excited about today's show to feature a special heart warrior. Today's show is entitled "The Bionic Man of Table Tennis. Navin Kumar was born to December 9th, 1973 with complex congenital heart defects that have required five open-heart surgeries through the course of this life. Navin has a mechanical heart made of the same carbon fiber material used in high-end table tennis blades. I guess it's fitting to acknowledge some of Navin's table tennis accomplishments. Navin was a silver medalist for the United States, in doubles, and a bronze medalist, in singles, at the Parkinson's World Table Tennis Championships, he made history by becoming the first table tennis medalist with Parkinson's and a congenital heart defect at the U. S. Open Championships in December 2018. In addition to being a world-class table tennis player, Navin is also an accomplished violinist, and now an actor and producer. Even though he was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson's disease and has had multiple open-heart surgeries, he has maintained a positive and upbeat attitude. He continues to strive to motivate others through public speaking and other activities. Welcome to Heart to Heart with Anna, Navin Kumar.

Navin Kumar:   1:48
Thank you so much, Anna. I'm very honored to be here with you and with your podcast listeners as well.

Anna Jaworski:   1:55
Oh, well, I'm so happy to have you on the program. Let's get started by having you tell us about your heart history. And if you could tell us exactly what your heart condition is, that would be great, cause I'm not exactly sure what you mean by mechanical heart.

Navin Kumar:   2:10
Yes, I was born with a rare congenital heart condition called Shone's syndrome that is characterized by multiple left heart abnormalities, so it's a combination of multiple congenital heart defects. Prognosis for being born with that condition isn't very good, and it was honestly, quite a miracle that I actually survived my childbirth, from what I was told.  

Anna Jaworski:   2:32
Yeah,  

Navin Kumar:   2:33
I was born premature by one month, and at the age of 20 days old, I was diagnosed with heart a murmur, and what happened was I was born in Arizona, just outside of Tucson, and I had this heart catheterization that was done at 20 days old. They did the heart cath -normally, they have it done through the femoral artery in the groin, but because I was a small infant, they did it through my right arm. And in the process of doing that heart catheterization, they actually ruptured the main artery under my arm, so I lost full blood circulation to my arm. They were actually going to amputate my right arm because...

Anna Jaworski:   3:12
Wow

Navin Kumar:   3:12
My mom wanted to kill them, first of all, it was a really bad mistake, unfortunately, And fortunately, they were able to find a vascular surgeon just in time to save my arm. So again, it's reflective of my whole life. You know, I faced one medical challenge after the next, but the way that I have approached everything and how to get past it, that's what I'm hoping to convey to you and your listeners, that's what's really important to me. So I was diagnosed with this heart murmur at age 20 days. My first two open-heart surgeries were done by the world-famous heart surgeon, Denton Cooley out of Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. My mother was pregnant with my younger brother, and she had just had my younger brother when I had to have this emergency heart surgery. So my mom had to leave her newborn baby with a neighbor and her and my dad had to fly me out to Houston, Texas, and they did not know very many people, it was a very scary time. They didn't know if I was even going to survive.

Anna Jaworski:   4:14
Yeah,

Navin Kumar:   4:15
So again, I had that first heart surgery, and unfortunately, I did not recover well, and they were really worried. I was a very quiet baby, probably in a lot of pain throughout those first few years of my life, so I wasn't recovering. So a resident doctor wound up suggesting to Denton, Cooley why don't we reopen Navin back up and let's look at his mitral valve. And sure enough, they did open-heart surgery number two, in August of 1977, and they found a membrane covering my mitral valve heart defect, along with a hole in my heart. So they were able to repair both, and after that second heart surgery, they could not shut me up. I was literally

Anna Jaworski:   4:57
(laughter)

Navin Kumar:   4:58
a new kid. I was a happy boy, and that's important because my name if you look up my name, Navin Kumar in Sanskrit in India, means New Prince. Navin means 'new,' Kumar means 'prince,' and after that second heart surgery, I was literally a new person. A new prince. The name is very fitting.

Anna Jaworski:   5:18
Wow. Well, I have some friends who have children with Shone's Complex, and it's a variant of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. So it's a miracle you lived to 20 days of age before they discovered you had a heart murmur.

Navin Kumar:   5:35
Absolutely, very, very lucky.

Anna Jaworski:   5:37
Yeah, so a lot of my friends whose children were born with Shone's Complex, or Shone's Syndrome were born after you were born, and they had what was called a Blalock-Taussig shunt. Do you know what your first surgery was?

Navin Kumar:   5:53
Yes, they did not have any of that stuff back when I had because when I had it, this was the 1970s.

Anna Jaworski:   5:59
right.

Navin Kumar:   6:00
And again, that was a miracle. I even survived those structures. But what Dennton Cooley had done was... it was unusual, again with Shone's syndrome, true Shone's Syndrome, there's there-there are different variants of that. But what I had was the full Shone's Syndrome. So that again, that's multiple left heart abnormalities. So they knew they were not going to be able to address the full Shone's Syndrome and address my full heart issues with just one heart surgery. 

Anna Jaworski:   6:23
Right.  

Navin Kumar:   6:23
They knew they'd have to break it up over several heart surgeries throughout my life. So the first heart surgery was targeted at my aortic valves and being able to relieve the pressure, because there was severe aortic stenosis and the aortic regurgitation. I was born with a Bicuspid Aortic Valve, meaning two leaflets instead of three leaflets. To be able to save my heart valves, and not have to replace it, he made an incision along the aortic valve, both the leaflets and basically cut it. So that way it would relieve the pressure, and that would last me a good chunk of my life before I needed to have that valve replaced, which I'll explain shortly.  

Anna Jaworski:   7:04
Okay.  

Navin Kumar:   7:05
My third heart surgery was in 1982. That was to repair my Coarctation. That was one of my heart defects, and that's one of the ones is typical of Shone's Syndrome, having Coarctation of the Aorta. So that was repaired in 1982, then open-heart surgery. Number four happened after my freshman year of college. I had this done at Georgetown University Hospital, where at that time they looked at my aortic valve and they tried to save it, but they cannot save that valve, my natural valve. So they went ahead and replaced it with a mechanical St. Jude's Aortic Valve. So in an answer to your question, my heart's partially mechanical, and the mechanical components are made of carbon fiber, which is what the table tennis blades you were mentioning. It's what some of those are made of as well.

Anna Jaworski:   7:52
Okay, so your mechanical heart is mostly the heart valve, that's what you're talking about, not the actual heart structure, but just a heart valve.

Navin Kumar:   8:02
No, it's actually -well I'll explain that second too. That I had only gotten a ...

Anna Jaworski:   8:08
(laughter) you are so complicated

Navin Kumar:   8:11
Doctors love me.

Anna Jaworski:   8:12
I can imagine!

Navin Kumar:   8:13
It always makes for good conversations. So that was heart surgery number four.

Anna Jaworski:   8:17
Okay,

Navin Kumar:   8:18
Number five happened nine days after the 9/11 attacks. Over time there is a correlation between bicuspid valves and developing aortic aneurysms...  

Anna Jaworski:   8:28
Yes

Navin Kumar:   8:28
...later on in life. So I wound up having an aortic aneurysm in the ascending aorta just inferior to the arch, but also encompassing my aortic root, where the heart connects to the aorta. That aortic valve and that immediate portion of the aorta, where it meets the aortic valve, all that area was impacted by this aneurysm. So the doctors had to remove my old mechanical aortic valve. They had to remove the entire ascending aorta, just below the arch, and replace that with what they call a composite graft, which is, a St. Jude's Mechanical Aortic Valve, connected to a Dacron tube. So in an answer to your question. Yes, my aortic valve is mechanical, but it's not the only portion of my heart that's artificial. The entire ascending aorta is artificial because it's made of Dacron.  

Anna Jaworski:   9:23
Wow,  

Navin Kumar:   9:27
They wound up replacing the aorta and everything early on. They wanted to make sure it didn't get worse than it was because already my aneurysm and expanded to the point where it could have burst and then that would've been instantaneous death. 

Anna Jaworski:   9:40
right. 

Navin Kumar:   9:41
Dr. Duke Cameron at Johns Hopkins Hospital did my fifth open heart surgery because of the complexity of my surgery. The more heart surgeries that a patient has, makes your anatomy unpredictable in terms of scar tissue. See, that scar tissue shifts everything around. So, when I encounter open-heart surgery number five, my heart wasn't where it would have normally be located. My heart was actually shifted over so that a portion of my heart was just below my sternum bone. And that sternum bone is where the doctors -they saw it- and break it open, so that way they could do open-heart surgery. So if your heart muscle is just below that sternum bone, then guess what? there's a risk of, when you saw the bone, you might nick the heart and kill me. Unfortunately,  

Navin Kumar:   10:28
yeah,  

Navin Kumar:   10:29
So, fortunately, Dr. Duke Cameron, he was a lot more experienced with the crazier cases like myself. So that was a huge impact in terms of me being able to survive this surgery. So with this fifth open-heart surgery, they replaced my aortic valve and ascending aorta with a St. Jude's composite graft and I've been doing great ever since. As I will explain shortly, during this heart surgery, I may have experienced a stroke, but on the micro-level. When I had my fifth open-heart surgery, it's believed that that might have contributed greatly towards me acquiring Parkinson's disease, due to the fact that I experienced a micro-level stroke which damaged the dopamine-producing areas of my brain. It may have contributed towards my Parkinson's, not saying that this would happen to everybody, but it was one of those flukes that happened to me and likely contributed towards me eventually getting Parkinson's later on in my life.

Anna Jaworski:   11:34
That was going to be my next question. I mean, here you are this amazing table tennis player and yet you have Parkinson's. But it was early-onset, which now that you explained all of the open heart surgeries you've had, it's not surprising that you might have had a TIA, or some kind of cerebrovascular accident because you're on a heart-lung machine so much, and those operations were so complicated, it really isn't surprising when something happens. I think it's more surprising if nothing happens, but when was it discovered that you actually did have Parkinson's?

Navin Kumar:   12:10
It was confirmed, for sure, that I had Parkinson's seven years ago when I saw a neurologist and they had done their diagnostic testing and they had put me on Parkinson's medication, which Ultimately, I responded favorably to, which was a definite sign that I had Parkinson's. Now terms of the Parkinson's, I'm the only one in my family that has it. It's not like it was genetic, and I had gotten from anybody in my family. It was just me that got this gift. And when I found out that I have Parkinson's, for many people, it's very difficult to cope with that because for many, it's the first time in their lives, most likely, that they've experienced something of that magnitude in terms of health issues. But in my case, because I was born with this heart condition, I've never really had a normal life. I mean, my normal is basically being in and out of hospitals my whole life, which by no means is that a bad thing. If anything, my heart surgeries have made me incredibly strong in the sense of being positive. Being able to see the good things and being able to appreciate people appreciate everyone than everything. It's the difficult times in life and how we choose to see things that shape and define us. And for me, getting Parkinson's, that was just another thing for me to conquer.

Heart to Heart with Michael Promo:   13:34
"Texas Heart Institute were offering us a mechanical heart and he said, "No, Dad, I've had enough. Give it to someone who's worthy." "My father promised me a golden dress to twirl in. He held my hand and asked me where I wanted to go." "Whatever strife or conflict that we experienced in our long career together was always healed by humor." Heart to Heart with Michael... please join us every Thursday at noon Eastern as we talk with people from around the world who have experienced those most difficult moments.

Content Disclaimer:   14:03
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The opinions expressed in the podcast are not those of Hearts Unite the Globe, but of the Hosts and Guests and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to congenital heart disease or bereavement.

Questions and Comments:   14:24
You are listening to Heart to Heart with Anna. If you have a question or comment that you would like addressed on our show, please send an email to Anna Jaworski at Anna@HearttoHeartwithAnna.com. That's Anna@HearttoHeartwithAnna.com. Now back to Heart to Heart with Anna.

Anna Jaworski:   14:44
Before the break, we learned about your heart history, which I had no idea it was so complicated. But in this segment, I really want us to talk about how your heart defect has affected your philosophy of life. I really, really enjoyed listening to you speak at the Mended Little Hearts CHD symposium in Milwaukee in July of 2019. What inspired me most was your positive outlook. Despite any trials, you just relayed even more trials to me here than I heard in Milwaukee. So why don't you talk to us about your philosophy of life?

Navin Kumar:   15:18
Thank you, Anna. This is actually probably the most important thing I'd like for the listeners to take away from this podcast is what I'm about to share right now. Here I am, I was faced with these difficult struggles with my heart, having all these heart surgeries, and the Parkinson's, and I could have very easily have given up. I could have become depressed. I could've done all sorts of crazy things, but it made me positive. I chose to see it as an opportunity to learn and to stay positive. So, being faced with the tough times in life has only made me stronger in the sense that you know, if life knocks me down, I'm gonna laugh and I'm gonna pick myself back up with a smile and I'm gonna keep fighting the fight.

Anna Jaworski:   16:03
I love that

Navin Kumar:   16:04
I refuse to give up.

Anna Jaworski:   16:05
I love that. Yes, you refuse to give up. And that was definitely the message that you conveyed in Milwaukee too, was that you knew hard times were going to be upon you, but you wanted to just go ahead and face those challenges head on.

Navin Kumar:   16:23
Face them head-on with a smile. That's probably the most important thing because, you know, even now with Coronavirus issues, the important thing is with whatever situation, whatever struggle that we all face as a species in life, we shouldn't panic. We're gonna be facing good times. We're gonna be facing difficult times. It's important that we face those times calmly and face those times with a positive attitude so that we can take the necessary steps to make our lives better and to hopefully solve those issues. And we may experience days like I face with Parkinson's. I have my bad days, where the Parkinson's might get the best of me, and for some people, they might feel like it's a day of failure. But even if I fail, I see failure as the true victory, and that goes back to my table tennis. I don't win all my matches, I'll get my butt kicked in certain matches, but I take every loss, every failure as a win. Because only in loss and failure can you really open up to the possibilities where okay, what are the lessons learned here? What can I learn from this failure to make me grow as a person? And then you grow as a result, and that fact that you grew that is the true victory within failure. So good and bad. In a sense, it's all an illusion. I see good and everything. Even within the bad, I can see the good. Yes, we're gonna be faced with these challenges, but how we choose to react to those challenges that is the key for our species to grow, to survive, and hopefully to make the world better for all of us, and that includes the Coronavirus.

Anna Jaworski:   18:11
Yeah, I agree. So for those listeners who are listening to this many years in the future, because this will be around as long as I keep paying my bills. Right now, we're recording this in April of 2020. And most of us are on lockdown in the United States because of the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, which became a pandemic and affected the entire world. So you're right, this has been a great challenge. But I think you are a testament to the broken face, great challenges and still overcome and even thrive. I think you're a prime example of somebody who has been able to thrive despite challenges. Do you think that your parents contributed to your philosophy of life? Did they do something to help you have this positive outlook?

Navin Kumar:   18:59
Absolutely. I mean, my parents have been with me through every step of my life. My mom was there by my side, my dad too, for every heart surgery. My mom would sleep on the floor. She would always be there by my side and just giving me -both my parents- giving me that love and support. I couldn't help but to be positive. I mean, I think the hardest thing for me was having to say goodbye to my parents before they wheeled me back to the operating room, and seeing my mother and father cry. That was probably the toughest thing I've ever faced in my life. But, ...

Anna Jaworski:   19:35
yeah,  

Navin Kumar:   19:35
I will never forget what I would tell them. I would always tell them, "Look, I'm gonna come back and going to fight this," And when I was on the operating table about to be put to sleep, I had that conversation with whatever higher beings out there. And I said, 'You know, if this is my time, I want to say thank you for what I've been blessed with all my life. But if it's all the same, I'd like to see my journey to its full end on if I can maybe help some people along the way,' and thanks to a lot of prayers from people worldwide, of all faiths, who have prayed for my survival, I'm truly grateful for that, and it's given me a unique outlook in terms of respecting all cultures, all religions, seeing the good in everything in everyone because that's very important. With any surgery that we have especially take, for example, open-heart surgery, you can have the best doctors, you can have the best technology, but when all is said and done, and they've worked their magic, they sew the patient back up. There's a period of time where they just kind of have to step back and-and just kind of wait and see how the patient responds. And it's during that time, where that period of what I call the period of uncertainty, that I believe is where the power of faith comes into play because at that point the doctors have been able to do whatever they can. But now they have to sit back and watch and wait and see how the patient reacts, whether their heartbeat comes back, whether it-it gets back into normal rhythm, you know all sorts of things. But I believe that's where the faith comes in and where you can only hope for the best. In terms of my parents, they both have helped me obtain this positivity that has helped me throughout my life. Also, I would say that having good friends, especially on social media with my Facebook, is my primary source there. I have found that all my friends there we feed off of each other, so while I inspire them, they in-turn inspire me because no matter what I do, they always give me good wishes, they always wish the best for me, and that gives me such strength. And that just goes to show the power of positivity that we're capable of doing so much

Anna Jaworski:   21:47
And the power of friendship, and it's so cool because I noticed that you were making an announcement on Facebook, that you were coming on this program with me and so many people came forward and wished you good luck, and said they can't wait to hear it. And how awesome is that? that you have so many people cheering for you from the onset.

Navin Kumar:   22:08
That has given me so much strength, Anna. It's hard for me to explain. Even when I first met you, Anna at the Mended Little Hearts National Conference, I gave the keynote speech last year. Even before that speech started, I had everybody on Facebook was basically wishing me all the best, and I had shared with them how that organization had helped my parents in my younger days, and thanks to the blessings of life, I call it, it was able to go full circle, and I was able to give back to that same organization and just express my gratitude for what they did for my parents. I mean, we don't get that opportunity too often to be able to thank the people. I wish I had had a chance to think Denton Cooley, but unfortunately, he had passed away a couple of years back. But at least I had the opportunity to thank this organization for everything they did for my parents.

HUG Store Promo:   23:00
Hi, my name is Jamie Alcroft and I just published my new book, The Tin Man Diaries. It's an amazing story of my sudden change of heart as I went through a heart and liver transplant. I can think of no better way to read The Tin Man Diaries than to cuddle up in your favorite Hearts, Unite the Globe sweatshirt and your favorite hot beverage of course in your Hearts Unite the Globe mug, both of which are available at the HUG Podcast Network online store or visit heartsunitetheglobe.org.

Baby Blue Sound Collective Promo:   23:36
Home. Tonight. Forever by the Baby Blue Sound Collective, I think what I love so much about this CD is that some of the songs were inspired by the patients. Many listeners will understand many of the different songs and what they've been inspired by. Our new album will be available on iTunes, Amazon.com, Spotify. I love the fact that the proceeds from this CD are actually going to help those with congenital heart defects. Enjoy the music. Home. Tonight. Forever.

HUG Message:   24:16
Heart to Heart with Anna is a presentation of Hearts Unite the Globe and is part of the HUG Podcast Network. Hearts Unite the Globe is a nonprofit organization devoted to providing resources to the congenital heart defect community to uplift, empower, and enrich the lives of our community members. If you would like access to free resources pertaining to the CHD community, please visit our website at wwwcongenitalheartdefects.com for information about 

Anna Jaworski:   24:50
Before the break, we were talking about Navin's philosophy of life, but in this segment, I want to look at how Navin's attitude has opened doors for him. Navin when did something dire happen to you that you met with a positive attitude and a smile on your face that then yielded something good happening to you?

Navin Kumar:   25:12
Anna, that's an excellent question you just asked. I would say that when I got diagnosed with Parkinson's disease at that point, I knew I needed an activity to kind of get my mind off things, and for me to be able to have good exercise. So I got back into table tennis, which was my hobby throughout my life. I wound up getting coaching from a national level coach, and then I got good enough fairly quickly that I wound up successfully getting into the U. S. Paralympic table tennis program to represent the USA for Table Tennis as history's first athlete to actively compete with Parkinson's on the Paralympic and Olympic levels. So it's lead that, and then that in-turn lead to me getting more motivational speaking opportunities, which then led to me having people in the Hollywood movie community following my story on Facebook, and that wound up leading me to start acting in movies and having those opportunities. So everything kind of cascaded upon itself, amazingly, and that goes to the point that I wanted to share, that what I do, I choose to do not for any fame or stardom, but to simply inspire the world to not let their struggles stop them from achieving their dreams in life and that it all starts with having a positive attitude.

Anna Jaworski:   26:46
Yeah. So who would have thought that you acquiring Parkinson's disease could lead to you having the greatest success of your life?

Navin Kumar:   26:56
Absolutely, and that's an excellent point you made, Anna because of the fact that Parkinson's normally ends athletic careers, and you have to keep in mind. I was not an athlete before I had gotten Parkinson's, I only became an athlete on the world level only after Parkinson's. That goes to show you that just because somebody gets diagnosed with Parkinson's for a lot of folks, they consider that the end of the world and what I hope to share with people is it doesn't have to be the end of the world. It's a choice that you must make. You can either see it has something bad or you can see it as something that you can work towards getting better and exceeding your expectations and dreams and being able to achieve them.

Anna Jaworski:   27:38
Yes, what I love is that you never stopped dreaming, Navin. You kept...  

Anna Jaworski:   27:43
never  

Anna Jaworski:   27:43
and you kept saying "yes," when people would ask you "well, do you want to do this?" You said, "Sure, I'll try it."

Navin Kumar:   27:50
Agreed, and I would also say that some of that is due to the fact that I don't view my heart issues and my Parkinson's disabilities. I don't feel disabled. I feel enabled because they have both given me strength. And when I look back, and honestly, I don't even feel like I have a congenital heart defect. I feel like I was just born with a different heart compared to most people. But is it truly a defect? I mean, yes, there are certain things that were the heart I was born with needed to be repaired, like having a hole in the heart and all that. But in a sense, I don't see it as a defect. I see it as what I was blessed with, and the doctors helped to make it even better. So when you see it that way, it just gives you strength. You take something that others were perceived as bad, you know, heart disease, oh, my God, and you see it as something that's a gift in a sense.

Anna Jaworski:   28:47
Right! You see it as a blessing. I feel exactly the way that you do. So many people would look at me and say, "Oh, how horrible her child has had multiple open-heart surgeries." I see it is a blessing that my son has survived those heart surgeries and is the strong man that he is, and is living the life that he is just like you are. So what kind of advice would you give to parents like me or kids like you, who might be born with, a heart defect and may even acquire additional problems, like you did with your Parkinson's, what kind of advice can you give them so that they can lead that same positive life you are?

Navin Kumar:   29:26
I would say the best advice I can give them is multiple. It's, take a deep breath. Then you have to stay calm, above all else, and then be proactive in managing your healthcare. You know, listen to your bodies. Do you feel like something is wrong? Go for your annual check-up with your doctor, or, if you need to go sooner, go sooner and just make sure that your bodies are okay, because it's very important that you be proactive and manage your health care because no one else was going to do it. You have to be able to do that yourself. And so again, being proactive in managing your healthcare, staying calm, and whatever happens in life, good or bad, face it calmly and face it with a positive attitude. You'll be surprised what you can accomplish when you do just those two things; staying calm and positive.

Anna Jaworski:   30:16
Yeah, I agree with you 100%. Well, what new projects do you have in the works?

Navin Kumar:   30:22
New projects for me, in terms of my movies, the first movie that I made my debut in, "Attack of the Unknown," starring Richard Grieco and directed by Brandon Slagle, that movie I'm happy to say, that that will be released, most likely the summer on streaming services and originally was supposed to release nationwide in theaters. But with the Coronavirus, I'm not sure about the theater aspect. But hopefully, that should be out this summer. I also got cast in a new movie called "Bloodthirst" that is directed by Massimiliano Cerchi, and it is produced by Sonny and Michael Mahal, who are well known in the movie community from Las Vegas. They also did my debut movie, they were the lead producers. And finally, I got cast in a five-part movie franchise where I will be reunited with Richard Grieco, who will be the main star and director, along with the story writer and lead producer Jennifer Ward Hall. That movie is called "The Aurora who told," and I can't share too much about that movie at this time, but this would play a very similar character to myself, who is a cross between Mr. Miyagi and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Anna Jaworski:   31:41
That sounds awesome

Navin Kumar:   31:41
So, something that Hollywood has not ever seen before. So this is something I'm very excited and it's a five-movie deal so it's something I'm really looking forward to.

Anna Jaworski:   31:50
And for those of you who are listening to this in the future, we are talking in April of 2020. So he's saying that the first movie, his debut movie, should come out in the summer of 2020. So if you're listening to this after that, you can certainly google the movie and find a way to listen to it. I can't wait to hear it. Well, thank you so much for coming on the program today, Navin. It has been a delight hearing your story and how you are inspiring the world.

Navin Kumar:   32:19
Thank you so much. If folks want to learn more about my story, they can either Google 'Bionic Table Tennis,' or they can read the articles that have been featured about me worldwide and some of my television features as well. Or they can Google 'Navin P Kumar,' which is my Hollywood name and my actual name, and they can see my IMDb Hollywood page where they can keep track of all of my latest movie projects.

Anna Jaworski:   32:49
And what I will do Navin, is I will get links to some of those pages that you just mentioned, and friends, I will have that in the show notes to make it easier for you. You can just click on those links in our show notes, how's that"

Navin Kumar:   33:03
That is perfect.

Anna Jaworski:   33:05
Great. Well, that's all for this week's episode. My Friends, if you enjoyed this episode of Heart to Heart with Anna, please take a moment and leave a review on podchaser.com. That's podchaser- p o d c h a s e r -.com and that is a directory of podcasts. In April 2020, they are making donations to Meals on Wheels for every review that is being left and any of the podcast hosts who respond to the review, they will make an extra donation. So, Heart to Heart with Anna is in that directory. Please leave a review and I will respond so Meals on Wheels Will get some donations from Podchaser. Thanks, my friends, and remember, you are not alone.

Closer:   33:52
Thank you again for joining us this week. We hope you have been inspired and empowered to become an advocate for the congenital heart defect community. Heart to Heart with Anna, with your Host, Anna Jaworski, can be heard every Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern Time.