Valiant Voice – a Column by Lara Govendo

Lara, 33, resides in Vermont (for now) as a wild, adventure enthusiast who holds a master’s degree in mental health counseling. She writes about living out loud and develops educational programs to restore hope to those in need. Thanks to her double-lung transplant in 2017 due to cystic fibrosis, you can now find Lara traveling on the regular, exploring the glorious outdoors, and belly laughing with her loves. She’s passionate about connecting with like-minded people, so join her at and on social media (“Lungs4Lovey”) while she flies by the seat of her (no) pants.

How Others Showed Me Love on My Darkest Days

I’ve witnessed the greatest acts of love at my sickest. Whenever I reflect on how love has shone through on my darkest days, my misty eyes reveal how much someone has touched my life forever. Sept. 30 is National Love People Day. It’s a timely reminder to love others;…

Finding Balance in Life When Managing Multiple Health Conditions

If I were to describe all of the health conditions I have, I’d need more column space. Each aspect of my health entails a unique story that requires explanation to understand the complexities. It’s challenging to balance all of the coexisting health conditions while maintaining my sanity. At an appointment with the pulmonologist last week,…

Learning to Walk Alongside Grief

I sat with this heavy feeling for years without knowing its name. Throughout my turbulent health journey, a deep sadness would often wash over me. I didn’t understand why, as there wasn’t a precipitating event. But I knew I had to dive into it in order to understand what was…

The Benefits of Being Sick

Prior to my double-lung transplant three years ago, becoming deathly sick allotted me time to slow down. I shifted my perspective to what I could do during this time. I focused my energy on what I could learn because I knew this season of opportunity wouldn’t last forever. The…

Let’s Talk About the Invisible Battle of Mental Health

I wonder what it would look like if our mental health struggles were visible to the outside world. Most of the time, they aren’t. In school, we weren’t taught how to manage our mental health. There was no subject about being healthy mentally or emotionally. Western medicine has led those…

Featured Column

Don’t Overlook Emotional Wellness When Dealing With Chronic Illness

A banner for Lara's column, depicting a car on a road trip winding through a forest.
Living with a chronic illness can affect emotional wellness, writes columnist Lara Govendo, who offers up some ideas for managing both.

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