Cardiovascular Chronicles. Giving Thanks: Second Life Management and Surviving the Waves of Life

378360_389453251067026_1036046751_n

Healthy Hearts is an advocacy and support group with the objective of promoting healthy hearts. It focuses in healthy life styles, heart diseases prevention and treatment, CPR/AED training, AED donations and resources to have healthy hearts.

Second Life Management: Surviving the Waves of Life

I have a lot to thanks today. I am managing my “second life” and surviving the waves of life. On 2007 I had a Sudden Cardiac Arrest during a Boy Scouts Summer Camp. I was saved by Scouters who did CPR for 45 minutes and by emergency responders who shocked me several times with an AED. Our Boy Scouts remained calm helping in guiding an ambulance to our campsite and praying for my health. My wife, who was in a summer camp for her first time, was calm and praying for my life. I survived thanks to God, prayers, and prompt actions by people around me who helped to have a miraculous recovery. I thank all of you today and everyday for keeping me alive. Read my survivor story here.

Every morning when I see my heart surgery chest scarf in the mirror I give thanks to God and remind myself about the new mission He gave me by keeping me alive. It is my responsibility to share this story, to educate others about healthy lifestyles, and most important to provide my tips for “Second Life Management” with the hope you will use them, not only in your second life, if  this is your case, but also in your “First Life”. I have already lost several close friends to heart disease and I want to warn you about healthy lifestyles that you already know. I am sorry I have to insist. These easy tips are practical and it can be implemented right away.

God gave me a second chance to survive the waves of my first life. I am sharing these best practices and tips to help you to survive your waves of life. If you are living your “second life”, you are a survivor and I want you to use your second chance wisely. If you are still living your “first life” then you have the opportunity of using these tips as a warning to reduce your risks.

Living a Second Life means more than your health and personal life. When something happen to you and you have to make a decision, your are going to impact the lives of many people around you. Your family and friends are going to feel the influence of your decisions. When you lose a family member or close friend, when you loss a job, when you move from a city or country to another,  when you change careers, or when you change relationships, you are going to make decisions that make you start a new life, a second life. It is time to drop your anchor and evaluate your options. If you are an adult, it is possible that you have spouse and children. Your “second life” decisions are going to affect them too. Managing the waves of life is going to be instrumental in helping you making the best decisions. In any case, a “second life” decision, voluntary or involuntary, is going to make you go back to a starting point. It is time to start all over again. It is time to give thanks for your past experiences, adjust your sails, and go underway again. You do not have time for lamenting and “why this is happening to me” thoughts. It is time to keep moving.

The following are five best practices that I have used in Second Life Management. They are not only related to health, but also to professional, family, personal, and cultural practices. I believe that these practices are useful for your “first life” too.

1. Give thanks every day. Every morning when I see my scarf in the mirror I give thanks to God for giving a second chance to live. I thank Him for being my lighthouse. He guides me in the valleys and peaks of life. When I loss a relative or friend, I give thanks for the time we were together and I ask for the life lessons that the missing person is teaching us. When a door is closed, we give thanks for the time, the experience, and the memories. They are part or our past like wakes at sea. I have friends who give thanks because they can walk, they can see, they returned from war, they survived cancer, they have a job, a house, family, friends, and more. Thanksgiving is not just a day, it should be a daily practice.

God provides the lighthouse to guide us. We should have a vision to find this lighthouse. We should adjust our sails to go with the wind or against the wind to find the right way to accomplish our goals surviving the waves of life. We should use the lighthouse for guidance to reach to a safe port. A “second life” normally starts when we leave a port and sail to another port. In our journey we have to deal with uncertainty, ambiguity, and unknown waters. It takes time to settle down into our new life.

Give thanks for who you are, what you know and do, and what you have. There is a reason to be who you are. You have a purpose in life and your mission is to find out what it is. Sometimes, although you are in the bottom part of your life wave, you have to give thanks and see the positive side of your life. You have strengths that you have develop surviving the waves of life. These strengths are going to be vital in your new life. Give thanks for the “positive” will reduce your stress and it will clear your mind to think about new opportunities. I changed careers several times in the middle of storms when I was able to assess new opportunities without complaining about the present.

2. Follow your personal vision. Row your own canoe in the direction of your dreams, your vision. You have to know where you are going in life. Find out who you want to be, what you want to know and do, what you want to have, when are you going to accomplish it, where you want to live, and how are you going to help others. Remember that the more you give, the more you receive. Include giving, time, talents, or treasure, in your personal plans. Focus on your vision and row your own canoe in the direction of your vision.Your beliefs, values, and priorities will help you find the proper vision.

I changed the metaphor because sailing is a collective effort. You adjust your sails of life using the wind provided by God and the infrastructure and support from your family members. Rowing your own canoe implies that you use your individual strength as the force that make you paddle and move yourself. You have to row with your own body, mind, and spirit in the right direction. Then, you can sail with others and survive the waves of life, especially if you are living your “second life”. God provides direction and the wind, you provide your strength and example to others.

Write down your personal, family, and professional vision. Ready it every day and remember, it is yours. You do your part. He will do His.

3. Climb your own mountain. Now it is time to add another metaphor. Once you have a clear vision and you see your self at the end, you have to establish your S.M.A.R.T. goals. Write down each goal that will take you to your vision. Test them to be sure they are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely). If they fail any of these tests, then you need to keep narrowing them until you feel they are right. Reaching your goals is like climbing a mountain. You make an action plan to accomplish your goals. You start climbing and overcoming obstacles. You struggle to reach the top until you finally make it. You arrive to the top of your mountain and then…what? Nothing. You accomplished your goal, you celebrate and then…watch your next mountain. It is time to enjoy the moment, enjoy the view and keep moving. You have to go down. Like waves at sea, life is about valleys and peaks. You cannot reach your next mountain without going down. You cannot be in two places at the same time. You have to go down, walk in the valley, and climb your next mountain, your next goal, your next vision. This gives you time to think, to readjust, to renew yourself. Enjoy the valleys and peaks, they are also the waves of life.

Share your goals with your spouse, family, children, partners, friends and coworkers. When your share your goals, people around you know where are you going. This is the reason you need the next tip.

4. Get a support group. You are not alone surviving the waves of life. You are part of several teams. You may have spouse, partners, children, relatives, friends, coworkers, classmates, and neighbors around you. They are rowing their own canoes, climbing their own mountains, and adjusting their own sails. They are part of your world and you are part of their worlds. They can be part of your support group. Share your goals with them and you will find different reactions.

Some of your close group will attempt to discourage you. Their way of thinking will resist to your new ideas. They will be barriers to overcome. They will give you new strengths to solidify your arguments or valuable feedback to make adjustments. Others will play your game and will encourage to pursue your dreams. Both groups are important as they provide additional valuable feedback to assess and validate your decisions. At the end, remember that you are the owner of your decisions and slave of the consequences. You can get advice from others, but the final decision is all yours.

Surround yourself with positive people who are going to lift you. if you find people who put you down, evaluate their thoughts, apply what is useful, and try to make them change their views with positive thoughts. Find at least five people who are pursuing similar goals. Support each other and check them from time to time. Encourage them to accomplish their goals. They will do the same for you. They will help you to overcome your obstacles and your feedback will help them to overcome their obstacles. Remember that you are not along on this journey. “Together Everyone Achieve More” (T.E.A.M). You are part of a successful team. Synergy is the keyword here. Celebrate all accomplishments with your support group and with your detractors. They also need to know that you had success. You need to inspire them to follow your example. My wife and children are my best support group.

When I see a friend with bad eating and health habits, I am very direct about my feedback to them. I encourage them to change habits. Some  of them will follow but others still need my next tip.

5. Embrace change. Be prepared to adjust your sails unexpectedly.  The only constant in life is change. Like waves at sea we all live our waves of life. When we are in the bottom part of our wave, not matter how bad you feel, due to a family loss, job loss, or any other critical event, you always are going to go up. Life is a wave in cyclical ups and downs. You have to believe that something good is going to happen to you. Look at your past, analyze your previous waves and believe. When a door is close, God always open a window. You will find an opportunity window to change, adjust your sails, and keep going. Waves are going to bring you up.

At the same time, you have to be careful when you are in the top of a wave. Do not let ego or greedy actions controlling you life. Be prepared to go down too. Be prepared for emergencies, health issues, downsizing, natural disasters, and other unexpected events. Have savings, continuity plans, emergency plans, insurance, backup your memories, hard drives, and important documents. Share important information with people you trust. Be prepared to stop. One day, no matter what you do, you will stop and others will take care of your legacy. Planning is key. We all are going to reach a finish line. Everything is going to change for others after your last wave of life.

These “second life” practices have been helping me survive my first and second waves of life. I always remind myself that we are not alone. We all have God who is guiding us. We are part of a family who love each other. We are part of several teams who help each other. We give our best to others as servants.  We should give thanks today and everyday. Life is a continuous learning adventure where we are enjoying changes and the waves of life.

On Thanksgiving Day…Thank you all.

Jose G. Lepervanche, PhD


Dr. Jose G. Lepervanche is a professor of management, information systems, & technology. He is a BSA National Distinguished Scoutmaster and a sudden cardiac arrest & CPR survivor. He regularly writes and speaks about life management, emerging technologies, Scouting and healthy hearts. Follow him in LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter (@DrLepervanche & @ScoutmasterJose).

Advertisements

Cardiovascular Chronicles. #CardiacScience provided two AEDs to #Troop182Jax and Holy Spirit Catholic Church in 2010

#CardiovascularChronicles. #CardiacScience provided two AEDs to #Troop182Jax and Holy Spirit Catholic Church in 2010. Two Of our Scouts won a video contest for #BSA National Scout Jamboree that were awarded during CPR outdoors class. Mike attended Troop 182 Court of Honor to present the AEDs. They are in Gym entrance and Church bride room. You better know where AEDs are installed. You can save a life. 

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6380265154281500672

Screen Shot 2018-03-16 at 12.24.23 AM

Sep 2010. Troop 182 Court of Honor. Presentation of Cardiac Science AEDs to Troop 182 and Holy Spirit Catholic Church. Mike Castleman from Cardiac Science, Eagle Scout Eric Matthews, Life Scout Matthew Tyrrell, winners of AED video contest, Jack Sears Jr., Scout Executive/CEO North Florida Council, Catherine Weide, Charter organization representative, Kevin Newman, Troop 182 Committee Chair, Jose Lepervanche, Troop 182 Scoutmaster. — with Eric John MathewsJack L. Sears Jr.Catherine Bergmeier WeideKevin Newman and Jose G. Lepervanche Valencia.

More photos of Troop 182 2010 Court of Honor

Cardiovascular Chronicles. 2011 Gate River Run with two Eagle Scouts

Screen Shot 2018-03-10 at 12.37.00 PM

#CardiovascularChronicles. 2011 Gate River Run. I was wearing #AHA American Heart Association Survivor’s Hat. Two Eagle Scouts flying faster than me. 🙂 I improved my PR but was cautious to avoid high heart beats. Keep running and stay healthy. #HealthyHeartsNews

Cardiovascular Chronicles. ICD shocks during 2012 Gate River Run.

 

Screen Shot 2018-03-10 at 11.58.08 AM
Dr. Jose G. Lepervanche after finishing 2012 Gate River Run.

#CardiovascularChronicles. I ran the Gate River Run on 2010, 2011, and 2012 breaking my own paced PR each time. On 2012 wearing a Sportline watch, heart beats were too high after crossing Heart Bridge. ICD shocked me near the stadium. I slowed down to cross the finish line and it shocked me again. “Lessons from my mended heart” are tough. Living the “second life opportunity” is a challenge. Stay healthy. Take care of your heart. #HealthyHeartsNews

2012-JL-River-Run-204x300
Rainsing awareness about the importance of CPR/AED training. I have worked with the American Heart Association in its efforts to make CPR training part of high school graduation requirements.

How a Solar Eclipse Damaged my Eye | #SolarEclipse1969

Screen Shot 2017-08-19 at 10.50.29 AM

#SolarEclipse2017 #SolarEclipse1969. Be careful while watching 2017 Great American Eclipse. I have a burned area in my left eye thanks to 1969 partial solar eclipse in Venezuela. It almost prevented my admission to the Venezuelan Naval Academy. Damage created a magnify glass effect that did not help me in shooting sports and practices (being left handed it is my dominant eye). My eye has been studied and observed in detail by ophthalmologists to see the permanent damage. They always told me how close I was to be permanent blind.
 
I watched the eclipse directly into the sun for a couple of seconds using my hand as binocular. Yes, I saw it but the consequences were forever. We are owners of our decisions but slaves of the consequences. When I focus on a specific line with my left eye, I can see the blurry spot that I have seen for the last 47 years.
 
If you are planning to have this unique solar eclipse experience, please follow all recommendations about approved glasses. I will use the “box” I should have used in 1969.
 
See the path of 1969 solar eclipse. Venezuela was in the partial solar eclipse area and only a small area of the moon was covering the sun. It was enough to damage my eye.
 
Please read this report about Lou Tomososki who damaged his eyes in 1962 solar eclipse.
@DrLepervanche
@ScoutmasterJose
 
////////// Spanish / Español ///////////
 
#SolarEclipse2017 #SolarEclipse1969. Tenga cuidado al ver 2017 Great American Eclipse. Tengo un área quemada en mi ojo izquierdo gracias al eclipse solar parcial de 1969 en Venezuela. Casi impidió mi ingreso a la Escuela Naval de Venezuela. El daño creó un efecto de lupa que no me ayudó en los deportes de tiro y las prácticas (siendo zurdo es mi ojo dominante). Mi ojo ha sido estudiado y observado en detalle por oftalmólogos para ver el daño permanente y siempre se me dijo lo cerca que habia estado de ser ciego permanente.
 
Miré el eclipse directamente al sol durante un par de segundos usando mi mano como binocular. Sí, lo vi pero las consecuencias fueron para siempre. Somos dueños de nuestras decisiones pero esclavos de las consecuencias. Cuando me concentro en una línea específica con mi ojo izquierdo, puedo ver el punto borroso que he visto en los últimos 47 años.
 
Si planea experimentar este eclipse solar, siga todas las recomendaciones sobre lentes aprobados. Nosotros usaremos la “caja” que debería haber utilizado en 1969.
 
Vea el eclipse solar de 1969. Venezuela estaba en el área de eclipse solar parcial y sólo una pequeña área de la luna estaba cubriendo el sol. Fue suficiente para dañar mi ojo.
 
Por favor, lea este informe acerca de Lou Tomososki que dañó sus ojos en el eclipse solar de 1962.
@DrLepervanche
@ScoutmasterJose

Dr. Jose Lepervanche – Heart 2007

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 4.21.32 PM.png

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survivor’s Stories, Articles, and Videos | Dr. Jose G. Lepervanche

 

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association

Jose Lepervanche
Age: 53
Save Date: 07/01/2007
Activity: Camping

kofcdinner07sm

July 1st, 2007 was a typical opening day at Woodruff Scout Reservation near Blairsville, Georgia. More than 900 scouts and 100 leaders were arriving to start a summer week full of fun activities. As Scoutmaster of Troop 182 in Jacksonville, Florida, I was proud to be part of 25 scouts and 8 adults going to camp. We had spent a couple of months planning this week and the boys were excited about this trip. For the first time in my adult Scouting time, my wife Flor was coming to a summer camp. I convinced her that spiders were not going to enter our tent thanks to our mosquito net.

I am sharing this personal story based on a recollection of testimonies from my wife, sons, scouts, and other adults. As you will read in the next paragraphs, I was not able to remember any of the events that happened that day. I lost seven days of my memory but the outcome of this story has allowed me to say that I am a double-blessed Scoutmaster.

Our troop arrived to camp and we were assigned to campsite 17 at the top of a hill. In the afternoon, my wife and I decided to attend a Catholic Mass with most of our scouts. We received communion in the middle of the rain in front of a beautiful lake. We saw the clouds and the upcoming storm but I never imagined that I was going to be in the middle of another storm that would almost take my life! After mass I felt blessed to start our week and we decided to attend the Protestant service too. Troop 182 is chartered by Holy Spirit Catholic Church and our troop also has Christian non-catholic scouts. Some of the adults decided to attend this service with our scouts. At the end of this service I told the others: I am double-blessed. I did not realize that this comment was going to be vital to save my life!

After a great opening campfire organized by the Woodruff staff, we walked up the hill to our campsite. I told my wife that I was going to walk faster to talk to the boys in the campsite pavilion. When I arrived, I was talking to them in front of a table when suddenly.. I collapsed over a plastic box that was over the table! At the first moment, they thought that I was joking. My wife approached me, saw my eyes and started to yell: He is not acting. Immediately my son Life Scout Alejandro Lepervanche jumped to see me and asked for help. Some of our adults lowered me to the floor and started CPR when they noticed that I had no pulse and was not breathing. I had a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

A SCA usually causes death if not treated in minutes. For this reason, five of our scout leaders, Kevin Newman, Coleen Harris, Phyllis Saxon, Mark Tolleson, and Brian Buchanan applied CPR for 45 minutes while waiting for the ambulance. After approximately 10 minutes, the camp Emergency Medical Technician Brian Hendrick arrived with an automated external defibrillator (AED) and they applied 5 shocks to my heart. I certainly believe that their continuous action, prayers, and the double-blessing of God helped me to be alive during those critical minutes. Our Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) Life Scout Scott Fleischmann and his youth leadership scouts directed the older boys to spread out in the road with flashlights to guide the ambulance to campsite 17. Others kept the younger scouts calm.

All the scouts lead by our SPL had gathered united under one of the campsites tarps to calm each other and to pray. While the adults were doing CPR my wife Flor was praying loudly laying her hands over me. One of the parents commented: She was calm all the time praying in Spanish while another parent, Hans Guerrero, was comforting her. Another parent said: God was there and I believe that. According to the Heart, Blood and Lung Institute, less than 5% of people with a SCA survive and I was one of the survivors!

I was taken in a rescue unit to the Union General Hospital in Blairsville by a team lead by Lt. Steven Tanner from the Union County Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Later, due to the nature of my illness, it was decided to transfer me to the Ronnie Greene Heart Center at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, Georgia. Two of the parents took my wife and son to the hospital to wait for the outcome. At the Heart Centers Intensive Care Unit (ICU) they applied a new technique called hypothermia. In a rare coincidence, the Newsweek magazine edition of that week had a cover and article that described a similar case to mine where the same hypothermia technique was used. This article mentioned that this technique is performed in only 225 hospitals, out of more than 5,700 in the US. By lowering my temperature, doctors increased the chance of a full recovery and protected me against brain damage after my heart stoppage.
Back in camp, adults and scouts gathered to discuss what had happened. They were counseled and given the opportunity to express their feelings. They decided to continue as a united troop with the planned week. My son Alejandro, after seen that I was alive and reacting positively to treatment, decided to go back to camp and continue with his Venture Base program. I think that his return was a good sign for the rest of the scouts who kept working on their Merit Badges and other camp requirements.

Two days after my SCA, I recovered consciousness and requested to go back to camp to be with the scouts. Some people said that I reacted too fast. Others called a miracle. I was full of tubes, needles and other gadgets and my wife told be to be quiet and reminded me: A Scout is obedient and I replied with the Scout sign. At the end of that week, doctors decided to do a catheter procedure and a quadruple by-pass. At the same time, our Troop 182 scouts finished their week winning not only the Honor Award, but also the Scouting Traditions Award, given to only three troops, the Ranger Award, and the Duty to God Award. They accomplished more that I was expecting. They also attended daily church services praying the Holy Rosary lead by our troop Chaplain Aide Star Scout Matthew Goller asking for my health. All these prayers and awards were very useful to accelerate my recovery. I wanted to be with them and enjoy their moment. I really was proud of all the scouts and adults that were all united as a troop and kept the Scouting spirit alive during my time at the hospital!

During the closing campfire, Eagle Scout Luther Beebe presented a caricature of me in a wooden plaque to my son Alejandro. It was a touching moment. Later, our cousin Scout Alejandro Perez-Gonzalez brought the plaque to my ICU room and my picture doing the Scout sign with him and the plaque was the first activity that I remembered of all my ordeal of the previous days. I recovered my memory at this moment! I also started to draw cartoons about doctors and nurses. After twelve days in the hospital and a new permanent implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) in my chest, our son Daniel Lepervanche, who had gone from to the hospital a day after my SCA, drove us home to Jacksonville, Florida. During those days in the ICU and the regular room, I was grateful and enthusiastic about the new opportunity that God is given me to continue in this world. I know that we are blessed by God when we use the talents that he has given to us to help others. I also believe that we are double-blessed when others love us in an unconditional way. All the love, family, friendship, messages, flowers, cards, balloons, and prayers have showed to me that being double-blessed implies a great responsibility. Now I have to understand the mission that God has given to me, and expand my lessons and love beyond those who love me. Every time I touch the ICD in my chest I thank God and I remind myself of this new responsibility.

After twenty six days I returned briefly to our troop meeting to give thanks to all of the scouts and adults who attended Summer Camp, and to the entire troop who kept me in their prayers. One of the parents, Melissa Goller, kept all the parents informed by e-mail. I used the Scoutmaster minute to tell that in the same way that captains are tested during a storm and leaders are tested in a crisis, real scouts are tested during an emergency. This is the true reason about Be Prepared. We have to be prepared to handle any emergency. I told them the importance of being reverent to God, that trained adults in CPR skills were vital to save my life, that their Emergency Preparedness skills where useful to keep them calm and to help them in making the right decisions. I was also able to attend my first public event in a Knights of Columbus dinner where they gave a plaque to my son Alejandro as Outstanding Catholic Scout (picture attached).

One week later I was able to attend our Committee Meeting where I talked about this experience and the lessons. I thanked them again and used the Scoutmaster minute to share three lessons: First, we must have faith. As Scouts we have our duty to God and He has given his promises to be healthy, happy, and wealthy if we obey Him and help others. Second, use the healing power of humor. During my days in ICU I had to laugh and cough to improve my respiration, I drew cartoons, and visited other patients in their rooms. Humor was definitely, the best medicine. Third, during hard times, surround yourself of positive people. Optimism and pessimism are contagious. Optimist people will cheer you up. This is also a way to help others. During my days at the hospital I used to walk around talking to people and also requesting Chaplains to visit other patients. I believe that chaplains, priests, family and good friends were instrumental in what they call a miracle from God. These lessons accelerated my recovery and my return to our troop and normal life.
One month after that July 1st, 2007, I went back to my Scouting activities. I am sure that the impact of that day will last forever in the memories of our family and friends, our Troop 182 scouts and adults, more than 900 scouts who attended Woodruff and all the people who know this story. I am a new soldier in this daily fight against heart diseases. I am supporting a crusade to duplicate the number of AEDs in Boy Scout camps and to make mandatory CPR training in all Scout leaders and older Scouts. My intention is to write, speak out and increase awareness about the importance of faith, prayers, fellowship, emergency preparedness, CPR, AED, ICD, health, exercises and goodwill to others.

I am a SCA survivor by the grace of God and I am sure that after thinking about these lessons you will feel that you are double-blessed too.

Spanish version

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 4.27.18 PM

STORIES FROM THE HEART: Longtime Boy Scout leader no longer taking chances with his health. American Heart Association.

2014. http://www.notey.com/blogs/jose-lepervanche

 

2012 PechaKucha 20 Jacksonville. 

2008. American Heart Association 2008 Annual Reportahareport2007coverahareport2007pag1011-1024x667