Last month I introduced my dad, Dr. Paul Gersper, with his first guest post about surviving a heart attack and getting a second chance at life. In this post, he shares how he’s dedicating that second chance to helping other heart patients and the wider community, too. Although he’ll be turning 80-years old next month, my dad is a man on a mission. He wants to share what life has taught him so that others can live more meaningful, successful, and happy lives for themselves. I am so proud to share his inspiring message with you. So, here’s my dad!
On 07/13/16 I authored a post entitled: “A Second Chance”, about surviving and recovering from a heart attack against the odds, and how the experience completely changed my life. Following my return from the brink of death, I felt a strong calling to do more to be of service in our beautiful world. So, here in this sequel post I focus on my contributions to: other people with heart problems; community service; improving society; and, especially, improving our nation and its posterity.
Helping Other Heart Patients
My recovery period lasted two years; and during this time I decided to make use of my scientific research background, and my long-time interest in making the world a better place, to use my recovery experiences to help others who had heart problems. Thus, I kept very detailed records during my recovery; which I turned over to the education department of the hospital at the end of the two years. To recover from the trauma to my body, caused by my heart attack, and to strengthen my heart, I religiously followed the advice and guidance from my cardiologist and advice nurse. This entailed: ridding myself of all harmful habits, such as smoking; walking aerobically, while avoiding distractions (from people, listening devices, etc), and focusing on my heart (visualizing it and mentally inducing it to get stronger and healthier); following a heart-healthy diet; getting 8- to 9-hours of sleep every night; and following a self-improvement educational program.
I have generally continued these practices up to now, and it has definitely been working. For example, it was discovered 6-years ago that my heart, on its own, grew three by-pass arteries. It has now been 19 years since my heart attack, and I consider myself healthy and well. I also participated in, and contributed to, all of the educational courses which the department offered. Additionally, I participated in a chapter of the Mended Hearts organization, where I was active in its visitation program – visiting heart patients in local hospitals, to share my experiences with them, and to give them encouragement and confidence to overcome their affliction.
So, to sum up, information I passed on to these heart patients, included these key tenets:
(1) Carefully follow instructions and advice of your doctors, nurses and therapists.
(2) Love and respect your spouse and children more than you ever did before.
(3) Educate yourself as much as possible.
(4) Get rid of all unhealthy and dangerous habits.
(5) Religiously follow a healthy and heart strengthening diet and exercise program (to include aerobic walking).
(6) Never feel sorry for yourself but, rather, willingly put your previous life behind you and accept the new you.
(7) Do not fear death.
Helping the Wider Community
As I wrote in my 7/13/16 post: “I have always lived according to Winston Churchill’s adage: ‘You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.’” “Making a life by what you give,” was brought into sharper focus for me when I realized just how rare my second chance was (the survival rate of people who had my kind of heart attack was only 3%). This revelation resulted in my enhanced commitment to giving as much of myself as I could for the remainder of my life.
It was an easy decision to use my second chance to: provide service to the disadvantaged and needy members of our communities, and work toward improving our great nation and, especially, it’s posterity. I have committed myself to telling the truth about conditions of the earth, in the world, and, especially, in our country; in offering advice for improvements; and in proposing solutions to problems – through the device of published essays. As a Berkeley professor I published more than 100 journal articles, book chapters, and research reports. As a Lion, I published more than 100 newspaper articles to advance the charitable causes of Lions Clubs International.
Thus, building on my background of published writings I decided to devote myself to writing constructive essays for the remainder of my second life, to fulfill these commitments. So far I have written approximately 100 essays; and I plan to publish most of them in two volumes, with the working titles of: “The Honest Truth of Things,” and “Tractable Solutions to Intractable Problems.”
It is my hope that I am able to accomplish my remaining second life goals, especially the writing of essays, getting them published, and having them contribute to improvements in our country and in our society; and mainly to contribute to making a brighter future for all of us.
However, my two volumes of essays have been on hold for the past four years, because I took time out to write a novel. The novel is based on the incredible lives of a couple who met in mid-life, and had an extraordinary love affair which lasted 55-years, and beyond. It is based on more than 100 love letters, which had been passed between the two 40-year-old lovers during the first year of their long affair. I was privileged to gain possession of the love letters after a serendipitous chance meeting, in a restaurant, with the elderly nephews of the two lovers.
Now, I am pleased to say, that I recently completed the novel, “Love Letters from the Grave,” and it is presently in the final editing and revision process.
Thank you Dad. Wow, a first-time novelist at age 80. What an inspiration!
I am pleased to announce that Happy Living Books Independent Publishers is currently working with my dad to publish his first book, Love Letters from the Grave. Our target release date is December 2, 2016. Stay tuned…
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