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Now What? RENEW11

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

Welcome! Not sure how you got here, just glad that you are! Imagine for a moment you are on your death bed. What do you think about? In the moments right before it are your thoughts filled with fear? Anger? Regret? Love? Guilt? I know, who the heck wants to think about this stuff? Fast Forward to the end. Let’s say you experience all of these thoughts and die. Those last thoughts you took with you to the other side, or nothing, depending on your beliefs. End of story. In this realm anyway.

But you come back? You are part of the roughly 17% of people who survive cardiac arrest in the hospital and survive to discharge. By the grace of God, inner strength, good healthcare, or you were just so damn pissed you didn't get to see the Buffalo Bills win another playoff game, you are back! Now what?

Grateful. Michelle and I on a date in April

This blog is about living after dying. It is from my personal perspective. The question, "Now what?' is an intimidating and paralyzing one. In a society that places emphasis on "what’s next", I challenge you to slow down. Learn to be still. Breathe. Let life come to you and embrace it. Heck, it is wonderful thing when you are stuck in traffic moving at the pace of a turtle and you can say to yourself “I am thankful that I am stuck in traffic moving at the pace of a turtle!”

Too my fellow cardiac arrest survivors, we know that for a period of time immediately after, that “what’s next” or “now what?” is all about survival. The trauma is so fresh that it is literally minute to minute, hour to hour, and day to day. In fact, I know the mental challenge of recovery is one I wasn’t fully prepared for. The memory of the trauma, and fear like it could happen again at any moment, takes time to dissipate. But to start living without fear takes time and practice as you gain new tools to cope. For me, those tools were, cardio rehab, mental health therapy, mindfulness training, meditation, American Heart Association support network, falling to my knees before God, journaling(what I ate, How I felt, ideas I had, what I was grateful for), walking and talking with my dog, tracking my steps, fiddling with my meds (with approval from my health team of course), getting an accurate heart monitor (I recommend the Polar H10, thanks Mom!), and relying on the love and support from my family and friends. For the first few weeks I was day to day. The meds wear you out. The anxiety wears you out. I just kept hearing the words my mom would say often as I was growing up, "this too shall pass". She was right! Moms always are! But it does take preparation and sustained practice to make it so. You are forever changed by your experience. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Renew your commitment to yourself and others. One of my friends texted me shortly after that "Second chances are the best!". He was right. This is RENEW11.

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