Gerson Aldasalo is a young enterpreneur from Mexico City that has established a well known and succesful business and has living in Cancun, Quintana Roo for more than 15 years. He was kind enough to share his story with The Yucatan Times.
This is the speech that Aldasalo pronunced in front of several hundred people on Friday November 14th, 2014, at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma:
I am standing here before you today as a living testimony of a person who has been blessed with living the perfect life for the last 20 years. I have been able to enjoy perfect health every second of the day without the fear of having to be rushed into the emergency room of a hospital, with the risk of losing my life due to heart rates of up to 318 beats per minute and the fact that the electrical flow in my heart was reversed. This would not have been possible without the help of my hero, Dr. Sonny Jackman and so many wonderful and generous people like you whose kindness and help for countless years has triggered so many medical breakthroughs and has touched lives like mine in a magical way. Good health wasn’t always one of my companions!
I was born with a very complicated heart condition which caused several scary moments throughout my life! In Dr Jackman’s words it was the most difficult and dangerous kind of Wolf Parkinson White Syndrome!
The worst episode I went through happened in 1992 when on a quiet Sunday morning my t shirt began to bounce back and forth at an alarming speed , while I was experiencing shortness of breath and my emotions were like riding a roller coaster.
I was taken immediately to an emergency room of a hospital in Mexico City where they performed every procedure possible to try to bring my heart back to its normal rate, but we’re not successful.
A few hours elapsed and my heart rate instead of diminishing kept increasing creating a stressful situation for the doctors and me. I vividly remember the doctor telling me:
-“Son, you are very fortunate that this happened to you at a such a young age and that you are in tremendous shape, that’s the only reason why you are being able to sustain this horrible ordeal. Your heart just experienced the equivalent of running the New City Marathon. Two hours of arrhythmia with a heart rate ranging from 220 to a record high 318 beats per minute”.-
It was obvious that they didn’t know what they were doing and they decided to inject me Adenosine on two separate occasions as an extreme measure to stop my heart completely and have it restart to its normal rythim after a few seconds! This measure usually is a good idea ! But in my case, it ended up worsening the arrhythmia! After that they had to put me to sleep and I realized I had to say goodbye to the world. I remembered a few words from a poem I had read a long time ago.
Life you don’t owe me anything,
Life I don’t owe you anything,
Life, we are at peace.
Afterwards the doctors informed me I died that day. After two electroshocks and no response, they put the sheet over my face and pronounced me: dead. Another doctor came into the room and told them to give me one more chance at life. After the third electroshock I was miraculously brought back to life from a flat line.
I remember opening my eyes and looking at the light of the hospital room … My mother was there to receive me like the day I was born. She couldn’t stop kissing me and was hugging me while holding my hand! We cried full of happiness for a long time as we knew I was living in borrowed time! After that day it was obvious that I had to look anywhere in the world for a long term solution.
From 1992 till 1994 I went through four painful and unsuccessful ablation procedures which lasted at least 12 hours each! Two performed by Massumi in Houston and two performed Dr Fred Morady in Michigan.
After Dr Morady realized he couldn’t help me solve my problem and suggested that I went back to taking the medicine that was protecting me in spite of the terrible side effects I was dealing with.
He also mentioned there was only one hope and he was going to refer me to Dr. Jackman who was an outstanding doctor out of Oklahoma who had a developed a unique way of mapping and performing the ablation and only worked on the most challenging cases taking on patients with failed attempts by other great doctors.
When I came to Oklahoma to meet Dr Sonny Jackman I was immediately blown away by him. After feeling like a number in the Houston hospital system I realized that here in Oklahoma I was treated as a person and that immediately made me feel at home! He told me he really felt very compassionate about my situation and understood the physical and emotional pain I went through . He then complemented me on how courageous and brave he thought I was by having gone through four unsuccessful ablations and not be discouraged to try again for the fifth time!
He mentioned that after reviewing the last two procedures he honestly thought he only had a good chance of fixing my problem but couldn’t guarantee it! He said I could be the tenth person ever to try his new cold tip catheter and that could make a huge difference!
My age, my spirit , my relentless pursuit of a long and healthy life and the confidence he transmitted that made me an easy choice for me! I called Sonny that afternoon and told him:
-“I am going to do it and I know I am sure you will cure me.”-
He quickly answered that he wasn’t good at convincing people to do the procedures but that he wouldn’t leave the operating room until he had a positive result!
As I was waiting to be wheeled into the operating room a nurse came in and said: -There is a priest here and would like to talk to you. Is that ok with you?”- Of course, I said. While I waited for him to come in, I asked myself if I should tell him I am Jewish. He walked in and said: –Wow, son, your doctor is Sonny Jackman. He is a great doctor. He probably told you he had a 20 percent chance to cure you, right?- He smiled and continued, -“He says that to everyone and ends up curing all of them. You are in the best hands you can be in.”– I thanked for his support, the positive energy that he transmitted and gave him a hug and I felt more confident after that. As he left the room I thought to myself. If a holly man tells me I am in the best hands I could be and he is not referring to God, then this doctor must be amazing and was the answer to my prayers. The operation was successful! This doctor who performed that procedure is a very brilliant man who has devoted his life to science and to research. A man who envisioned a better future for those born or afflicted with disabling problems and invented things and procedures to improve the quality of life for the unfortunate people in this world.
An extraordinary twist of faith brought me here today to speak to you. It was a Sunday morning in beautiful Cancun where my family and I live. We decided to spend the day at the most beautiful hotel called Nizuk. After swimming with my daughter in an infinite turquoise pool I decided to have something to drink at the pool bar .
A man sitting at the pool bar overheard our conversation and asked me what I was drinking. I said, “It is habanero Chilly margarita with mezcal instead if tequila.” He asked me if was good and I answered him by telling the bartender to make him one and put it on my bill.
The man thanked me and we followed by introducing ourselves. “Where are you from”, I asked, a very popular question in Cancun by the way. He quickly said Oklahoma City. I said that is one city which is dear to my heart. I was cured of a very complicated heart condition on my fifth try there. He asked me which doctor. I replied Dr. Jackman. He said do you remember the date? I said 1994. He told me: You will not believe this but I filmed your operation.
A few days later Dr. Jackman called me and we spoke for the first time in twenty years! We spent close to an hour on the phone on a very inspiring conversation. He asked me to come up here today to tell you my story…
Returning to this beautiful city, a city that changed as much as I have in the past 20 years is a marvelous thing. It is clear to me that my life has gone in full circle, but now, I am definitely at a much higher level emotionally and spiritually, than I have ever been before. I recognize what sage people describe as the spiral of life.
The most beautiful thing of being here and being the guest speaker in this event was to bring the two most important people in my life. My wife and my daughter to meet you all, and to meet the man who is not only the doctor who cured me, but the beautiful person who opened up his heart to us and made us feel at home.
I am humbled, grateful and honored to be here today to be able to thank the doctors, the hospital and donors like you, for what everyone did for me and has done for so many others. We all are privileged with wealth. We all have compassion for others. It now is the time for all of us to do what we can. We all have the opportunity at this moment in time to help forge a new future for others who have not been dealt good cards at birth. We cannot be satisfied with what we have done in the past. We must strive to go beyond what has been accomplished so far. I am asking you to give from your hearts to a very worthy cause today.
More than 450 years before the birth of Christ, Confucius said:
What I hear, I forget;
What I see, I remember;
What I do, I understand.
Let’s do it together. We have heard what we need to do. We have seen what we need to do. Now is the time to do it, and together we can do it.
(Speech written by Gerson Aldasalo, November 2014)
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