You Walked Out Again – A Post Surgical Diatribe


I’m frightened, anxious and filled with disappointment.  You walked out on me when I needed you the most for a third time.

The first time I don’t blame you, It was my fault.  In many ways I’m thankful you couldn’t handle my actions anymore.  It forced me to change my life and become who I am today.  I don’t think I could be this person without that pain of losing you and your son.

I’m sorry, that’s for sure.  I wish I could be who I am today without having hurt you both.  It’s the last thing I ever wanted to do.  But, I did it.  Theres no denying that.  The guilt and shame I feel from it are horrible.  That’s part of the reason I am trying to get you back today.  I want to fix the wreckage and give us the life we all wanted so much two years months ago.

The second time, when I found out about Brett, all I wanted was for you to reach and talk to me.  Prove you cared. I was heartbroken and devastated.  My world had been torn to pieces.  You should appreciate and understand that feeling.  It’s what you told me I did to you when we moved in together.

But you never reached out to me or made any real effort.  The picture you sent me on my birthday of your son holding the card he made for me only felt like manipulation.  Not something out of love.  It broke my heart not to respond.  I wanted to be with him more than anything in the world for my birthday day.  I wanted the card and drawing he made for me.  I still want them.  I save anything he ever gave me.

He means the world to me.  I look at him like he’s my own son.  I love him.  I truly love him.  Maybe I’m selfish for wanting back in his life after all of this.  I see myself as a child in him.  I want to give him everything I wanted when I was his age.  A loving family, a dog, a positive male role model.  I want to help him grow into an amazing man.

I probably am being selfish, look how many times I said I. He showed me a life that’s truly worth living.  A life I never understood or appreciated.  I want to give back to him for that.  I’m scared and sad to think that the only way I can prove I love him is to step out of his life forever.

As I approached my first round of surgery you walked out for the final time.  I wanted so badly for you to come see me before surgery.  I wanted to lay in bed with you naked, kiss you, touch you, make love to you, hold you in my arms.  But I guess that wasn’t in the cards.  I struggle because I know I most likely wont be able to do that again anytime soon.  Or Possibly ever if we stop speaking. (more…)

I Just Wanted To Say, I Forgive You


I wrote this almost 3 years ago.  Far before I realized I enjoyed writing or had any urge to start a blog and share my thoughts.  My therapist told me writing a letter to my father may help mitigate the anger, pain and resentment I felt towards him.

I completely forgot I wrote this letter.  It was tucked away in the notes on my phone.  I happen to come across it tonight while doing some electronic organizing.   I juI never sent the letter to him, that wasn’t the point.  I never intended to share it with anyone.  But here it is.

This is the note in it’s entirety, with spelling and grammar errors.  I wanted to share it as it was originally written, with all its flaws.


I am writing this letter to say a few things. These things are not necessarily as much for you as they are for me. I have lived my life following in your footsteps in many ways. I made bad choices in regards to a career path and choose to never give up a certain lifestyle. Even when I was at ADP and successful I never could give up the other side of my life, the same route you went. I have seen where that got you and I do not want that for my life. I have talked a big game about getting out and finally making things work in the legit world with my businesses. I have had several failed businesses just like you , but I finally have one that has a chance and is growing pretty well since I started it over the last two years. I am so close to quitting all the bullshit and being done, but I am terrified to do so because of the money, the lifestyle and the not knowing who I am or what to do once that ride is over.

I need to tell you I forgive you, in order to forgive myself and let go of all the anger and hatred I have for you. You were extremely abusive mentally, emotionally and at times physically. You always pushed people away that cared for you by your actions. I have become the same way, especially towards the woman in my life and have lost several good ones in the process ( the only part I have not been is physically abusive). (more…)

If You Fell Down Yesterday


Falling down is a part of life I know all too well.  At times I feel like I may never get back up. When I’m down I take comfort in vices that numb my senses and stunt my ability to make progress.  It makes no difference if it’s drugs, money, sex or violence; they are all the same type of distraction.  They temporarily fill the void I feel and keep me stuck.

When I’m struggling it can I feel like I will never make it past whatever I’m feeling.  I once heard someone make the analogy of hard times in our lives being like the seasons.  He likened depressions and funks to a brutal, cold winter.  The fact of the matter is it will take time, but eventually the seasons will change.  Winter will turn into spring.  The snow will melt, the flowers will bloom and you will feel the warmth of the sun again.  The same thing can be true for difficult times in our lives.

People become accustomed to living at a level much less than what they are capable of.  I know I certainly have lived this way.  It’s not that I didn’t care, it was more so I was unsure of how to change and what my first step should be.  What people don’t often recognize is it doesn’t matter so much what your first step is; what matters is that you make an effort and take action towards lifting yourself up.

There are few circumstances too difficult that the resilient human mind can’t endure.  There are stories of those abused and forced to live in the worst conditions imaginable who have created amazing lives for themselves through hard work and dedication.  Take for instance the story of  Viktor Frankl.  He was a holocaust survivor, the horrors he endured most of us couldn’t fathom.  He used his experiences in the concentration camps as the basis for writing books and making strides in the fields of therapy and psychology.  The basis for one of his most famous books, Man’s Search for Meaning, was how he discovered the importance of finding meaning in all forms of existence and a reason to continue living; even when faced with the cruel reality of life in a concentration camp. (more…)

The Man I Aspire to Be


My Pop Pop was the best man I have ever known.  He the was strongest, kindest and most selfless person.  The type of man who didn’t need to demand respect because it was always given to him.  I can rarely finish a sentence about him without tears pouring down my face.

I don’t know as much about his life as I would like.  Unfortunately he was taken from this world at the young age of 58.  He died of Liver Cancer.  I was only 10 at the time.

What I do remember is how much he loved me.  He spoiled me and treated me like I was the most important person on this earth.  I’ve never felt love like he showed me.  To this day he still has a huge impact on my life and I mourn his passing.

Pop Pop had the most amazing, deep, belly laugh.  It was so loud it would fill a room.   His laughing almost always ended with him running out of breath and coughing due to how much he smoked.  I can hear his laugh in my head as I type these words.  Nothing I put on paper to describe it would do it justice.

He smoked like a chimney.  Three packs of Kools a day.  I remember telling him he smoked too much and he should quit.  He never quit, but he cut back to one pack a day after my comment.

He had a sordid past, much like myself.  He was a State Police Officer in his younger days.  He was also an alcoholic who was arrested on several occasions and even ended up in jail.

In his 30’s he joined the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War and became a drill sergeant.  He used this time to turn his life around and became clean and sober.  He educated himself, taking courses to be an addiction counselor.  Eventually getting his degrees and certificates to work in the field.

Working with addicts and alcoholics was his passion.  He understood the message and purpose; paying it forward helping 1000’s of those afflicted with the disease.  He worked diligently in New Jersey, fighting to better the lives of others.  In his obituary a friend described his passion for what he did by saying, “The man just didn’t know how to mince his words when the bottom line issue related to the quality care for and alcoholic in treatment and the ability of the facilities to deliver that care.” (more…)

Pardon My Absence

The last several weeks since my surgery I’ve sat around and felt sorry for myself.  Constantly asking “why me?”  I’ve made myself a victim of circumstances I created.

I chose to play science experiment on my body and pollute myself with everything imaginable for many years.  That was my fault and my doing. I can’t blame anyone else.  Life and the choices we make have a way of catching up to us.  Not everyone will face that reality, but most will.

I’ve wasted my time the last three weeks doing very little to better myself.  Watching reruns and stalking social media.  I looked for every excuse to be miserable and sad instead of looking for opportunity in this tragedy.  I haven’t appreciated all of my friends and family who have reached out, visited and supported me.  I’ve been too concerned about the weight I’ve lost, how I look, and the things I can no longer do.

During this time I’ve had someone close to me break my heart when I felt I needed them the most. Once again that was my fault. I put faith and expectations on a person who could never step up in the role I wanted, because they are no longer capable of being the person I need.  I knew that and brought that pain on myself.  I need to own that instead of letting the anger and disappointment become toxic to my life and recovery.

I’ve thrown the worlds biggest pity party for myself.  I traveled down the path of my opiate addiction.  Abusing the medicine I truly need for my physical pain, in order to numb the mental pain I feel.  I haven’t wanted to accept my circumstances.  I’ve only wanted to escape from my reality.  I know this serves me no purpose other than to drag me down further into a hole of depression, anxiety and sadness.

What I’m facing is scary and causes me to look at my own mortality.  I have liver cancer.  It’s not a death sentence.  But, I know there will be a tough fight ahead of me to beat this.  Staying positive, active and being my own advocate are going to be incredibly important to my recovery.

If I continue to act as I have I will allow this to break me.  I’m better than that and I have faced adversity before.  I want to live and better the world around me.  Not succumb to circumstances because I was a quitter.

If I have learned nothing else from this, I realize I am such a fortunate individual to have so many amazing people in my life who have helped me so much.  I especially want to thank Chris McNichol.  I don’t know how I would have gotten through all this without you.  The time and effort you have put in helping me at Fox Chase, well I don’t even have the words to describe how grateful I am.

I want to thank everyone who’s been there for me.  I know I’ve been a huge pain in the ass.  Thank you for continuing to care and picking me up when I fall down.  I love each and every one of you for your support.  I’m sorry for how I’ve acted up to this point and I promise to pull myself together. I wouldn’t have been able to start climbing my way back up and facing all of this without all of you.  I don’t know that I can ever repay any of you, but I would like to try.

Sitting In Discomfort

painI’m a junkie.  I’m not saying that to be self loathing, it’s the truth.  I’m not participating in all of my junkie behaviors anymore, but it’s important to remind myself of the fact.  I can’t escape it, I can’t change it, I can’t compose a special cocktail that will allow me to only have a taste.  I’ve proved my thesis that taking opiates and doing cocaine ruins my life many times over.

All that being said, I DO NOT have to live like a junkie.  I don’t have to let my predilections towards certain substance destroy me.  Even when I’m in the most severe mentally or physically pain, there are other options.

Over the last five weeks I have dealt with the most unbearable back and joint pain.  I thought it was from a reoccurring back injury.  I started seeing a chiropractor three times a week as well as doing physical therapy. At first I felt a little relief.  Then the pain start spreading throughout my body, into my joints and I developed flu like symptoms.

I went to my primary doctor, explained my situation and underwent a gamut of blood tests.  It turns out I have an autoimmune disease.  I had JRA (Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis) as a child, but I have not had a severe flare up in 20 years.  I have to see a specialist, but most likely that’s the culprit.

The past five weeks have been hell.  My range of motion is shot.  My joints ache and refer nerve and muscle pain throughout much of my upper body.  I am unable to work out in my normal fashion.  Some nights I don’t sleep.  Yesterday I didn’t get off the couch because my pain my so severe.

Wahhh, boo hoo, lifes hard, I get it.  I’m not writing this to bitch about my pain and have a pity party.  I’ve experienced large amounts of mental and physical pain in my life.  In the past I wanted to get rid of the pain as quickly as possible, by whatever means necessary.  I won’t lie, I still want that. (more…)

Who Wants To Follow Their Own Advice?


Sometimes I love playing the victim.  I don’t realize it at the time, but that’s exactly what I am doing.  I look at my circumstances or how someone has “wronged me” and I feel sorry for myself.

I vent to my friends in order to validate my own feelings.  I gossip and spin my stories to manipulate the situation.  I want people on my side when things go wrong so they can pick me up, tell me everything will be ok and that I deserve better.  It’s all about ME and MY feelings.

I don’t want to take accountability for my part.  I entered, or re-entered at times, relationships with the understanding of who these people are.  Being naive enough to hope they will change or act the way I see fit.

That’s called being a volunteer victim.  I see countless people playing this role every day.  I despise it, it’s one of my pet peeves.  I call my friends out on it every time I spot the behavior.  Then I turn around and act this way myself.  I’m a hypocrite.

I have lofty expectations others can’t fulfill.  That’s the first problem.  Placing my expectations on anyone else is setting them up for failure.  Any pain and suffering I experience because of the relationship is my fault.

I invest time and emotions into people with poor track records.  Knowing deep down I will ultimately be disappointed and let down.  That was my choice to make.  I knew better and still decided to proceed forward anyway.  I can’t blame others for doing what they always do

It’s the story of The Scorpion and the Frog.  The scorpion asks the frog if he can ride on his back across the river because he cannot swim.  The frog asks, “How do I know that if I try to help you, you won’t try to kill me?”  The scorpion assures the frog he wouldn’t do that because it would leave to his demise as well.  Half way across the river the scorpion stings the frog.  Before the frog dies he says, “You fool, why would you do that now we will both die.”  The scorpions only response was, “I could not help myself. It is my nature.” (more…)

Doctors Orders – It’s Got To Go


The background turned dark and grainy as the doctor gazed at me with a maniacal smile and screamed, “the liver has to go!” I may be embellishing this story a little, or whole lot, but that’s how it felt.

I popped a Xanax and begrudgingly had my semiannual MRI of my abdomen.  Im claustropobic and the MRI machine nearly causes me to have a panic attack.  I’ve gone through this process every six months since they found my liver adenomas two years ago.

My doctor’s preliminary diagnosis was everything looked fine.  The lesions appeared to be the same size or had shrank slightly.  All was well in my world for the next six months.  I said goodbye and went about my day.

The next morning my doctor called with a different story.  The adenoma on my right lobe had grown.  I would need to have another biopsy.  An hour later his secretary called informing me I needed to come in first thing the next morning to talk with the doctor.  Things seemed to be progressing quickly for the worse.

At my appointment I was told the Adenoma on the right lobe of my liver had grown in size and started to become amorphic.   There was concerns the lesion could be bleeding into itself.  Or worse, it could be turning cancerous, as that is a possibility.

I knew where this conversation was heading.  His recommendation was to surgically remove the adenoma.  The issue is I have two and due to the size and location of each, he will most likely only be able to remove the one on the right lobe.

The adenoma he will be removing is over 6 cm in circumference.  About the size of an orange.  The adenoma on my left lobe was smaller, but near two major veins.  He was afraid if they tried to remove both they wont’t be able to leave me with enough liver functionality.  I wasn’t thrilled to hear he wont’t be taking both at the same time, but that’s life.

I agreed to the surgery and he explained the recovery process.  I will be in the hospital 3-5 days, then out of work for an additional 2-4 weeks.  Because of the large incision he needed to make in my abdomen I’m supposed to be out of the gym for three months.

That’s when the panic set in and my mind started future tripping.   (more…)

Mike Got it Right


“It’s just a simple question of humility. If you’re not humble, life will visit humbleness upon you. I’m a really damaged human being, and it’s still such a struggle, but I’m going to fight to the end this time.” – Mike Tyson

When you think of Mike Tyson, eloquently composed quotes about life aren’t the first thing that come to mind.  But Mike summed it up perfectly in a manner I relate to wholeheartedly.  Maybe because I’m such a damaged person as well.

When I decide I’m the captain of the ship and I don’t need to do the little things to keep myself humble and on the right path, life has a way of right sizing me.  I preach the importance of gratitude in my life.  For the last two months my words and my actions haven’t been congruent.  I started to take my blessings for granted.

I struggle to hit my knees and pray.  I bullshit the process and go through the motions.  My words and thoughts aren’t genuine and don’t come from the heart.  For me, prayer show thanks and gratitude for my life; acknowledging there is a force greater than myself out there.  I pray on my knees as a sign of humbleness and humility.

I focus on the past and future instead of enjoying today.  I look at the obstacles in my life and don’t see progress being made to overcome them.  I want everything to play out in my time frame and on my terms.  That’s not how my life works. 

I’m partying too much, not getting enough sleep and getting sidetracked being hungover.  My social life is important to me.  I need to have fun. If I don’t I become very boring and judgmental of myself and others quickly.  I turn reclusive and I miss out on the people, places and experiences that make my life enjoyable. (more…)

Grant Me The Serenity

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.”

I’ve said the serenity prayer thousands of times in my life.  It was one of the first prayers I ever learned.   My Pop-Pop had it sitting in a frame on his desk when I was a child.  He was a recovering alcoholic and that was their mantra.

I’m a control freak.  I want everyone to act according to my plans and beliefs.  This never happens and only sets me up for disappointment and frustration.

Recently I have come to understand what the serenity to accept the things cannot change means.  Serenity comes from letting go of expectations and allowing people and things to be whatever they are going to be.  Being in control of myself and not letting other’s actions affect my life and happiness.

When certain people enter my life I feel my anxiety build.  I lose focus and have difficulty sleeping at night.  I want so much better for them than they want for themselves.  I have codependency issues.  I feel the need to save them.

I’ve struggled to accept others for who they are.  I want to change them and mold them into someone I feel is better.  In the end the person usually resents me for my actions.

Serenity does not come easy for  me.  It is incredibly difficult for me to accept the world will act as it chooses and not allow that to impact my happiness.  Especially when it involves the behavior of someone I love and care for.

Things I cannot change have taken up too much real estate in my mind.  Learning to cope with anxiety and let go of these thoughts has been crucial.  I’ve distanced myself from people and learned to love them from a far.  I’ve come to terms with the fact I can only influence others to make changes if they are ready and willing.

I’ve wasted years worrying about how others choose to live their lives.  Looking down upon their choices and placing my expectations upon them.  I’ve been condescending when I should have been focusing more energy on how I  live my life.  Trusting that no matter what someone else does, I have enough confidence in the life I have built for myself that my world will not collapse.

Serenity is knowing I cannot change anyone.  People are going to be who they are going to be and will live the way they way want to live .  Not everyone will be willing to put in the hard work and effort its takes to be the best they can be.  The sooner I accept that fact the sooner I can have my serenity back.