Surviving Storms with your partner is a double obstacle because you have to hope you will have the support when you need it the most!
Managing storms in your Life have their new paths, new decisions and new attitude. Our interview with Mike Daly, is outstanding and explicit journey of the United States Air Force, a Lawyer, of course a Cancer survivor. Yes, that is definitely part of the journey too that left Mike legally deaf.
“Love him and let him love you. Do you think anything else under heaven really matters?” – James Baldwin
“In his iconic novel Giovanni’s Room, gay author James Baldwin makes a powerful statement about love. He proclaims that sex and gender don’t matter; all that matters is that two people love each other. Nothing should stand in their way if they have love in their hearts. These words resonated with millions of people who felt like their emotions were invalid because of the gender of the object of their love. With this quote, Baldwin assured them that it didn’t matter because love is love.”
Our story today is called Surviving storms with my partner. And we are going to bring Mike Daly in from Connecticut. And what a wonderful, inspiring story. Especially this month of June, I feel that it’s super important to talk about these things.
Because we don’t always just have one storm that we have happened in our lives. We feel we’re Superman, but we’re really not. But we think we are. And I would like to you know, we just we just think it’s it won’t happen to me. We we don’t prepare for the unexpected. We truly we weren’t prepared for the pandemic. We weren’t prepared for wildfires or hurricanes. When we’re given you know that five minute evacuation notice. It’s unbelievable to you know, what do I take what what do I What do we do next?
Yeah, it’s crazy. And I’ve been in that five minute evacuation. Notice, and it really is life changing. Um, you know, I just wanted to mention your backup plan puts your life all in one place everything that’s all up in your head into one place in case of any unpredictable circumstance. And that takes that aftermath, a painful Aftermath out of a tragedy because you’re prepared and you don’t have to worry. And you don’t have to stress. Yeah. So I’d like to welcome our listeners, our listeners.
So I would like to welcome our wonderful Connecticut guest today. It is going to be very, very huge because Mike didn’t have just one storm hit his life. He had many. And we are going to bring him on right now.
Hey, Mike. Hi, how’s everybody doing today? Awesome. Awesome. I’m just gonna give here a little introduction to every all our listeners here. So Mike comes to us from beautiful Connecticut. And I would like just a second. He has an outstanding, and he has an explicit journey that he talks about with the United States Air Force. He is a lawyer, a pilot, of course, a cancer survivor. And yes, definitely part of the journey that left him legally deaf. And I can’t believe how many storms you have managed. Mike. Unbelievable. Do you want to tell our listeners how this all started? where it began for you?
Well, it kind of was, you know, we have a plan, or we think we have a plan or people have a plan for us. So the plan was graduate high school, and go to college and being from I was born and raised in New York, all of the Irish kids in New York, where do you go to college, you go to Florida, and offline. first cousins went to come. And of course, I was going to follow those steps. Until I realized I didn’t want to go to Fordham. So the first thing was I went home and I broke news to my parents that I didn’t want to Fordham, which was the first storm. And little did, I realized that wasn’t even a storm, the best was yet to come. So when I finally convinced them that a college education was better than no college education, they agreed that I could go to a State University in New York. And then I came home and I told you that I had decided that I wasn’t going to go to college because I was going to get married.
Surviving Storms with your partner and that was the said, that was the big storm. So the question, of course, then became, how is it that you are going to do this? And I said, Well, I’m gonna enlist in the military, which was not wasn’t planned, it was seven days, Southeast Asia was still an issue when it was difficult, you know, my parents weren’t, you know, particularly thrilled at the prospect of you know, their eldest son, enlisting in the military and perhaps finding himself in Southeast Asia.
So my father said to me, which is one of the things that has stuck with me through my entire journey was, acts have consequences. And if you take the action, know that the whatever comes from that you are responsible for, you have to dress good, bad or indifferent. And one of the things that he had said was, this is the day that you go to college. So if you’re looking for a college education, go now, because you have two sisters that have a brother, that’s 14 years younger than you. So I have three additional children to educate, and two weddings to pay for, because with that switch you did back in the day. And so if you don’t go now, don’t come home thinking that you can say, Okay, I want to go to college now. Because your decision not to go now means that when you’re ready to go, you figure it out. But so that was the first thing I didn’t have a plan for.
So I went into the military. My father didn’t give me some good advice. He said to me, you know, the military might not be your career. So make sure you figure out what you’re there, you’re going to have them teach you so that you have a skill that translates when you come out, which was sort of interesting, because I got involved with telecommunications and air to ground communications.
I was very fortunate that I was trained and my background investigation came back clear. And I was able to get into air to ground communications for the National Emergency airborne command post an Air Force One. So I got excellent training. I had a skill that that was that translated. And ultimately I was stationed back in Washington DC working on presidential communications. When my I stepping back before I went to, so I got after I got my training. The wedding was being planned. And that wedding plan didn’t go particularly well and it became apparent that I’m at the ripe old age of eight 18 I was not ready to be married. And so we broke off the engagement. sort of interesting because now my plan has changed, my life has changed.
And again, I don’t have necessarily have a plan because this wasn’t how it was supposed to be. But I mean, the best of it. And I certainly not consider not getting married a storm, especially as things begin to unfold. But it was different, it was different than I wasn’t prepared. So I found myself at 18 years old, being stationed at what they considered a remote base in Germany, where there was no barracks, there was no housing, I didn’t speak German, and I had to buy a car and I had to find an apartment and I had to learn to grocery shop, because the closest based was about an hour away.
But you figure it out, but you figure it out. Guess as I went through, I go through life, finding out more and more that I can hold on to that actions have consequences. But I, but that, but only enables me to say, Okay, this happened now. And what am I gonna do? I have never really reached the point where I need to have an action plan. There’s never been a decision if this if then. So I made the best of it. I had a great career, I got that as transferred back to Washington, DC, and I met somebody. And it was a man. And I started to come to terms with emotions that I didn’t really understand. But I did know, that couldn’t stay in the military. Because back in the 70s, the theory was if you were in the military, and you were gay, you were considered a national security. And who’s going to because national security risk then somebody who’s working on presidential communications and national airborne, emergency everyone command plus communications, but me.
So I felt like I had a target on my back. So again, we’re faced with a change in plan. Thanks to my dad, I did. I didn’t necessarily have a plan for what he do next. But I was prepared for whatever happens next, because he encouraged me to not look at the military as a career in case I wanted the ability to go out. Well, as I was getting out, Mike.
Yeah. Is it is it different now in United States Air Force?
I don’t I you know, it goes back and forth. You know, I’ve understand they’ve had the don’t ask, don’t tell policy. So you could stay in and as long as you didn’t advertise the fact your sexuality, and nobody was allowed to ask you about your sexuality. And I understand that under the Trump administration, they changed it so that it was not as as open and affirming. And quite frankly, oh, but there, yeah, it’s up. But right. Yeah, you’re back. There you go.
Okay. Switch it a little bit to your right. My right. Here, no, your left. Better. There you go. I can see your head. Right. There’s my symbol in the corner. And it’s right in your eye there. So yeah. There we go. There we go. You’re back. So you think, yeah, there you go. You think it’s different now?
I think it probably is a little bit different. I mean, back in the 70s, it was an absolute. So when I wasn’t going to stick around long enough to find whether this was a passing phase, or for real or not. I mean, I had gone in thinking that I was signed all the paperwork and everything. And suddenly, you know, you meet somebody and everything turns upside down.
So do you think these feelings just really like they came out of nowhere and you weren’t really sure you weren’t understanding yourself? Is that part of the problem?
I think? Well, I think part of the problem was was that I wasn’t understanding myself. Part of the problem was, you know, I had never considered it. I don’t remember, particularly being attractive. Certainly not that I can recall being attracted to men when I was like in high school or anything, whether that was my own fear, my refusal to acknowledge it, or just I’m not but It was never anything that I addressed or was concerned with, right or dictating, you know, did I, you know, was any good, what I suppose a good relationship, I was thinking that I was going to spend the rest of my life with this person. And it was, you know, and it was a traditional, you know, was a woman relationship, right.
So, it wasn’t until I, you know, I spent two years in Germany on my own, I, and I dated, and then I went, I was transferred to NBC. And I dated, and I met somebody that big I became friends with that just led me to have a different set of emotion, not understand what was happening to me, knowing that it wasn’t a one afternoon or a one week thing, it was an issue that, that that remained at the forefront caused me a lot of concern, both because I didn’t know how to deal with it. Plus, know if it was reciprocal. And honestly, at that point in time, I didn’t know how to find out it was. So but I did know that it was occupying enough of my time, and thoughts to be taken seriously, which meant that I didn’t believe that I had a future in the military.
I despite the fact as I made the decision to leave the military. People saying to me, but you know, Mike, you know, you’ve got good career I was, I was young, I was in a very a field where I’ve always going to be comfortable a field that I knew where I could be answered, I had been promoted. as quickly as possible, I had made all my promotions The first time I was eligible. So from both a career advancement perspective, as well as a technical perspective, and and I had started to go to college, when I was in Washington, DC I was taken, like I said, University of Maryland, everything seemed on track, but for this other feelings, this other feeling. And it actually was and and the other overriding theme in life is everybody’s named Mike.
So my name is Mike, the gentleman that I found myself wanting to be romantically involved with his name was Mike. And it was his father that actually gives me my gives rise to my second monitor. So his father, I, who I met a bunch of times, couldn’t understand why I wanted to get out the military. And I couldn’t tell them, you know, what am I supposed to say, you know, I think I might have a crush on your son. Yeah, just kind of puts me in this awkward position. You know, so you can’t say that. But you know, so basically, he said, What are you going to do? And I said, I’m finished my degree. And who knows, maybe I’ll go to graduate, maybe I’ll go to law school. And then I immediately said to him, but people like me, don’t go to law school. So I’ll probably just get my degree and get a job and do something. So he said to me, you know, what do you mean, people like you, you don’t go to law school. He said, when you’re my age. And you said yourself, she was I wonder why I go to law school.
He said, I just I said, he said, I want you to just get up and go and look in the mirror? Because there’s your answer. Because the only thing stopping you from doing anything is yourself. And when you accomplish something, I want you to get up when you say, Gee, I wonder how I how that happened? Or how I did that, or anything you need to happen. Go look at me, again. Because there’s your answer, you get it. So I had both of these ideas, you know, actions have consequences, which I to heart. And then if you don’t do something or do accomplish something, it’s because you did it or you told yourself you couldn’t do it. But there was some there was still though, if you tried and there was never a discussion if you try and it doesn’t work out, whether because the person in the mirror I can control the outcome which I found out later on, or you know, the need for a backup plan.
So despite the fact that my everything in my life kept changing, I recognize that the action or the change had a consequence. I and I would also recognize that I’m responsible for it. But with that yet and figure out okay, what’s the next step? So I came out of the military and I got a job working for American Airlines. And it was it was was a good ride me while I was there, I came to terms with what I was feeling, realized that I was in fact gay.
A little bit, it gave me a little bit of space to, to allow your career to continue, but allow space for your emotions and feelings to figure out where you’re at with that.
And it was actually kind of funny, because I had a meeting room, there was no pressure, there was no pressure to date, there was no pressure for to not D, I could just be open to the stability. And I was able to support myself. So I was in a position where I could continue my education. And I could move forward with my life in whatever direction it went, still not having a plan. So I met somebody whose name also is Mike. And we, we dated for many, many months before I could even decide what it was that I wanted to do that I could be sure that this was what I wanted. He Fortunately, he was very patient. That was kind of our first storm. You know, I mean, I think many times were scratching his head saying, you know, what are we doing with this lunatic who can’t make up his mind about anything? You obviously have a thing for Mike’s. Oh, that I mean, that’s, you know, every pretty buddy was Mike. But, you know, fortunately, he he was patient, he dealt with me, he kind of waited until I sort of figured things out. I was ready to make make the move, and it would go now looking back 43 years later, it obviously was the right.
You know, we were supposed to be together because, you know, he became my support, I became his support. And we decided to make a certain commitment. Um, and it’s, it’s, it’s interesting, because when we made that commitment, we also that was probably the only time in my life I’ve had a plan. Because what we did was we bought one and bought a second home. And he went through all of the legal mechanics that we needed to go to to be to be sure that we could, if there was an illness, we had access to each other that we were able to make decisions with respect to each other’s care. We could make decisions with respect to each other’s finances as well as own. We both had conversations with our families. So interestingly enough, not about the nature of our relationship, just the fact that we had invested together and everything. And we, so if anything happened, nobody’s family should expect anything, because everything was going to the other. And it was sort of interesting, because my parents never asked any questions needed. Hey, the two families came together like any other relationship. Mike’s Mike’s folks and Mike were so good that my parents table for all of my for both my sister and my brother’s weddings.
Surviving Storms with your partner is a whole bunch of obstacles like when my parents became friends with his parents, we spent holidays together. And nobody ever nobody ever asked any questions about what the needs are really, two boys, everybody just accepted it. So from that respect, I think I was pretty lucky because it was one big change in my life that I didn’t have to plan for. Because I know so many people that have had, you know, issues with their family issues with their sibling issues with their social network and everything. And you know, Mike and I were pretty charmed, our parents accepted us they know, we made the decision. When we bought a home, we were going to tell people that we had separate rooms or anything, we weren’t going to advertise the situation to the neighbors into the community, a large book, we weren’t going to deny it. And we weren’t going to talk about going away with someone or doing something with someone it was always Mike and Mike. And if people chose to question us, we would answer them. And if people chose not to question, we were going to let them accept whatever was going on in their own terms. So it was sort of interesting, because neither nobody in either family ever asked anything.
SAME SEX PARTNERS
That’s really nice. Isn’t that when you think about it, because there’s so many family I mean, who doesn’t have family issues? Right. Right. So especially with same sex partnerships, and and trying I think it’s even more important to have a financial and, and not even just a spiritual but a financial plan of, of small and big things in your life. more organized. And then the average heterosexual partnership because of, of the ability to make a plan together. And and I think what happens when a man and woman get married, they don’t really get all that stuff together normally, like they just get on with their lives, they did their wedding they did their whatever their parties, and then they just both work and and go on from there. But I really like how you
said that you try to get your life organized with each other. And that’s super important.
Well, it was important. And one of the reasons that it was important is because the Lord, there was no mechanism to do it for us. But traditional, we never had the opportunity to have a traditional marriage recognize our relationship. So if something happened to me or something happened to Mike, and we didn’t have those documents in place, we could we it would have been impossible. Absent our families recognize our relationship and agreeing for us to take care of each other, you know, we can have life insurance. But what happens, you know what happens with all of that stuff, if we or for that matter, what happens is later on when I found out that I had cancer and stuff, what happens when those decisions need to be made, and everything so that we were all very aware of the fact that that we needed those protections. And that was one of the things kind of that that really made our cemented our relationship was you know, our concern out those those things.
And you know, those are pretty big life decisions. When you start buying homes together in planning. You’re not relying on the Lord to take care of you but relying on each other to to affirmatively take those steps and take that time to make sure that the other person is, you know, is taken care of. I think what happens is that cements the relationship in a different sort of a way than a traditional marriage and stuff because it does, it says to a certain extent . And and that’s one of the ways when you don’t have a sodomized or legal ending. I think that’s one of the ways that you show your partner that you’re all in.
But we all should do that. Well, we doesn’t matter what laws are in place really. Right? We should all be thinking about, okay, I want to make sure you’re going to be okay. I want to make sure that I’m going to be okay, if I get sick. And you know, can you look after me? Would you be able, you know, like looking at all of those viewpoints. And that’s, that’s so awesome that and I just wish everybody did that whether there’s a law or not, the laws change and we need to be better prepared. Right. Yeah.
So yeah. You know, and, you know, so and, you know, so when we bought the house and everything, you know, we we, we knew that we were going to need to play and we both, you know, we had though we had our first house, which is where Mike’s folks lived, then we had the second house, that we really kind of needed to plan for that. Um, and then, you know, I finished college. And it was sort of interesting, because then it became the decision of what, what’s next? You know, are you going to stay at American Airlines? Are you you know, and if you are, what’s your career path. And one of the things was on. Because we both worked at very different deployments. I was on the technical side, and he was on.
And believe it or not, you’ll you’ll kind of laugh Tina I knowing that the challenges to get myself on tours to do this podcast, I was actually doing data processing equipment and computer system design and everything. But that was many years ago, and now is a very different world. And now it’s sort of funny. Once again, I guess I should have stayed up on the technology, because then I could work myself on and I wouldn’t have tortured you the way I did. Try to get up on the air and do this podcast. Well, you know, things change every year. You just can’t keep that mic. It’s, it’s all cool. It’s all cool.
Thank goodness I have I have my background in Microsoft Certified systems engineer. Sorry. It was all trouble troubleshooting. Absolutely, yeah. So no problem. So we decided, you know, so what do you do next?
I really I was in my late 20s. I didn’t particularly feature myself staying in this job was 65 years old. Mike and I were in different An area. So it wasn’t a transfer within the company together wouldn’t have been the easiest thing to do. And even if I did, my job would have stayed this, his mind has changed, but my job would have stayed the same. So I decided to go to graduate school and I went to law school. And so for the next three years, once again, it was kind of all about me. You know, I was I worked full time, you know, so I, the household and stuff.
So what with the way that this would work out, was I would get up in the morning, I would study, I would go to school, I leave school, and I would drive into Hartford and I would work usually from like four o’clock in the evening until one o’clock and then do like, computer simulations and other things. And then I would go home, and I would fall asleep, and I would get up in the same routine. And then the weekends. Were pretty much dedicated to, you know, study catching up, you know, and we were in the middle of, you know, work renovating a home, we but you know, what we could afford, which was a handyman special, so many weekends, you know, or many nights after work or many weekends, you know, the goal was to just get a couple of sheets of sheetrock up on the walls or anything. And ultimately, we finished right before graduated from law school, we finished renovating the house.
Um, so there was a lot of stuff going on. And things weren’t particularly always easy. Because of all of that. I wasn’t feeling very well. And I said to me, I was talking to my mother who is was, is that that was a diabetic. And I kind of told her how I was feeling. And she kind of raised her eyebrows and made an appointment for me with her endocrinologist. And when they brought me in and started doing the testing, I rang all the bells. And so in the middle of going to graduate school in the middle of renovating a house in the middle of trying to get everything, I found out that I was a type one diabetic, and I needed to learn how to adjust my diet, adjust my exercise, manage my sleep and everything around the need to give myself shots.
Which was you know, which was a very big deal, it was a big lifestyle change. And you know, as always, it was all about me, no plan, no discussion about what happens if either one of us ever gets serious mess, but fortunately, you know, Mike was there, I’m rolled with it, Mike took the time, he learned probably he was more willing and open to learn than I was because I was much more comfortable defying. And I recognize that many ways. I was fortunate because it didn’t happen to me when I was 17. And it didn’t happen to me when I was 20. When you know you you want to out have pizza and you want to just kind of do what all of your friends are doing. Because that’s the most important thing. Other than trying to figure out if you’re gay or straight, but the secret that I didn’t have, you know, but being a diabetic, you can’t keep it a secret. So, as always, you know, Mike came through with the master plan, Mike came through and said, You know, we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do this, you know, we don’t have a plan. He didn’t plan for it. Maybe we should have planned because my mother was a diabetic, but you know, we didn’t. So once again, he stepped up and you know, do what you have to do.
Which go here, while you were doing all those things, you were probably eating wrong, and you were probably not exercising. Right. So it it said, check your health, Mike.
Yeah. So suddenly, you know, instead of being able to grab a Burger King on my way from, from Springfield, Hartford to go to work, it became either finding a place where I could get a reasonable meal or planning in the midst of everything to have food with me that was not going to you know, was not going to tip the scale and, and it was also a lot of coming to terms. I mean, Mike had just pay close attention to me because oftentimes, if your blood, especially if it’s going very low, you don’t right, you don’t necessarily realize it and that’s actually much more dangerous. In the immediate, then, that high blood sugar, blood sugar will affect you over time. A low blood sugar in essence makes you incapable of operating a motor vehicle or anything.
So he really had to be very much on the ball and it was an It was incredibly stressful because there weren’t you know, now we’re talking about the mid 80s there weren’t card phones, there weren’t cell phones he couldn’t fall in said you remember to he, he could go and say how are you feeling or anything else? So And I was gone from, you know, six or seven o’clock in the morning, until, until midnight or one o’clock at, you know, so there was a lot, you know, was a lot of stress and there was there was no plan. Other than, you know, when I got to work, obviously, I would make it a point to call them and say, you know, or I’d say in the bill, but you know, once again, we had, you know, no plan, which takes me back to my two monitors, which probably are not there, okay. But there should be a third which is make a plan, which actions have consequences. And, you know, and you got to make it work. And you know, you’re you are responsible for yourself, if it goes right, you look in the mirror if it goes wrong in the mirror.
So, but, but still no plan. Yeah. So I was on fortunately, you know, so, either. Either way, when you’re thinking about this where you know, your life is going to change, I was going to law school. Nobody was under the impression that I was going to continue in American lines as an attorney. But there was no plan. There was no what Where do you want to work? Don’t know, what kind of job do you want? You don’t know?
What kind of law Do you want practice I want to do with planning and taxes. Well, that didn’t fit with my personality at all. I had been out in the community I was when I was born networker. I thrived on meeting new people and new experiences and everything. And there I was putting myself into a position where I would be miserable. The last thing I could do is sit in a room by myself, and draft documents and do that other stuff. Lots of people thrive on it, but I need to socialize the outlet. But even even as we went through three years of law school, there was never a discussion. The plan was that I was going to graduate. And the long term plan was there was going to be a lawyer. That was it. So when I you know, fortunately, I was very lucky when I was the tester plan had been to take my last school course, we were going to go to Europe, take a vacation, and then we were going to come back and I’m just going to resign from the company which would have terminated my flight benefits. And and my health insurance and a whole lot of other stuff. No, we didn’t talk about getting health insurance.
No, we didn’t shop around and we had diabetic in the house who wouldn’t be unemployed who didn’t make any plans for health insurance. Yeah, but once again, I got lucky because the the end of the in the middle of third year of law school, the company offered a severance package that included a year salary and an include lifetime health and medical insurance and I qualified even though we knew that we should have had a plan, we chose to not focus on it. And we got lucky, we got lucky because what ultimately happened was I was able to leave the company in March instead of waiting till May. And I was able to leave with money to take us over as well as health insurance that was so critical for my medical issues.
But no plan. And Gail when I came out, I passed the bar and I found a job and I tried my hand at a state planning and tax law for probably about 60 days. Fortunately, we had a litigator in the same firm who took me to court with him and I took to that like a doctor. So I for almost 30 years was a litigator but don’t help me. And you’re with people though, so it was right up your alley. Well, yeah, it was right up my alley because I was out networking trying to find business, make connections meet potential clients. I you know, was gregarious, and I was outgoing and as you can tell, I like to talk and and I enjoy problem solving my I have an enjoyable evening if I’m just by myself as you know, I used to follow the Supreme Court like many people follow the New York Yankees. So I I don’t mind sitting there and speculating on you know, what’s Neal gorgeous, got to watch Sondra Sotomayor gonna do and everything and then reading a decision or reading a book about the philosophy of the law or anything else. So yes, what was great If you like that, if you like that, yeah, unfortunately, I did. Fortunately, I did. I mean, I also liked the New York Yankees, but but I liked doing that. So it was, you know, so it was good and I enjoyed it and, you know, putting the argument together and, and you know, and having a thing come to you.
And, you know, tell you what their issues are and you figuring out the strengths and the weaknesses and making recommendations. Now, you also need need to plan that. And you don’t, because law school doesn’t train you for any of that law school does not prepare you for the prospect of people trusting their lives to you. And you making decisions, you don’t make the decision, you make the recommendation. But you know, what, you, you make a recommendation and you say you should do this cause and you’re not usually whether it’s a financial issue, or it’s a marital issue or anything else, people aren’t necessarily in the best position to make those decisions. So you do find yourself guiding people through their lives. And nothing prepares you for the emotional toll that that takes because you home at night. You go home at night, and your life remains the same. But all of those people whose lives you touched, they are not saying often times, they’re very, very, very fewer.
You know, when I started out, I started out litigating in a general practice, and I was doing divorce work. And it used to frighten me because you know, that you’d get into you get into the, you know, into a courtroom and you’d settle something, and there will be a lot of pressure for you to not only settle the case, but to resolve it that day. And I like to do that. Because you don’t know, you know, something sounds good. But you need to live with it. You need to figure it out. And I kind of had a lot of people aggravated because I said yep, I think we’ve got a deal. And we’ll finalize it next week. And I would tell my client, you go home and you live with it. And you think it and, and things so I just want you to know, which was unpopular. So then you’re swimming upstream.
Yeah. But I found my niche, I found my niche. And, and, and it was going well, and then something else hit. Right so that it was going well. And then we came back from Europe and I had a an odd rope on my back. And somebody pointed about to me and I scratched it and it bled. And Mike said to me, you know, you need to get that checked out. So I tell him the next day from work, and it was a you need to get that out. And I was they came over the next day. And Mike said, Have you made an appointment yet now, we had a very good friend, that was physician and he was a surgeon. So my thought was I should just call Tom, he’ll cut it off. And that’ll probably be it. So finally, I came home after about a week and I said okay, so this is how it works. You either make that appointment based on your schedule, or I don’t care if you’re in front of if you’re planning to be in front of the United States Supreme Court. If I have to make that appointment, you don’t come out of here.
You know, and we never talked about what it was we never talked about what it could be it was an annoyance. It was annoyance. So I went, I call I made sure that I called and I made an appointment and I went in and I had to taken out this friend of mine, this friend of ours, Tom, so not a problem, Mike, you’re fine, nothing to worry about. I think, you know, we had mutual friends and one of their daughters was getting married. And he said to me, You know, I’m sure I’ll see you at a meeting give my best and we’ll talk soon. And about four days later, I was in the office. And I got a call. And I was a smoker at the time. Like I smoked from the time I was 14 or 15 you know in the military smoking at then was a big deal because you got to get out of formation. They you know, the old term smoking if you got it would spray. Little did we know them what we know now but anyway.
So I’m in my office and I get a call from Tom. And he says want to see you Michael tonight. And what’s going on? He says I don’t want to talk about it. I’ll discuss it with you guys tonight. And I was like well, if you don’t tell me why I’m coming. I’m not going to come. So he told me that you know I had a fairly dire diagnosis and that I had a form of cancer that, you know, was pretty blunt with Brad. And he needed to talk to us about what our options were, and how we wanted to approach this. And he wanted to make patients receive both assert, uh, you know, scheduled surgery and also to see an oncologist. So I kind of had them figure out how I call my and tell him this, you know, without dropping a bomb on them on the phone. And what year are we talking about for this? At this point, we’re talking about 2004. We had kind of coasted I got I graduated from law school in 19. You know, in 1988.
We had we had our home, we bought in a larger home, we sold a home, things were going well, life was good, life’s good. I was very fortunate. You know, I mean, Mike and I were traveling, we both had flight benefits from American Airlines. Everything was going, you know, we feel we were finally we weren’t struggling to put anybody through school. You had more time, we had more time we were spending more time together. We unfortunately weren’t spending any time talking about the next phase or what if, or anything else, like every couple we have a good days are bad days, we had some days where I’m sure probably more than me, scratched his head and said, you know, what have I done here? But you know, and you know, during that time, you know, we lost mom to cancer, and you know, so there was good times and bad times. Like it like that, you know, life life happens.
So, but we had never discussed what was going to happen if one of us had serious illness, we never discussed what was going to happen if one of us, God forbid, had cancer. I mean, we didn’t, we didn’t think that those things would happen to us. If we didn’t, they wouldn’t happen to us, or we just didn’t think. So. I called Mike and I said, you know, Tom wants to see us and we went in and he kind of outlined his, you know, his concerns were and the fact that I needed surgery, and the fact that I needed to go into chemotherapy and stuff. Oh, what do you do that what happened, believe it or not, was my dad was in hospice at that point.
And so I was told this, and I was told that, you know, and, you know, give you a diagnosis, they also say, don’t go on the internet, don’t do this. And don’t do that. And I didn’t do any of that. But my dad, so he also knew that the that my chances of survival were not very good. And I’m like, why is that? Did they ever sink? Why?
Well, because the form of cancer I have, is it. It doesn’t act normally as a cancer doesn’t. It’s also very great. It’s very aggressive, and it’s virile. And so normally what happens is be asymptomatic at the beginning, it’s usually test the size to other organs and and other places in your system before it’s ever diagnosed and treated. Before it’s shown its little head, right. So and at that point, they didn’t know what my prognosis was specific to me. They only knew the fourth can’t based on the biopsy and everything in the prognosis wasn’t good.
But unfortunately, I had to start I couldn’t go through treatment because the following morning, I got notified by my father’s physicians that I needed to have being inside I suppose papers. So I signed the hospice papers, and I called my doctor and I said, You know, I gotta wait, my mother’s got Parkinson’s disease. And I’ve gotten care of this, which, you know, again, you know, what are you going to do? No, Master. Yeah, we didn’t plan for cancer, we didn’t plan for my father. We certainly didn’t plan for them to both happen in the same week. You know, that was pretty upset. You know, he was like, like, you know, every day every day matters. And I was like, Yeah, but these days matter in a very different way. So, so, we got my father taking care of and I went in and I can like, you know, get your treatment. Hat started my treatment, had some issues along the way, like everybody does, you know, you sit No, we used to call it the big red chair club. You know, you sit in those great fluffed, recliners. They’re all red and and, you know, I I couldn’t, I couldn’t let cancer control me.
The deal really was that Mike and Mike came to every single doctor’s appointment, he came to every single scan, he came to every single chemotherapy treatment and everything. But I was struck because I felt like, for the first time in my life, I had no control. So for the guy that needed to recognize that actions had consequences, and that I was responsible for those appointments, and then if it was good or bad, however, it turned out I needed to look in the mirror, but I had no plan. I was just I was floundering, I was floundering plus the fact that was a bit of a control freak. So I decided that cancer wasn’t going to control me, I was going to show the world that I could control it. So the thing that I started to do was I started riding a bicycle, not that I ever thought I was going to be Lance Armstrong. And I was never done a ride in the Tour de France, but that I could do it. And what I started doing is I would ride to my therapy treatments, which was almost 80 miles one way.
And I would try to ride home. And I’d get usually about halfway. And then I would call Mike and I’m done. And we have a point, I’d load the bike in the car, and we would come home, you know, and we would do you know, with all of the stuff that you’ve learned about answer, nausea, the vomiting the body, the inability to eat, I lost a lot of weight I didn’t want to eat I had no appetite. And the game we used to play was we used to go to a restaurant that had mud pie, mud pie was a big, because my everyday it didn’t taste like 10. And it was cool in my mouth. And I was getting sores and I was getting blisters and everything else. But the deal was they had to have meat and vegetables before I could have the mud pie. So it became a bribe bribery thing. And so one thing leads to another. So now I’m writing the by going through these chemotherapy treatments. And then I decided that I’m going to ride in the lance armstrong ride for the roses and in Austin, Texas.
So now I’m training 100 a ride because I cancer is not going to control me, I’m going to control it. And also it gave me an opportunity to raise money for cancer survivorship program across the country. People learning how to live with cancer because one of the things that I realized is that kids young, they can cut the kids are at your body, they can’t ever cut the cancer out of your mind. So I became very much the scan anxiety the fear the something bothers me right?
That’s a strange paint is it and everything. And I was having you know, I was having a fair amount of side effects. I got the chickenpox I got shingles. Wow, a lot of you know, a lot of, but every day I went to chemotherapy, I rode my bike, and I would go to chemotherapy. And I would have a joke. Many, many days. They were filthy jokes. A joke for us today, not what you want me to put on your podcast. But, but because none of us had, you know, we all the group of us became Oh, close that there was no filter, there was no barrier we just communicated. So one of the goals that Mike and always I always had was jaw and I will tell you a quick story.
One of the jokes, we would have the jokes too just to make people laugh. Because the other thing is you never knew you would go there sometimes there’ll be an empty chair. Oh, and of your team. What are your team missing? What missing? Yeah. And you’re almost didn’t want to ask because you hoped that they were just in the hospital. But you know, and you know, so we so So Mike and I became recognized, as you know, the guys and we would do a lot of noise, we’d be noisemakers and we would have all of our jokes and everything else. And one day, one of the aides came and she brought us believe it or not board a sportily and sources for lunch. When you see toward ladies in a boat, at least I did because I’m very sick. have their sixth year I really thought that I said to her What are you expecting us to eat? Is this the medical waste? From the pediatrics lounge Have you like collected up all the four skins and thrown them in a bowl? You know, that’s what tortellini looked like.
And that became He came everybody’s war cry. And he was like, I don’t believe and I said, and then you served it with a sausage. You know. And, you know, when I go back there now for my checkups and everything, they still tell that story and how they would end would never serve tortellini and saw john the same day in the in the US and said, but you know, but it was hard. It was very hard. But so the fundraising became a vehicle became very important to me. And, yeah, the and then what happened was, I had an opportunity to work with a cancer survivorship. So I’m riding my bike, going for chemotherapy, I’m trying to run this practice this law practice. And now I’m trying to raise money.
And then they tell me that the cancer survivorship organization located in Connecticut, so I reach out to them and I, they have a ride. So now I’m writing in two rides, I’m going to Austin, Texas, I’m packing Mike up. And we’re flying to Austin, Texas, he’s not riding a bike, and I’m getting 100 miles.
He doesn’t know what’s going on, I’m still going through chemotherapy treatments, I’m telling them that I’m fine. So that I can do this. He’s doing things like taking a tour of excess capital, while he doesn’t know what I’m doing, or if I’m okay. Fortunately, by that time, we have, you know, we had cell phones so I could stay in contact with stuff came back. And I was writing to this organization in Connecticut, and the doctors told me very specifically, you know, you’re limited to 50 miles. But a friend of mine who was very successful, they owned a company and everything offered, if I could ride the 100 he would match everything I raised in that particular year, I’d raised $35,000. So was huge to get a $7,000 to get a $35,000 match. But I had to coerce my friends to lie so that we made a mistake, misread the sign when you return way in a bike race to go, the shorter loop and you turn the other way to go the longer road, we all agreed that, you know, I was just going to make the mistake, and they were going to follow because they also didn’t want me riding along. And you know, then I was working at the Children’s Hospital with the pediatric and that led me to the Hole in the Wall Gang camp. So what ultimately happened was cancer, I had no plan. I use reacting on a day to day basis to my inability to control my life.
And suddenly, I started making mistakes at work. And it was all starting, it was getting too much because there was no plan. So each day, I had a plan to get through the day or the next thing, but it was always it was always to show cancer never to show me never to show my never to show anybody else that I was in control. It was always really to show cancer and I didn’t recognize what was going on. And what happens again, in that situation is the person that’s closest to you in the world. In my case, Mike would say to me, Mike, what are you trying to do? Yeah, you know, you you’ve got too many irons in the fire. You know, this is your he used to say he says you’re behaving like Don Quixote. You know, you you’ve got your Lance and you’re charging and windmills, Mike, you can’t control this. My way that you pro This is that you take care of yourself. You take care of us, you come home at night, you sleep you rest. You don’t find another project, that you somehow convince yourself that cancer is not you.
Because you can do that yourself. So we had almost the perfect storm because we had actions have consequences. We have it want to do it. And you do it go look in the mirror. And if you don’t do it, and you go look in the mirror, but we have no plan. So my plan to be cancer was my plan was to beat it every day at what I was doing. So I made some mistakes in my practice, which caused a whole host of additional problems. And then I happened to mention one day to my secretary. I’m one of these guys you can tell that you know always talks and my hands are going and everything else and I we do the Hey Jen, get this Hey, Jen, what do you think about this, she was my you know, the person that worked directly from me and I had made six people working for me. So there was also that pressure to keep the farm going because I had payroll, these people that were that depended on me to pay their bills that depended on me to provide them with health insurance, and everything.
So, one day I walked out, I said to her, I noticed that when I yell out, hey Jen, could you give me this file? Or some? Or I’d ask the question, nobody was answering my questions. So I walked out and they said, Hey, Jen, what? Are you going deaf? Can’t you hear me? And she said, I’ve been waiting to have this conversation. Let’s go in your office. And she said, go in depth, but I think you probably are. And I said, What are you crazy? And she says, No, no, I spoken to Michael about it. You know, when we had this conversation, I’m going to tell you that I want you to have you here.
So you’re not I had just finished a trial, I had just gotten inverted. How could I not here. And so no plan, I didn’t have a succession plan, I didn’t have a plan to how to wind down my practice. I didn’t have any plan for what to do if I couldn’t practice for a partner that, yeah.
And now they’re telling me that not only am I coming out of chemotherapy, finally, and I’m thinking I won, because I did all of this stuff. Forget about the fact that I was leaving a trail behind me of things that I wasn’t focused on or wasn’t focused on correctly, including my relationship. I mean, you know, I wasn’t obviously, when you’re when all of the lunatic stuff that I’m doing. I wasn’t paying attention to Mike. But he, you know, but he stuck with me, you know, he’s, you know, and he, we had no plan for how we were going to deal with chemotherapy or anything. And, you know, fortunately, I was able to make money. And fortunately, he was able to manage money. And those were the roles that are playing, those were the roles we adopted, which put us in a position where we could weather that storm, both financially and everything else. So they want me to get my hearing. So I’m just getting out chemotherapy. And I’m just thinking that I’m going to get my life back.
Yeah, and now that tell him he can’t hear. So, I, I’m gonna humor them. They want me to go get my eyes, my ears checked, I’m gonna argue with them, I’ll go get my ears checked. So I go to the I go, and they they test my hearing and I am at probably 30% 30 to 40% I’m hearing 30 to 40% of what goes on, like, it’s impossible, I can hear fine. And they’re like, No, you can’t hear my so now where I’m dealing with the fallout from finishing chemotherapy. And now I’m gonna death and assess cause from chemo or the drugs. It was as it was a result from it was one of the chemotherapy drugs that they initially they didn’t find out was they just knew that my hearing was decreasing because and then over time, we found that other patients that were on the same types of drugs, we’re experiencing similar issues. So the way they convinced me that I couldn’t hear because I refuse to accept the I did, I was trying cases I was riding my bike I was communicating with people. And my thing was if I’m deaf how I’m doing that Yeah, so but like my my my sister, Jen said, but Mike, you don’t talk on the phone anymore.
You talk on a speakerphone and it’s very loud and they can hear it down the block. So there were all these little changes going on. I was yelling to them like I always get get me this so what do you think of this are you know, do I have to I have to be and I wasn’t hearing and the answers but it was never may it was them.
It’s funny how your body just assimilates to whatever your if your eyesight starts going your body just manages it like you don’t even realize it near hearing the same. Yeah, it’s it’s crazy. Yeah.
So but I so what they did was when they told me I needed to get hearing aids. So I said sure, sure. I’m gonna wipies because God knows you know, he’s been throwing up telling me that I need to get hearing aids, I should get hearing aids. I’m thinking to myself, getting hearing aids. This is a small price to pay. I’ll just keep them in the glove box in the car. So but what I did unbeknownst to me was they told him, that when they fitted me for the year moles, they wanted when I was distracted, they wanted to slop back so that I couldn’t see him. And when they took the earmolds out, and we began to converse again, they wanted him to create a disruption.
To get my reaction, well, there was no reaction. So he was sitting behind me, and he was clapping his hands. And he was calling me names, and he was counting, and he was doing all kinds of things, but I didn’t hear any of it. And what they what we found out was that it wasn’t that bad. What I done was I’d had subconsciously learned how to read lips. So what, like what and you know, you just don’t realize, you know, like, he would say to me, I realized that, you know, when we were in the car, you don’t want to drive anymore. And I would sit sideways, I put my seatbelt on, but they’re always sets, I was always always looking. I changed the seating in house, I didn’t sit where I used to sit, I always used to sit on the couch next to him. Now suddenly, I’m sitting in chair at an angle to him. All these things were happening, but I had no idea that that was happening or anything else. So what ultimately happened was, I made so many mistakes in my practice that I had to shut down. I couldn’t hear I call it again, I couldn’t go into court and read people’s lips. Um, so and no plan, no retirement plan, no nothing.
As this was going on, a friend of mine, and I’ll spare you all of the details, except to say that to you, that I was going down and I was helping him every day because he was going through divorce, and I’m completely incapacitated. I was talking to his brother. And I’m saying, you know, Sam needs help. Sam needs help. He should be impatient. He was suffering from severe depression and everything. This was a guy that was 10 times smarter than me. He was the valedictorian of my law school class, and everything else. He ultimately took his own life and took life of both of his children and his wife. So that just kind of completely destroyed me, because I felt so responsible. I was talking to the sky every day, I was going down, I was taking them to a psychologist, because I couldn’t take him to a psychiatrist. Because if he was on medication and sticking psychiatry, he wouldn’t be able to have unsupervised rotation. And I’m saying to myself, so it’s the law telling us that it’s better to stay broken and to get fixed. Stay broke, and you can see your kids get the help that you need.
You’re not allowed to spend time alone with your kids. Is that is that what happens. And at the same time, I had a very well known litigator that wanted to present against my physician in the drug company that they suspect caused my my deafness. And he said, and I said to him, but mark, I met with him and I said, That’s not going to work. Because first of all, I don’t want to sue these people, these people saved my life. I had a very, you know, I’m still here. And granted, I’m going to the dermatologist every 45 days, and I’m having biopsies and I’m this and I’m taking shots, and I’m on chemotherapy and everything. But I’m still here. Yeah.
So. And if they said to me, maybe they said it. Maybe I didn’t hear because I couldn’t hear. But if they said to me, yeah, one of the side effects is that you could lose your hearing. I would had I not maybe a year. But that doesn’t mean that insane. I said, and if they didn’t, if they did, didn’t say it, they didn’t know because I believe that they were dealing with the best knowledge that they had at the time. And more importantly, if I heard them say it, I would have said you can’t hear from six feet under in a wooden box.
So I would I would have waived, I would have gone down this road anyway. And it was very hard to be here for 28 for almost 30 years and have him say to me, that doesn’t matter, Mike, we can work around this. We’ll settle the case. And I was like, there is no case nobody didn’t think wanted me. Everybody did the best that they could and I’m still here and I’m proof of that. And you want to do to vote. Yeah, absolutely. So I had that and I had the death of my friend Sam, saying it’s better to stay that broken where you’re suicidal, you cause for deaths rather than move forward. And that’s okay. Because he, and then I lost the second friend to suicide was like a real wake up call for me. So I tried retirement and that didn’t work out that worked out fine for the summer. I hear that a lot. Yeah. And then it got close. And this is a true story. I was watching daytime TV, because I was going out later. And later in time, I was watching I was watching Kelly Ripa in the morning. So at night, I’m reading books about the Supreme Court in the morning. I’m reading Kelly Ripa watching Kelly. And one day, I turned on the remote to see who our guest was the next day.
So I could plan my day. And I was like, What have you if you can’t add to your mind? You’re planning your day around around TV? This is your spy camera cancer for Are you not? And I had no plan. I had nothing. I mean, it was one day at a time. Nobody. We didn’t plan for retirement, Mike will work and we didn’t plan for retirement, no plays home watching daytime TV. So I started volunteering at the hospital. And there I was just an amazing, amazing journey. But more importantly, I got myself a job. And because of the thing that affected me the most, which was which was, um, you know, I’m suicide of two friends. Right? And that I got a job working for a young adult mental health awareness organism and I started to volunteer. And now I’m the office man. You know, it’s like your passion. Yeah, no, it turned out to be my passion that and obviously, I still go to the dermatologist every 45 days, I still have my biopsies I have, you know, an experiment. And, you know, I have medication that I have to take and everything, but from my diabetes. You know, that was the other thing that made it very difficult, you know, that you died using the chemotherapy or on a collision course? Yes. But you know, it was sort of interesting for me to suddenly realize I watched daytime TV that there was no for this either. It was just life was happening.
And, you know, in many ways, it’s still happening, because now I’m old, I’m working here. Mike is now 70. He has gotten me through every, every day, every single day. I one of the habits that I developed as I was going through all this was at night when I go to bed, I take off my slippers, and I purposely get down on my knees, I wish them all the way under the bed.
Because then I get down on my knees and I realize how much I have to be grateful for. And in the morning, when I get out of bed. First thing I’ve got to do is get down on my knees to get my slippers out from under the bed. And the first thing that I see is my sleeping on the other side of the bed. And I realized how much I have to be grateful for. That’s awesome. But I say to myself, would it have been better? If we had thought about these things? Two reasons, it would have made the journey that much easier, that much less chaotic, that must less frightening. Nobody’s going to plan to get cancer. Nobody’s going to plan to go death. But you can plan for a catastrophe.
So what if the what if what if I can’t work, it doesn’t matter if I can’t work because I have diabetes, and I’m losing my eyesight or I have cancer or I’m losing my hearing? Or I’m just old or you get arthritis? Or who knows or if you have a car accident, right? COVID Yeah, right, exactly. But we never plan that. And you know, But through it all. Michael stayed focused on the need to control the circumstances, to organize, to keep to organize it to figure out what we were doing and how to move us forward. So when I say there was no plan, Michael always had a focus on the end, Ron. So Mike might not have. So Michael had planned Michael knew what he had to do. Michael had to manage. Michael had a plan for our retirement, Michael had to give thought, Michael Murali on and encouraged both of us to get long term care insurance and disability insurance.
All of these other things. So he had the plan, but I lived, I’m 65 years old, I lived without a plan. I lived reactionary, the two things that I believed, because I had been told Young was that actions have consequences, good, bad, or indifferent. And you have to control those. And you have to figure out how you play the cards that you dealt. But I never gave any thought to how to play the cards when I got dealt a crappy hand.
Now is that kind of like the same same as you made your bed, you can lie in it now. It’s similar. It’s similar, you know, you played the card, you’re dealt, you know, so you make good choices, you make bad decision, I tell the dealer hecha, whatever it is you got, you got to play them, you’ve got to figure your way out. And you know, and the other thing was, you know, when when things go wrong, you go look in the mirror, things go, go look in the mirror.
So it wasn’t a matter of not having any sense of responsibility or anything. It was a matter of always reacting, always reacting, never being proactive when it hit the fan. And But Michael, on the other hand, was always focused on the end run. And that’s about a stroke. That’s what got us through, if he just saw and if he didn’t look forward if he didn’t take stock of the situation, and have a plan for moving through it. We I don’t know. I don’t know if we were to stay together. I don’t know what our retirement is, you know, for all I know, you could be eating cat food right now. You know? Yeah. Yeah. And that’s expensive, too. Yeah, that’s better than a GP, especially.
FINAL NOTES FOR LISTENERS
But what what kind of final note would you have for our listeners, that’s brought you to this point in your life, you’ve helped so many people in mental health, in cancer and raising money in in being trying to find your passion. I think you have many passions. But yeah, what kind of message do you think you would have? You know, maybe just another LGBTQ partner? Like, what would you have? I mean, what you’ve gone through is different than what others especially in that era, because we didn’t look at it in the 70s, or 80s. But I think the thing is, is thing is, is to take stock of who you surround yourself with, whether it’s a same sex partner, or opposite sex partner, or whatever, you build your life together.
Understand that there it’s not, it’s not all candlelight dinners. And you need to you need to plan for those nights. That’s not a candlelight dinner. And getting old is not for the faint of heart. So we can all you know, it we were living, what do they call it? spontaneously? Yes, the badge of honor. And I did that I did that for I just reacted to everything that happened. And thank God, it has a happy ending. But it has a happy ending, because I’ve made good because of the person that I was fortunate enough to be making choices. So I think that we can all spontaneously for the day. But think that we all have to recognize that life is not a spectator sport, and that we do have to plan that we are going to have good days and bad days, and how do we get through the bad days? And how do we capitalize on the good days? How do we know? We don’t know what’s next? So how do we make sure that we give ourselves as much insurance and by insurance, I don’t necessarily mean health insurance or life insurance or anything else. But just insurance that that the people that we care about and the people that care about us get what they need from us in good times. And
oh, that’s so beautiful. If this wasn’t recorded, I would have recorded that. Oh, that’s so awesome. Thank you. Did you have any other final message that you’d like to get the listeners?
I mean, what the story? Yeah, I you know, I want to thank people for listening. You know, I mean, I hope that, you know, they certainly if anybody had a question they could get in touch with me through you or anything. You know, I just, I just hope that when you go through this by yourself or alone, it’s a waste in many ways, not a waste. Because we come out strong, he come out differently. But if I can avoid if I can help one person do it better than me. Because they plan and they thought about it and they’re a little bit more introspective. And they recognize that it could happen, then yes, it gives what I went through, meaning purpose.
And so I just hope that one person that nobody gets cancer and that nobody needs a plan. But they can all say at the end of the run, Mike told us to plan. And isn’t he adult because we didn’t need to plan? Yeah. Oh, the the situation is that’s not going to happen. Because we all need a plan. We all need to know what it is that we’re doing. And we all need to know how it is that we’re going to weather the good days and the bad, bad. Yes. That’s perfect. That’s perfect. Absolutely. Perfect. Thank you so very much for your, your passion and helping others. I know, I really, really appreciate that. My Kim, of course, your other Mike has a big point in all of this as well. Getting to you to where you’re at right now as well. So thanks, Tom, your other half? Maybe your better half? I’m not really sure. But absolutely my better half. Sometimes I do have better halves. Yeah. And yeah. And what he shows is that, you know, it takes patience, both with yourself and with so I guess the other thing that people should always remember is, is they go through these good times and bad times to have patience.
Patience. Yeah. And we all hate patients. I know I do. Yeah, it’s it’s tough. We we have to wonder why we need patience. But when you’re in it, you sure You sure do. So well. Thank you. It’s that time again, listeners, I can’t believe it’s already, you know, we could talk to Mike here for forever, I’m sure you’re full of knowledge, you are full of experiences. And I may just have you come back on again, at some point in time again, because, you know, it’s it’s really beautiful. Unfortunately, you’ve had to go through what you’ve had to go through. But at the same time, wow, your experiences can help so many people. So thank you, thank you for that. Thank you look back at your convenience. And you know, yeah, yeah, and update us and give us some more highlights. So thank you. Thank you everyone, for watching and listening to our show. And take a moment and make sure you click on the subscribe button, share this with others. And click on that bell. And I know one of our other guests makes me want to sing. to click on the bell, there’s a bell right before beside the subscribe button down here somewhere right down there, right there. So make sure you click on the subscribe like this, this show as well, it helps to make sure that we’re getting more of the shows out to other people. And click on that bell because that really means that you get notified when we come up with more great guests like Mike, and you don’t want to miss it. So if you don’t click on the bell, you might miss a show. So um, I want to thank everyone for coming. As you can see, Mike is perfect for expect the unexpected. No one is Superman, and why not look at what we can do today to be better protected for tomorrow. And I coach each and every one. Because there’s nobody that gets out of this life alive, so to speak. And I just want everyone to feel that, that they don’t have to live in stress. They don’t have to live and not knowing what to do next. Because you’ve already consider the what if especially with your friends and family, parents, brothers, sisters, that type of thing, because that’s a tough situation to be in after the fact after the storm has hit. So thank you everyone for listening and watching. And if you were thinking of someone today, that’s in your mind that you haven’t spoken to, please reach out to them. Tell them how much you love and care about them. Because you don’t know what tomorrow may bring. Thanks Mike!
MIKE DALY AT : https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100014065901310 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mystery behind Lupus, is forever ongoing. It affects 1.5 million Americans, and 5 million worldwide.
“Lupus changes people. It sculpts into someone who understands more deeply, hurts more often, appreciates more quickly, cries more easily, hopes more desperately, loves more openly, and lives more passionately.” Unknown
I love having you come on our show today to talk about the true mystery about your journey with lupus. I’m very excited to hear it from point A to Z.
And so let’s get the party started. Let’s talk about how it all started for you.
Sure, yes, absolutely. So it was a number of years ago seems like a lifetime ago, almost. In my 20s I started flying airplanes and absolutely fell in love with aviation, every piece of it wanted to know all about it. And so from the age 25 to 30 was flying a ton going through my ranks and all the ratings and teaching people how to fly and got my commercial and won some scholarships to do some other things. And it was really a fun time. But I wasn’t taking care of my body wasn’t taking care of the Spirit. And at the age of 30, my body just broke it just broke and wouldn’t do what I was asking him to do any longer. We my first episode, if you will, we were in Hawaii, enjoying a wonderful, blissful time in Hawaii is our favorite place to go. How can you not Hello, right. I know. It was absolutely gorgeous. In the last day, we were going to leave in the morning. And on the way to breakfast I decided I was just going to steal a few more minutes in the sun. But I hadn’t put on any sunscreen or anything because I was all dressed ready to go. And the sun can bring on a flare up in terms of auto immune particularly lupus, but I didn’t know this because I just this was hadn’t even started yet. But when we boarded the first airplane and they shut the door and we’re rolling down the runway, we were just taking a short hop from Hawaii to Honolulu. All of a sudden I couldn’t breathe. I was just gasping for air and scary place to be when that’s happening. It didn’t say anything to my husband till we landed again. It was just a 15 minute hop to Honolulu. But I said before we get on another airplane, I’ve got to see a medic. And so we did I didn’t even know if there was one up there you came back. Okay. Had to see a medic at the at the Honolulu airport and he listened to my lungs and said, you’re breathing in and out. I don’t see a problem. So what I know right, breathing lady Get lost.
So like popping Benadryl as we hop on this next flight, that’s a five or five hour flight over the water. It’s just miserable, but with enough rest. I think it was something in the plane then that I really had no idea. I just I was completely taken aback. I mean, I had the reason I was popping Benadryl is because for those five years when I wasn’t treating myself, Well, I was allergic to a lot of things. And so I always carried it with me not knowing that this was kind of the start of the whole autoimmune illness. So it didn’t alarm me to the I mean, I was alarmed, but not enough to go to say an ER, yeah, that was down the road. I with enough rest. I sort of recovered from that episode. Didn’t think too much of it.
A couple weeks later, I’m sitting at work having a sandwich and all of a sudden I can’t breathe again. So then I was able to go Yeah, it was just strange. Just autoimmune is just so strange. So I did go to my primary care. And she’s kind of said the same thing. Like that’s the we’re autoimmune is so strange. There’s no, we don’t really know what’s happening. I said, I can’t go home, like I’ve already been through this cannot do this again. So she got me in with an allergist that afternoon. Surprisingly, the only one available and that doctor had no idea at the time. He had interned in a lupus clinic. So he was I know, right. I mean, this is it was just this divine walk the whole you know, the whole walk, but I didn’t know what I mean. I still went in not being able to breathe or having that sensation. He asked me about 100 questions, took a bunch of blood work and didn’t even tell me why what he suspected. But the fact that he was living Listening, the fact that he was engaged, gave me enough comfort to go home that evening. those tests were very special took three weeks to get back in the meantime, episode after episode ER after ER. And it seemed like every time I saw a new doctor, they would prescribe a med that I was unable to take. I was allergic to it again, popping the Benadryl. So it was just this up and down just horrible, like, experience. One that I’m glad I haven’t, you know, had to go through those kinds of things again, so it was inside of the aviation industry.
A lot of those folks were saying, Go find a naturopath. And back then it wasn’t the easiest thing to do now,
right now. Right? So you hear it all the time, and it’s accepted. Back then it was well go see them if you know, you don’t want anybody to know, you’re sick type thing. Yeah, so right or go see that witchy doctor. Yeah. And again, I just happened to find like an expert in his field. But seeing that doctor for the first time, um, I, I found healing, the start of true healing within 24 hours, he somehow knew that the breathing issues I was having had nothing to do with my lungs. But everything to do with my stomach, my gut, I wasn’t able to expand my diaphragm to get a full breath because my gut was in such distress.
But like, Who knew? I mean, I certainly didn’t know. Right? And so he started me fasting right away on a liquid drink full of nutrition. And he had said, No, just do this for a week. I’m sure that that was a bite sized enough piece for someone to be able to follow his instructions. Yeah, that wouldn’t be too bad to do, right. I mean, you could do anything for a few days. It was Monday, and I was to do this till Friday. But Friday came. And I started panicking. I didn’t want to start eating. So he had given me because I was so sick. He had given me his cell phone instead, if anything happens, just give me a call. So I did, I called him and I said, Do I really, really, really have to start eating? I mean, for the first time, I’m feeling actually a little bit better. And he said, Wow, you’re blessed. No, you don’t. And so I continued on that for 90 days. During that 90 day period, I was buying that drink mix, if you will, that I mixed with water at the warehouse, because I was going through so much of it. And so it was it was fine. He just couldn’t keep enough of them shells. But that’s where I met, but they didn’t taste as good as they do now.
You know, I think God just hit that for me. Honestly. I one day I went in and was talking to a new someone I hadn’t talked to there before. And she was asking me Well, how does this taste for you? I said, Oh, it’s amazing. It I just know it saved my life. You know, I was I had her race it right. And I craved it, it was it must have had so much of what my body needed, that I truly did crave it. And so we started up this conversation, which after I left, I thought Oh good. She told me about her son that she had nursed back to health had almost passed. And she did it through nutrition. So when I left, I thought me and I really need to, I need to talk to her again, I need to know what she knows. And they didn’t want to call back and they didn’t want to let me they said oh, we talked to our manager and she doesn’t talk to clients. And I’m like, Oh, I really need to talk to her. So she did I said just please take my name and number. And if she’s willing to talk with me, I would just very much appreciated and she did call me and she gave me the name of the doctor who would really walk this journey with me a three year journey to healing. And I that was all of all of those experiences were very divinely led because like who would? It was one circumstance after the other that just was put in my path for you know the right place, right time type thing?
Because I think that’s what happens when you start going the right direction. It says okay, we got your back now.
We got to girl, let’s let’s keep moving forward. That’s exactly right. It’s the the universe will step in and give you what you need when you’re on the right when you’re on the right track. And even if you’re not, you know, you may stumble here or there but eventually find, you know, find the way Yeah. Did Is it very similar to when you started in that process because you didn’t really know what you were feeling and how you were reacting. But is it very much like Lyme disease because Lyme disease is a very similar type of hidden Yeah. I don’t I don’t even know what to call it because yeah, another half better.
Yeah. Weird. No hard to diagnose? Absolutely. So it is. And in fact, when I’ve talked to some people and seeing what other people have gone through with wine, this disease, I they’re so closely related in terms of symptoms that you know, who’s your guest is as good as mine type thing? Absolutely. They’re very, very similar.
So how did was there a wake up call for you?
Was there a real? the lightbulb went on for you?
Once you got through to a certain point of feeling a little bit better?
Definitely. And, you know, it was what you just said it was a wake up call, I was going the wrong direction in my life and had an opportunity to redirect. Yes, obstacles to overcome, for sure. But the redirection was in the right place that my life was supposed to go. And it was, you know, honestly, I wasn’t sure if I would survive, because I couldn’t take the normal course that other people could. And so imagine, coming down with an autoimmune the first one of the first things that you do is you go to a rheumatologist, I never made it that far. I was seeing ER doctors a lot. But there were no solutions. And I just knew, somehow in that space, there was, this wasn’t where I was going to find my healing. And in the natural realm, then with dealing just with food and supplements, and things like that. There was a lot of grace during this time, because I was so sick, but nothing I was doing was normal, in terms of what other people would do. So friends family, didn’t understand what I was up to. I did crazy stuff to get well, I read every cancer book of someone who had gotten welded, I did everything they did, there wasn’t anything on lupus back then in getting well, right. Yeah. And chronic illness was that it was chronic.
Um, so I was following protocol that other people couldn’t really swallow in terms of or understand or approve of. And so it was very lonely journey to wellness, because it was long. I mean, it’s like waking up with the flu for 1000 days. But every once in a while there was that little glimmer, I’d have a few minutes where I felt better. And then a week later, maybe up to an hour where I felt like, Wow, I didn’t feel terrible this last hour. So little glimmers of hope that kept me on that path doing what I need to do to get well.
So it’s 20 years ago, gosh, we didn’t have what we have now. I mean, even with Crohn’s disease with all the products of gluten free, and we didn’t have all of that sort of type of thing. And to me, it’s all very similar because our body’s reacting to something from either you’re putting in it or that you are around. I truly believe that, you know, it’s the water we’re drinking, it’s the drinks we’re drinking, it’s the food we’re eating, it’s, it’s everything. And it’s hard to eliminate those things out of your life. You can’t it’s like diabetics, you know, to go shopping or to go to a restaurant like everybody else. You have to be watching what you’re eating. Yes. So how did you get from really feeling sick and having that life changing career change for you?
Yeah, so as you mentioned, the eating I really had to eliminate everything. So I went through that first 90 days of complete elimination and the the drink mix, if you will, it was based on a rice based syrup. So when I added in food, all I could do was steamed zucchini, things you could see through once they were steamed I could pretty much see watermelon. Yeah and no and no fruit it was only vegetables, fruit wood. So one of the things that I had was leaky gut syndrome. And yeah, and so I couldn’t eat anything that would that would have sugars or anything in it and because the switches feed on that and create more right so for three years I vegetables morning noon and night once I started eating vegetables and we we fondly call it even today the walk meal I would cook in the walk and I still do vegetables is is pretty much what I eat. And I can do some rice products some and now they have lots of rice products like rice bread and rice noodles and so but but back then For three years it was vegetables morning, noon and night.
Wow. That’s a hard one to swallow basically because I mean, you can be a vegetarian but without fruit It seems so difficult, doesn’t it? But the sugar is not good for for really anybody’s got. And that’s yeah I had it I we were really treating that leaky gut I had a parasite too called blastocyst is hominis.
And so we were starving out the bad yeast, this parasite all have to do with a gut. Yeah, it was just so I, I, I know this could have gone another way. I know it could have gone where I would it wouldn’t be here right now. For sure. Like I said, there were many nights, I wondered if I would wake up the next morning, but I was my stomach was so sensitive that the only thing I could do was that rice drink and vegetables. That was it. And there was there was a time during that just a really short time during that period where I ventured out and had salmon and some chicken. And that was the one and only audible voice of God experience I’ve ever had. And one night I clearly heard everything you need to eat is grown out of the ground. And I was down to I know and I was down to my lowest weight. I was 105 lost. I had lost so much weight down to I looked like I was 13. I mean, that’s what I that’s what I weighed when I was 13 years old.
So I looked like I had anorexia. I mean, I looked terrible, right? And so I may I’m like, you’ve got to be kidding me God. And so I made a deal with them. I said, All right. Because I just started bringing these two things into into my diet. And I said, Okay, I’ll make a deal. If I lose one more pound, in this next week, then I I’m going to go back to eating those two things. And I gained two pounds that week. So that was my deal with God, he won. And that was it. You know, like that was a he really was my he gave me the next step. Every single step I took then I got the next one. But I had to be really faithful in that time to do what he said to do before I got the next step. And so it was blind faith walking by the smallest light possible that could light my path and I just followed it. I knew I was that close to not living really, you know, it’s just on my way out. So I had to I had to follow it. It was survival piercer absolutely did.
Did you feel a difference eating the chicken and the salmon? Like are you a totally vegan then now.
So now I I don’t eat any meat and or poultry or fish. I do eat eggs, and then in basically vegetables and some rice type products. But that’s that’s the extent of my my diet. It’s gotten smaller again. I did. So once I got Well, we were able to have children, which was a total blessing and had three boys. They’re all grown up now. But once I was on the other side, you know I had I healed i mean i truly did my blood tests were normal. I there was a time then that I by the time I was 3334 I was asymptomatic. My blood tests reversed. And all was well. And so we started having kiddos and as moms with kiddos you start eating off of their plate. Hold on. There you come. Okay, so after about 10 years, I was a really poor vegetarian, I was more like a carbohydrate. And you know, I eat carbs all the time I consent I’ve done.
So I went and flipped exact opposite and went to the Atkins and just ate meat and cheeses and stuff like that, which tasted awesome. The last couple of years, I’ve switched back over to the vegetarian diet, and I have felt like I’ve gotten 10 years younger. Oh, wow. So yeah, so I know for me now, for the rest of my life here. I’ll stay a vegetarian. It’s just the most healthy way for me to eat and feel. body feels good. Right? Absolutely. So feel great and love you. I love that, you know, we talked about I was just talking about having a conversation the other day with someone about depression and folks who suffer from depression have a baseline that even on their good days, their baseline is probably like one of our not so good days. And that’s the way my body is like my good days are really pretty good. But if I do something to thwart that it throws me down to Where I’m not, and I just don’t feel good. And I’m, I don’t want to not feel good anymore. You know, I’ve had enough days of that. Yeah. Where feeling good means something to me.
So I do what I? Absolutely, yeah.
I find with a brain injury that I had with a car accident that oils are good. So my body seems to function better with MCT oil and avocados and you know all of that stuff it, it feeds it. Yes. It’s truly funny when when you start listening to your body, to how you’re feeling when you’re eating certain things. Do you eat a lot of proteins of beans and peas them?
I don’t because those are like gas producing. And again, I’ve got to be careful I, I just don’t feel well. So and I know another gentleman. His name is Matt Embry. And he’s he’s from Canada, and he got a diagnosis when he was 19 have Ms. And his diet is much the same. Those of us who feel well who have been diagnosed with autoimmune can usually feel better if we’re specific dietary needs are, you know, requirements and that are followed. And he he does eat lean meat. His diet is lean meats, fruits and vegetables, no beings with guns or anything like that.
Because it is, you know, that just attacks the gut. Right. So corn and stuff like that’s difficult to, interestingly corn. Corn will bring on a flare in a minute. And I had read a study years ago about a woman who just had a severe corn allergy. And not lupus though, she was diagnosed with lupus. And when she took corn out of her diet, she was well, it was just a corn allergy. But those corn allergies can be extreme can mimic a lupus even to the point of testing positive for it crazy. So yeah, corn is not something that I go down that road at all with.
Yeah. So all the things that are similar are lawns disease, and lupus. What about Crohn’s disease? And there’s another one for the stomach. And that will IBS and, and I, yeah, fibromyalgia. So all of those kinds of things are all very similar to finding what it is that you can eat, that your body feels good for.
Yeah. And and, you know, it’s it’s too bad that that message isn’t delivered, necessarily, by Western medicine, don’t want to say that too loud. But like if if doctors would really acknowledge, acknowledge Yes, and just say, Hey, why don’t you try this? Because I’ve read plenty, even Heart Heart Doc’s who were wondering about, like you were mentioning earlier, diabetes is an autoimmune as well. And he’s a heart doctor started treating his heart patient or his diabetic patients who were also as heart patients with diet and found not only did their diabetes regulate, but their heart conditions did as well. Amazing what we can do with diet.
Did you try intermittent fasting?
I do that now. But I didn’t back that. I mean, every day was almost too fast for Yeah, 90 days of it back then. And then often, I would just, I would not even have the vegetables on a day I would you know, so. I intermittent fasting i think is is great for our bodies, and they and so much literature and information about that out now. Yeah.
Do you do it all the time, or just here and there then?
No, just in it’s almost, I wouldn’t call it a regime But often, I will eat my last meal at somewhere around two or three o’clock in the afternoon. So then it’s just sort of what it just sort of works in regularly for me that I’m not planning it out. Did you find any medicines or you know, whether they’re on the shelf or vitamins or anything that was helpful.
nutritional supplements are for me meds, I was just really allergic to everything out there. But there are nutritional supplements. You mentioned, oils, omega omega is are phenomenal for the brain. And so that’s something I take a lot of it’s great for brain fog, because with autoimmune generally comes brain fog.
But we would have to eat somewhere around 20 to 23 fish a week to get what our brain actually needs. And so we You just have to supplement with that. That’s something everybody should do. Antioxidants are super important. And probiotics and prebiotics are very, very important. I also take like eye vitamins, wanting to just keep those those things sharp and generally with autoimmune comes achy joints. So glucosamine is a really great, great thing to take as well. But there are difference in terms of absorbability and what supplements actually provide nutritional supplementation like help to the body because there’s a lot out there that doesn’t. So I found some great stuff.
Yeah, it sounds so much like fibromyalgia, you know, it’s like a combination of a whole bunch of things, right, like with the body and the soreness, and the headaches and the brain fog. And it’s unbelievable how all of those symptoms are wrapped up into one, your stomach not working right. You’re, you probably were you high and then lower, you know, you’d have a good day and then a bad day.
And well, mostly they were bad. You know, honestly afraid for a year and a half beginning for sir. Yeah, it was, yeah, for a long time. It’s just it’s just all bad. But, but I could see, you know, generally things I just had to believe what I was doing. It’s really amazing when I look back on it now because there were so many days that went by before I saw any improvement. Like why would you be doing this if you don’t but, but I did. And when you say Fibromyalgia that reminds me I, I had that diagnosis as well. There was a time when I was seeing that doctor for three years. He said, Well, you also have fibromyalgia. And good news is that usually lupus accompanied with fibromyalgia means you won’t have the damage to the major organs that lupus can do. You’ll just feel crummy for the rest of your life. And I’m like, thanks. I know. Right? So that was the bad news.
But I never I never talked about feeling not well for the rest of my life. Like again, there was that distinction that I made. I was always seeking. How do I get well read everything I could did every every research I material I could get my hands on I read every book about healing. I got every meditation I could have gotten about healing. I did like I was so bent on getting well that’s the only thing that came into my purview was how do I get well, so I think that was a huge piece of, of getting well is seeking it well, and not relying just solely especially 20 years ago. Like even 10 years ago, things have changed enormously with our foods have gluten free and our sugar free and our protein shakes and our you know, because those protein bars used to taste like cardboard. But now they’re not too bad. So they have come a long way. For sure. To to get something quick. That’s not like an Oreo cookie, or something. Right? Yes, absolutely. Yeah. So what about dairy? Have you stayed away from dairy as well?
I definitely try and stay away from dairy. And that’s something that really feeds autoimmune. When I watch Matt Embry, he says the same thing like his dad is a professor at a at a call University in Canada. And so are you was at the time when Matt got diagnosed. And of course, if your 19 year old son gets diagnosed with something like they should go to work to figure it out. And they I don’t have all of his research, but he does offer that and his research research has found that dairy will promote rapidly autoimmune. So that’s something that we need to stay away from. Yeah, all the good stuff, right?
Well, I just found out because I was wondering why I’m on the keto diet. So I eat butter. And butter was sitting on my counter. And it was not very yellow. And then I started thinking, why isn’t it melting? on the counter? Like what’s going on? Yeah. So then I started looking it up. And in February, I don’t know the United States but in Canada. They change the formula to what they can feed cows. So they’re giving cows palm oil is my understanding to increase the amount of milk that they can produce, so that they can make more dairy products that Yeah, but I thought why With all our wisdom and knowledge in the hierarchy, that we are supposed to avoid palm oil. It’s not good for the environment. It’s not good for the forests. It’s not good for our body. What are we doing? So many. So now I’m looking for real butter. Like and that’s hard to do. Is that not crazy?
Yeah, it totally agreed. I think there’s a there’s an Irish butter. That still is the real thing out there. But yeah, you it’s so important to continue. Yeah, we think we have it. And then we need to Yes. So I love your curiosity in terms of even looking that up, like what’s going on? And and finding that, that that’s the case. So that’s new to me. So I thank you for that. Because I’ll have to keep an eye out every night. I cook for my family too. So I’ll cook differently for me than I do for them. But I’ll because butter has a nice smell. But the other butter doesn’t. It’s like hard. It’s like a lard melt.
Wow. And so what does that gonna do to our bodies? it? I don’t know. But right. So that was scary. Yeah.
Then. So is the milk different? Is the cream different? You know, now you’re like asking about everything. Yes. It’s crazy. My mom was noticing that the milk has a skim of something around the glass. That is leaving like an oil. Yeah. So I don’t know if it’s in our milk now. But you know, they have to put it on the label every time. That’s right, because they’re not putting it into the end product. Yeah. They’re putting it into the feed that they’re giving the animals. Yeah. In some shape or form. I’m not really sure or understand why. Yeah. So if anybody out there knows. Write down a comment down below. I’d really appreciate it. listeners would to come on dairy farmers. Come on. Let’s look fine. Tell us why. Yeah, no, good. Good observation. Yeah, so what are they doing to their cheeses and everything else? Do you eat tofu? I don’t only because I’m allergic to soy. Oh, yeah. So that isn’t a protein that I can consume.
Gosh, that eliminates a lot of stuff.
Yeah, it’s easier just to think about what I can eat than what I don’t I’m in honestly, that’s just the way I have to look at it. And sometimes, I know over the years dieting and this and that I’ve always been that type of a person anyway, just tell me what I can do. I’ll make anything bad, if you will, when I was you know, doing the Atkins, I could make that a super. That’s when I did eat dairy I did for those for a few years there. And I have to say I didn’t feel bad on on that particular regime for a period of time. And then our body chemistry changes and then I had to change with it. So at the end, that’s a key thing. Our body is constantly changing. And to be in tune with what that is doing, you know, to listen, hey, why am I not feeling as well? Why am I more tired? When I get up in the morning? Why don’t I have as much energy during the day? These are questions we should be asking ourselves so that we can make the appropriate adjustments. What about goat products that were never tried and I’ve never tried them I go to great idea and I but at the same time, I’ve eliminated all of what would take its, you know what that would take his place of so it’s just better not to go down that road.
Because it might be an option for for some people. What about almonds, almond milk and almond butter and nuts.
So great guides to get I’m allergic to almonds so I can’t do the almond milk but I do rice milk. So if I you know and I can do some oat milk as well. So those are the the two things that are in my fridge right now. And then other stuff for my you know, for my family cereals, or any cereals that you can have like is there a granola or anything?
Great, another great question. So I am just thinking about what’s in my pantry right now and it’s rice checks if I have a cheat it would be that with some maple syrup and some rice milk. You know if I just want something sweet and feel normal? Yeah, yeah, it’s just it’s an easy, easy kind of small meal or whatever that I can eat if I get hungry
for lunch is there’s I think there’s rice roll ups now that you like a tortilla shells or there’s lots of corn ones but I think there’s rice now too. So you could use that with some vegetables and mayonnaise and mustard and kind of
So I don’t do the the condiments if you will. But what I would do is put the vegetables like, I’ll boil some vegetables and rice and put those in and have a have a vegetable rice wrap. Yeah, that’s it. That’s a tree.
That would be it sounds yummy. Yeah. So that could be a dinner too, I guess or Absolutely. Yep. So you have to make two meals one. One for you.
I do. I do. Indeed. So the kitchen. Yeah. Lots of fun.
So on to the next. So we talked about what we’re putting in our bodies. But we also have to know what medicines we talked about. What about in supplements? What about our environment, our water, our drinks, and our cleaning products?
Yeah, oh, just super on point questions, water, we do get purified water, we we we have a system to do that. And so it’s so important to drink good water know what kind of water you have had, if you don’t know, get it tested. In the US, it’s probably different than Canada. But in the particular neighborhood we live in the the water is so hard with calcium, they can’t even test how hard it is. So we Yeah, we have to do some alternate things there. And environmental. I didn’t know how much chemicals in this is more monitored and regulated in Canada than it is in the United States.
But there are a lot of chemicals and ingredients in just the things we brush our teeth with wash our hair, all those personal care things, cosmetics, laundry, cleaning all of those things here in the us that we just need to do better for so you can find some privately owned independent manufacturing companies that make them much cleaner. And I did that at 1.0. Fast forward probably 1518 years. And lupus is such a hormonal disorder that when I did all this research, when I was 30, I thought I’ll probably have some issues as I’m going through these hormonal shifts when I get older. And that’s exactly what happened. So I was able to live those 15-18 years or so just however I wanted stay out in the sun, what I wanted all of it. And then my body started slowing down again. And I started breathing heavy in this time. It wasn’t like I couldn’t breathe. It was just my heart rate was up all the time. And I went to the doctor and he sent me to the ER, once again on this road of what’s happening. And they diagnosed me with graves disease. Well, that’s an autoimmune issue where the the antibodies attack the thyroid, put your body in hyperspeed.
So my heart rate was 120, just at rest, which when I know right, I was on an eternal treadmill, I was tired, oh, my heart rate was going and so if I got up to unload the dishwasher was at 150. And if I was on the treadmill 180. So it can be dangerous. And they of course care about stroke and heart attacks and things like that. So I got home and I looked up what graves disease was. And I immediately called the endocrinologist and said, Hey, listen, you know all that blood you just took, could you please run a test for lupus? And she said, I can’t I won’t know how to read it. And I said, Well, I will. And of course my tests came back just as high as they had 1518 years prior. So devastated.
Absolutely. I didn’t know how I was going to get through this next bout of lupus because at the time, my husband had been furloughed from his position, I wasn’t working. And just to do what I did back that many years ago was 1000 bucks a month between supplements, the drink mix, I was offering food that you’re eating Exactly. And we didn’t have that we didn’t have it. And I went to bed one night and said, God, you’re gonna have to bring it to me. I had no resources, I had gone up to the clinic that I had healed with before. And it was going to be a $300 intake, they no longer took insurance all out of pocket. There wasn’t any money. And now we had three kids to support so it wasn’t like we could spend anything on my dealing.
It’s so frustrating because when you want to eat properly, it’s so much cheaper just to grab that McDonald’s hamburger and a bag of chips.
Yeah, it is the those go twos. Obviously that had to to stop like immediately. And I tried to replicate what I knew I had taken before omegas and antioxidants in these things, but to no avail. Because really the grocery store equivalent was not equivalent at all, but my niece had reached out and she shared with me a manufacturing company that I could start shopping that was clean, made great supplements. I did that and within the I mean the upside of the story was within three weeks I woke up one morning, no symptoms whatsoever. And within nine months, my blood tests reversed. So I know that chemicals that are in the things we use every day. I know that good nutrition. Yeah, if we can handle those things, those are key in terms of either regaining our health or remaining healthy.
And I know there’s a lot more products out there. Many more choices are Yeah. Then there used to be, I think, maybe 20 years ago, there was melaleuca. There was Watkins, there was. I’m not sure if Mary Kay fell into that for makeup or not. Then they may be now but not back then. Yeah, I’m just trying to remember some of the things but now there’s even at the grocery store here. There are organic products. I think Burt’s Bees have organic line. There’s makeup lines now. There’s laundry soaps that are organic, so to speak, I guess that’s how they’re labeling them. I’m not really sure what that means.
Yeah. And that’s, I think that’s key, the last time I looked, a lot of the things that we see out there have been gobbled up by the bigger companies. And people don’t know that. And so it is, what I can recommend is that people are extremely diligent in what brand they are using. Because there’s a lot of like you said, In the beginning, companies don’t have to put things on their labels here in the us back in the 1950s. There was legislation passed and for good reason back then it just doesn’t serve the people today. Yeah, for proprietary reasons. People in manufacturing companies don’t have to label put the ingredients that are in a product. So because it’s just again for proprietary so someone can’t another company couldn’t start up and use those same ingredients and make it then you’ve got competition, but now it just doesn’t support us in terms of the the shoppers, the consumers. So a lot of crazy stuff. I know there’s a lot of organic brands may naturally
But what is it it’s so difficult? It is whoever it is, I actually developed a class called what what toxins are lurking in your home. And I gave that at rec centers and libraries. Because I you know, people just need to be aware, I think that’s the first thing, awareness is key. And then the due diligence, like do your diligence, look and seek not just on a label, I there was one brand in particular that I had become aware of that the label looks on there’s, it’s an entire brand that you can find it the grocery store. And I went to I started just googling went to their website. And when you go to the website, that’s where you find where I found all the ingredients. And some of the really dangerous ingredients are in that brand. Just not on the label. But they do put it on a website. Yeah. So good.
That’s what I’m saying it’s a person has to do their due diligence, you have to look and if it’s something that is necessary for your next moment, do the research. Now, if it’s something that can wait on, you know, just do your research as it comes when you’re aware yet we don’t know what we don’t know. And when I got Well, in three weeks, after that last bout, eight, nine years ago, I went to work and I researched like crazy because I thought what on earth could be the things. You know, in these things. I’m using toothpaste and shampoo that could make me not just sick with one illness, but graves and lupus, like this is crazy. And I just would France. That’s all I did. I didn’t change any of my eating. During that time, a couple years ago, I changed but during that time, nothing and my blood tests went back to normal. I mean, that’s. So I did the research because I really had to, and I recommend that you know, for people who are struggling if you’re struggling with autoimmune or and there’s so much that falls into that category now eczema. Oh, definitely do the research.
Yeah, absolutely. I find I have a lot of I’ve had quite a few clients with lupus. And they would be good for a long time. And then, like you said you’d have about where it would reoccur. But do you know how long that time is going to last? And you don’t have to make that other shift again, like how do you change that? When it rains back?
Yeah, great question. So So for me, it was just another layer. It was what I was using in my home. For someone else. It might be some of the foods that they’re eating, but it just it just helps us layer by layer get better and better. The three things that I know are super important is what we’re putting in our bodies, what we’re putting on our bodies and the things that We’re breathing in and using to, you know, clean our homes and things like that we have control over those things. We don’t have control over what’s being sprayed outside or whatever. But the things that are inside our home, and that we put inside our bodies, we do have control over that.
Yeah. What types of things do you use for the family? Do you go the same way? Like you don’t eat differently, but is that it’s what I’m trying to say is that it’s hard. Not so much to have different foods for your family and you. But you want them to be healthy, too. So you want the mental stuff to stay healthy. You want the stuff they’re putting in their hair. Yep. And all of that kind of stuff. So you don’t do two types of things. We all shop the same store. Yep.
And everybody’s, well, you know, I have one of my kids, he has struggled with eczema and psoriasis, asthma, those kinds of things. And as long as he sticks with this brand, he’s fine. So even laundry detergent. I mean, that’s a big deal. Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard of that from allergies, and eczema and things like that, too. Yeah. We say excema.
And you say eczema? Either way. Yep. eczema, I can call it that, dude. It’s funny how we say things a little bit differently. What types of things? Do you speak on them when you do your speaking engagements? Sure. Well, I
love to speak on overcoming the obstacles in our lives, and using those obstacles to redirect us to the true path that we’re supposed to be on. That’s what happened to me and I listened those those folks out there who have overcome the obstacles can speak to very much the same thing. You know, we find our true selves, our other self, as some authors write about when we get to be challenged with adversity. And it’s what we do with that, that makes a difference in terms of not just surviving, but thriving, giving back to others, and sharing what we know, so that we can bless someone else along the way.
And it’s, it’s quite funny how you said that we have to learn how to eat, we have to learn what our environment is, we have to learn what we’re putting on our body. And it’s very similar, I found working with clients for risk, as well. Because with your backup plan, it’s nice and easy to use, but people don’t understand why they have to do certain things in the app. So when I created the emerging blueprint, that’s the part of the research that I like that, that you say that you help with, because that’s what I help with. So with people understanding, why do they have to have a will? Why do they need a power of attorney?
People think well, and they know they need it, but they don’t understand why? What is their life insurance policy look like? Under being able to understand it. So you can talk the same language, when you go in to see that financial expert, when you see that investment advisor, understanding what you have before you reach that point of discussion. And it’s very similar to what you’re saying, is understanding what’s in your products, understanding what it could do or influence to your body. You know, if we don’t understand it, we’re not going to do it. That’s what I found if you don’t understand what’s in the butter, and you just continue using it that way. But if you’re starting to read research and understand why you have to do certain things, it makes things so much easier.
Yes, so understanding does put us into action, where maybe we wouldn’t have before.
Yeah, yeah. And now I’m worried Well, what are they doing to the aches? What are they going to chicken?
I know it’s a list goes on? It does and I know a lot of people who raise their own chickens now get their own eggs and then those who don’t but are in the know by their eggs from them. So you know, we’re We are an evolving people and we will find alternatives. And I think that’s that’s what, like what you’re doing is so important, Tina, because you’re giving people simple, easy steps to take care of these things that we’re generally not good at taking care of And if we can look at our health in the same way you can take care of all those things. But if you don’t have your health, all those things don’t matter. The only thing that matters when you’re sick is how do I get well? And if we can take care, just be mindful, being mindful. What are we shopping for? What are we eating and finding those nuggets along the way? That, oh, I found this thing, you know, that. Just so glad I found this brand, or this, just this little snippet of information. And so it’s not, we can never do a big overhaul in our lives all at once. But we can take on something new every week. Like if it’s just one thing a week. Yeah, I’m going to tackle this this week. And it makes us feel so good about what we’re doing. Yeah, yeah, it feels this, you know, we just we know we’re on the right track. And, yeah, do you have any recipe books?
I don’t, because my so in my book called life after lupus. I do share what I eat and how I fix those things. But it only takes up a few pages because my diet is so limited, so it wouldn’t be worth it. But I can say, for your listeners, Matt Embry has a website called Ms. hope.com. And he provides a cookbook a free cookbook for anybody you can go there and download it and or you can have it sent to you for free. He literally does everything. So very generous with his time, I would recommend following him. You know if anybody does have MS and or any autoimmune disorder, follow the people that have gotten Well, he’s one I’m one. So Matt Embry, again, he’s a Canadian, and then myself on the life after lupus, two different autoimmune but very similar wellness stories.
Absolutely. Where’s he located in Canada? Do you know, Toronto or Ontario say Alberta, but I’m not sure. Okay. Okay. Yeah, just in case anybody in that area listening that? That would know? Yeah, that’s awesome. I would love to, you know, I be the perfect person, even though I don’t have that type of disease. But I would love to watch you on Instagram and Tiktok to what you’re making every day. So there you go. There’s a love for you.
Okay, all right. So many people that want to eat better. Right? And where do you start? Like, what do you do I, I 100%. Understand, you know, whether I want to lose weight, or whether you want to eat properly, or better, or mix it into your diet two or three times a week, or whatever that looks like, right? Yeah, yeah. Good. Good thoughts. I appreciate that. I see one of your watchers.
Okay, I’ll maybe have to look at doing that. Come to my kitchen. Absolutely. I want to see the tick tock dances as well. I haven’t ventured onto that platform yet. But I mean, people keep telling me really, but yeah, so anyway,
there you go. I’m one of many telling you now. So your books you only mentioned one. So what are your books all about?
So I do write daily devotions and prayers. And I have a book that is a 90 day devotional. I have a prayer book. I have written a bunch of poems to my kiddos. So for Christmas, I put all their poems that I’ve written them so they don’t have to find them in scraps, your backup plan, that’s a perfect fit. I wanted to you know, so they weren’t having to look and find all these things when I’m gone. I put prayers and poems in a book for them. And that’s part of the treasure box. Yes, yeah, yeah. And I told the kids we’re not going to do a four by you Christmas this year. And I didn’t want them to buy it was like all homemade gifts. So I decided to upload that on Amazon. And then my latest book is one on I’ve written about 100 songs and with each one of the lyrics with those songs goes a story. So I did publish that book as well called Gods whispers and melodies, and upcoming books a couple of journals that can help people really get a great start for their day and eventually writing on mindset in a biblical ways so that I think the maybe some believers some Christians who haven’t been able to accept some of the positive mental attitude things out there can can really see this is what Jesus said. It’s just in a different way. So that’s upcoming, those are some upcoming cool,
do you sing and play music as well? or? Yeah, and that’s, I have some of that on my YouTube channel. Oh, cool. Yeah. Did you want to do a little song for him? Not at all.
That has to be thought of and prepared and not a problem. It’s it sounds lovely. Anyways, it was a beautiful, I tell you inside of a few years and it was I was sitting at the piano one day and I just pray God was ever blessed praise and worship. And literally, his download of a song came that it could be a cantata, like could be done with an orchestra and, and it was so overwhelming out, oh my gosh. And that happened in three days. And then song after song just I just kept hearing the music and I go, and I find it at the piano. And the lyrics would come. And sometimes the lyrics would come before I’d get the notes, but it’s like God wrote this gorgeous music. And it was a very transformative time in my life. Like that’s how we he grabbed a hold of my heart and softened it and made it usable by him. So it was when I get too busy I quit hearing the music and that’s why I’m saying like, though that now we get through it right now but but when I get quiet and and really avoid the chaos, I start hearing the music again.
Well, it’s kind of like when you’re going inside yourself. And it’s a meditation type of thing that you can download this type of energy, right? What do you play the piano then? guitar or just the piano? Oh, that must be beautiful. Now you’ve got me interested in hearing these? So it’s on your YouTube channel?
Yes. Well, I have two YouTube channels. One is life after lupus and the others just my name where I you can find me under Andrea Lende.
I’m okay. Okay, perfect. So listeners, I’ve put down below all the types of all of Andrea’s descriptions below. I believe I have Anyways, I hope I have. I’ll double check it, but I’ll make sure it’s all there for everybody. Did you have any final messages that you’d like to give to people struggling with these types of auto immune diseases,
I just really want to impress upon any anyone suffering from autoimmune that there is a possibility of healing, that our bodies are meant to heal. And if we just open that up a little bit, we’ll be on a different path. And so that’s really my message for them. And for those who aren’t sick, see what we can do to just feel better. There’s so many people who are walking around and not feeling well every day. And there’s some very simple changes we can make to reverse that.
Yes, and a lot of times it ends up it starts in your stomach. It I’ve read that over and over that every disease starts in the gut. So what are we putting in? My mom, I remember being a young kid, and my mom would say, which one? Is the boss of your body? Is it your brain? Or your stomach? Yeah, I think it’s your stomach.
And now even a lot of psychiatrists are finding there’s there’s more neuro receptors in the gut than there are in the brain. So they’ll treat even schizophrenia now with probiotics. And within a year episodes are far diminished. There’s There’s magic in the gut. We just have to find it. Treat it well, because it does regulate everything else.
Absolutely. Suzanne Somers has really amazed me because she’s gone through cancer. Previously, she’s changed her diet. She has quite a few books out for eating, which are very, very helpful for anybody wanting to lose weight or eating healthier, as well. I don’t know if you’re aware, Andrea, but she’s come out with a gut protein mixture for your gut. And she and she has a pure organic skincare line as well.
So go Suzanne Somers. I’m right with you, right. Yep. Agreed. So anybody listening, check her her website out as well. If you’re wanting to look further into better products that you can’t find at the drugstore or grocery stores around you. That’s I guess, where the natural food stores have become so very popular lately, in the last, I’ve seen a real change in the last 10 years. Yeah. Yeah. For people. So thank you, Andrea, for coming on. I can’t believe all your words of wisdom. Oh, my pleasure. Thank you for having me, Tina. It was a real delight to have you come on and really give some people some inspiration to have a better day to look at what you’re eating. Look at what the environment is giving you. And if you’re not sure about your butter, put it on your counter and see what happens. Right. Oh, craziness. I just can’t believe the world we live in now. It’s But even before, like, Who would ever think that our dairy products would change? Right? Crazy.
Till next time, lots of love. Bye
I want to personally thank Andrea for coming on our Podcast with all of her wisdom around figuring out Lupus. There are many suffering right now with it and hopefully Andrea has made it a bit easier with some tips for you. Enjoy!
Here are Andrea’s Links:
Author Page on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Andrea-Lende/e/B08MB5XCSC
Life After Lupus Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lifeafterlupus/
Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWdaqtF3fxfsuZ4gnNXQ9IQ
Downloads from God Podcast: https://anchor.fm/andrea-lende
Being present with the Dying, is an understanding of being in the moment, in the now to embrace assisting your loved ones move forward into the next step.
“He said, “”There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live””, Dalai Lama
And we have a very special guest today, Linda Bryce, and she comes to us from beautiful, beautiful Massachusetts, United States. So let me tell you about all the other fun things that we talk about here on our podcast. We focus on real and raw conversations with our listeners, about their journey from a life changing event in their life.
So join us as we dive headfirst into Your Backup Plan APP and what it all means. Your Backup Plan APP, put your life Yes, your life all in one place. Everything that’s up into your head that no one else knows about. Yeah, all that stuff, in case of any unpredictable circumstance will taking the painful Aftermath out of a tragedy. And what does that mean? It means to be prepared for the unexpected. Because we are all going to die. get sick, we’re going to get disabled or injured, or lose everything in a disaster or a tragedy. So be prepared for the unexpected because it won’t happen to me is an illusion. Because you are not Superman. We all live complicated lives and we really need to be better prepared. Just like the pandemic COVID-19 taught us all a very big lesson that it can happen to you in the blink of an eye. The recent building that collapsed in Miami, Florida. It can happen in the blink of an eye. Did everyone see that building come down in the blink of an eye? Yes, wildfires are happening all over the world, especially here in British Columbia. With the heatwave that we’ve had, we have five minute evacuations, what will you take with you? Those are all things that your backup plan prepares you for. So the first is that I wanted to remind you all that we are always to provide the show notes of each of our episodes in our blog. So if you’re interested in learning more about any of our guests, then check out our YouTube channel, or see our show notes in this week’s episode in our block, you’ll also find social media links and for all of our guests, and you can continue to follow their journeys. The next thing I wanted to remind you is to be sure be I can’t talk to be sure and subscribe to many S’s to the show, so you don’t miss any future episodes. Right down here in the corner, press the subscribe button, and like the like the show as well. And while you’re at it, some fun things that we have planned that are coming around the corner are please rate and review the show on iTunes and Google Play. For when you’re listening to the podcast, we are starting a fantastic giveaway. And these are just so much fun. We’re going to keep choosing our top reviewers to receive some really cool your backup plan tribe, life merchandise. So when you leave a star rating, between one and five stars, here’s what’s going to happen. So when you leave a wonderful comment, or rating or review, or what you think of the show or what you share to others, or your five star review on our podcast or episode, we will draw a person every single month and make sure that we mail you some cool merchandise. For those winners, I don’t want you to miss out on the opportunity opportunity to give you some really cool stuff. Because it shows that we know that the prize is going to be super good to you that love us and love our show. And we want to thank you for doing that. So, today Okay, now that we’ve gotten all this sort of business out of the way.
Let’s get back to talking about our subject today. All right, Talking TABOO with Tina podcast listeners. I’m so excited for our special guest today.
Her name is Linda Bryce, and I’m going to bring her on today from beautiful Massachusetts. And hello to all of those out there in viewing land. Yes, this is not the truth. It is a viewing land. So thank you for Massachusetts for joining us today. Linda. I’m just gonna give a brief introduction for our listeners. So Linda is an amazing, amazing person. She is a former attorney and our artist, a university faculty. She is a death doula and a bed sight singer. She Let’s see here. While might she says while my experience is vast and colorful, it has led to hundreds of bedsides and the passionate work I do now to serve the dying and those who love them. And I’m so excited today, Linda, because I talk about being present to people, our listeners all the time. Because you can never get that time back again. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
So we need to be really considerate about those times those precious moments that we are given by the universe to spend that special time with others, the ones that we love and care about so much. And I know that you have quite the story if it’s brought you to where you are today. So maybe you could start off with where did it all start for you, Linda.
I’ve always been about music. And what came into my head immediately was the lyric from an I don’t know whose song it is.
But it’s been a long and winding road. My oldest daughter turns 39 in a couple of months. And when she was beginning to walk, I remember walking into a nursing home and asking, Do you have anyone here who gets no visitors? We would like to visit like Where’d that come from?
Although I was raised more by my grandparents than my parents, for lots of reasons. And so I spent my growing up years around old folks. You know, one of one of the exercises, I, I suggest to people is that just because my experience and sort of my tendency, if you will, is to spend time with elders who are sick or dying, that you may be drawn to a different group of people, maybe for children, no.
So, um, the years go by, I’m a lawyer, I’m working in health law, I worked on legislation for nursing home, to change the conditions, or change the standards.
As a college student, I helped the local medical school create a local neighborhood health clinic, you know, and, and I, even myself, I didn’t begin to piece all these things together. But a number of months ago, I was taking a walk with someone who was new to me, we’re getting used to each other. And she says, so what have you done in health, Linda? Meaning before when I do now, and I started seeing this thread, and there’s, I’m sure there are threads in each of our lives and each of your lives, threads that when you when you begin to pay attention, and look back, it’s like, oh, yeah, you know, this happened. Oh, yes. That happened. And, and then, and then where I lived at the time, and my children were growing up. I worked with two other churches, there were, there were three churches on three corners. And representatives from each of the church, this came together.
And we created a an adult care center. So for families who had a person who needed who could, who could use some socialization outside of the home and give the caregiver a break. Right. And then we put together the funding for it and the staffing and all like that. So it’s like, okay, so fast forward, though, to what brings me to where I am now is then six years ago, my husband died. And, of course, I was I was there, you know, in his last hospital day, and however long that unfolded, and, and it would have been helpful to have your backup plan. This is the messiness, folks when you don’t get it together ahead of time, there is a saying that I’ve read about and heard about. It’s always too soon. until it’s too late. Right? We always have excuses.
Oh, it’s too soon. It’s too soon. I’m healthy. No problems. It’s too soon. You know, I’m young, it’s too soon. And then as you’re saying something unexpected happens. And then what? Yeah. And then after, after he died. maybe six months later, my aunt, and I’m very close to those cousins that aren’t. And I didn’t even ask, I said, I’m coming to me. Can I fix it? I’ll say I said, Well, no, no. Let’s be careful. Please, don’t mix. Well, no, because that’s Isn’t that an issue for us. When we’re fully present we want to fix we wanted well, but we think helping is fixing. Oh, I’m gonna give you advice. Oh, my person that I know use this other treatment. Um, are you sure the doctors are an all you’re doing is heaping on for more burden and stress and oh, my gosh, you know, and, and, and we’re taking the focus off of the person who should be the focus have our presence.
Not only that you’re causing the stress amongst everyone else that might be around as well. That’s right.
So I was I was with her and, you know, supporting her supporting my, my cousins. In hindsight, because so to two things happened with my aunt then one is I’m not knowing what a death doula was not even having heard that terminology. Now looking back now that I have a certificate, as an end of life doula, I was doing those kinds of things, for her, and with my cousins.
And the other was on the night, that would be her last. And she’s restless hand, it’s, of course, the middle of the night. And I’m reading from her Bible. And as a Catholic, she always said the Rosary. So I was doing that. And then I started singing. It was a natural impulse. Because singing has been a part of my life. And I began singing, singing songs from her tradition. And just, I don’t know, singing with her, it would help her feel at peace. Oh, Oh, sure. We can. I hope we get to talk about bedside singing in its own little nugget. Because there’s, there’s so much there. But to get to where I am now then, is two months, three months after I returned, there was an ad in our local paper. And they were looking for singers for a new choir to sing at the bedside of the dying. Oh, man. And that’s how then what is now called the Berkshire threshold choir. How it was created? Is that new? Is that a new thing? It was new, it was new in 2016. Yes, and I was one of the original members.
I then also went through hospice training, and seeing for persons who are referred by hospice, only, not only those who are in hospice, and I also am separate from singing what’s called a vigil volunteer. So when someone now is very close to the end, and we sit vigil, right, don’t we say that we’re here. And, and if if family is around, or friends around, if they’re able to do that, if they’re willing to do that, we can have a discussion about that, you know, what does it mean to be fully present? And what are some of the obstacles or barriers to people being there? But you’re there around the clock, you’re sitting vigil, until the last breath. And so I go, and I sing, and I sit in silence. And I find myself here today. Because, because what I do, and this is another thread throughout my entire teaching and education and, and sharing my life, what I do, every single one of us can do.
And my mission is to encourage you and support you and show you how you can be there and why it really is best if you can be and we forgot to mention your book, Linda, the courage to care. Being fully present with the dying is the subtitle. Yeah. Yes. So what would that look like for you after gone through your husband’s passing and your and what does that look like for you to tell the listeners what being present what singing is for the people that you’re with at the moment? What does that picture look like?
Okay, so if we, if we focus for a moment on the singing, I receive a referral from hospice, they say, Mary, we’d like you to come and sing for Mary’s family, we’d like you to come and sing.
I should also say that being fully present with it dying, but remember dying. I’m dying. From the moment we’re born, we’re dying.
Right? So, if in your mind when you hear the word dying, you are visualizing someone on their deathbed. Well, yes. But most often, no. These are individuals who are still alert, maybe still ambulatory. Now we had a young man say, Okay, I’m still alive, give me you know, none of this. None of this soothing, consoling end of life check out different kinds of music. But yes, but then it means and on the first visit, the first visit, it’s Hello, I’m Melinda. And I’m here to share some music with you when to sing some song. With that few all right with you?
Oh, yes. Now, as a threshold singer, we have our own repertoire. Over 500 songs, many of which were written by other singers. And a sidebar, really fun. The story is that soon after I began singing events side, I received my first song and I have to say received, because it came through me words and music. And in the years, since I might be out walking, and a song would come, I might be on retreat, and a song would come, I might be reading something in a book, and a song would come. Some of those songs, my chapter now sings regularly at the bedside. There’s always silence in between songs. Think about throwing that pebble in the pond and the ripples. Right? That’s, that’s the way the vibration of our speaking. And if our singing also goes out. And if you throw a pebble in and then throw another pebble in, and those two, right, they don’t have their own space.
The same happens when you sit. Or I should say the same happens, I think, I would suggest when any of us listens to music, doesn’t it bring to mind maybe some Association. Or we pick up on a particular phrase or a particular word. And somehow we’re staying with that. Where there’s a piece of the melody that really resonates with us. And we stay with that melody. If when we’re finished with that song on, we immediately go to another one. interfering with the interior reception of that song we’re interacting with that listener is doing inside. So there’s always silence. No, Simon and Garfunkel said the sounds of silence. Right. It’s all sound.
Absolutely. So that helps people be more present. Have you ever been around any of the families that kind of need a check? Like a check in you know, they’re talking there’s too stressed around each other as well as themselves. They’re not being present to allow the same the discussion the nice story Perhaps or or whatever the family wishes to do to talk about. I mean, it’s definitely not the time to talk about Where’s your will? And how many, you know, where are your bank accounts? I have, excuse me, I have already been in a nursing home singing to someone when family is there, and the army, they start talking about who’s going to get the ball. And this person hasn’t, hasn’t died yet. It’s, that’s a great example of not being present.
No, if you want to have a shout, who’s going to get the possessions? Could you please name the row? My strong suggestion, please leave the room even individuals who are no longer speaking, who are not responsive, and you will hear and read this everywhere that hearing is one of the last senses to leave, they can still hear and how distressing
is it to be there in bed approaching your last breath and your family or so called friends are discussing those kinds of matters. Exactly. That. I will also say and I’ve seen this countless times is that once I or we, because we try and go in pairs so that there’s hardly any begin singing our songs. There is a transformation in the feeling of the room. And he even in those family members who may have just been elsewhere. Well, I mean, let’s face it, it comes down. Everybody comes down.
They all come. They all come with their fears. They’ve all come they’re nervous, they’re anxious, they’re don’t know what’s gonna happen next. All of that stuff. So this helps relieve that. That anxiety
it calms them and comfort them as much as the person in the bed. Nice. Can you give us an example a little example. Oh, gee. Um, okay. So I’m, I’m being mindful of copyright and all of these songs. So I will I will. I will choose one of my one of my one of my songs. I knew you were going to do this without knowing you were going to do this
May you know that you may be more they up
Thank you for the silence.
That’s beautiful. I muted myself so I could really, really enjoy it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so very much.
You’re welcome. That came from a pilgrimage in Wales. Oh, really? Yes, my, my, my, one of my sons in law is Scottish. My husband was Irish. You were mentioned during your Irish viewers and listeners. He was from County Wicklow folks. My son in law is from Stirling, Scotland, his family still over there. He’s now married to my third daughter. And when they had a big celebration, after they were married, had a celebration in Scotland that they wanted some of my daughter’s family, the bride’s family to make the trip.
So I said to myself, okay, I said all the way to Scotland, for when he I know, I will go back to Wales, and take the pilgrimage that I had wanted to do.
Several years earlier, I had heard that they’ve finished their Coastal Walk and so forth. And once a number of years ago, my husband and I went out there for a wedding, not in Wales, but wedding in England. And when he couldn’t come last minute work, I went, I rented a car. And driving on the other side of the road. Notice folks, I did not say the wrong side, it’s just the other side, just like you would say, I drive on the other side. I ended up in Wales. Holy well, and then along Anglesey Island, and I had always said to myself, Oh, I need to come back here. And so I put that those two together. And I walked around the island 130 miles on there, to walk while I was doing that. I was visiting cemeteries, nice old cemeteries, to who knows who goes there anymore.
And I found myself looking at the headstones, reading them, and asking questions. And you know, I, I do that even at bedside, when I’m called to sing, for example. And when it’s vigil, so someone is dying now. And I haven’t sung to this person before, in the quiet yet in the silence between someone’s I’m asking, you know, I wonder who you were, and what your glorious life was? And what, you know, what, what might your history be? And are there people? So I was I was doing that, as I was walking around. And this the first part that the IP see a piece? And yeah, you’re still remember, no one else I’m remembering right now. You know, and you’re always loved. And I would, I was playing with that as I was walking. And that someone was the result? Oh, wow.
That’s so cool. Um, what are the other things that they enjoy doing? After the music? Do they just like to tell stories and hold hands? And what are kind of some of the kinds of things?
Yeah, you know, I would say, Yes, all of that. And the first part of being present is we need to be first part of being fully present is we need to be present. I hear so many individual tools who, Oh, I can’t do that. Why? I want to remember them the way they were. That’s, that’s one. Or I’ve been I had, I was at a writers conference. And this woman said to me I never go see my family who were dying. I said, Really? Why not? She said, because I am guilty about not having kept in touch as often as I thought I should. And I was about to say something back to her. And she turned on her heel and walked off. You know, here’s okay. So you haven’t seen them in a while. But go Why did your family you know what? Your family whether they’re strangers, people I speak to they’re not family. They aren’t friends, they become friends. Why? Because I make a commitment to visit. I tell them that. And that’s, that’s part of the being present. You’re saying you are worth my time. You are important. Your life was important is important. No, you are remembered. You are respected. I mean, this is this is how many of us when we know this company, put on our stripe because we want to look our best. And you’re seeing people who are you seeing them in this intimate? situation?
Who can only be who they are? Well, impossibly Yes. And look the way they are.
But but that’s so I remind people, you know, they’re more than just this moment. I have this stop, see the whole person, you know, see the whole person. They’re more than this illness. They’re more than what they look like. They had they had a wonderful life. Their spirit is still vibrant. know, when I now share that, there that connection? Absolutely. And I know when my ex father in law was passing away. I couldn’t stay in the room. Actually. I got too hot. I was burning up, sweat was pouring down. me like I was working out.
Everyone else was sitting around with jackets on. And I wanted to strip down. I couldn’t stand the heat in the room. There was so much energy in that room. Thank you. Because I was gonna say yes, yeah. As soon as I went out of the room, and down the hallway, it was like, Oh, my God, the air conditioner came on. And I’d walk into all these other rooms, and they’d be lying in bed all by themselves. And I’d hold their hand and I’d ask them why they’re here, what they were doing if they could speak. And I talked to them. And even if they couldn’t speak, I’d I nod and try and just speak to I didn’t saying I’m not a singer, but I did talk to them. And even one lady came out of the shower. And the nurse had just basically thrown the towel on her and she was sitting in this wheelchair, practically naked. And here’s, they called me, Florence Nightingale, because I was going around helping these different people. Because I couldn’t stay in the room. I was sweating. And then once whence, throughout the time, I popped my head in and said try to sit down for a while. I noticed him shaking his head like No, no. And it wasn’t because like people were just talking amongst each other. But he was shaking his head. I really feel that he was shaking his head because they were coming to get him. They were saying it’s okay. You can come it’s safe to come. We want you and he’d shake his head. No. So the energy was so overwhelming for me that I could have literally just fainted right there on the floor. That’s how powerful it was. And I guess I didn’t realize it at that time. So I would go out and that’s why I’d go down the hallway and try to help others and then come back in. But I just want few listeners and viewers. To know that there’s, it’s powerful, it’s a powerful moment that you don’t want to say no to ever. It’s, it’s, it’s a miracle. Really, it’s it’s absolutely a miracle. Sorry to interrupt your story. You didn’t, you didn’t.
That’s another aspect of being fully present, paying attention to the energy, you know, paying attention to how, how it’s feeling different. Paying attention to that shaking of the head, there, there are, there are other books that in their entirety. Talk about what often happens. In fact, so in one book, the author, Maggie Callahan, calls it nearing death awareness, nearing death, awareness, she’s given it a name. This is an old book, I began in the 1990s. But it’s, it’s exactly about that. And even in some of the interviews I did for my book, it comes up again.
I want to go back centuries. You know, so very different from today, where we tend I want to be careful with my language, different today, where there are those of us who don’t want to be present. Because we’re afraid, because like this young woman, we’re guilty. are we feeling guilty? but also from I’ve had people say, but what’s correct? It’s this what’s correct, I don’t want to do the wrong thing. What’s the right thing? Whatever else is going on, it keeps us away from this time, which will not come again, centuries ago, and even not that Fargo. People routinely wanted to be wanted to be at the bedside. One because this person was considered a community member, and you honored every community member, and the life they had and the connection they had and the contribution they had, just by being a member of the community. So you wanted to be there. And they wanted to be there because of that, because they believed that as that veil thins, and we’re we’re passing out of this physical body and regaining our spirit nature. Before before we transition and crossover, there’s this time where we’re seeing people who are already there, and we’re getting messages. And we’re talking to people who are already there. And they’re saying, Oh, yeah, I want to be here for these words of wisdom that might be coming through.
There are books that as I mentioned, books, and including a couple of in several of the interviews, I did also
the surviving family, talk about Oh, yeah, my dad was looking up this way, this way, this way. And I and I asked what’s going on dad? And he says, oh, their armies up there. And they’re moving. And they’re, Oh, okay. What’s going on? is fighting? No, they’re not fighting. They’re making plans. They’re making plans. You know, and, and sometimes, this nearing death awareness, you’ll hear people use different language, like, I have to get my ticket. Or I need to make sure I’m packed. You know, it’s their language, this well indicates that they know they’re getting ready. where they are in their journey. That’s right. That’s right. If we pay attention, if we are fully there, we’re not checking our phones. We’re not we’re not wondering how long this is going to take. Or you know who’s coming to dinner. I mean, whatever. Whatever else is going on in their life, just be here, just be here and share this this amazing mystical time.
Absolutely. Where did you see the shift from? When it’s almost, if anybody this watch the Charlie in the Chocolate Factory, that’s what I visualize when the grandpa was dying. And that kind of timeframe? Where are they all sat around the bedside of someone passing away? Where did that kind of shift for us when we came into the 60s? Or the 70s? Or was it after the war? Or? So?
I’m not sure I understand your question, Where did we shift away from being a bedside? Mm hmm. Where did that it seems to have taken on in By the mid By the mid 1900s, you know, night, my 1950s on since then. And I would, I would suggest being generous about this, that there are some other factors contributing to it. We’re more mobile society. You know, in one generation, my, my dad worked in the factory at this particular place, and he was there until he retired. How many of us these days will spend our professional lives in one employ, it doesn’t happen and more likely with the exigencies of economics and so forth, we move to where the work is. So we may not we may not be living where our elders are. We may not be able to go back to where elders are. We may not be able to afford now health care I granted is different in Canada than it is here in the States. It’s terrible here.
When when you’re old and sick folks, and the prices so that contributes to it, then it contributes and, and, you know, now, my mom died at home on hospice. She and my dad, were living in Florida, and I’m up here in the northeast, I would go down and visit, I would go down and visit, I would go down and visit. And the last time I went and visited was turned out it was maybe two weeks before, before she she took her last breath. But I couldn’t be there. I had a family and for children. Now my dad after his stroke, I brought him up to Pennsylvania. He wanted to go there it’s like it had a connection for him. We don’t need to go into all that but and then eventually, because I was driving five hours each way every week to check in on him in addition to telephoning you know.
I then when we moved again, I moved in with with us now with us didn’t mean in the same house. Because he needed ranch. We had stairs, I mean, you know so so then you get into those kind of living arrangements. Where can can you even even if your heart were there to want to have an elder live with you is the setup. One that supports that, and it wasn’t. So as long as he could be he was in his own little apartment in town. And I was always there and driving him here and there and then when the next stage was shot defined in the assisted living facility for him. What was fortunate at the end was because he was a veteran, he sought action in world war two in the Pacific. I was able to get him into a Veterans Hospital. And he lived on their long term care award. Oh, that’s nice until he died. And, you know, he was among guys. I mean, there were women, we females tend to have longer life expectancies. So when you have men in these assisted living facilities and so forth, the ratio is so skewed.
Is that when all the men think they died and gone to heaven with all the women around?
Um, I wouldn’t say that. No, no, perhaps perhaps, an individual might. But no, you know, this, this this way he was among he was among guys. And they had, they had that connection of being better veterans that step and have lots of visitors. Including me, I mean, he was only 45 minutes away. So he was he was still within, within driving and visiting distance. There are a lot of there are there are multiple, complex reasons and situations why we can’t always be with someone with a family member at their last breath, right? As an M. Yes. And when you talk about unexpected, you know, unexpected developments, not only COVID to being taking people and dying, but then also also interfering
with, with our natural traditions that help with our grieving with being there, and funerals and community and memorial services. And I like that. Yeah.
Well, I want to mention to the listeners that it just, if you can be there and be present, for that moment in time, you won’t regret it. And it just feeds your soul. It just feeds, it’s so far deep inside you that it might make you sad on the outside. But it’s just it’s just tickety boo on the inside. It just makes you feel so wonderful inside. I can’t explain it.
Some of the hospice hospice workers and nursing aides that I that I interviewed for the book said that the most sort of complaint, if you will, for remark that they hear from survivors is regret. I didn’t go I wish I had gone even friends, you know, longtime friends, I drove my dad out from Pennsylvania to Jersey, and and we found that the wife was in the hospital and the husband was actively dying. And then in, in a nursing home. And so we went out to see him. And, and you don’t have to worry about what to say or what to do. Just be there. You know, my, my dad said to me, I said to Joe and I talked to Joe a little bit. He was he was alert enough to be able to say weekly. Oh, I al good to see. You know, I mean, they had known his his wife was my mother’s maid of honor. That’s how long friends they were. And, and I said, you know, I’m going to let the two of you just sit here. And and I tell this story. You know, my dad kind of looked at me like, Don’t leave me alone.
I said, just just tell them what you’ve been up to just tell them that what you remember about the times together? You know you can do that when you know this person. Or maybe it’s something from your someone from your neighborhood. Maybe it’s someone from your congregation. I mean, you have this, you have this connection, this bond. Yes, you do. And, and so what I want to say is please don’t wait until the end. You Know when someone receives a challenging diagnosis. And then when it becomes clear it’s terminal. And now, the focus is on comfort care rather than cure. Way too often read the literature, it’s heartbreaking. Friends begin to die off, friends begin to die off. I just realized what I just said, you know, that’s crazy. Yes. It’s like this is when this person needs you to affirm who they are, and their place, in your mind and in your heart.
Do you have to stay well, no, you don’t have to stay long. Their energy might not permit you to stay long or for them to want you to stay long. But don’t abandon them. When you read so many individuals say oh, I feel abandoned. I’m isolated. No one comes anymore. No one calls. No one checks up. No one checks in. No one loves me. That’s the bottom. No one loves me. No one cares. I’m already dead to them. Right. Wow. That’s deep. So it doesn’t take much. No, it doesn’t take much stay in touch. Bring music. You heard Tina say she’s not much of a singer. I’m sure she sings in the shower or something like that or in the car with the radio. But music and just a quick go back to that I don’t have time we have left but then side singing. I looked up and there is a Vancouver and I have no clue how close this is to you. But there is a Vancouver threshold choir a Bowen Island threshold choir and a Quadra Island Campbell River threshold choir and you’re part of Canada. If you don’t, you can have threshold singers maybe come but just music, sing songs from the person’s generation sing songs that they grew up with. Yeah. And if you need to go, and this is one of my your backup plans is have a playlist, you can begin now to put together songs I have that you want to be part of a playlist when you’re getting closer.
To the end. Yes, yes. To the end of the beginning. Music has been called medicine. There’s so much research on the benefits. The health benefits, the emotional benefits on and on, of music, bring music, even if you aren’t going to sing, bring music. That’s beautiful. I would say to anybody, if you don’t know what to say, you don’t need to say anything. Just write music. And Touch. Touch is the most wonderful thing. hold their hand, hold their arm, whatever. It’s just you’re you’re there, you’re present, you’re with them.
And I would I would add as you do that. I know in one of the one of the suggestions hospice gives us is to put our hand underneath so that they can pull theirs away. We need to be careful of pressure. We need to be careful of thinning of skin what might feel easy for us. Maybe it’s just a little too much for them. It may be Could I hold your hand? Or does this feel all right? Or does this feel all right? Yes, yes. Yes touches something there’s something in psychology called touch hunger. And there was there was this woman who’s now gone. Who was on hospice off hospice and back on hospice. So I and we saying to her probably for most of the year when when I would come of course see I’m like this even that’s another thing please folks don’t bring your your gloomy expression.
You know, life.
Yes, life. slipping away. But Gosh, life is such a joy to be here. And, and, and the miracle of life. But so I go in like this all the time. This is who I am, I am joy when I go, and this woman would grab the front of my shirt and pull me down and give me a hug or give me a kiss, you know? And, and she’d say, I always feel so much better when you’re here. I almost feel so much better when you’re here. And I would suggest that’s probably true. Likely true. always true. of anybody you visit. Yeah. Because you were there. You made the time in your schedule to be there. They don’t have an option. No, they don’t have an option. There. They’re just they are where they are right now they are where they are you have the choice? May I encourage you to make the choice to be there?
What kind of final message? Would you like to get the listeners? Wow, we’ve had so many good tips and tricks.
This is what several people said to me. When I was interviewing, they said, think of the other person, not yourself. It isn’t, oh, I’m too busy. Or I don’t know what to do. Or I don’t know what to say that’s all about you. Right? Put the focus on the other person. What can I do to help the other What can I do? What can I do to journey with them on this path, that’s going to take them over the rainbow. And as you said before, it may be coming and sitting in a quiet even if someone is still I’m still alert. And when someone isn’t any longer, they can feel you just like you can feel someone in the room. They can feel your presence. Talk to them. Hi, Joe. This is Linda. I just came I just came to be with you in less time and sit in the silence.
Yes, it’s great energy. Well, thank you that was a beautiful ending, wasn’t it? You know, it’s it’s such a sad thing. And I think that’s what scares everybody. It’s it’s sadness and fear. And I think you just have to, you know, throw that stuff to the side and go in for the purpose of being there for the person. And yeah, it’s beautiful. Very, very lovely. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you. It’s a precious time. Yes, they go. They’ll understand just how precious it is.
Absolutely. Well, life is precious. And we learned that in many ways. Just this past week. My goodness, so many people with COVID and so many issues still with the second or the other virus that’s variant or, or, or the condo that collapsed or I mean, the list the list, we could go on and on and on. Right. So I hope you know I thank you so very much Linda for your courage and bravery to bring you to doing this lovely work that you do. It’s it’s absolutely wonderful and I hope our listeners can appreciate it as much as I have it’s it’s actually my joy to be there at bedside
Yes, it’s beautiful.
Thank you blessing it’s a blessing to me. Yeah, a blessing to the person in the bed. It’s also a blessing to me.
And and it should be a blessing to all those that choose to be there as well. And it’s right that’s correct. Yeah. Well, thank you, thank you so very very much Linda for your time and, and your tips and tricks for this show today. Wow. It’s full of it and it’s made my heart just want to come out it’s it’s beautiful. Thank you so every all our listeners, please take a moment and subscribe to our channel and click on that bell that’s down here somewhere.
And, you know, click the bell, I always sing our quick little song. With the with the bell rang my bell ring my bell down there, somewhere the subscribe button is. No one is Superman. So expect the unexpected, because that’s really what this pandemic did to all of us. We had to expect the unexpected, truly, truly We sure did. And everyone if you’re thinking of someone special right now, in your mind, please pick up the phone or FaceTime them or zoom them or Skype them or whatever it is. And tell them how much you love and care about them today because you don’t know what tomorrow may bring. And stay tuned for our next podcast and live streams on our YouTube channel and more great, great conversations just like Linda.
Thank you, Linda, for your beautiful work that you do. And sharing your time with all of us and our listeners that your backup plan tribe. Thank you. Thank you very much, Tina, outfitter saying. So stay tuned for our next podcast. I hope that we’ve inspired you and didn’t make you too sad and motivated you to start thinking about your unique plan. our one year anniversary is shows that our listeners are essential to our show. So thank you very, very much. Thank you for sharing your time with us and watching. I love each and every one of you and I always end with Carol Burnett because I know Linda knows who Carol Burnett was. She is such a fantastic lady. Maybe one day maybe from our YouTube channel here we can get to meet her I would. I would love to do that. So thank you Carol Burnett, free for your for your work in the world. That’s for sure. I’m so glad we had this time together just to have a laugh or sing a song. Seems we just get started. And before you know it comes a time we have to say so long. So long everyone. It was nice to have you stay safe. Stay safe, be kind
Linda’s mission is to pass on her understandings and show you how to be there at the bedside, fully present with anyone who is dying, and sharing in the mystery and wonder of death—and after. Her book is available – The Courage to Care: Being Fully Present with the Dying, support a new generation in awakening to living fully–even while dying–and relishing each day as a gift of joy and wonder. https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Bryce/e/… www.thecouragetocare.com