Hit by a Semi-Truck and here to tell the story is about the life changing event in “a Blink of an Eye!”
“In the blink of an eye, something happens by chance – when you least expect it – sets you on a course that you never planned, into a future you never imagined.” Nicholas Sparks
So Tracy is here to talk tell us her story. She is a corrective exercise specialist with her own company called the work pain free program, giving women the tools to eliminate pain when no other methods have worked. Well. She has two little ones, a baby and a three year old. So she’s a very, very busy mom, with her job and her job at home. It never stops for us moms. And I’m so thankful and blessed to have you come on our show today. Tracy, thank you so very much.
Thank you so much. I’m so happy to be here. And yes, I am in my car right now. Because my my baby is currently in my office sleeping. It all works. We do we we are the best at changing our plans. That’s true. Yeah.
So Tracy, you have quite the story that all of us are so excited to hear about. What did it What happened? And and how did that really change your life?
And and what did you see from that point on?
Yeah, so I was driving one day in 2014. And I was driving across state, I was happy. I was listening to music. I was thinking everything was easy, breezy. And I was passing a semi truck on the freeway. And he didn’t see me. And it was one of those really big semi trucks. It’s like the three trucks that my truck Oh, and he didn’t see me and he started coming into my lane. And I just remember yelling like, Hello, no, no, don’t come into my lane. And he just, you know, basically smashed my vehicle. And when we ran a road, we went to the side of the road, I just remember him running out of his semi truck and just saying you’re alive, you’re alive. And that’s, you know, one of the most impactful moments of my life is, yeah, I was alive. And I recovered pretty quickly, about six months, it took me to recover from the injury from that accident. But then I would say a year and a half later, two weeks into my marriage with my husband, my wonderful husband, the injury relaxed and I was disabled for about a year.
Do they have reasons for that? Tracy?
How does that happen?
Where you have you work on yourself, and then it doesn’t progress continually?
Yeah, so what’s happening there is that your nervous system has a pathway that it goes down. It’s like a hiking path, right. So the more that your nervous system goes down this pathway in its relationship with your muscles, it digs deeper and deeper and deeper into that pathway. So when you are healing yourself, when you’re recovering from an injury, you’re teaching your nervous system, a new pathway with your muscles, a new pathway that doesn’t involve inflammation that doesn’t involve, you know, recurring chronic pain, but it always remembers the old pathway. So in that old pathway is pretty deep, right?
Because it’s gone down that road. So when relapses happen, basically your nervous system gets reminded of that old pathway through maybe something that you’re lifting, or you’re not listening to your body or not listening to warning signs, I call them the check engine lights. And then your nervous system goes, Oh, we’re going to the old pathway now. And it reverts back to that. And when that happens, you never know how bad the injury can be. So usually it happens because we push past the check engine lights or warning signs that our body is saying Hello, I’m having pain, I’m having tension, and then that relapse or that big injury can happen at any point when we’re in that kind of space. And that’s what happened to me. I wasn’t listening to my body at the time.
Yes. And and I think we all do that at some point even with or without an injury. But when so the truck driver was you know, running to your car and your car was did it turn and flip or did you I’m so glad that didn’t I’m so lucky it didn’t we were right next to an area where it could have flipped over. But it did not. So I just I was able to pull to the side and basically get out of my car. And at the moment, and I know you’ve been through an accident to see my relate to this at the moment, I didn’t feel my injury, because that’s what happens when we go through trauma. And when we’re in shock. So it took about two days for me to actually feel what had happened.
So they even offered me, you know, some imaging or to go to the hospital. And at the time, I said, I’m fine. I was just really shaken up. And then about two days later, it’s set in, I was like, oh, okay, my back is injured.
And this is how I’m not supposed to feel. This is not supposed to feel this way. Did you have any head injuries as well, Tracy?
You know, I’ve had had head injuries in my life, but not from this. So that’s my answer. Injured quite a bit in my life, but not a head injury from this accident now.
So you were very, very lucky. You were, you’re being watched over for this particular because it could have been any, anything. Yeah, it I very well could have died. And I remember that day, when that happened. Just being in that shock, that state of shock. And walking around, I think I drank way too much wine. When I finally I think the tow truck drove me to where I was going, you know, all the way to Colorado to visit my friends. I arrived, I knocked on the door. And she opened the door and I was just a mess. And I was just like I was just hit by a semi truck. You know, I was just so shocked. And then proceeded to drink too much wine and went to Olive Garden. You know all of this with a bad injury that I had no idea that I had. It’s so strange when a gentleman can do to us. Yes. Yeah. And but the thing that was playing around in my head just over and over again, is I have to do something with my life. Because I’m here, I have to do something important because I survived something that most people wouldn’t survive.
Absolutely. So that was a real wake up call for you.
When do you think the light bulb went on? Like immediately?
Or was just after you realized what you had to happen?
Yeah, it happened in layers, because I that was a trauma response for me was that, that just like, survivors response of, you know, I’ve survived this, I need to do something, I need to do something. And then in layers, like an onion, I think it slowly just became almost like that movie Inception where they I don’t know if you’ve seen that before, but they have to get the idea like way down deep. For it to really become something. I think that is what happened for me is that it went deeper and deeper and deeper. And now it’s pretty much the core of who I am.
That’s awesome. And it’s like nobody told you that it just came from within. Because it made you realize it’s unfortunate that it takes us sometimes these tragic moments to make us realize how precious life is. So where did it take you from that point to to realize that, did you think, Okay, I’m going to work in this area to help people
that really so once the injury relapsed, so I was in fitness, I’ve been in fitness ever since I was old enough to be in fitness, I’ve always, I’ve always loved it. And I was always a functional fitness expert, right? We’re we’re making the body feel good and feel pain. But once I was disabled, I tried going everywhere. I went to the physical therapists office, I mean, I was barely able to walk in. And I went to the chiropractor, which sometimes injured me worse. I you know, not to say anything against these types of healing, because they’re very effective.
But it did not work for me specifically. And it was a very frustrating and disheartening time, where, you know, I even remember, like we could not I could not stand up for any length of time. At a certain point, I could not even sit up for a certain length of time. And I just remember being so disheartened that nobody seemed to know how to heal my body. And I found out that I actually have something called hypermobility, which means that the body is less stable than the, you know, normal person. So that was one of the reasons why these people weren’t able to fix what was going on. So that’s when I became a CES and I determined I was determined to heal my own body because nobody else seems to know how. So I delved in and became an expert myself, and that’s when I was able to heal what was going on probably within six months. And that’s not to say that relapses don’t exist and that flare ups don’t exist because they do which is you know, a Good image for most people healing from pain that that does happen. But, you know, I’ve had two babies since then, you know, I’m living my life. It’s, it’s much, much different than it was.
That’s awesome to think. But also just to work with someone like yourself to know that if you can get better. And then, because I was wondering myself, you know, I felt really good last year, and then this year, I feel like I can’t do as much as I could last year.
So it’s strange, how sick How do I get myself back to that? Better feeling again? Yeah, yeah, there’s, I mean, there’s so much that needs to be addressed. ergonomics, how we’re sitting, how we’re standing, our repetitive motions, how we’re sleeping, and then all of the muscular imbalances throughout the body that are pulling your joints and vertebrae out of place, causing pain. So it really is a whole pain pie, where if you’re only getting one piece, you don’t correct the problem. I mean, that’s right nutrition nutrition matters, all of these things matter with how inflammation works in the body. So that’s like, my goal in life as a professional is to fill in those gaps of the pain relief industry and why people aren’t healing. That’s my mission in life. So that’s usually the people who come to me are the people who are like, Okay, what I’m doing hasn’t worked, I need something that actually works. And they might even be discouraged thinking, there is nothing that works. And I’m here to wave my flag and say, That’s not true. You just need to do the right things for your body, in a tailored approach to make it work.
For you, um, I realized that I had a concussion or brain injury from the accent accident as well. But in some cases, you know, what they teach you when you go to the clinics is, it’s just, it’s not permanent, it will gradually get better, don’t worry. But they don’t help you like you do, what you’re saying is, you could feel like it’s getting a little bit better, but it might fall backwards a little bit. And then you might go forward a bit and then fall backwards a little bit. They don’t talk about all of that. It’s a travesty. It’s a travesty. It’s so sad to me, that people are not getting educated. Because the way that you heal is to actually know your body and what’s happening in it, you don’t heal.
If a person just shows you how to do a certain movement. If you don’t know how your body is supposed to be functioning with it, or how it’s supposed to be feeling, you’re going to do it wrong nine times out of 10, you’re not going to experience that healing, you don’t heal if you don’t understand the way that inflammation works, and how to deal with it long term. So that’s another thing I’m really passionate about. We need to be educating people to really know their own bodies and what’s happening and how to deal with it. Because you’re right. If people don’t understand the inflammation cycle, if a flare up comes up, it’s very disheartening, scary, and you’re not going to know how to recover from a flare. Because no, you don’t even think that it would happen. You don’t know you don’t understand what what that looks like.
So you’re so right, that I think that it’s such a overpacked system, the pain relief industry is just so over packed and turns into this, you know, cycle of get people in the door and get them out of the door. And it’s really lacking, unfortunately, in in what it takes to have long term lifelong feeling.
Yeah, I can totally see that. Because I know with my issues, it flares up and then it brings you back down again. Because you you’re starting to recognize the good or the good or feeling.
Feel like a little kid the good or feel better.
It’s true, it isn’t good or feeling. And, and the bad, better feeling. And, and they and they really, and it’s it’s true, because it’s honestly, they push you keep saying you know, you’re improving, and you’re getting better and and you start feeling better, and then you drop down again, and I’m not really sure they don’t talk about that stuff. And they don’t assist you. With Oh, it’s you know, like, it should be a gradual? Yes. So is this gonna continue forever?
Right? That’s, I mean, are you asking me if it’s going to my members? That’s what you have, in your own mind. Like, is this going to continue? Right? Yeah.
And we really need to be setting people up with a long term plan for this. That’s one of the goals about my program is to set people up so they get to keep the program after they’re done. With you know, we do six months. be doing intensive work so that people have all of that education, they have all of that understanding they, they know how to move forward confidently, they know the risks, when they move forward, they know what’s probably going to happen with flare ups. And when that happens, they can pull back out their program, and they can use that and they can reach out for support, knowing what tools they need, after they’ve reached that point of maintenance mode and of recovery, because you’re so right, we are just constantly, you know, putting getting people into the office, giving them the immediate tools that they need, telling them, they’ll be fine and then saying goodbye.
And that’s really, that’s it. And so people are so confused, is this going to last forever? What’s happening? Why am I not healing and people just get convinced that they can’t heal, right? Usually the mindset that that brings forth and that kind of inner narrative. And if you don’t believe you can heal, then you’re probably not going to do the things required to take care of yourself. You don’t even know what those things are. It’s just it’s such an unfortunate way that things happen. Yeah. So sort of dealt with that. It’s a it’s Yeah, it’s very cyclical, for sure.
Well, I’m sure there’s lots of people out there have different strains of accidents, that’s for sure. And we just had three generations of a culture in Ontario, Canada, just get hit by us truck, a pickup truck. I think it was on Sunday. I think it happened on Sunday. They were all going for a walk together a family. And this pickup truck went and hit them. Yeah, I didn’t know if you heard that on the news. hadn’t heard about that. So yeah, that’s um, after being hit, you cannot feel bad for anybody that gets hit. That’s just not, it’s not fun. Not fun if you’re walking, and it’s not fun if you’re in a car. And that’s not fun if you’re on a motorcycle. So yes. So how did that change your life with your husband? Because you were fairly newly married at that point? Or not yet, where you weren’t married? At that moment?
We had your accident? The accident, I didn’t even know my husband. But the relapse, which really, that for me is that traumatic moment, right? Where you’re in bed for a year. That’s like the big that almost feels like the accident to me. When the relapse happened. That’s I was two weeks into my marriage when that occurred. So, you know, what do you think you did that change that I pushed past my body’s boundaries, my body was telling me Hello, this doesn’t feel good, you know, my nervous system was going to that old pathway. And then I push through it every time. And every time that I push through it, it just made it worse and worse and worse until the relapse happened. And when the relapse happened, I was doing something very simple. I was just reaching for something, you know, picking something very light up. And then it and that’s what I like to tell a lot of people is when you’re not listening to your check engine lights, it can happen at any time. And it’s you never know.
Um, yeah, China was a lot of your focus to these things can happen at any moment. And we have to be prepared, we have to be listening. So when it happened, when that relapse happened, my husband and I, we, our lives were transformed. And it was the hardest time of our lives. It really rocked every belief that we had, it rocked, you know, it really put us into this place of isolation, where I remember in the time I told people when I was talking on the phone with people, you know, I was just like, I’m just in a dark room all the time. It’s just so lonely. It was so lonely and so much pain and you know, nobody who could help me. It was so hard. What were you struggling with? So, you know, as far as mentally or physically, both, both. So physically, I was having spasms that would not heal just everywhere. And so even if I tried to sit up, the spasms would happen.
And I don’t know if you’ve ever had spasms, but they are debilitating. They It was so painful. And then degeneration in my desks, you know, where it was just this really intense pain where we were like, is this what childbirth feels like? You know, that’s kind of the question I was asking myself. And now I know No, that wasn’t quite that bad, but close. And then just yeah, loneliness, depression. You know, there’s a lot that happens to you mentally when you’re in bed, and you don’t move. You don’t get those endorphins from movement. You don’t get sunshine, you don’t get all of the things that you mean. So it was it was just so much and then you know, isolation. We were in A new area we had just moved when this happened. And so we really didn’t have anybody coming to visit us very often, we did have some who were just phenomenal. But you know, it was just very lonely, very lonely. And really, yeah, very challenging, very traumatic. But when that happened, we, I think we talked about this before, before we started recording, the mindset of this is happening for us, not to us, really became my foundation in life, you know, and that’s everything that has happened ever since when COVID hit, when everything has happened, we’ve just repeated that this is happening for us, not to us, and that has really brought our lives out of the pits, and into this amazing, blessed life where everything has been used for good, you know, this injury, now I get to heal.
So many women, I mean, and men, I’ve, I’ve seen people not be able to function, and then all of a sudden, that pain is eliminated, and they’re able to live their lives. And it’s amazing what has happened. And I think that that mindset was a really big piece of it that this is for our good. And we don’t know what that looks like yet, but we trust it. And then as life progressed, it absolutely worked out. And I think a lot of that was, you know, having wisdom and being prepared. And a lot of what you focus on, really does help bring life into that place of goodness and, and knowing moving forward that if something were to happen, we’re prepared, and we know what to do about it.
Yes, because I think with your relapse, it brings you to this dark space that you can’t explain, it doesn’t matter who comes to visit, you really, I think it gets to the point where you have to get yourself out. And in a lot of my shows I talk about when you go into that space, and you feel like you’re in a really dark room. And you just want to see the light, like literally, that that’s probably used a lot. That statement, but it’s so true, because you want you want brightness, you want happiness, and you want to see the light. And I remember feeling like you just want to walk and you’re touching the walls and you’re touching all around this dark room trying to find this door handle for this door that you know is in that room.
And all you have to do is turn it and then you see a crack in the light of of the door. That’s how I personally felt. Yeah, um, and as soon as you can see the light, it gives you some confidence and some strength to feel. Okay, now I can pull the door open further. Now, oh my goodness, when you see what’s on the other side of that door, it’s everything like you were talking about with your husband, because it gives you this rehab, feeling that Oh, my, you know, it’s everything that you wish for is on that other side of that door. You know, whatever that looks like? Is it a farm? Is it a meadow, you know, is it an ocean, a beach, whatever that looks like, for your personal experience. And I remember that feeling of, of being locked in this room of darkness. But then when I actually saw the door open with the light, it just felt like your brain brought up into oh my gosh, this is where I’m supposed to be going. That’s so good. I don’t know if that made any sense.
Good that hit home. 100%. Really, like that’s still where we’re at. Like, I feel like we are going in levels and then layers with that whole process. Because I think that’s what looks, what it looks like to come out of trauma is to, you know, you see the crack. And so you pull over the door and it’s almost like you can only pull it up and so far each time. And each time you get more hope and you get a more understanding that there’s light in that you can open the door and you get strength and you get revitalized, but I still feel like we’re opening the door. It’s just, you know, which is a wonderful process. I really, really firmly believe it’s a wonderful process. But yeah, I feel like we’re still doing that but just in such a great way where like I see a lot of the light now. Like it’s a lot of light now, but I’m still, you know, opening it further and further.
Yes, and I think jumping into it, but always feeling like oh, I might have to go back inside that door a little bit to get some more strength to to when you relapse like you know and it’s funny what hits you to relapse. You know, sometimes it might be a day. Sometimes it feels like it might just be a week. Sometimes it It feels like it’s a month. It’s very interesting how it fluctuates, and the relapse makes you feel, I can totally see where people can slide into addictions and some sort of rehabilitation of an addiction because it’s so easy to fall into anxiety and depression. Super, super easy.
Yeah. And I don’t think that people have the right tools when they’re going into an injury relapse. I don’t think they do. Because when you have the right tools, hopefully a month would not be the case. Like Yeah, matter what if you’re, if you’re recovered, and then go into an injury relapse, if you have the right tools and the right support, you know, my my general guideline, and everybody is different. But my general guideline is it takes about a week for and everybody’s different. But even for really chronic pain, it takes about a week of doing all of the right things, and it’s kind of an intensive process, but all the right things to get onto the other side of that of that flare up or of that relapse, or whatever it is.
And if it’s a more severe injury, it might take longer. But, you know, I think that before I felt very much like a victim to pain, I felt very much out of control of pain, like it could happen anytime it wanted to. And I had nothing I could do about it, except for just to do some practitioner ping pong, and maybe that would help a little bit. And what I love to tell people is you do not, you have more control than what it seems like we have more power over this inflammation cycle than it feels like, it’s just a very in depth process, to be able to mitigate what’s happening with the body. And number one, the number one thing we need to do is to listen to the warning signs, because that is telling you that a relapse is coming if you do not listen. So when you’re sitting and you feel that back pain, even if it’s like a little bit of tension, that’s a check engine light, that’s that check engine light that your nervous system is trying to jump to that old pattern that’s going to cause a relapse. Or when you feel that neck tension, we need to get up and move we need to ice and heat depending on what the age and area of the injury is we need to rest we need to you know, do something called self myofascial release, we need to, you know, shift things up so that we’re not pushing past and I think so many times when we’re busy, we just push, we just say Shush, body, I’m not listening to you, you don’t matter. That’s not what’s happening in the forefront of membranes, but that’s what we’re saying to our bodies. And then our body say, Okay, I tried to warn you, and then it happens.
Well, that’s really hard to do that to your brain. Yeah. Because, you know, I found it easier when I broke my foot in the accident and tore my meniscus in both my knees because I’m, it’s a physical thing. And so you when you get up and it’s so where you’re like, Okay, like, it’s okay, I’ll work on it. But with your head. You, you don’t feel like you work can work on your head, like you don’t realize it. And so you really have to become aware of your body, like you’re saying, to be aware of how you’re feeling and what’s triggering your head. What what are you having trouble? It’s so so hard.
I so I, I have a disease disease, I don’t know what you would call a chronic illness called postural onset technique. cardia syndrome, which affects how the blood flow can get to my brain. It’s called pots. Okay, yeah, you don’t want to say that fast too many times. Yeah. So when when this hits, like I can be in bed, you know, unable to talk unable to get up unable to do anything, because my brain is not getting enough blood flow. my nervous system isn’t flowing. And it’s the same thing. It’s the same thing where it’s, it’s a brain issue, it’s a heart issue. But my body tells me, my body gives me warning signals.
You know, it tells me Hello, this is my little warning signal to you. And when I don’t listen to it, that’s when things get bad, right? I mean, now, with so many things that we’re dealing with, with brain injuries, with musculoskeletal injuries, with chronic illnesses with all of these things are parties are always talking to us. And our bodies really want to be listened to. And it’s kind of this respect and kind of relationship that you know, it is ourselves but our bodies want to have this relationship with us where our bodies talk to us, and we listen. And then our bodies are like, oh, okay, we’re okay. And then we talk to our bodies, and our bodies.
Listen, because there’s that relationship. But when we don’t listen to our bodies, what happens? Our bodies lash out, you know, they’re like, Well, you didn’t listen. So now I got to do something more. So you listen to me. And then when we try to tell our bodies to do something, our bodies are like you didn’t listen to me. I’m not gonna listen to you. There’s no connection and relationship. And that’s when flare ups of all different shapes and sizes happen. And so that’s one of the biggest components of my coaching with people surprisingly is having a with your body again and being able to listen to your body, which is all much harder than it seems like it would be. It seems like the easiest thing in the world. But you, you know, sit in front of your computer with a million projects and a million things you need to do. And then you tell me that it’s easy.
Yeah. When your body talks to you, then you tell me, it’s easy. It’s not easy.
I wouldn’t want to be in your boat with two little kids and having all those issues. Because you? Do you take time for yourself, then do you really take moments to Oh, you, you better believe that actually, today, I dumped self care day, I dubbed it a holiday. And I actually shared it on my stories. I was like, this is a holiday everybody. Everybody do stop what you’re doing and do some self care. Because that’s the only way for me, with my body, which is so sensitive. That’s the only way. And my husband is the most incredibly supportive human being in the world. And I even told him, you know, what are you doing for self care today, cuz he’s so supportive of me doing that, I have to tell him, you know, you plan out your self care, so that you get that too, because we all need it so much. But in the mornings, I have my time for movement, I have my time for reading, I have my time for meditation, I have my time for nutrition. You know, it’s so important to me that I have that schedule in place. And I have that structure where I am taking care of myself, I’m doing corrective exercise for my body, because it will always need it. And then I set my day with a priority, which my priority is being well, first and foremost.
And then it’s taking care of my family and loving on my family. And then it’s my business and taking care of my clients, which I love so much. And they’re so such a high priority for me. But if I don’t have those priorities set, then what happens when my children start screaming or crying? Because they’re the baby and a toddler. They’re wonderful, but they have emotions. They’re human. Yeah. So what happens when they start doing that? And I’m, you know, and I’m trying to get my project done, and I’m stressed, okay, well, I need to make sure I’m well first. So I need to take a moment and breathe and determine what I need. And then my family is second. So if I need to move something, or shift something, they’re important, they are my priority, and then my project, and that helps to really clear things up so that I’m taking care of myself, my family gets taken care of, it doesn’t feel so muddled and overwhelming and complicated, right?
Because the kids can really push push those buttons, you know, for you So, and I, I like to think of it as it really helps me to think of it as they’re human beings with valid emotions. And they’re just trying their best to tell me what they need, they just don’t know how to tell me.
So that really helps me to not feel like they’re pushing my buttons so much as they’re just they have a need, and they don’t know how to explain it. And so that really helps alleviate some of that stress or even like, yeah, it’s not always there. I mean, it’s definitely I have my moments.
That’s for sure. Yeah. Yeah. Cuz it’s hard to get away from them to to get some quiet time for you for yourself. It’s always a struggle for a mom to put themselves first, which is the toughest thing ever. It is so important. But yeah, not even after but yeah, but doable when you’ve had an injury and you have no other choice.
And now that I’m out of the injury, I know how important it is.
Yeah. Did. How did it change for your outlook? Because the trauma with your first relapse when once you got married, seemed to be the worst of the whole time? How did that make you feel about being prepared? You know, are you have you really changed your mindset? Now, because when you’re young, and beautiful, and you’re living your best life, and you have no worries in life, and I remember those days, and you just think you’re invincible, and nothing’s gonna happen to you.
Yeah. And we were talking earlier about this. But it’s such a beautiful thing to realize that we’re not invincible. It really changes the way that we make our decisions. And I think it makes our lives Fuller. And it it just, I don’t know, I think it brings in more gratitude. I think it brings in more wisdom. I think it brings in, you know, more for our children so that when you know if something happens, they’re taken care of. So absolutely. When this happened, it really affected my mindset. It showed me that and I think for me, one of the biggest pieces of being prepared for me is to always take care of my body. And that may seem like a very abstract way of being prepared, but I have to always be prepared for something happening for my body and always take care of it and that’s how I thrive but I I have a condition where it’s called Ehlers danlos Syndrome, I have all this stuff going on where you know, things can fall apart in my body.
And I always have to be prepared with that and always just be on top of it. So I’d say that’s number one for me is just always being prepared for potential of relapse potential of instability in my body potential of chronic pain, and, you know, not in a stressful way, but always taking care of myself and listening to my body so that I’m not getting to that point. And then beyond that, you know, with COVID, hit with all these things have happened, we actually had fires here in the northwest, I think you may have had, I don’t know where you may have to, but when that happened, you know, really became apparent that we’re vulnerable to whatever happens around us, we’re really, you know, at the whim of nature, with this type of stuff. So we formed plans for having our generators having you know, we’ll be moving soon, so that we have more land so that we can have our garden and be you know, more sustainable and have our chickens and have our food and, and so it really did cause us to form backup plans in so many areas of our life, so that we’re not so vulnerable, and we really can be more sustainable within ourselves.
I like how you were able to be better prepared for your family. And you also spoke about being better prepared in your business as well.
Yes, and that’s a big thing for us is we care so much about our clients than if you know, if anything were to happen to me, even with health things, or anything else, we actually hired on a full team of physical therapists or economists, corrective exercise specialists, so that it can still be a well oiled machine functioning and running. You know, if, if I have something happening with my health, it can still be just a beautiful, beautiful team, doing their job healing people. So that’s definitely always in my mind is how can I set things up to be sustainable?
We talk about that in some of the shows as well for entrepreneurs. Because if something happened to your hands, something happened to you not feeling well, if something took you down for a day, or a week, or a month, or whatever that looks like, how can your job? or How can your business continue operating? And we talk about sometimes lining up that other person that could you could work in conjunction with, like another physio therapist with another physio therapist. So if they go on holidays, or if they get sick, the other person can look after that side of things. And I don’t think we do that enough. Because we don’t think anything’s gonna happen. So the problem comes is when you don’t have something hat when you have something happen and you’re not prepared, then who are you going to rely on? You’re going to be calling your clients and saying, I’m sorry, I can’t see you this week or next week? Yeah. But you, you know, then they go off looking for their own person. And now you’ve lost them as a client. It’s like a hairdresser.
I don’t know about you. But when you want your hair done, you want your hair done. Yeah, like you can’t wait a month, you can’t wait two months. When you want your hair done. That’s an end your specific, I don’t know, most people are very particular about the physiotherapist that they see. Or their chiropractor, or hairdresser. They’ve built a relationship with them. And when you aren’t there for your customer or your client. They’re gonna find someone else. Yeah, so yeah. So that’s awesome. How you were able to implement that. So well. What about your personal stuff? What about your family stuff? Have you I’m sure it made you realize a little bit different in that field area area of things, too.
I, I am not as good at this as I should. And I, you know, we have our paperwork together. But we definitely need to do a better job of getting copies to our family, getting a copy of our key to our family members doing more of those things. So I was actually thinking when you were talking about your app, I’m kidding. Go on your app, and look at what you are talking about there and see what else we need to do. Because we’re just in this process. And I think we’re always growing in it. Especially busy life. I mean, I want to say to anybody watching, if you have a busy life, I get it. I get it. And it can be hard to be prepared when you’re busy. And so we try to take it in steps as realistic as we can. And so I’d say that’s probably the next step for sure is yes. delving more into that because we have some we have some of that taken care of, but we need more.
Yes. And sometimes we just need the education like you offer in your business. To understand why do I need that? Yeah. So and then it becomes easier to do it when you Know why, absolutely. But if you don’t know why everything’s like, Oh, I don’t want to do that. It’s like income tax. I don’t want to do that. And can I do it? Like, well, it is what it is like, Oh, well, but it’s not that way. When it happens, it’s like, why didn’t I do that?
Yeah. Yeah, that’s so true. And knowing your why is so important. Absolutely. And knowing that these things can happen. And I don’t think it’s a scary thing, it’s not something to be scared with. It’s not something to be stressed or worried or anxious about, because I, you know, I don’t think that that always leads to positive, change your behaviors, either. I think it’s just having the wisdom of knowing we’re not invincible. That’s a good thing. You know, we just have to be wise about it. And we have to be prepared as much as we can be. And, and Dave Ramsey, I don’t know if you’ve ever listened to him. But he always says, you know, it’s funny how the people who have the emergency fund don’t often need to use it, because something just tends to happen when we’re, when we’re prepared.
It’s Dugard, but things tend to be, you know, less emergency-ish. Yes, things tend to happen when we’re prepared. Absolutely odd thing.
Yeah. And and some people say, well, we’re, I don’t want to do that, because that’s like setting it up. Right happen. But it doesn’t. Yeah, I think, you know, and that’s, I do believe that mindset has so much to do with how our lives form. And I don’t want to go whoo poopoo with that, but I do think that our mindsets do help us create circumstances. And so that’s why I’m just so adamant about you know, it’s not a fear based thing, this is no being afraid that things are just going to constantly happen to us.
This is just knowing that you want to have the best life possible. So how can you form that? How can you make your life just so bulletproof and so solid, and it’s really just such a positive way of life, knowing that you’re taking care of your children or taking care of, you don’t believe that that’s the case, and that that will happen, but you’re ready for anything, I think it’s just a great way of living well, and it feels good, and it feels empowering. Just like what you would empower, you’re giving the tools in a toolbox to someone to empower them to take over their own life. And that’s super, super important when you’re injured, as well as mental and mental injury of some sort, as well as a physical, but also for planning planning gives you that empowerment. Because if you like I was so sorry to hear this morning, that your mom had a stroke, lots of love and prayers out to her. But it also makes you remind you that you could be prepared in your own life, in your own between your partner in you. But maybe you should start having those family conversations with your mom, or your dad, or your brother or your sister to find out.
Do they have their stuff organized? Do they have a plan? Because I’m going to be the one having to look after that point. And time when something does occur? Yeah, yeah. So it makes it more sensible to have a worksheet to be able to have that conversation. And, and find out what their wishes are, you know, whatever that looks like and help them get their stuff together as well. So it helps everybody all around. really does, what kind of final messages Would you like to give our listeners today?
I think that anybody listening in who thinks they have pink doesn’t think who has pain, who has this ongoing, you know, chronic pain or any type of pain, what I want to leave behind is just, you know, you don’t have to live that way. That isn’t life, that even if you’ve tried multiple things, and it hasn’t worked, that’s not the way that life has to be. And you know, the biggest thing that I would say to do is to listen to your body to start listening to your body. And then as far as pain goes, as far as injury relapse goes, as far as all of those things, even you know if you have never had an injury but you have pain that could lead to a really big injury. That’s typically how it happens. So without all of that the biggest way that you can be prepared is to listen to your body when it talks to you and do not push past those check engine lights, do what you need to to listen to your body and respond to it and that relieves pain and protects you to such a high level.
Thank you That’s that’s really beautiful because it could be fiber mile myalgia or it could be all sorts of different things that are causing you the pain in whatever area that is. And it’s, it’s understanding your body and knowing the signs? And is that what you really help with this, to help people understand the signs, we help with everything. I mean, our program really is built to fill in the reasons why people haven’t been able to heal, and the reasons why people keep having pain. So a part of that is coaching them through understanding what is happening with their bodies and how to stop it. That’s a big part of the coaching. But then we also do ergonomic evaluations, creating a pain free workspace, right, because that’s a big root of the problems. Or if people sit in their cars or sit on the couch, we do ergonomic coaching for those things. We do physical therapy, we do corrective exercise where we’re correcting every pain point head to toe, because so often people can only get one pain point covered in a physical therapist or a physiotherapy office.
So we make sure that we’re correcting everything happening from head to toe. And then we also give that video tutorial program where people can keep that for the rest of their lives to fix all it’s happening from head to toe in a really specialized process. And then we also ship massage tools to them so they can do self massage, they can release those angry muscles. And we do a lot of a lot of coaching around the mental, the mental issue of you know, just not listening to our bodies and not being able to respond the way we need to. So it’s very comprehensive, but it’s wonderful and and we love the process of seeing our people.
That’s awesome. Yeah, that’s really awesome. Well, thank you listeners. I’m Thank you, Tracy for coming on today. From beautiful Vancouver, Washington. You’re only a hop, skip and a jump away from me today. No, we’re close by. Yes, absolutely. And we’re both in Vancouver, but a different country. Different Vancouver. So funny. Oh, thank you. And listeners, please like, share and subscribe. Take that moment and really think about maybe you could be sending this video to somebody that you know that struggling. Tracy’s information I have made sure that we’ve put down below in the description box. Because as you know, as we’ve talked about in our show today, nobody’s Superman, and no one is getting out of this life alive. And I hate to say that, I did want to say one thing really quickly I was interrupt, you know, anyone is having pain, you can join my facebook group where I share tutorials, free education resources, like the whole goal there is that no matter what you have a path forward and you have education, you have resources. So that’s on Facebook, the work pain free community, feel free to join everybody’s welcome. So that’s a really great resource.
So I wanted to add that in.
Awesome. Okay, I’m sure I have that link as well down below for everybody. So that might be a start for everyone to join and then get the feeling of the community and, and pursue it from there. That’s awesome. Thank you so much. Stay tuned for for the next podcast or live video that your backup plan and talking taboo with Tina. That sounds a lot of tease. And that’s what we’re all about. We talk about the real raw conversations, the taboo subjects that we don’t normally speak about. And that’s what we’re all about. So I really appreciate Tracy you coming on our show. Thank you, our listeners as well for listening. And I always end our show with Carol Burnett because she’s just a wonderful, wonderful person. So 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 so long listeners.
Thank you, Tracy. Much love to you and your mom sent her love lots of love and wishes from us. And all our listeners send out prayers to Tracy’s mom for her struggle with her stroke. I hear she’s doing well. So let’s keep that road going there for her. And for our COVID people. I hope you’re recovering well and stay safe. Lots of love. And if you are listening to the show today, and you are thinking about someone special in your life, please send out a message. Pick up the phone, send them a text, tell them how much you love them. Because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. You don’t know how that might change tomorrow. So do that today. Stay Safe Be Kind till next time
TRACY RODRIGUEZ WITH WORK PAINFREE COMMUNITY
Family Bonds that can hurt or heal, our interview today with Mirinda Kossoff, and she’s an author and a writer of the Rope of life- A Memoir is a memoir is a daughter’s story told with love and compassion. Absolutely beautiful.
“In truth a family is what you make it. It is made strong, not by number of heads counted at the dinner table, but by the rituals you help family members create, by the memories you share, by the the commitment of time, caring and love you show to one another, and by the hopes for the future you have as individuals and as a unit.” Marge Kennedy
And we all need that right now in our lives with the pandemic. Absolutely. So if please like, share, and subscribe this channel with all of your friends and family. Your Backup Plan APP brings your life all in one place. So that in case of any unpredictable circumstance, what does that mean? What are those unpredictable circumstances? Well, that could be a car accident, a hurricane, a tornado, earthquake, a flood, losing your wallet or passport while you’re traveling? What’s in your wallet? What happens when you go into the hospital for surgery?
Or COVID? All of a sudden, and who’s gonna look after your cat? How do they know what cat food to pick? How do they know who your vet is? How do they get into your home? How do they pay your electricity bill so that when you come home, it’s still on an operating? How do they do all of these things so that you can actually recover and Get home safe and sound and not have any of those stresses or worries. And it doesn’t have to be on death. Of course we talk about death as well because there’s so many different things. Around the death part, that if you don’t have all your T’s crossed, and your eyes dotted, it can be very, very messy, very unsettling. Lots of family feuds, lots of family fights.
And it’s not just for the average person. It’s also for celebrities, because they’re in the news all the time as well, that they didn’t have their crap together as well. Robin Williams, Michael Jackson, Johnson, and Johnson, all sorts of singers, actors, actresses, all sorts of people that did not have their plans in place. And that’s just not just the documents, it’s everything. What do you want it to look like? What do you want to have happen? All of those kinds of things we talked about, as well as the fun part of the treasure box in in module number 12.
So anyways, let’s get this party started here. And enough about the app and our discussion here. One thing you know, and and that’s why we get people to expect the unexpected, because you don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring. And I’d like to mention our wonderful United States listeners, thank you so very much. We love you. We send lots of love and light to you guys. You’re one of our biggest listeners, Canada’s next and we love you as well. And Germany is our next upcoming listener, community. And Ireland is next. And I did a really poor job of my Irish accent. So I’m definitely going to need some assistance with that. And the next one is Sweden that’s coming up in the ranks. And I’m also want to thank Ireland for listening. We love you and Sweden. We love you as well. Let’s get this party started because I’m going to have to have some assistance with the Swedish part as well. So thank you guys. Thank
you. Thank you. Thank you.
So let’s get our guest on here. Mirinda Kossoff. She is here for us. There she is.
Hi, Tina. I’m delighted to be here. Oh, thank you, Mirinda, thank you so much for coming. Mirinda is coming to us from North Carolina, beautiful North Carolina today. I wish I was there with you. She’s an author and a writer. She just finished the rope of life and then more of a daughter’s story told with love and compassion. I’m so excited to hear about how this all started for you. And your beautiful story that can help others because we all don’t have that perfect family. And I don’t know who does. But they all seem to appear on Instagram and Facebook. Like they are all perfect families. That we all know that that’s not really the truth. But we can have love and compassion anyways in our family. And yours is no different. Where would you like to start? Like, let’s start from the beginning. Mirinda, let’s start right from the beginning.
Well, there are several beginnings to start from, um, maybe I should mention since the role of life is primarily about my father in my relationship with him and how that influenced my choices as I got older, especially my choices and men that my father was a Jew who grew up in New York, and at 19. He enlisted in World War Two. He flew a b 17. He was a top turret gunner and Flight Engineer and flew 26 missions over Germany.
And the the death rate among the Army Air Corps was about 50% so he was lucky he got back alive. And to make this story I’m spooling out not too long. I’ll just say that he met and married my mother. When he was stationed in Greensboro before North Carolina before he shipped out. I’m sorry he didn’t marry her before he shipped out. He married her when he came back. And my mother was a Southern Baptist, a fundamentalist Southern Baptist. So the two couldn’t be further apart. She was also almost a decade older than he. But he came back this handsome, dashing war hero, and my mother at that time, he was 21. And she was 30. And she was bordering on at that time being an old maid, because all the available men had were at war during those years.
So the to married in December of 1945. And then I was born Three years later, my father converted to my mother’s religion. And he was all in he became a Baptist, a deacon in the Baptist church. He supported the missionaries, he was very fond of Baptist missionaries. And he tried generally to pass as a good old Southern boy, which was difficult in the town. I grew up in Danville, Virginia, which in history is best known as the last capital of the Confederacy. When Jefferson Davis fled from Richmond, he set up confederacy headquarters in the old Sutherland mansion in Danville, Virginia. And so Danville took pride in its place in history as the last capital of the Confederacy. Now, I think we would look at that and say, nothing to be proud of there.
But this gives you a sense of where he was trying to fit in was the Jim Crow South. The blacks in our area, were demonstrating for their civil rights, Martin Luther King visited three times in 1963. So there was a lot going on that was swept under the rug. My father, fairly typical of men of his era was not very emotionally available. I never saw him cry. My mother said the only time she saw him cry was when he took the dental board to practice in North Carolina because that’s where they wanted to settle to be near my mother’s twin sister. And he was flunked and my mother found out through some channels that he was flown on purpose because they didn’t want another Jew practicing in North Carolina. So that’s how we ended up in Danville, Virginia, there was an opening for a public health dentist, he passed the boards in Virginia, handily, and he settled there.
And he, he was a man of many, many talents. He he was a wonderful dentist, he his patients loved him, he would tell jokes, and he would make funny lyrics to songs that you you knew, like I Dream of Jeannie because I was called Jean. He was saying I Dream of Jeannie with the light brain skin, and, and other things like that. That was just typical of him. He used humor, to both connect to people and also to keep a distance. And he did that with me. And he did that with my three siblings. I’m the oldest of four. And to fast forward, he ran for city council and last and then he bought land in the county surrounding Danville, ran for county commissioner and lost. And my mother in a letter to me because I was in college at the time, said he, he said he was a failure.
And here was a man who had built the home of his dreams on 126 acres, built up a hangar had his own airplane, had his pilot like pilot’s license and a pool house with a pool so he could swim because he had a bad back. And he sort of devolved into a chronic pain patient who we could tell us also depressed. And my book opens with a flight I took with him when he was about 50. And I was I was about 29 or 30. And he he had lost his daring do because he was very nervous flying the plane which made me very nervous. Being in the passenger seat, it was a single engine Cessna. And I realized at that point that my father was not as old self, so can do, can do anything. Brilliant self, he was a man who was slowly falling apart. And it was a Gordian knot of reasons why this was happening. And partially, I think it was a subtle anti Semitism.
He experienced and, and, and I as his daughter did, even though we weren’t going to Baptist church regularly. So he committed suicide at age 55, he was on the psychiatric wing of University of Virginia hospital, under 24 hours suicide watch. But knowing my father, and knowing that my father could solve any problem could get around any obstacle. Um, I wasn’t surprised that he was able to do that, even though we thought he was safe. So it was, we were gutted. It was it was a shock, even though, you know, he had talked about suicide. And we knew how depressed he was. He blamed it on his chronic pain, but I think it was so much more than pain. There was a lot of psychological pain and pain that he could not share with anyone. So my book, the book has been in me for 20 years, and prior
was what puts him in the hospital. Miranda did some incident happen.
Well, he had been in four other hospitals. for back pain, he had two back surgeries, and neither did any good. And he felt only made his back problem worse. He’d been in the VA hospital in Durham. He’d been in hospital in Winston Salem, he’d been in the Danville Memorial Hospital.
And what’s wrong with his back? I mean, um, I have, they didn’t know as much as they know about, well,
he had herniated discs. And they did a laminectomy, which means, you know, they trim the disc material that’s bulging out, I have the same disease process in my back that he had. Oh, wow. And I can tell you, it’s very painful. But I can also tell you that people live with it. And that, I don’t think it was the pain alone, that made him want to leave us. Um, I think it was so much more. So throughout my life, I’ve always, my career was in communications.
I was at Duke University for 15 years. And I wrote a lot of essays and pieces about my father, I just couldn’t. I couldn’t set it aside, his suicide was such a seminal moment in my life, that I thought about it, I wrote about it in various ways. And then I finally decided to write a book about it. When my mother died in 2000. I thought, well, I know she wouldn’t be happy about me writing this. But now that she’s gone, I can start this and I wrote an essay that was published in a book of women’s essays. And one of my sisters got wind of it. And it didn’t like the fact that I had written about dad suicide. And I didn’t mention my siblings in this essay, it was about me and my father and my reaction to a suicide. But she, there was pushback that was such that I, I stopped writing I had done a few chapters 20 years later, you know, it’s, it’s now 20 2019, I would say or late 2018. I just had this insistent voice inside that that said, You have got to write this. You’ve got to write this book. You have to write you have to write and I kept trying to ignore it, because I know what’s going on. My family upset the remaining family, my three siblings. And I was with a friend. And, and I was I had tears in my eyes and I said, I feel like I’m going to die if I don’t write this book. And she said, write it.
And at that time, I realized that writing it for me would be a catharsis and it would lead me to understand better my father, his choice, my relationship with him, and how his his relationship to me pushed me to make the choices I made unconsciously in my first marriage, and I always joked that if you put me in a room with 30 men, I would gravitate to the one who was the most emotionally unavailable, or the most screwed up. And I would have this kind of radar, there’d be bows going off and be like, Oh, yes, I have to be with this person. And that was not a good model for for picking a spouse and, and so that relationship lasted seven years. And I had identical twin sons as a result of that relationship. But it was a mutual agreement to part ways. I had said before we were married, that I want a career, I’m not going to be a stay at home wife, and I don’t want children. The career is what I is really what I want. And I think that was the authentic me speaking. But he turned 30 and a friend and had a baby and waxed eloquent about watching the birth of his daughter, then my ex husband got the baby bug. And he pushed it and talked about it. And I was afraid if I didn’t get pregnant, that he would leave me and find somebody who would. So I did what was against my my nature, given that my parents were not I would not call them loving parents. They provided they guided, they were strict. They had rules. They brought us up with a sense of values, but I never felt loved. I was never told. I love you. Do you think common though during that era? Yeah. I think it probably was, though. I had friends whose whose fathers had pet names for them like kitten, Marquis, Sparky.
And yeah, cute things. And my my father called me Cruella after the bill in the 101 Dalmatians movie. Well, that was nice. Yeah, I it was a blow when he came out with that, and it’s sort of stuck. And he called me that. Um, and I still remember standing in the vestibule of the church getting ready to walk down the aisle for that first marriage. And my father was going to walk me down the aisle, I had a bouquet that had baby’s breath in it. And I was shaking, I was nervous. And the baby’s breath was quivering, trembling, and instead of saying what you would hope, like, I’m sad to give you away today, but I want this to be I want the best thing are some, he teased me about being nervous. He said, Look at those flowers, and he was laughing and I was just, it was like, he cut me off at the knees.
And my sisters who were my bridesmaid said when I was walking down the aisle that I looked like I was going to my execution and he did not set the tone very well. So that was my dad, a brilliant man but a man who didn’t know himself who didn’t wouldn’t know feeling if it slapped him upside the head. And do you think he struggled with PTSD from from the war? I think he probably did. He talked about it a lot. Instead of bedtime stories when I got you know six or older, he told me stories about the war about the plane being so shot up that he didn’t think they would make it back to base they had been in a dogfight with Mr. Smith’s. And he told me that that was when he converted, he prayed to God, that if he said I will become a Christian if you get me in the cruise safely back to base. So that’s what he did. And I knew the names of all of his crew members, boggy, Bev Fletcher and stoop names, but he talked about the war incessantly. And you know, there may have been some of that. And I think, as life went on, there would never be any feelings as intense as those that he had then both fear and being so alive because death is right there. And also the camaraderie with people you are relying on for your life and you support each other.
So I think that was that world war two was, was loomed large in his life for years and years and years. So yes, it may have been Benson PTSD. Did he lose some crew members from his group? No, they all survived. It’s not nice. 26 missions. Yeah, because they stayed together. But he told me, he would be very sad when he would come back to the Quonset hut, that was their bunk. They were stationed in England. And there will be empty bunks, men who didn’t make it back, and he said that every time he came home from a mission, there was another empty bunk and someone else had been killed. So So that’s another aspect of him.
As you can see, man, yeah, kind of gives you that eerie feeling. Because it’s it’s a fact. It’s, it’s an acknowledgement when he was in that situation. of the fact of of you may not make it.
Yes, yes. And he talks back, he never talked about. He never talked about fear, or any of his other emotions, or that might have been involved in being in that situation. He only mentioned fear. When he decided to become a Christian, you know, he was afraid they wouldn’t make it back. But weren’t me every time I got in that plane. I’d be terrified. Knowing that might be coming. Right.
Did you feel I mean, there’s a lot of there’s quite a few celebrities that got on pain medicine. Like he probably did for his back. Michael Jackson. had that issue.
Yeah, protocol is what he overdosed. So yeah, as a dentist, so he could prescribe he prescribed for himself. Yeah, that wasn’t good. No. But the pharmacist finally wised up and refuse to fill the prescriptions my father wrote for himself. So that was kind of the end of that.
What do you really think was the reason that he killed himself? Yeah. Do you think I mean, someone has to be really unhappy?
I think it was the split from his heritage, giving up everything he grew up with. He stayed in touch with his parents, my grandparents who were a big influence on me. Though I didn’t see them very often. I think it was that he failed to be accepted the way he wanted to be accepted in this southern town. He did not, he was not able to blend in and become a southerner and become accepted for the man that he was the man that he had become, rather than the man he or the person he was born as. Because he was referred to by some people as that Yankee Jew. When he was running for city council, someone told my mother who didn’t know that she was who she was married to, that I know one person I’m not voting for for city council and set Yankee Jew Kossoff.
And my mother push they were at the Five and Dime lunch counter and my mother pushed back and said, Well, I’m as you Kossoff and I, you know, I’ll be voting for him. And I’m sure the man mumbled something and then walked off. I hope you felt bad. It was that kind Have you know, like a death by 1000 cuts these these incidents? And people would say, oh, Kossoff. That’s an unusual name where y’all from. And I’m so I’m from here just like you. I was born in Greensboro and I grew up in Virginia, and born in Greensboro, North Carolina, I grew up in Virginia. And even in Sunday school, they would ask me to explain the Jewish holidays to the other students.
And I said, Well, I’m Baptist, just like you, I don’t know. So I think my father with some self hatred, and feelings of failure and not being able to confront or deal with his emotions, the psi head psychiatrist at UVA, I talked with him after my father’s death. And he said to me that your father was the most difficult patient I ever had, he said that I was not able to begin to get to the core of his deep despair. So in some ways, it will always be a bit of a mystery. But for me, in writing the book, I put together all of these pieces and it gave me a bigger picture of my father. A bigger picture of why I expected so little from the men in my life.
Because I, I got so little growing up my father, when I was a girl played with me, but then the other kids were born, and a son was born. And then when the sun came along, that was it, you know, and did your dad grow up died? I’m not sure if you had mentioned this.
Did he grow up in that area as well? Or did he he grew up in Manhattan, and then Mount Vernon, New York. My, his father, my grandfather, Hermann Kossoff, was a concert pianist. And he was immigrated from Russia as a child. And he spoke five languages fluently. He, he could talk like a professor, like a college professor, he was so erudite. And I love that about him. And, and he stoked my love of travel, and my love of language and of France, in particular, because he taught me my first French phrase sitting on his knee.
Mamsa whose specialty, Madam, you’re very kind, and I would use that, you know, whether appropriate or not, I would use that in different circumstances. But I was, I was very close to him. And my mother’s side of the family, we’re I’m not well educated, working class people who had a lot of racism. And I, I knew early on, that wasn’t right. And we’re
both from Russia. Sorry.
We’re both of them from Russia, or, or were my father’s parents. Yes. Though. My grandmother Satie was born in the US, but her her parents came from Russia as well. Because from them, they’re both Jewish. Yes. And my father was brought up Jewish, he was bought Bar Mitzvah, and I have a prayer book. And, and my grandfather’s prayer book.
Oh, cool. It sounds like they were almost like in Poland, because I know a lot of the Jews from Poland tried to, you know, go elsewhere as well. I’m not sure about the Russia part.
And I know the Berlin Wall was there. It was quite the, the big episode back at that time, I think. No, not then. We’re talking about under the rule of Tsar Nicholas the second. There were pogroms against the Jews in Russia, and Nicolas was incredibly anti Semitic. And the story I don’t know if it’s apocryphal, but the story of my family is that my great grandfather Isaac, was in the Czar’s army and Jews retreated terribly. But he wounded himself with his own saber in order to get out of the army and eventually made his way to the coast to get a boat to come to America. And okay, he brought my grandfather and his wife had some of the other children stay behind.
But they came a few years later. So many, many Russian Jews came over during the turn of the century, late a majority of them going to United States or did they go in other parts as well?
Well, so, so went to Canada, and I think my my grandparents came, my grandfather came through Canada when, when they came to the, quote, new world. So they were very assimilated, like my my grandparents, and they weren’t orthodox, and they were not particularly observant. They were more secular Jews, culturally, they were Jewish. And they observed the big holidays, like Yom Kippur War, and Passover. So I knew enough I knew about those from my my grandparents. But the other side of my family, my mother’s side were all they had own slaves. And they were wealthy at one time, but after they lost everything after the Civil War, and I don’t feel sorry for them for that. And, and they were native North Carolinians, that my lineage on my mother’s side is English and Irish with a little bit of Swedish, because her maiden name was Whitfield. So I was very much attracted to the Jewish side of my family.
Because they were the artists, the musicians, the the smart people. And my cousins on my mother’s side, use the N word. And I was afraid of them. I didn’t like being around them. But they were the ones that I saw the most unfortunately. Right. Did do you think that is deep stuff was from growing up? Do you think? When you’re thinking back now, do you think part of that was from earlier on? Growing up years?
It may have been, I’m not sure. What kind of a father My grandfather was, um, he was a terrific grandfather to me. But I do know that he went to Europe every summer. And he quite often would leave my grand mother and my dad back in New York. And he had lots of friends in Europe. He would, he spoke German, and Italian and French, and some Russian, and Spanish. And he had friends all over Europe. And I don’t, I think a child would just be in the way. And I knew that about him as I got older. But the contrast between the two sides of my family was so huge, in my mother’s eyes. My being close to my Jewish grandparents was a betrayal of her, because they did not want my father to marry her. And they tried to stop it. They want him to marry a Jewish woman. And, and perhaps someone secular, but for him to go off and marry someone. So polar opposite was something they had a hard time with. And so my mother resented that, and she often compared me to my grandfather, I would make a gesture and she’s she would say, You look just like grandpa Herman when you did that. And that was not a compliment in her mind, and it was her way. I think she marginalized me in the family because I’m the one who looks the most like the Jewish side of my family. I’m the one who was the most interested in my siblings, my siblings, excuse me, didn’t have any interest in Judaism or that side of the family. I was on who I would take a bus or train up to New York to visit my grandparents when I was in my teens, I would go by myself. So all of all of this came together in this book awesome.
It and helped me figure out a lot about myself about the like I said the choices I made in men and fortunately, myself second marriage has been really wonderful and I until recently didn’t understand why I did this. But when I met my current husband, we dated we went out for six months, never kissed, didn’t touch. And. And I think, in retrospect, I kept, he told me that he just felt I was kind of frosty. And he didn’t want to push it with me. And I think I was keeping it a distance because here was a real live man who could be emotionally available. Oh, my God. How do you do with that? Well, yeah, what do I do with that? I was scared. And finally, you know, I listened to my gut, which I didn’t listen to the first time around. And my gut was saying, yep, do it. This is a really good man. This is a stand up, man. This is a man who will be there for you. This is a man who won’t try to leave you. And so I’m very grateful for the lessons that I’ve learned. And the place I’ve wound up. I’m now a grandmother of two. I have my one of my twin sons is married and has these two wonderful grandchildren. Five and 10 years old. My other son has not married and, and my husband has two grandchildren. Through his his daughter, he has a son and a daughter, who are grown up and have extremely interesting professional lives once a physicist, the others have violinists with the Cincinnati orchestra. My husband was, was up as soon as with the North Carolina Symphony, but also has a PhD in physics. So his children got a flavor. And my two sons both have their own businesses, because they heard me kvetch about work and working for somebody else. long enough, they decided that they were going to work for themselves. So so we have a blended family. And we we visit each other’s grandchildren, my grandchildren live close by.
So I see a lot more than than we do my husband’s grandchildren, because they live in Cincinnati, Ohio. That’s quite a distance from you. It is and we actually had gotten them together. When there was only one. We got them together with my granddaughter, his granddaughter, and my, my granddaughter who is considerably older, but when they visited with her, we all got together, which was really nice. And I hope we can do that with she has my stepdaughter has a son now who’s 18 months, and my grandson is five, and her daughter’s five. So my daughter is 10. So, you know, looking to the future. I think that my husband and I will distributed distributed evenly our estate among our each grown children equal shares, and with the provision that in the instance that they have, that they’re no longer live, it would go to the grandchildren.
The next ones. What about your dad’s? Did he pass away in the hospital then a suicide? Or he did? And what? I guess it must be pretty hard to conjure up suicide when you’re in a hospital.
Yeah, well, he was a determined man. And he used the the tie to his bathroom to hang himself. He looked at over the hook on the bathroom door and look the other end around his neck. Now that hook my father was six feet tall. That hook was not taller than he was. So he had to actually slump on the floor against the rope. It wasn’t like stepping off a chair. And that’s it. You can’t go back. You’ve done it. He He was so determined that he leaned slumped against that tide and cinched it so tight, that he has succeeded himself. And that takes a will to that, to me is unfathomable. I can’t. Yeah, it’s so strong that you would think that He might, you know, clawed his throat and stand up to take the pressure off. Yeah, but you didn’t. And my brother saw the autopsy. Well, the photos of him in the hospital before they took his body away, I didn’t see them. But my brother said his eyes were open.
And I didn’t want to know any more about that. But we did see him. He had a Southern Baptist funeral. So there was an open casket for people to file by before the service, and then it was closed. And I write about that my book too. That’s onion hard. And then things came full circle. Um, I don’t know if we have time for being mentioned this, but the last chapter of my book is about ashes from the Holocaust. My, my cousin, on my mother’s side, the racist cousin, who also collected Nazi memorabilia, he had a swastika hanging on his bedroom wall, and often wondered what my father thought, when we visited of that, seeing that? Well, after both his parents were dead, and his older brother, who was a sexual predator, was dead. He contacted us and told us about these ashes his father had brought back from Dhaka, he had gone to Dachau to he was a courier to deliver something. And the camp had just been liberated a few days earlier. So a former prisoner took him around the prison camp and dock him and gave him a scoop of compacted ashes, and said, Take this, so you will never forget what happened here.
And my grandpa, my uncle, never talked about it. And when he was dying, he had heart failure. He told my cousin, the youngest of his two sons about the ashes, and the story of how he came to have them. And then my cousin kept them hidden in a drawer for 20 years. And this cousin is the only one left of the entire family. And he has had three heart attacks. So he decided he better tell us about the ashes, because if he died, and we cleaned out his place, we might throw it away, not knowing what it was, and I was so bad. And he had asked my sister who lives in Washington, and she couldn’t. And so she gave them to me. And I said, I’ll find because he wanted a burial for these ashes with with Jewish rights. And so I was able to do that through a local to local rabbis and a woman who found it was a co founder of the Holocaust, speaker’s bureau, here in the triangle region of North Carolina, where I live.
And so I was on the committee with the two rabbis and a couple of other people to play on this service. And it was attended by the mayor, all the news organizations, and one of my jobs on the committee was to put out a news release and let everybody know about the service. And some kind soul drove my cousin from his little trailer in the mountains where he lived to the service, so he could be there. But he was in a wheelchair, he’s very overweight. And so they gave me the honor of carrying the ashes in a wooden box, with a Star of David carved on top, to the grave site that that had been dug for these ashes. And as we filed by, there were Holocaust survivors at the service. And I heard them say, for my mother, for my father, for my sister, for my brother, and I picked up some dirt, and I put it inside, on top of the little casket and I said, for my father and for my grandfather.
And it was like, things that come full circle, the two sides of my family, the Jewish side and the Gentile side, in this last chapter, come together through these ashes. And it was very moving my husband who is not well, neither of us is are believers. We don’t have religion isn’t a part of our lives. But he said he was the only other than my cousin, the only non Jewish person sitting under the tent watching this. And the cameras pan that we saw, we saw the people under the tent on TV, and my husband was crying. He said I was the only because I was the only guy crying on camera and, and I was like, I wasn’t even belonging there. Right. But that tells you the kind of man he is people. When he’s moved, the tells you how inspiring and moving that whole thing was. It’s it was it. For me, you know, I’ve always felt like, Oh, well, I think of Adrienne Rich’s essay called split at the root. She had a Gentile mother and a Jewish father. And I always felt that that I had one foot in each camp, but belonged fully to neither. My siblings all feel their Southern Baptists, and they’re still very, very much practicing Southern Baptist. But in the ceremony, it pulled the two halves together, temporarily. And I felt a sense of wholeness within myself, even though I didn’t feel like I could really be a Jew. And I knew I couldn’t be a Southern Baptist, I left that behind a long time ago.
So because you were torn in between. I’m sorry. You were torn in between both worlds.
Yes, in the Jewish world was much more fascinating to me, just because my cousins, my second cousins on that side of the family were so accomplished. They were ballet dancers, they were they became one is an orchestra conductor. Another one worked for Broadway. And that they’re they’re all extremely interesting and accomplished. And I can’t say that about the other side of my family. My cousin is still alive. He still lives in the mountains in a trailer. And it’s amazing that he’s still alive. But we talk. We have completely different belief systems and political beliefs, and political views, which can create huge rifts. But because he’s alone, and he has no one else. We talk and he talks with my siblings, and I tell him, I love him. Because partially because he he brought those ashes to light. And he was a big enough man. Realize that what he thought and felt as a younger man was wrong.
I asked him once, why did you collect Nazi memorabilia? And he said, I don’t know. I just did. So he’s never, he was never able to tell me what was the fascination with that. But in today’s political climate, now you can see a fascination
with it. Right? Right. I I’ve been to a couple concentration camps in Germany. And it’s something you can never get out of your eyes. Right, those things once you see it, you cannot get it out. You can never unsee it.
That’s right. I went to Theresa and start. I took my sons to the Czech Republic, when they were 19, because I thought that might be the last time they’d be willing to travel with me. And I took them to. It’s also called terracing, which was the show camp, you know, the Nazis used it in propaganda, say, look how well these people are treated. And they actually gave them toothbrushes and gave them things that they normally didn’t have just for this film. But they were shipped off from terrorism to the death camps. And there are also a lot of people political prisoners shot there. And I was standing between a couple of the buildings, one that has the, the barracks where all the prisoners slept, you know, in tears have like, three or four bunk beds high and, and the yard and I thought as I was standing there, in this soil is the blood of people who were shot by the Nazis, for being Jewish, for being against what The Nazi Party believed in for acting on their beliefs. There’s blood under my feet in the soil. And that was so penetratingly deep and awareness for me that I’ve carried it with me and my sons are now 42.
So this was quite a long time ago. So I understand what you’re saying about. You can never forget when you see that, no, you know, that ceramic tile table that they would do surgeries on to test things. And the troughs that they had for the blood to drip down into buckets. Yes. And the showers that they had in the concentration camps that everyone thought they were lining up to go in for a shower, and it was a death your gas sentence. And it wasn’t just what you saw with your eyes. It’s it’s the environment. It’s the feeling it’s the energy is still there. The the, I don’t know, it’s like going to an old horror house like a haunted house kind of feeling. It’s an eerie, eerie feeling even in the nicest place in there. Yes. Still.
Beautiful day. And yeah. I think you’re right there is Ms. Smells
like there’s still the smell is still lingering there. And it’s very moving and very poignant to to even comprehend. What actually happened is unbelievable.
Yes, my son’s couldn’t take it. I mean, they. They wanted to leave. And I and I said, Well, if you if you don’t want to go through these carts, you can sit out you’re on a bench until I’m done. But they they couldn’t handle it. Yeah. No, it’s very moving.
Something you’ll never forget. That’s for sure. And the feeling is, um, I just don’t understand how anyone can can do. That movement was unbelievable. The strength of that group. Unbelievable. Thank goodness, it’s all behind us now. And we’ve learned so much, I guess is what we were supposed to do. I’m not really sure But well, father’s lots of maths. I mean, he was a dentist. He had a business. He was working. He had income. He had a plane he had property was when he committed suicide was a stuff in order, like did he have it planned?
I don’t think so. I think my mother had to do a lot of work on your state. We also had a cottage at Lake about an hour’s drive away. And he bought for lots because they dammed they dammed up a pass and he knew that that lake would be very popular recreational property. And right now, you nobody could afford a lot up there. And he bought for three as an investment and one to put our own family’s cottage on. But my mother, she didn’t consult with us. Because I would like to have maybe gone in with my siblings and kept that cottage but she sold the three lots and the cottage and had she held on to them just for maybe another decade, she would have quadrupled the investment for sure. He was a very smart man. He was he was brilliant that way. He was brilliant in so many ways. And he had so much to give and so much life left. And what hurt me the most was my grant, my son’s never got to know him as a grandfather. He saw them once when they were six weeks old.
And then yeah, that was it. And he treated them like little space aliens. He was just, you know, he wasn’t there. At that point. He was so far gone, that I put one of my son’s in his lap and he just sat there and didn’t say anything and I was afraid he’d let the baby slip off his lap so I quickly snatched up my son And it was heartbreaking because yeah, I said, Don’t you want to take a fishing? Like I’d love to hunt and fish? I said, you can teach another generation how to fish these, these boys will adore you. But yeah, nothing could keep them on this planet
now obviously had something else to do something bigger to to accomplish obviously. Sounds like he, he had it in him to leave it just not really sure what all that was about, but I don’t think we ever know. Even with the celebrities, do we ever No, no, no.
I mean, I think with Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, I think happening both in the same year that that raise the profile of suicide because these two people, they were at the peak of their careers. Yeah, they had everything to live for just like mine. And yet, and we’re smart and intelligent and successful and just doesn’t make sense. Really? Yeah.
Those of us left behind, or left to grapple with that. Yeah, yeah.
Yeah, it’s not fair in so many ways, I guess, what kinds of things what, what kinds of things now that you have a blended family? You have to look at your life now, in a better viewpoint than what your dad didn’t do. He was so smart in so many ways, and then just didn’t put the pieces of the pie left together for everybody. And right now, um, what kinds of things? You know, are you concerned about? having it all in place for you guys, because blended families, and you’re older as well. So it’s not like, you know, you have little kids or anything?
Um, yeah, I bought a book. It has a funny title, but it’s actually very important. It’s called, now I’m dead. What you need to know. And in it, there’s space for you to put all of your bank account numbers, everything, everything to do with your state, who your attorney is. And both my sons have my Living Will my my health care? My husband is my health care power of attorney. But both my sons also have that. And so yeah, I think, and that book will stay in a very obvious place. Because your children don’t want to talk about it. Yeah, you know.
And we’re, I find our generation wants to talk about it more than our parents. Did. Our parents wanted to keep everything a secret for some reason. Exactly. Yeah. But it is getting better. But I think our kids don’t want to talk about it, because they don’t want to think that it might happen. Right? So it’s just not up for a discussion. But luckily, in our program, we have worksheets to have hold family conversations, either with your friend, family member, brother, sister, mom, dad, whoever, but it helps you with a worksheet to be able to go down the worksheet and actually make tic marks about, you know, if I did get sick, what do I want that to look like? Where do I want to live? Do I want to live in someone else’s a family member’s home? Do I want to go into a care facility of some sort? What do I want that picture to look like all of those kinds of things, not just death. But if I got sick if I couldn’t see if I couldn’t pay? Or if I if I couldn’t get around? What kinds of things do I want it to look like? And it’s so complicated in a blended family?
Because you want to be fair to both sides. Right? So yeah, it’s definitely something to think about for our listeners to to start thinking about, you know, you can have your Will you can have your power of attorney. But what if we’re immobile on eyes? If what if you weren’t both in your right frame of mind? You know, there’s so many different instances of something happen. You could be in a car accident tomorrow. Yeah. And be in a wheelchair or Not being able to move around for a year or two. What do you want that to look like? So yeah, I appreciate your story. Because after being in Europe and seeing that for myself, no wonder someone wants to commit suicide after. Because those, that world was definitely something very scary. Very scary. And I’m so glad it’s behind us that the Holocaust is but anti Semitism is on the rise and be around forever. But it’s it’s pretty scary right now. Yeah.
We just had a 20 year old on Sunday. And Ontario, drive up in a pickup truck that was definitely meant to happen. It wasn’t a mistake. They say it was it was a terrorism terrorist act. Hit a family going for a walk three generations, five people four died. And the nine year old son is living in the hospital so far
without a family.
So and they were all Muslim, religious background. And it’s just so sad to think that someone would want to do that. I, you know, it’s uncomprehending, especially in this time of the world. But like you said, there’s weird things going on. Yeah.
I mean, we see it in the rise of Asian hate crimes because of the Coronavirus. And, and I’m glad you brought up Muslims, because there’s certainly a lot of anti Muslim sentiment in the United States. And Jews, you know, minorities, but of course, blacks. Yeah.
Yeah, Black Lives Matter. Yeah. And now we’ve in Canada, we just had the residential school, find out one of our cities that there’s 215 bodies of children buried with no, no idea of how they died. And no, indigenous. Yeah. And that’s all from the Catholic religious schools. So crazy, crazy things happening all around the world. And it’s no different. It sounds like them, what your wonderful dad had to put up with and all of that struggle. It must have been beautiful for him to be up in that sky, though. Maybe he really liked to be flying in that sky to feel like he was up above everything.
Well, he did love flying, and he renewed his pilot’s license. And he would fly to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for fishing weekend. So he had an old car. But he kept at the Outer Banks.
So when he landed there, he parked his car at the little airstrip there. And he had his fishing weekend and then he fly back home. I mean, he had everything he ever dreamed of. Yeah, he made it happen. Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. Yes. Robin Williams. Well, Robin is more understandable. Because he had a brain disease. Oh, did he body Lewy body dementia. And he knew it. And it’s a terrible, a terrible brain disease. And I can understand his suicide because he didn’t want to burden anyone and become, you know, become a shell of himself and not have any of himself left and I have a good friend whose partner develop Lewy body dementia. And she kept him at home as long as she could. But eventually, she had to put him in a care home and I went with her as support to visit him and I didn’t even recognize him. It was really beautiful. And she felt that it would have been better had he died much sooner because he wasn’t living and such was in this constant state of grace. grief and wanting the best for him. And it was terrible. So I can imagine somebody wanting for themselves when they get the news that that’s going to be their future.
Yeah, that’s true. What about? What kind of final note do you have for our listeners?
Oh, well, um, as I think back about what I’ve written and the choices I’ve made, I say, always listen to that internal voice you have. I learned at my excuse me, I learned at my peril. All right, I ignored it at my peril. And when I learned to listen to that voice, then I usually was doing the right thing. So there’s a part of us that knows that is true and deep and real, and loving and kind. And if we can stay connected to that part of us, then life is so much better, regardless of how old you are, or what physical ailments you’re dealing with.
That’s really, really beautiful. Thank you. And we should and I think the younger we are, the more we don’t write. It’s not till we’re older that we realize that there’s these two. I call them little people on our shoulders. One that kind of says, oh, Tina, it’s fine. And the other guys other one says, No. So those are my inside. people that come out and talk to me. sounds really weird. Doesn’t that when I set it out? Well, I have my critic that sits on my shoulder when I’m writing like, that’s no good. You know, start over again. This paragraph sounds terrible. Yeah, and I, you know, I can go back and get I gotcha.
Yeah. Isn’t that the truth? No. Well, thank you so much. I really, really enjoyed your story. I think so many will, because it resonates with their lives, I’m sure. In some culture, some religious background or or if you’ve been in Europe, I mean, you can feel that I definitely feel it. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for writing the book.
Thank you. Thank you for speaking with me. I’ve enjoyed it.
Oh, thank you. Well, listeners, oh, my goodness, it’s that time again. And I just want to continue with our story. Miranda’s story is just so beautiful her information in the box down below. For anybody who wants to grab one of her books, or reach out to her I’m sure she’d be happy to do that. Thank you again, Miranda for coming out. Thank you for watching listeners. Till next time, stay safe. Thank you, everyone. You’re welcome. Be kind, lots of love bye
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 email@example.com