A DECADE…(in minutes)

April 29th, 2008

Biggest day in my life…

Let’s go back in our lives, all of us.  Let’s go back 10 years, and really try to put yourselves in that time frame, and recall all of the events that you went through; family,  friends, thoughts, emotions, job, well being, happiness, cars, religion, etc….In ONE, (very long!!!) sentence, I will try to explain my past decade, and before you read on after that, try to do this for yourself, and see how it relates to you now.  Here’s mine:


A brain for fitness, a brain for gratitude, a brain for appreciation.  Humbleness fits into that category; so does spiritual praise.  Each of these arenas, (and many more), have come into my life because of friends, and God.  People say how I’ve been so “lucky”, I say how I’ve been blessed.  Here’s my story, my pitch:

I had a baseball-sized tumor pressing on my brain, (over 8cm, baseball is 7.25!), which I didn’t have any knowledge about at that time, and I was dating a girl who knew something was wrong with me due to my actions faltering, and my speech weakening and since her uncle is a doctor at UCLA, who advises her to bring me in due a seizure that I didn’t know that I had, (but she did), and me not knowing what the hospital plans are for me, (which is how $52,500 fits in), and how TWO of my friends, without me knowing any of the “plan” (with the hospital),  put up that $52,500, and me having the operation to take that tumor out, set up by family and friends, because the brain that I had back then couldn’t process all of this, which led to my rehab to which I had to start practicing my own preaching, since that is MY business, (personal training), which then led me to NOW, present day, talking to neurological trauma patients at UCLA, (based upon a recommendation from my surgeon, Dr. Isaac Yang) to show the patients that I not only had an 8cm tumor taken out of my head, but that tumor decided to come back to my brain, (because it loves me, perhaps?), so for this second surgery, we had to do the same operation to take that tumor out of my head in September of 2010, and to tell them, (the patients), this is what I had to do, but I’m now walking INTO your room, and you, too, can do this if you persevere, have faith, and BELIEVE in yourself to put you back in control of your life! WOW! That’s a mouthful, and that’s only about 10% of the complete story!


Long sentence.  So that’s the summary of what happened to me 10 years ago, April 29, 2008.  That one sentence involved every event listed above, (well, except for the cars!).  Most of you know my story, but few know all of the details, and there were many.  I wouldn’t have it any other way, though.  I enjoyed the friendships that I had; some friendships which were very short from that specific time, but also very essential for my success, even of my life, if you can belief that.  I had family that was completely at my side, even though I actually didn’t know WHAT was going on, to be honest with you.  I had long term relationships at the hospital as support, those who drive a long way to be at my side.  For my emotional impact, and since I couldn’t process in my brain, that the surgery would/could be so debilitating, I thought that being in this hospital,( I mean, come on, UCLA Ronald REGAN HOSPITAL!!!), was actually fun!  Wow.  Probably was the company, my parents, (who were in better shape than I could have imagined), my brother, who made a ton if half-funny skits, with John Williams; Scott and Michael, who kept me in the hospital, to Kandy and her husband who kept me in their home after the surgery for almost 3 months, to so many others who I haven’t mentioned, but certainly know who they are.  It’s amazing, to experience so much in only one episode of your life; but this is the point, we’ve all had something like this, whether it’s physical, (mine), emotional, spiritual; wherever your emotions take you, you just followed, I know I did.

Right after I got home from the hospital, I returned to my religion; if you knew the details of this one event, (probably a GOOD two hour conversation), you wouldn’t think that I succeeded in my recovery because of ME, I guarantee you that, (even though I scheduled all of my rehab!).  I knew that I was accompanied by someone who guided me, gave me paths to take, and the belief that HE was in charge, just trust in HIM.  As I’ve stated before, there was no other option, I will succeed, period.  Everything was an effort, but who hasn’t had to deal with that?  Who hasn’t had to persevere with their efforts to recover from their situation?  Who didn’t have to grind their teeth with frustration, anguish, and so on, in front of them?  When you give your best, and you accomplish everything you can possibly do, and all of that comes from your commitment  to yourself, you have to acknowledge that.  I’m not the same person that I was 10 years ago, but my heart is much stronger, and my soul is full of belief in myself, my family, and God, who was my navigator through the rough waters.  Most important, though, I’m o.k. with all of this.  My little journey that I had planned for my future got detoured, and I’m so grateful for that, because I wouldn’t be on the path that I’m on now, things that I never would have had on my “journey chart”.  What a peace that gives me; it also helps me think up long sentences to tell a story!

I can use this story for fitness, commitment to yourself; I can use this for my/yours family; I can use this for relationships; I can use this for so much happiness; I actually think about some of this story every day of my life since Day 1, the day after the surgery.  I do that, because I went through it, and the strength I received from conquering this quest, and the feeling of accomplishment for the effort, because I had NO OTHER OPTION.  You can too, you can also pull some of the most trying times in your in your mind, and realized what you learned, how much more power you have from the strength you gained by solving, (or, as I say, “conquering” your quest), what you came up against.


Do it, reflect on your past decade, see all of the accomplishments, what you came up against, and see the happiness that come from your effort.  Enjoy your life, it comes in minutes……April 29, 2008.











One Comment

  • Joe Yonkouski

    10 years and so much has happened. What a life changer! Not just yours, but for so many of us around you. I can say from personal experience that you’ve been such an inspiration…..making such a difference spiritually, emotionally and physically. Just think….if you didn’t have your experience, chances are that this blog wouldn’t have been started. So many of us are grateful that it’s here to help guide us and to get a smile.
    I can’t thank you enough for helping so many people, especially me.
    I love you and am so proud to be able to call you my best friend and my brother!
    God bless you!

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