Monday, May 19, 2008

In The Moment ….

“Now is the time ….” “One day at a time…” “Be here now…” these are all statements that most of us have heard at one time or another. Often they have had a profound meaning on our lives. At the same time if we were not doing well, it was those kinds of statements that were the last thing we wanted to hear. They are simple little words, not complex meanings and yet they can make a big difference in our lives.

Let me share an example with you. Recently (May 14, 2008) I was blessed enough to celebrate my 55th birthday. That in itself, I look at as a miracle. Considering where I have been and what I have put my poor body through and the amount of times that my family or I was told that my time was limited, well miracle is the only word that comes to my mind. Along with grateful, grateful to God and to the people God has sent me in my life.

Back to my birthday and being here “Now” etc. I have had some unforgettable birthdays. I have had some great parties, loads of family and friends to celebrate with. Surprise parties, small family get togethers and yes, I have even spent a few birthdays in the hospital fairly ill. I have some very good memories and some not so good ones on the birthdays but the point is if I dwell on all them and live in the past then I would not have been able to enjoy not only one of my best birthday’s in my life but just a great day in general.

To “be here now” would be an understatement. My son arranged for himself to have the day off and with him, my dear daughter in law and my special little grandson they took me to the New York Aquarium in Brooklyn. First, I have not been there, I think since I was 11 years old and that was with my dad. To be able to go there with my grandson and see the joy on his face that I was with him was the best present I could have received. He was as excited but not as much as I was. His mom packed a healthy picnic lunch, we got to eat outdoors. We also were able to watch the walrus get fed. My sweet wife had a business meeting, in the morning but met us at the aquarium later on; it was such a perfect day. I even got to go to a stadium show and watched a sea lion show. One of the joys was to watch the expression on my baby’s face when the sea lion came up to him and planted a smooch (kiss) right on his apple cheek.

It was a special day, and that was because I was there with my very close loved ones. I was able to be part of an event rather than be at home in bed waiting for everyone to arrive home and tell me all about it. I was a participant! I was a player. I was part of life and “living the moment”.

It is days like that, those special days, those days where you can be part of rather than part from. It is those days, which make the daily battle, the daily struggle, all worthwhile.

The pay off sometimes is those big days like I spent on my birthday but if you really look hard the payoff is each day that we wake up and get to play!

Now is the time, being here now, taking one day at a time pays off with many rewards. The reward of satisfaction! Satisfaction of taking care of you and making it happen! The reward of getting another day to play and then there are those extra special days.

The aquarium days …… in my case I am not sure if it was the actual aquarium itself (although I enjoyed the experience immensely) but rather the company I was with and having my little grandson calling me “Ga Ga look at the sea horse, or Ga Ga don’t be afraid of the shark I’ll hold your hand”. That is worth more than the “lottery”, the “triple crown”.

Enjoying the moment, being here right now, and taking one day at a time, may sound corny at times but believe you me, for simple words, they are so powerful.

Therefore, I hope to continue my quest, my journey to make my life as healthy as I can so that I can have more days that are special, just more every day's. I look forward to the tomorrows but in the meantime …… there is the today ……

The Now!

Good luck my friends

May we all journey together



Wednesday, May 7, 2008

You’ve Got to Believe …!

There have been times in my life when I thought of quitting baby, but my “heart” just won’t buy it! Then I find some reason to hang on. Throughout my adult married life, it has been my family. My love for my wife. The thought of missing her forever was just not an option. Then I was blessed with a son. He has been a source of great strength and pleasure for me over these past thirty years, and now my life seems to have received “the cherry” on the sundae and that is my little grandson. What a pleasure and joy this little baby gives me. I have a great daughter-in-law, such a wonderful human being and becoming quite a great friend of mine. I have been blessed with a good extended family also and have had some very dear close friends throughout my life that I have drawn strength from at times.

Much of my survival I owe to my God and my spiritual relationship we have with each other. We have this thing where we lean on each other if we need each other (yeah sure! My relationship is really one-way God’s support for me and my love for God.

Yet you have to believe ….believe in something if you are going to survive. This is what I believe. One has to have a reason to hang on, to go on. I do not care what it is you believe in. It could be and should be a combination of things. It should be you, some spiritual belief in a higher power (being), another human being, a puppy dog, a soft cat, or pet pig, whatever it is. You have to believe.

What is the payoff? I will share with you one of the payoffs! Most of you know my struggle with my weight and how it has been my whole life. Many of you know of my story because of the notary I achieved in the 90’s when I lost over 700 pounds in 19 months and made the Guinness Book of records. I had received a lot of support from Richard Simmons at that time (and through out the years a continued friendship).

Many more of you have gotten to know me, when in May 1996, I gained back much of that weight and was removed from my home (due to a medical emergency) by a “fork lift”. It became a “media event” a “circus act”, as if I were some freak, rather than some poor human being, fighting to save my life, a human being who was “Hungry for Life”!

Now since May of 1996 my scale has seen many numbers. Numbers ranging, from 450 pounds up to 800 pounds and all kinds of numbers, back and fourth since then. Over the past 5 years, I have been in a Rehabilitation Center not once but twice all in the effort to fight the “battle of the bulge”. I respect everyone’s efforts but I have to say, I try just as hard as many of you. I have fought both privately and publicly very hard to be a “success”. Every pound that I have gained privately has been worn in the public. I could not help feeling that I have not only did I let myself down and my dear family and friends but many people out there who were following my story and rooting for me. This way if I could do it then maybe then, they too could have something work out in their life.

I refuse to give up! I will not quit. I get down sometimes but I am not staying there. You’ve got to believe in “HOPE”!

Now I have been home from Rehab for about 10 months and the time before this when I came home I almost started to gain weight immediately. Well I am home now and I can say for the first time probably 15 or 16 years I am out of the 400's! I am now in the upper 300s, me, Mike Hebranko. I am cautiously excited. This is a gift that I know if I do not continue to work at and take care of myself, I will lose it, by gaining it! I have not broken any weight loss records since I have been home (I have been there and done that). It has been a slow steady process, but that is good for me. I use my K.I.S.T. method and it is working for me. Some one asked me at the doctor’s office “what is your goal”? I promptly responded, “To never get to it”. I have reached goals before and never maintained them for long. I gain lose weight and boy can I gain it! Therefore, for now, I am taking it easy and slowly but surely, it is coming off.

I do have to share something with all of you. It feels good. I try not to make that scale my police officer, my Academy Award etc but when I stepped upon it, the other day, at the doctors’ office. I see a 22+-pound weight loss since the last visit, well I was ready to do a tap dance and jump up and click my heels (now that would have been a sight in itself, not to mention a miracle). I was full of joy and thankfulness.

My dear friends all things are possible …..You’ve got to believe!

Love to you all