Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Whole New World

There is that beautiful Disney song from Aladdin that goes “I can open your eyes, take you wonder by wonder, over, sideways and under, on a Magic Carpet Ride …..”

Well over the last eight days’ I was taken on a “Magic Carpet” ride! I experienced a phenomenal, magical, miraculous event. Let me put it this way in one word ….”Disney”! Me, Mike Hebranko, talk about dreams, all things possible. I went onto a jet plane and flew two and a half hours to the “Disney World”.

Imagine, just a little over 12 years ago I was being lifted (by forklift) out of the “cut out front” of my home in Brooklyn, being rushed to a hospital to save my life. At over 900 pounds then was there even a thought of a future vacation in my mind…….I am not sure of vacation was on my mind but a future was definitely in my heart. No matter what 12 years later I was now, being lifted once again (only this time with 150 other people) on a jet and heading to Florida.

It was so special and delightful. My emotions were on overtime from the get go! I was experiencing joy, happiness, pleasure, love, fun, some fear, anxiety and much thankfulness! My wife and I were blessed enough to accompany my son, his dear wife, some other family and friends and “My Grandson”!!! Oh even in my wildest dreams could I have ever imagined (12 years ago or 12 months ago) that I would be at “Disney” with my grandson!

What better pleasure could there be than to see the “love of your life’s” face, light up with every new turn, with every attraction, or every character they came across. To go to “Disney” at 55 years old is a youthful, invigorating time but then to go with your grandchild is heavenly. To see his eyes, his face, to know his heart is filled with just joy is very soothing and euphoric.

If I would have given up in 1996, or not re-entered rehab in 2006 or not picked myself up each time I have fallen. If I would have gotten so fed up with myself to say “the heck” with it all and just “throw in the towel” and had given up…well just look at what I would have missed.

It was not easy for me to have this vacation happen. I am still over 350 pounds and limited in my physical movement. As many of you know, I am a very lucky and a very blessed man! I have a great support team around me.
There was a group of us on this vacation ranging in age from three to 83 years old.

The logistics of planning and arranging for everything and in particular for my special needs was gigantic and an almost an impossible task. That is why I want to publicly (I have privately already) thank my wife, and family, for all their help and assistance. A special mention, to my son, for all of his attention and help that he gave to me. Then to my sister-in-law, who was key in making this trip happen and for all her kindness and a very warm heart. Then to a very special friend who has gone beyond for all of us and especially for me. Susan along with Andrea, spent months planning, making calls, reservations, arranging for my special scooter, handicap room, plane accommodations and so many other details, I personally will always and forever be thankful for them being such an intricate part of my “dream come true”. Neither of these two young people are my blood relatives but they did so much for me and put up with so much from me. They give so much and get so little in return ….Andrea thanks ……Susan, what can I say but that I am grateful and if I at anytime might have seemed unappreciative please forgive me!

The world has changed and it has been a long time since I was out there and part of this “Whole New World”. It is different. I am not use to all of it. Sometimes I literally feel as if I came from a different planet. Sometimes it is a little overwhelming. Sometimes it can be a little scary. Things are done differently, faster. There are times as if I felt I was “Rip Van Winkle” ….well all I can do, all I will do is rub my eyes, stretch my arms, wake up and be thankful that I am getting the opportunity to be part of this world!

I played with my grandson, I went on rides, and I saw Mickey, kissed Minnie, hugged Pluto and took a million pictures. We ate at different restaurants and I ate normally. I did not binge, I did not stuff, I made many healthy choices for example 99% of my dessert choices were fresh fruit, I ate a lot of turkey and chicken but I was relaxed. I was not crazy about what I was gong to eat or not gong to eat. “Where would I cheat”, how would I do it, etc? In the past while I was away this would always a big part of my time. This time I went with the crowd.

Oh, I will not be true to you or myself, if I do not tell you that I fought many internal battles while away and yes, I noticed every food stand along the way… but it was okay. I allowed my feelings to surface, the battles I took on and I was victorious. At times, there might have been a few casualties along the way (for example: my friends and family). I realize when I am fighting one of these internal battles, if sometimes a poor, innocent person crosses my path, they can unknowingly fall victim to my internal rage. I know this is wrong behavior and I am working at changing it. I am getting better at it; in the meantime, all I can do is be very sorry for it!

Recovery involves all kinds of experiences both external and internal. Some may be a little ugly but most are glorious and beautiful.

My Disney Magical Experience was full of pleasure. To be with great people and people that I love, to be able to get this chance once again to live again! To see inside the eyes of my grandbaby, while he was hypnotized with fantasy … well I am limited in words to describe how I felt. All I can do is to quote the song from a Disney movie song that says it best …

“Unbelievable sights, indescribable feeling, soaring, tumbling, freewheelingthrough an endless diamond sky. A whole new world. Don't I dare close my eyes. A hundred thousand things to see…

Hold your breath - it gets better.

I'm like a shooting star. I've come so far. I can't go back to where I used to be.

A Whole New World”
My friends join me on my magic carpet ride …

Have a great day!

Love
Mike

51 comments:

Lacy said...

How exciting! I've never been ! Will you share some of your pics?
You really have come along way .I am sure this will be a lifelong lasting memory :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Mike
I have been reading this blog for about six months and been following your story since you were carried out of your window back in 1996. Well I have to say after reading this blog I cried.
You inspire not only the obese but anyone who fights with any problems. God bless you and enjoy and thank you for taking us along your journey.
Francine ID.

Anonymous said...

Mike
I am along on that carpet ride, thanks for taking me.
Corey

Anonymous said...

Dear Mike
I am ready to go on the ride. I weigh over 400 pounds but I am setting a goal for myself. Eighteen months I am going to Disney! You have given me the hope to do it!
Joan Canada

Anonymous said...

Michael
I am thrilled for you and where your life is headed. You have shown that you do not have to be a victim of your own circumstances. You have shown that in spite of set backs and infirmities that a person can still rise to the occasion. You are a leader to us all. Can you share more of your daily life your day to day activity?
Henry Utah

Anonymous said...

Dear Mike
i think it is great that you went to Disney. I also appreciate your honesty in your admittance to the struggles you go through with your food battles. i understand and relate to the rage you talk about and how sometimes it comes out on our loved ones. We do not meant to do this but it happens.
thanks for bringing it the surface. You are a encouragement to all of us. I am inspired by you.
William Vt.

Barbara Rogers said...

Mike! I am in tears reading this. You went on an AIRPLANE! How far you're come, I am so happy for you! Disneyland...what a dream come true!

Anonymous said...

I actually read this one with tears of joy as i remember when you first went to disneyland and the excitement you had and now to read this and you taking the little one with you how wonderful .... except this one was told so differently and with different feelings and it shows the change in you and the way you handle things.....
Through out hte years yu have given me so much hope and so much drive and after reading this i so look foward to my trip to california in april and know that it will be ok to go and things can be arranged.......
hugggs and love
Carol

Anonymous said...

Dear Mike
I am so happy for you. I too am a food addict, and I relate to you. I was doing great for a while and in the past five months I have been getting worse and worse. I am stating this to you I am going to brush myself off and start over before it is too late.
I know I have to start over again and I will.
I will let you know how I am doing.
Your friend
Desperate!

Anonymous said...

Dear Michael
I now know if you can get to Disney that Dreams can come true! You are making me believe I can dream.

Elizabeth J.

Anonymous said...

Hi
Michael I am not an overweight person but I have followed your story for so long. I have been inspired by you. I want you to know I saw you at Disney, at first I was not sure it was you but then I realized it was you. I was going to come over to you but you were with your family. It was at the Magic Kingdom, you looked great and I was so happy. Maybe next time I will say hello.
You are such a winning individual.
Edith W.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike
Great News! Love to see your progress it gives me hope as I sit here home-bound. I realize that there is a future for me. Thanks for hope!
John Grey

Anonymous said...

Dear Michael
I enjoy reading this blog. I find that it encourages me to keep going. I think your courage and ability to push ahead gives me the power I need to do things I need to do.
I have changes to make in my life and believe this blog is helping make them.
Bonnie Y.

Anonymous said...

Your outlook on a whole new world is so down to earth. I appreciate your candidness and honesty. Thank you for sharing.
Jane

Anonymous said...

Mike
Will you ever be appearing publicly anywhere. I live in the New York area and would love to see and hear from you. I am not sure if you are a public speaker but I know that people would love to hear from you and can learn and be inspired.
Tonya NY

Yanna said...

Dear "Aladdin" lol... Hi there Mike...

It does my heart such good knowing that you enjoyed such a spectacular event such as Disney with your grandson, family & friends... I went to Disney in California about 20 years ago and have carried it in my heart ever since!

True as it may be that at 900 lbs. there wasn't a "thought" of a future vacation, but I think you hit the nail on the head when saying that a FUTURE was definitely "in your HEART"... to me, that translates into having faith, something you've never lost... in my opinion faith is a major key to attracting and manifesting anything one's heart and mind can conjure up. You never gave up, you always had faith, it is NO WONDER to me that you got to Disney! I think of all the blog posts you've had this will always be my favorite! One day I will get to Disney again!

I wish that for anyone who can't get to Disney right now for whatever reason they may have that they will at least bring Disney into their homes via music, videos, etc. and start absorbing the magic of it all until it becomes a reality in their life! It has been a big contributor to my very own journey's happiness!

Peace, Love & Light to all ...Diana

Yanna said...

oh and PS: "The Magic Carpet Ride" really does work when one let's their HEART decide! ...Diana

Mike Hebranko said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Hebranko said...

Oh Lacy
Disney is magical, no matter what age you might be. Then to be there with loved ones and young ones just enhance the experience. Besides they are very obliging to size, those with special needs.
As for pictures, I personally do not like to take away from the moment by being involved in seeing things through a lens. Yet there were many pictures taken by those in our party and as I get those pictures and figure how to show them on the blog I will.
In the meantime Lacy I hope some day you get the opportunity to be "Mickeyized".
How is everything else going? Hope the family is well and you are taking care of you.
Thanks for sharing Lacy ....soon!
Love
Mike

Mike Hebranko said...

Dear Francine
Thank you for your warm thoughts. My experience is that we all in some way or another deals with problems. I think that often we can draw from each other. I am glad that I have been able to help some as I travel through my venture. If I have been able to help you along the way well I am happy for that. I am rooting for you along your journey and please keep in touch!
Good luck
Love
Mike

Mike Hebranko said...

Welcome Corey
Never stop the journey!
Mike

Mike Hebranko said...

Dear Joan
I truly believe that your dreams will come true and your goals will be reached, just remember never to give up and if necessary pick yourself up if there should be a slip once in a while.
Go for it Joan!
Love
Mike

Mike Hebranko said...

Hi Henry
I never liked to be a victim. Oh there were moments I felt sorry for myself but they were moments and I would not let them run me forever or any length of time.
As for me sharing more daily things I am working on a book with more of my daily routine and precise ways I made it and make it through the rougher times...just waiting for a publisher!
You be well Henry and let's keep in touch!
Mike

Mike Hebranko said...

Hi William
I guess when any addict needs there "fix" they can get ugly and I am no better. I just know that this is an area that I have been working on and I have been making leaps and bounds. Yet when I am in the middle of "Food Extravaganzas" at times that "wild horse" gets loose sometimes ...all I can do is apologize and get better.
William you take care and hang in there....
Mike

Mike Hebranko said...

Hi Carol
California, how exciting! Good for you, I hope it is for pleasure and that you have a great time. I am sure we will talk before then ...for sure. I want to share with you maybe some tips. When was the last time you flew? This was my first time since 911, it was an interesting experience. Actually it was a sad one, for no other reason except to see what the world has now have to do because of what a group of "idiots" did on that terribly tragic day.
Hope all is well Carol, take care of my special friend .... she is special
Love
Mike

Mike Hebranko said...

Dear Desperate,
Just remember it is never too late as long as you can start over again! Forgive yourself and be easy on letting go of the past. Focus on today and how well you will do tomorrow. Yesterday is over. Our problem is, often we allow the past to run the present...don't do that.
Good luck Desperate and keep in touch
Love
Mike

Mike Hebranko said...

Dear Elizabeth
Never stop believing! Dreams come true!
Love
Mike

Mike Hebranko said...

Dear Edith
I am so sorry that you didn't come over and say hi, although I do understand you not wanting too. I feel I am not a movie star so I certainly do not mind a friendly hello and maybe an exchange of a smile etc.
Well Edith I am sure you had a great time at Disney and until the next time we almost meet, all the best to you and your loved ones.
Love
Mike

Mike Hebranko said...

Dear John
Being home bound is not easy. You must keep yourself busy, keep up your hopes and never give up and yes tomorrow can...will be different than today!
Good luck and John keep in touch, email me if your would like
Mike

Mike Hebranko said...

Hi Bonnie
The power you need lies right within yourself and never stop believing that. Have faith Bonnie, You can do it!
Keep in touch with us and thank you for sharing with us
Love
Mike

Mike Hebranko said...

Dear Jane
You are welcome. I share because it helps ....helps me, and I hope helps others!
Love
Mike

Mike Hebranko said...

Hi Tonya
I will have to check with my agent, and business manager...only kidding! Right now I have no plans for any public speaking engagements but am always available.
I hope all is well with you and who knows maybe soon we will meet
Love
Mike

Mike Hebranko said...

Dear Yanna
I too love music and it certainly helps my moods at moments. Thank you for sharing and contributing so warmly to our blog. You have so much kindness and wisdom.
Love ya
Mike

Anonymous said...

Mike
Thanks for the vote of confidence. I will try real hard.
Bonnie

Anonymous said...

I LOVE THIS BLOG PAGE

Anonymous said...

Dear Michael
Your story was once again on the air last night. I can not tell you how listening to you then coming to this blog just moves me to want to be a better person to myself. Please keep writing I will let you know how I am doing. I have a lot of work to do with myself but know with your support can get through it.
Dee

Anonymous said...

Dear Mike
This web page and your story is so uplifting and hopeful. I am so happy to hear of your recent trip. Thank you for your honesty in sharing the good things and the difficult ones. You are an inspiration
Jamie Vt

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike
Saw your TV show last night I am so happy you are doing well, you give hope to so many. Have you written any articles? Please let me know, thanks
Carla

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike
Love this blog. Do you have a web page? I e where you could thought a place where you could share your K I S T program, recipes, exercise, and motivation. More pictures, places where we can see you in person and get more of your positiveness?
You are a burning force in this struggle.
Cynthia

Anonymous said...

Mike
You must struggle like all of us. What do you do about the rough times?
Bernie

Anonymous said...

Dear Mike
I am so excited to find this blog page. Reading you went to Disney just has inspired me so much. Mike I have a question, How do I go from 590 pounds to 250 pounds?
Can you help me?
Rob from North Carolina

Anonymous said...

I am from Poland and I enjoyed what I have read. There is much interesting information here.
My Name is Joseph

Anonymous said...

Mike
Been following your story for so long now and each time I think about your bravery it inspires me to just keep trying. I wish some day to meet you in person and your wife too. The both of you are amazing people.
Thanks
Vera

Mike Hebranko said...

Dear Dee
Just never forget that you are a great person! Yes, please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing.
Good luck
Love
Mike

Mike Hebranko said...

Hi Jamie
Thanks for the kind words and I am glad that you find something in the blog page. Good luck and the best of health
Mike

Mike Hebranko said...

Hi Carla
Thank you and yes I have written some articles. Yet, not for any large publications. Who knows what the future may have in store. Thanks for asking
Hope all is well with you
Love
Mike

Mike Hebranko said...

Dearest Cynthia
No web page as of yet. For now we have the blog page in the future ...who knows? All in good time. Cynthia I appreciate you asking and I hope all is well with you
Love
Mike

Mike Hebranko said...

Hi Bernie
I am human. Yes I do struggle ...everyday at some point or another and I do what I need to do. Most of the time I hope I have someone I can talk too, or I will write almost always I will pray and meditate. Sometimes I just hold on tight go along for the ride and wait until it passes. Then there are times (much fewer now than in the past)when I do not do so well. What I do then is when I become conscious again (as fast as possible) I start all over again. That is after I reassure myself that I am an okay person!
Thanks for asking Bernie
Mike

Mike Hebranko said...

Rob
I would love to help you. Why don't you email me at michaelhebranko@yahoo.com so that we can talk more. What I can tell you in the meantime Rob do not look at the fact you have to lose over 300 pounds. No way! First that seems like an impossible mission when you look at it that way (even though it is not). You have to eat healthy today. That is it! Get through today the best you can, then tomorrow, then the next day etc etc. Eventually the numbers change. Rob my friend you venture is not about a number or a goal of numbers. Your venture is a lifestyle of change, change that you can and will do.
Good luck Rob keep in touch
Mike

Mike Hebranko said...

Dear Joseph
Welcome to our blog family I am glad you enjoyed the experience, please come again and I invite you to write also often.
Your Friend
Mike

Mike Hebranko said...

Dear Vera
Just never give up and it will be mine and Madelaine's pleasure to meet you also. Who knows what the future may have in store. In the mean time good luck
Love
Mike