Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy New Year

To all my blogger family…I want to take this time to wish you and your loved ones only the best of health and internal peace.
I have not forgotten anyone of you and apologize for the long intermission of blogs.
I have been battling on quite a few fronts and now part of my plan (a necessary part) is that I will be going into the hospital Today….snow allowing for it!
I do not look at this as a defeat but rather an opportunity, a chance to get well physically so that I can face some of my demons on a daily basis.
Winners do not get up one morning and there is a “Gold Medal” around there neck. True winners face a journey one of which we really do not know…but we face it. As it comes up we deal with it and try to make the best of it.
So to you my friend a bid you a temporary ado and leave you with this corny but true statement….
A winner never quits and a quitter never wins…
I walk into this new battle not knowing what is ahead but I do have my tools… my wife and son, my family and friends, the best of doctors, my willingness not to give up and my Faith. I believe that I am in the best of hands...
Have a great New Year, Let 2011 be a year for you….

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Wife

I need to tell you about my wife. I will try very hard not to make this reflect my personal deep feelings about this very special human being. No, what I want to do is let you know where I draw much of my strength from and who I owe much of my life too.

We all need to have someone (not necessarily a spouse) who can be there for us in some way. Who can support you through good times and some really horrible times?
I know this woman who on so many levels outshines, excels most of us…at least myself.

Madelaine is a business woman. Does she work from 9-5 then come home and leave her job behind her? Never! She gives so much time of herself to her career and the company she works for that they could never imagine how lucky they are, even though they are a public company. Even during their supposedly not so busy season she works 8 to 10 hours a day. Then she comes home and after she spends family time, she will then work another two, three hours to past midnight and beyond if need be.

Family time—my wife was and has always been a great mother to our only child. She was a full time mom even when she was working. She also took the role of a part time dad when I couldn’t fulfill the position for one reason or another over the years. Like many moms and many single moms she negotiated her job, the house, our son’s school, his activities and all kinds of things in his life. The only thing was … she wasn’t a single mom. She also, {more than I would like to think} took care of a sick husband and at times a very sick husband.

Madelaine is a daughter, sister, cousin, niece, friend etc: Takes on all those roles with great pleasure and pride.

She rarely misses church on Sundays.

Then as a wife! Madelaine has taken her vows “through sickness and health, for better or worse, until death due you part”, very much to heart.

Here is a woman who at 23 married a guy who was heavy (450) yes, but he was mobile. He was working a great job. He took her on a 3 week honeymoon to Hawaii, California, and Vegas. Then we went back and forth to Vegas a few times in those beginning years. All kinds of vacation weekends, beautiful cars, a home, cleaning ladies. Madelaine was living large …then within 4 years the “Balloon” Burst. I lost the business; I was getting sicker, medical bills, surgeries, comas, hospitals, nurses, major wounds, 24 hour care. Now 30 years later and she still takes care of wound care she helps her husband all the time. She is there with him in the hospital, heart doctor appointments, through kidney failure and all kinds of scares.

She lives in fear of losing me but has she ever “Jumped ship” has she ever turned her back on me or any of her responsibilities or anyone? Never!

You have to see the joy she brings to her grandchildren and what she gets back in return. For them and her son and his family, she will do without so that they may have if need be.

Madelaine is greatness and not just because I love her.

She represents millions of un-sung heroes of the world.

People who help others and ask for nothing in return.

If it weren’t for a Madelaine there would be no Michael.

Remember none of us are an Island; none of us can really make it on our own.

We all need someone.

It may be a spouse, a friend, a church member, a special doctor, a neighbor or a family member.

We need someone to encourage us when we are doing well and to help pick us up when we are down.
Madelaine is and has been a friend for many. She is there for her family, her company, her friends and for sure her husband.

Madelaine is strong, she rarely asks for anything, and nearly never complains. She is a cancer survivor, those are special people right there!

I hope, pray and wish you all have a Madelaine in your lives!

God has put these Angels all around the planet to help people like you and me.

If you know one great, if you do not, they are out there.

Have a special day



Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Heart Cries Out to Be Free

My heart cries out to be free….once and for all! I have struggled with my disease for over fifty years. I have had to live with humiliation, abuse, failure, depression and that is only what I have done to myself. I have had to see the let down in the faces and voices of people who mean the most to me in the whole world. Worse I have had to see the frustration and fear in their eyes and hearts too. I am so tired of hurting and letting people down around me and I have been doing this for a long period of time already.

Time and time again I give the people around me a moment in their lives when they can take a deep breath and feel kind of secure that the worse is behind them and that they can enjoy life with me…and then…..fasten your seat belts here we go again, “he has screwed up one more time. Once again he has gone too far maybe to a point of no return and yet we have to watch it all over again and suffer the fear, pain and anxiety of it all”.

I truly get it and I realize that it cannot be an easy thing for those around someone like me. Those who love me and have stood by me through “thick and thin”. It cannot be easy for them. I know it is not easy for me to watch them, watch me. Yet what are their options? What would I do if I were in their shoes? One thing for sure is, I would not, I could not, abandon them, I could not turn my back, and I could not stop loving them. Could I do as they show on television…an “Intervention”? Then what, send a “food addict” to detox for 30 days and then live happily ever after? Well speaking from experience 30 days is not really enough….I’ve been there, done that.

I have fought and boy have I fought for many, many years always searching and trying new things, new ideas, and new gimmicks. I have traveled many a long dark lonely roads because of my disease. I have swum in many of mud filled puddles of tears along the way. Disappointment has become a familiar companion to me. Hopelessness has tried to take over my life! I won’t let that happen….no matter what!

I have had some very real successes over the years and some very real backslides but with each one I learn more and more about me, the “person”.

Each experience has taken its toll on my life, my health and my relationships. Yet I do grow from them all (and not in the physical sense, although that too happens sometimes).

Two of the biggest things I have learned about myself over the past few years, one being a physical thing and one is an emotional thing.
First the physical.

Food! What works for me best, when trying to eat healthy, when trying to exist with food on a regular everyday basis and not just dieting, or binging or starving but just being comfortable with food , my environment and my disease is my K.I.S.T. method. "Keep It Simple Today", this has worked for me for the longest period of time, with the most amount of results and the thing that I am most comfortable with. It allows me to lose weight but a normal pace and still be able to function in the world. This is what I have been able to live with. This is a program that works! It makes sense!

The second thing that I have learned about myself…

Is not such an easy thing to talk about or even admit, to myself or anyone else but I suffer from depression!

Not sure if it is a chemical thing or not. But it is real! In the past doctors have given me anti-depressants but always under the umbrella that it would help me with my appetite and they never worked in that department so they were stopped.

Yet I have learned that I suffer from depression. How did I learn this? Like I have learned so many other things about myself and that is through the “School of hard Knocks”.

I am a guy who has it all. I have a loving and supportive wife, a great and caring family and beautiful friends. I have had the pleasure of being a grandpa for almost 5 years and the privilege, of being a daddy for 33 years. I have been counted out health wise many times only to live to write this blog (thank God and the caregivers he has sent to me). As the world looks at my life they say I am a lucky guy and I so agree with them on that one. They also would say, “so what does he have to be depressed about?” I would tend to agree with them on that one too, except those are the people who do not understand depression.

Having something to be depressed about and being depressed is two completely different things.

There are times in my life when I have had things to be depressed over. A death of a loved one, the loss of a relationship, sickness in the family or of one you adore. Financial situations, all kinds of reasons in one’s life can be a reason to get sad or depressed over…but then there is depression!

Depression is being depressed when there is no reason to be depressed.

When if you stop running for one second and let things catch up you will just cry and why? Do you need a reason? Not really!

Depression is being in a room full of people who love you and being so lonely. Depression is long, very long nights and lonely, dark, cold bitter nights and that could be in the summer.

Then it becomes a cycle, yes the “vicious” cycle. The last thing I want to do when I am depressed is K.I.S.T.

No, when I am depressed all I want to do is eat something fast, of quantity and that will comfort me and make the pain of loneliness go away, the feeling of emptiness…if even for an un-logical moment in time. Does it really work? Not really! We know that in our common sense but at that time we are not dealing with common thoughts and we are we really only fooling but ourselves.

I would love to be free of it all.

Someone just recently asked me a question, which I didn’t hesitate one second to answer.

The question was “do you want to die”? Not for one second is that ever a thought in my mind.

All I want to do is to survive; all I want to do is live. I love life, my whole struggle is about survival and making it work. I thrive myself in seeing that glass as half full.

I have believed now and have always believed that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I have been in many tunnels in my day and I am happy to report that there has been light at the end of each and every one of them.

My journey has not to say the least been an easy one. Not for me and certainly not for those who love me. Do I mean to bring hurt or pain to anyone? Not in a heartbeat but do I anyway? Yeah, I do!

I cannot make empty promises to them or to myself. What I can do is continue to fight and fight hard. Continue to learn about myself, not hide in my shame and pain. Open myself up as I find out more about me. Give myself time to heal. Be patient with myself. Love myself and be able to forgive myself.

I am not the worse person in the world and neither are you! The best things about me are the worse things about me and from there I grow.

I feel this way; perfect is not a way to describe me. Basically I am a good person, a person who loves and loves to be loved. I have problems and I will work the rest of my life making my life work. I deserve that effort and so do you. We all do!

We have this gift and sometimes a gift comes with instructions and sometimes it does not. My life did not come with instructions therefore I have to work at it the best way I know how and sometimes I am going to make mistakes. Mistakes are opportunities to learn and as long as we have the time to make corrections then what else can we do?

Depression is no joke and if anyone out there is reading this and suffers from depression and is not able to get hold of it themselves, then please for me, for your loved ones and most of all for yourself seek professional help. You are worth it! We all are.

My heart cries out to be free! Free of the pain, the struggle, the loneliness, and the darkness…Free….my heart cries to be free. My spirit thrives to win and win it will be! I have made it this far and I refuse to ever give up.

I am a fighter and like a good fighter I may get knocked down once in awhile but before the count of ten I brush myself off get back up on my feet and get back in the fight. I see the light and not the eternal-spiritual light- no I see the light of hope and the light of life itself!

My name is Mike and I am a man who loves life, loves his family and friends and I am a winner!

I am a fighter and I will never give up! Oh yes and there are times that I suffer from depression…

Be all of who you are, own up to it and move forward from there…and now have a great day….you deserve it!

Love ya

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Up Up and Away …

What did you do yesterday? What are your plans for today? How about tomorrow? Can you afford to sit around and wait for something to happen in your life? We all have to be players in our own game.

Look I totally understand pain, lack of energy, inability to “exercise” and just general loss of seeing any light at the end of the tunnel. Yet my friends, I can tell you there is light in that tunnel, there is always light there. Sometimes it takes a little longer to get to it, find it or even see it. Many times some of us have been in the dark for so long, that when we are standing in the light, we don’t even know it!

I cannot tell you how many times I have been in the “Pits”. Things have been so dark, so painful, so lonely, it all seemed so hopeless, that all I could think, was “I want to die”. I can remember feeling that way as early as the age of five years old. In the last twenty years I have been successful in taking off the weight; several times…I have also had “tons” of problems keeping it off!

Have any of you, lost weight in the past, then put it back, plus a little more. Do you remember how you felt? How about how your loved ones, friends and family looked when they saw you, after you gained the weight back? How did that make you feel?

Well now multiply that feeling by millions because every pound that I lost and gained in the last twenty years has been journalized, televised, blogged about and analyzed. Believe me when I tell you, the same as it has been for you it has not been easy for me. What do we do?

Do we roll ourselves up in a big ball and die? (I got that line from a song “That’s Life”). Do we give up? Throw our hands up and say I can’t do it anymore; I don’t want to do it anymore?

We all can be “weighed” down for all kinds of reasons. They may be physical and/or emotional. Yours may be weight related or have nothing to do with your weight or your body at all.

The point is if you want to get to the chance to be a player in your own game of life, then you have to start playing now!

If you did nothing yesterday but sat around and felt sorry for yourself then…

Today you have to do something a little different!

If there are physical limitations, then try to do some kind of movement. Try to lift your legs a bit or maybe lift your arms as high as you can, even if for only a couple of minutes at a time.

I was bed bound and over 800 pounds and I use to do arm work outs, upper body stuff, that is why I have a “six pack” today…..okay maybe not a “six pack” more like a “case”!

Seriously I would lie there and do ankle pumps all day. You have to keep the blood flowing.

You can do things today for you. If you can, go outside for a while. Enjoy nature, call a friend, or try saying hi to a neighbor.


Make plans for tomorrow. You must have something to look forward to. Plan a healthy food day, visit someone, or invite a family member over to your home. Maybe go to a museum, sit on the porch.


There is hope, always hope! You got to believe!

If we let life “weigh” us down too much and for too long, then it makes it more difficult to get up!

Does it make it impossible? No, just a little harder.

You can do it! You should want to do it! Why not? Why not? Are you not worth the effort?

Sure you are! You have been your best friend your whole life, you have been through so much with yourself. You have laughed, cried, celebrated and loved. All the time having yourself to get through and share it all.

Therefore taking care of you now, makes sense!

Here is a new concept for some of you...that is to “Love Yourself”! It’s okay! It was a hard one for me and one that I work on constantly. It is the basis to my survival

Okay so let’s make those plans; let’s do the things we need to do. Let’s make life work for you. No more sitting back.

Up, Up and away, and you will begin to sore. You will see the light, all kinds of light. Life is full of light. Play the game…

Pick yourself up and get back in the race……

Have a great day, plan for tomorrow

Love ya

Friday, March 19, 2010

Fall Back and Spring Ahead….

For many of us in America this was the weekend when we push our clocks ahead one hour. I was up Saturday evening/Sunday morning and I was watching the clock on the cable TV box and it said 1:59. I was waiting to see it switch to 2am and much to my amazement it switched to 3:00am.

What happened to Two A.M.? I missed it. A lot of things could have happened in that hour. An hour is pretty important to me and it seems to be getting more important as I get…, well let us just say more mature in life. Oh, let me just say it as it is…as I get older. What am I hiding? I am getting older and all I can say about that is …Thank God! Wow! I am getting older.

I have learned to appreciate each and every hour that I am around. Life is beautiful. There are moments within everyone’s life that things may seem gloomy and really dark. There may be times when horrible things may really happen.
Yet in general and as a whole, I love life and wouldn’t trade it for anything. When I lose an hour I feel cheated. I could have used that hour.

Every hour has meaning to me. I spent many of hours in my life which some may look back at and say were wasted hours, wasted life. I was homebound for many years, bed bound for a few. I have been in Rehabilitation Centers for three years on and off, hospitals hundreds of times and certainly locked up in my own body for almost a lifetime. Have I wasted time? Am I a wasted life?

Some may see my life that way. To those, I say. Take a look deep inside yourself first before you are ready to judge my life. My life is what it is and was what it was. I am here because of where I came from. Where I go next? I go forward, I am always headed forward. There are still times in my life where, for some crazy reason, I find myself going down that silly dark path but I do eventually find my way. I will continue too, as long as I have time in my life and it does not run out on me.

Eventually it will run out. When it does, then my turn will be over and I will know that I never achieved everything that I did. Was it everything I planned? Did I reach every goal? Of course I didn’t complete my “Bucket List”, but man do I have a lot to be thankful for: things I never thought I would have!

When I was a young “whipper snapper”, in my very early twenties, I thought someday I would be President. Oh, I had all the Ideas on how I could solve the world’s problems and make this country an even better place for all (I still I could). In those years, I never thought I would find anyone to fall in love with me and marry me. Children? I didn’t think that was going to ever happen for me and grandchildren, you must be kidding. I was going to be dead according to all the doctors by the time I was the age of 30, therefore grandchildren just were not in my future.

Look what happened! Here I am, maybe not the President of the United States but I am the luckiest man on earth! Look where I am. I am a soul mate, a person who I dreamed of being with from when I was 14 years old and now this angel is my wife. I am a dad, and I am a Ga Ga (grandpa). What great titles to have. I have to tell you when I think of the two titles of…Mr. President, or Ga-Ga, well the truth be, the Ga-Ga title has got me Goo-Goo!

I have gained wonderful relationships, I am considered a friend to many people and I have many friends. I have a great supportive family. That is why every hour of every day has become so very important to me and should be important, to all of us. All of us should use the time we have, to do what we can, in the moment, for our self right now and to make yourself happy. Use the time we have to build, mend and create good strong solid relationships with others. Use this moment to make a good choice for yourself and do a healthy thing.

Too many of us use our precious time to damage our self. We will use it to overindulge and/or abuse our self physically and or emotionally. We will use the time at hand to stuff our problems, swallow them, smoke them or inject them but this behavior will never solve them.

We need to use the time wisely to solve the things that do not work in our life. To search for reasons things might not work for you and then find the solutions. We can begin to make positive changes in our lives right now! Today!
Remember as long as you have the breath then you have the time and as long s we have time, there is hope and then it will never be too late!

Life is to be enjoyed and though there are those dark moments, we still need to stay focused on the overall picture of “Life itself”. Life is “Light” and the beauty of what life can hold for you, for me, for us is just enchanting.

We are here for a finite period of time. What that time is, no one knows. If we are going to spend the time beating ourselves up for a whole lifetime then we have wasted a good opportunity, a good chance, and a time to enjoy… then we have wasted a life.

I had a friend; he will be my friend in my heart forever. He may not be physically on this earth anymore but he will be my friend as long as I will be able to think and feel. The truth is I hadn’t spoken to him in over twenty years but that did not mean he was not my friend. Nicky was a guy who from my viewpoint had everything to live for. In the day, many of the young woman desired him and I am sure some of the young men too. He had the looks any guy wouldn’t mind having. I know looking from my 700 pound body, I often desired his body but not in the way maybe the woman did. I wanted to physically have his body. Nicky also was the kindest, loving, most gentle guy you ever wanted to know. He loved my little son (at the time). He was a dedicated friend, employee and sort of my “left hand man”. He was loyal and would do anything for you. He was shy but at the same time had a nice personality. Nicky had one more thing; Nicky didn’t have much self-confidence. He was not comfortable in his own self. Something bugged him. He struggled a lifetime with his demons and just couldn’t get it together and now Nicky is no longer with us, physically on this earth.

Fifty-five years old may seem old to some but Nicky couldn’t hold on to that “Light of life”. He just couldn’t let himself; stay focused on the “Light of Life”. He tried; I know him and I bet he tried real hard. I guess no one knows someone else’s battles. The world will miss our Nicky….Too short a time, before his time!!
None of us know when our time will be up; that is why it is so very important to make the best of today. Don’t put it off until tomorrow. Don’t wait until tomorrow to call that person you wanted to say “Hi” to. Tell “you know who” how special they are today.

Most of all do that something right, for you now…don’t wait!
Just think if you wait until later to take care of you or do that something nice for you…later may not get here. Later may be that lost hour between 1:59 and 3:00am that I saw go by the other night!

Have a great day, love each other and most of all love yourself …it is okay…


Monday, February 15, 2010

Oh, Poor Victim…

The last thing in the world I would ever want to sound like or be known as is a “Victim”. Yet there I was today just surfing through the internet and I came upon this blog page (from 2007). It was a bunch of people commenting on the “Inside Brookhaven” documentary (that I appeared in) it has been shown on Discovery and TLC channels from time to time over the years.

In it there was a piece where the EMT (Emergency Ambulance People) were transferring me (actually carrying me) down a long flight of steps in a wheelchair, with the help of six or eight men. They then proceeded to transport me to the Brookhaven facility, and transferred me into the bed from a stretcher. When they were doing this there was a very little drop, of about four to six inches.

Normally this would not be noticed by anyone. Except what we didn’t know at the time was I was suffering from “Rickets” and every bone in my body was brittle and aching with extreme pain. When they dropped me those few little inches, my almost 800 pounds of girth on top of those sore bones, released an expression of pain and verbal abuse, which at the very least could be interrupted as ungrateful. I was hurting and I lashed out at the first person or people that were near me. Was I right to do so? No! Did I realize it came off as ungrateful? Of course not!
What most people do not realize, is that most of what one sees on TV or in the movies is only a small piece of the actual truth. There was so much more to those tapes that did not make it to the TV. I was so appreciative to those people who took care of me and I expressed it both publicly and privately. They know the truth! Let me state it clearly for the record.

I would not be here today if it wasn’t for God, My wife, my son, Richard, and all of the Medical people in my life!! When I say all the medical people I am not just including the great doctors that have kept me alive but I am also including the nurses of the world, who I believe are the real angels of the hospitals and nurses aides who do all the hard stuff. Things I cannot even think of doing, bless them all. Last but certainly not least are the great EMT people who not once but three times literally saved my life, thank God for them. They are real heroes, and often many of them do a lot of volunteer work for the community.

I am now, I was then and I always will be appreciative to those people who have touched my life.

Hey, I am not so thinned skinned that I bruise too easily in my person by someone calling me a name or something like that. Coming from the background I came from I learned that there were people out in the world who did not understand what it is like, to live with this disease. Some people felt comfortable enough to make fun of me in my life even call me horrible names. As I grew older I realized that it was not my problem, their inability to comprehend and that it was okay for them to just not know.

Yet when I read things today like the following {Micheal is annoying. His whole attitude just sucks. Yeah, it's humiliating to have to be dragged out of your house because you can barely stand under your own weight but short of developing a large-and-in-charge levitation machine, there's not a lot those EMTs can do. I felt terrible for them trying to carry him down those stairs and then get "thanked" by having him bitch about how they were too rough with him and he has a bad back. I'm not that nice. I would have just rolled him down the stairs.}

I just had to respond. Not because I felt I needed to defend myself, the truth is there is really not a good excuse for any one human being to be nasty to another (especially if they are helping you) but I did have to just make clear one thing to all my medical Angels out there and that is…

I unconditionally love them all.

I appreciate them and everything they do for me and all people, especially my brothers and sisters in battle. I even appreciate those of them in the medical field that may not quite get it yet, that is okay their hearts are in the right place.

I never want to sound as if I am or ever was a victim but obviously according to the following quote I did so…{”Michael Hebranko bugged me because he had a major victim complex going on”}.

A “victim complex”, that is so funny to hear someone else have these opinions of you but this is what makes the world go around. The last thing I want to be is a victim. As a victim, where am I going?

As a victim all you do is remain stuck in “Victimville”! There is no good life in “Victimville”!

I want to be and have wanted to be for the longest time…a player. I take full responsibility for my life and where it has been, where it is and where it is going.
I refuse to look at my life as to what I have missed but rather I look at how lucky I am to have had the experiences and opportunities that I have had. I will not look at what I do not have because I have so much!

My life is not that of a victim, I Michael Hebranko, am one of the luckiest people in the world. Yeah, I may have a disease but I have a lot of things. I have Life, Faith, Friends and Family.

I have love! Love for life and all that it includes and I am in love and that love grows with every breath I take.

So call me many things (and I have been called it all) but victim…I am not too sure about that one.

None of us should live our lives coming from the point of “Victim”!

Be a player and make things happen in your life…you have the power…we all do!

Remember, Life is Power! You have the Power to Make Life and to Enhance Life!

Don’t let life pass you by…

Have a great day


We may have been the victims of some sort of an atrocity in our lives, all I am saying is that I refuse to live my life as a victim!
Thanks for the concerns comments and emails about my absence from the blog page. I have had some health issues over the past couple of months. 2009 personally went out with a bang for me. I hope to be back blogging on a regular basis and thank you again for your kind thoughts.