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.


Anonymous said...

A very strong blog ... victimized or a victim.. we ourselves make ourselves that way....i know in my own life i have played the poor me why me many times...i think its a natural reaction at times...sometimes we just want that sympathy or even that pity... but lately i have learned to look at why me as why not me .. should i wish this on someone else.. i would never do that....
I know myself if im in pain and someone touches me the wrong way i lash out not necessarily at them but at the pain .. im very grateful for all the help i do have and sometimes i cant help being snappy because i hurt so badly .. but im not playing victim ....
People need to look out side the obvious and see the whole picture of what is going on..... Dont allow yourself to be a victim anymore stand up and fight for what you need

Huggs and love

Rose T said...

A strong message and You are amazing to share it with us. It show you are real. I have seen that Brookhaven piece and never thought for a minute that you were any of what those people said. I only get that you are honest and a loving guy. You were also guy in pain that day and could not hold back the feeling.
Mike you have helped me through some rough times with your sharing and I appreciate it. Thank you

Your Friend

Anonymous said...

Web comments can be so cruel, I don't like the idea of you feeling like maybe you should defend your past actions. So you felt pain and lashed out, who were those people to judge you and call you a victim? I think it's a general environment of ignorance and fear that lead to people posting those inaccurate things. You are far from 'victim status'-always have been- and I'm so unbelievably impressed with your ability to continue to move forward in life. The internet's anonymity is a blessing and a curse, allowing some people to inexplicably spread negativity and hatred when they'd ordinarily seem kind in real life.

I hope you feel better with each passing day and we all can't wait for more blog posts in 2010! :)

Thanks so much Mike for a thought provoking blog.


Jean Bath said...

I agree with Mary
I think Mike you are far from a victim. You lead the fight of not giving up. You have been an inspiration to many of us. I for one have wanted to give up several times and you have been there for me without even kknowing it. I love this blog and read it over and over. The internet can be a housing for evil and you have been exposed to it. Please don't let it get to you.
Keep up the cause.
Jean Barth

Kathy said...

We're all glad that you are back home, Mike. Oh God, the internet is insane. If you ever read some of the comments that people leave after news stories, it is the most vile and disgusting stuff you could imagine. I hear often a good friend say, "That's the thing about people...they're all over." The important thing we need to remember is to act on our own behalf. To focus on ourselves. I have worked in medicine my whole life. Emergency situations involve pain more often than they don't. Emergency personnel know it's just part of the job. It's a very hard job, and you are right, the workers in the trenches are the true angels of the world. We're glad you are back home and continuing to recover and get stronger. We all love you. We all will get stronger together.

Anonymous said...

Who Cares what those idiots say. They haven't the foggiest idea of what we go through in our lives. They really believe we choose to be this way. To be 500 pounds, to have pain from the top of our heads to the bottom of our toes. To have to depend on someone to pick something up for us us or for our hygene needs. Not to be able to go to a movie or on a bus or a plane. To be laughed at if we do walk in the street. To hear our family say a remark everytime they see us. Yep this is the life we choose. Are they kidding me? Mike they do not know, but it is people like you and some of your blogger friends that keep reminding the world, that we too are people. People who feel, people who hurt, people who love and need to be loved.
Thank you Mike, I understand
Vera Bolyn

Anonymous said...

Dear Michael
You have repeatedly mentioned a book you are writting. Has it been published and if so how do I get it. I would be fasinated to read the details that you would share with us. For example, what were you thinking the day they took you out the window and where did you get the courage to do that? How did you work for so many years. Then I would also love to know how do you keep a marriage together for over thirty years as you have. What is your relationship with your wife? I have had so much trouble in so many of these areas. You are a true hero and inspiration to me for sure.
Please let me know
Walter C. Washinton

Anonymous said...

I am not a Victim and thank you Michael for reminding me of that fact. I have also been a fan of yours and in no way are you a victim either. WE are fighters, right Michael?
I can hear you now.
What do they know those who critize.

Paula said...

Dear Michael
Your blog has helped me so much to realize that I am okay for who I am. I have things to do and work on but that is okay I am going to be okay. All those people who have made fun of me and made me feel horrible, to hell with them. Thanks Michael, please keep blogging
Paula Dee Wilson

Anonymous said...

Splendid blog. I get so much from here. I wish more people would comment and we would get a communtiy of people together who are in the same boat.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike
This is a great blog. It has got me thinking about what I do in my life

Anonymous said...

Dear Michael
I was wondering and you are under no obligation to tell me but throughout your life how have you been able to have anyone love you. To get close to you. I don't want to sound rude but how do you get naked in front of someone? I ask because I weigh over 500 pounds and shake at the thought. I couldn't do it, so in the meantime, I crave human contact. I want to be loved but I couldn't make love to me. How could anyone else do it? Please Mike share those things you have been so honest with everything else.
wanting to lust-
Rita Tx

Kathy said...

Hi Rita. Mike has been blessed by finding someone who truly knows the meaning of unconditional love. That is something very few of us are lucky enough to find no matter what we weigh. I hope you can find ways to walk through whatever got you to be over 500 pounds. I can tell you that being thin always seems synonymous with being happy, being desired but the fact is it can't possibly provide those things. Being a natural weight makes life easier. You can be more physically active, take stress off your heart and joints. It allows you to fit in one chair and choose from a wide variety of clothes. But one thing it can't do is make you feel cherished. Being cherished and the size of our bodies are not related. We just think they are. Try living as if you liked yourself. Make a commitment to be kind to yourself. Be vigilant in acting on your own behalf. It doesn't matter what you believe about your capacity to love and be loved, you can change. Your value as a person is never dependant on a number on the scale. Feed the part of you that believes you are capable of so much more greatness than you ever imagined.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,

I hope all is well. This got longer than I intended as usual, but there we are. (haha)

I look at ourselves often for what I believe we are, an animal like all the others, set apart because even the dullest of humans are so much more intelligent than the very sharpest minds of the rest of the animal kingdom. Very much of what we do depends on animal instincts that still play a major part in our lives, indeed aside from technology, houses, language and clothes we are basically the same as the savannah humans of many thousands of years ago.

There is now research that clearly shows how swearing, growling and lashing out helps us to endure pain. It is also very practical from a savannah human perspective, it's in our nature. Ultimately you had to let them know how painful it was, if you'd been more calm about it they might have taken your sentiment less seriously, resulting in further injury. What happened happened for reasons of self-preservation, self-preservation is in itself an instint of amazing power (try put your hand on something hot, it's the instinct that makes you take it off again before you get burned)

The crew at Brookhaven know full well that a bit of a growl is perfectly natural, their feeling of "mission accomplished" probably left them feeling quite bouyant anyhow, any negatives we can find are not important.

We are a natural pack animal, somewhat like dogs are. This is why a friends dogs is always extatically pleased to see us, once we're regarded as part of the pack. To be unpleasant to members of other packs is useful, this explains why humans are often unpleasant to "other", hence negative remarks on the 'net which are often more "primal" as it were because people hide behind anonymity and sometimes feel they can drop the usual social rules.

It is in and of our nature to be unpleasant to anyone who is "other" unless we are taught otherwise, (like with racism for example), it is also in and of our nature to seek the fattiest foods in as large a quantity as is possible (maximum calories for trade off of energy expenditure in digestion). We are what we are and it takes great powers of evaluation, courage and self control to get beyond that.

Mike, I know you are a kind and loving guy, your family and friends and the staff of Brookhaven also know that you are a kind and loving guy. So when we think of you we have warmth in our hearts and smiles on our faces. If anyone thinks of you as anything else they are deluded individuals who do not know you well. Whenever they think of you this delusion deprives them of the warmth and the smiles your friends and family enjoy. For them this is very unfortunate, we would be quite right to feel sorry for them.

Dave C
(rudolph V on the e-mails)

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Dave. I know Mike personally and he his warm and would give you the shirt off his back.

Mike Hebranko said...

Hi Guys
I normally do not comment on the comment page but I have to this time...
I want to thank you for all your support and great messages you have sent me both privately through emails ( and also through the blog page. People like Kathy and Dave who I have never met personally but are out there and are now my cyber family and I hope to meet some day (although I think Dave is in England)have stood by me and said kind things, Maryleigh, Vera, Carol thank you all. I am okay with it. I understand that there are people out there who just dont get it! Why should they? They may feel no obligation to have to understand our problem. You know what my friends I only hope that they never have to worry or suffer and pain or an anxiety in their who life. It is okay not to understand. Personally I dont believe it is okay to, not understand and then ridicule. No this is not right but there are those who do it. What am I going to do? What are we going to do? fight them? Not in my life! I wouldn't waste my energy on them. I would love to try to educate them but if I can not at least I tried.
Again, thank you my dear friends, I truly love you all.
By the way Rita... Nothing--you hear me NOTHING taste as good as a hug or snuggle from another human being feels. If it is from someone who you are "In Love" with and there is a little "Nakedness" going on....Not so bad! You ask me How? I am married 34 years almost and I can still remember my Honeymoon...the fear! I had to come out of that bathroom in Hawaii during the daylight just in my BVD's that was bad enough! I was scared. Yet I wanted something for myself. somewhere deep inside I loved myself enough to know I deserved what was waitng for me on the other side of that bathroom door. so I put my hand on the knob of the door, took a deep breath, turned it, opened the door to a world of beauty, comfort, oneness, trust and love like I never new it before.
Rita sweetie you have too, it may not be easy at first you have to love yourself! You may not love the package...thats okay. Packaging can always change. You have to love the ingredients. Rita relax and just let yourself be deserve it!
To all ahve a loving peaceful day

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


an extra "n" appears in the middle of Mike's e-mail address above, which anyone using it will have to remove to get it to work.

That might turn out to be good fortune, it is not generally good form to reveal an e-mail address in a place where it is published on a web page without adjusting it in a way that is clear to humans. Computers can scan pages for e-mail addresses and pick them up. Next thing you know you have hundreds of offers to get your delicate regions lengthened or ahem.. stiffened.

I am indeed in England. For anyone who likes the Beatles I live within a couple of miles of Penny Lane, Sgt Peppers, Strawberry Fields, etc.. to me it is a very ordinary place. Dave C

Pat M said...

Dear Mike, Dave, Kathy, Mary Leigh, Carol,Vera and all the rest of this great blog family
I want to thank you for helping me get through so many rough days. I sit at home and think that I have hit bottom and there is no way out and I come to Mikes blog and read his message and it does something to me eacha nd every time. Then I come to the comments section and all of you give me something to hang on to. Thank you so much.
My name is Patricia Marley
Your friend

Kari said...

Ha, dude, I only know what I know of you from the specials you've done and a few articles on google, but a victim complex?! I would call you anything but a victim. I've always seen you own your crap with honesty, as we all should learn to do. The world would be better for it. People who haven't lived in chronic pain don't quite understand how easy it is to "snap" when you're scared, embarrassed, hurting physically and being forced to rely on others. Thank you for putting yourself out in the spotlight like you have.

Laurie said...

I agree with Kari and all the rest of you who have come out behind Mike. He is far from a victim he is a hero. So he isn't 150 pounds. He is a giant of a man of a human being. He has been through more than many of those cowards who knock him and he has done most of it in the public eye. Thanks Mike and I am sorry for the idiots of the world.

Anonymous said...


All I can say is thank you to all of you. Michael has never portrayed the victim during his struggle. He has always been a fighter and has done whatever he could to help himself and others. In some cases his dedication to others has hampered his own struggle with his eating disorder.

Since December Michael is continuning his battle with new medical issues and he still is determined to win. I think he is a winner ever day because he never quits. These people that have made a decision that Michael plays the victim well I am sorry that you are so dense that you can make a judgement without knowing the details and the entire situation.

I would also like to comment to Rita, I love Michael for the person that he is. His size has never been an issue with me. I know him since I was about ten years old and he was always the big guy that was made fun of. He never let that get him down. He forgave us. So be yourself and let people see the beauty that you are. Remember love is caring sharing and without prejudice, Look in the mirror smile and say I AM Worth it.

Again thanks to all

PS it is ok that they talk about me but it hurts when they talk about my husband and best friend

Mummy's Little Monkey said...

Hey Mike,
My name is Jacqui Paterson, and I'm a features journalist based in London, UK. I've been following your story for a few years now. I wondered if you might consider doing an update story for a women's magazine here in the UK, to let people know how you've been doing since we heard from you last.
Please let me know your thoughts!!
Kindest regards,
Jacqui Paterson

Anonymous said...

Mike and Madelaine,
Thanks for your responses, we love hearing from you guys. Take good care of yourself and we're all looking forward to your next post.

Pat..Hi Pat! Hang in there and know that you have friends on here that understand.

Take care of yourselves, everyone, and have a wonderful weekend. Aren't you all excited that spring is coming?


Anonymous said...

Dear Madelaine
My hat is off to you. You go girl! You fight for your man and protect him, he is pretty special and so are you. You happen to be quite a woman and I admire you for your dedication but I guess that is what love is about. You two love each other and that is it. You don't stop loving someone because they are sick. Madelaine love to here from you also and Michael all I can say to you is that you inspire me day after day.
Love to both of you
Mary Ellen Idaho

Rosie M. said...

Dear Michael
I want to thank you for all that you have done for all of us that try to hang on each day. I know that you have your struggles and that you still stay positive and try to share and help all the rest of us. I thank you becausse there have been days that your message has given me hope.
Rosie M.
Madelaine, thank you for loving him. You are a smart woman because I bet you get a lot of love back from him.

Anonymous said...

Dear Michael
How long have you been overweigt?

Anonymous said...

Dear Michael
How long have you been overweight?

Anonymous said...

I wasn't going to respond to any of the bashing or the whatever that were typed out there .. but i have to say i have seen Madelaine first hand with Michael... she is a woman of great strength.. she has humor and her compassion is so strong ..(but she will never admit she is compassionate).. but she is ... she is a fighter as well as Michael...
I find it amazing that people would think Michael is a victim after all these years...Through the past 20 something years i have known the two of them i have never heard Michael say why me .. or poor me....instead i have heard why not me....
We all go through our daily trials and tribulations .. he is no different then anyone else...
So next time you want to judge anyone please look in the mirror and ask yourself what if that was me.. how would i like to be treated.. and hope deep inside you you say with dignity and respect...
Love ya Mike and Madelaine....steps off my soap box now and goes back to yahtzee

jamiwilliams7 said...

Mike, this is such a powerful message.It just opened my eyes and made me see that I am not a victim, unless i give myself permission to be! And I choose not to, to live each day in courage and to walk in faith. May God bless you and keep you, Mike! You are such an inspiration to me.