101.  Anissa Orsino Live Your Life Now

101. Anissa Orsino Live Your Life Now

Anissa Orsino Live Your Life Now

Show notes:

Website: https://mamagoesbeyond.com/


You Can Cancer Planner

Summary: Anissa had a perfect life as a professional singer and a stay-at-home mom to her 2-year-old with a new baby on the way she couldn’t complain when her entire life changed when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She learned to live her life for the moment and she now helps other people live a life they. love. She reminds us to start living our life now!

Ari: Welcome to whispers and breaks My name is Ari Schonbrun, I’m your host. My guest today is me silver see no. She’s always had a lust for life. But a bout with breast cancer at age 37. While she was pregnant with their second child back in 2014, made her even more passionate about living life to the fullest in the years since she completed treatment, and he said a new set ran her first and only marathon sailed the oceans on vessels ranging from catamarans to Disney cruises. For further lifelong dream of hiking the Inca Trail and Peru and seeing Machu Picchu. In addition, a nice scent our family got rid of nearly everything they owned back in 2019 to travel full time as a family. They World School their two young boys in Spain and the Dominican Republic before COVID-19 put their travel plans temporarily on hold. They are now living in a minimalist life in Las Vegas. And Isa believes that being diagnosed with breast cancer was a huge gift. It reminded her not to take her precious life for granted, taught her that she was never promised the 100 or so years on this planet that she’d always assumed she had and connected over the support system. She hadn’t realized surrounded her nieces on a mission to teach our fellow moms and sister survivors that happiness is a choice that life is for living. And that by implementing a few simple practices, we can all create lives that we love, no matter our circumstances. And these two talks about living with intention and crafting a simple, efficient and joyful life both on our blog Baba goes beyond enter podcast the optimized Rob, please help me welcome a Anissa Orsino. And Lisa, are you today? I am super how are you? 

Annissa: I am awesome. 

Ari: Thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today. We’re super excited to have you here. Oh, that’s That’s wonderful. Now, as you know, the name of this podcast is whispers of bricks. whispers are those voices telling us what the right thing to do is and they represent the good in life. And the bricks represent the bad things that we go through in life. Now let’s be real. Everybody gets hit with a brick with gets hit with a brick during their lifetimes, whether it’s one, whether it’s many, whether they’re small, whether they’re big, but life is not a straight line. It’s got ups and downs, and we got to go through some tough times and nobody is immune. Now with you, it looks like things are kind of grown great for you when you were growing up. You have a master’s in opera singing, you spent you. You spent your 20s Traveling the world singing opera, you decided to settle down and become a stay at home mom. I mean, this is this is nirvana. I mean, you had it. And it really did. And then you got hit with a brick called breast cancer. And at the age of 37, you were 34 weeks pregnant with your second child that time. Tell us about that period of your life. How did you find out Yeah, cancer? How did you treat it? What did you do what was going on?

Annissa: So I mean, as you said, I had a pretty great life. I always say if you asked me before May 12 2014 with the worst day of my life was I would not have had an answer for you. I mean, I couldn’t even come up with anything that was you know, pretty bad. I had a great lunch. I had a two year old at home and was as you said 34 weeks pregnant. I was showering the one morning and noticed the lump and you know it’s one of those kinds of things you hear your breasts change when you’re pregnant. I honestly i So thought it was nothing that I almost didn’t mention it at my next appointment with my OBGYN and it was only he was walking out the door and I said hey, I just before you go I noticed this one but I’m sure it’s nothing but you know, would you just check it out for me? And thank goodness because I know if I had not been pregnant I would not have gone to the doctor for this because I just for me it was I It’s not, I’m not a person who gets cancer. I eat an organic diet, I make my own cleaning supplies. I don’t use plastic, you know, I don’t use a microwave like I, if I heard it give you cancer, I did not do it. So I just, you know, I’m living the right life, I’m getting an A plus in life, and I will live to be 100. Because you that’s how it works. This is honestly my philosophy. So he’s walking out the door. And I said, I’m sure this is nothing will you just take a look at it for me and he walked back in, check the lawn, he said, I’m not sure it’s nothing. And that day he sent me downstairs in the same building was a breast imaging center. They did an ultrasound, they did a biopsy that day. And this, I think was a like a Thursday, I waited over the weekend. And then on Monday, I got the call that I had to come in. And I knew when they were having they come in and weren’t telling me over the phone. It was not good news. Wow.

Ari: Wow. So So what happened? I mean, you’re, you’re 34 weeks pregnant, and this huge, you get hit with this huge brick. What was your mood? Like? What was you know, how were you? What were you feeling?

Annissa: I think it was just like Tara was the first word that popped into my head. But overwhelm was the second one I, my personality is such that I would not buy a vacuum cleaner without researching it for like a month and reading 1000 reviews. And then you get thrown into this world where it’s like, this is an emergency and everything has to happen right now. And you’re making these decisions about who’s going to be the doctor that does this. And who’s going to be the surgeon that does this. And do you want, you know, this treatment or this treatment, and they’re doing all these tests, because when you’re pregnant, of course, there are other things to consider you’re considering your unborn child as well. And so they were doing the sorts of tests where they would say, Well, if this comes out that we think the cancer we can’t do the tests we would normally do to see what stage your cancer is. But if we do this test, and we think that your cancer has spread, we’re just gonna go ahead and let you carry your child to term. Because basically, we can’t do anything for you. Or if this test comes up negative, then you’re having a C section on Monday, because then the baby will be 35 weeks, and we need to get him out and get you started on treatment as soon as possible. And so it was just things every day, it was these kinds of things like, you know, these major decisions that normally would take me months, you’re doing just instantaneously or in a matter of hours, we were living in a two bedroom apartment, I remember going to see the oncologist and I said am I going to be able to take care of my kids by myself? And he said no. So then we had to move into a bigger apartment. So that my parents, thankfully could come up and move in with us. But it was like we I was packing a box when Monday and trying to hurry up and pack it because I was about to have go and have tea section to you know, get my son born so that I could start chemo in eight days. Yeah, it was just way too fast.

Ari: Wow. What was your What was your husband thinking feeling? You know, how did this affect him?

Annissa: This, my husband’s superpower is that he is the guy who just, if everyone else is falling apart, he just picks up he looked around to see what needs to be done. And he just does it. And so he was great. You know, it was he had he was in tremendously challenging job at the time, he was the chief operating officer of his company. So he was still working full time, he was still traveling, but he was coming with me to appointments and trying to make things normal for our two year old and putting up with his in laws all the time. But he’s really I have seen him, you know, throughout our life, like together in lots of crises. And he’s just one of those guys that’s able to kind of compartmentalize it and grieve on his own time and be nervous in his own time. But he goes into like action mode. And so he was really kind of the ideal person to have with you when everything’s falling apart like that.

Ari: Wow. to ever reach a point that, like you hit rock bottom, where you said to yourself, you know what, they can’t do this anymore. You know, I just I just give up. You know, it’s you know, two kids, you know, my husband, he’ll be able to take care of them. And you know, I’m gone. I’m out. See you later. No. Oh, wow. Wow.

Annissa: I remember sitting on the couch one day and thinking, I bet this is what But it feels like right before you die because I was so sick. I mean, I remember just feeling miserable. But I used to wear I had a bracelet that I wore that I had engraved on the inside failure is not an option. And I had when I would sit at chemo, there’s a song that I loved called. This is why we fight by a band called The Decemberists. And I used to just put it on repeat while I was sitting in chemo. And I would look at photos to the boys. And it was just like, you know, at this point, if if I had died at that time, you know, I, for sure the littlest one would not have known me at all, but even the two year old would probably have forgotten me. And I just it was just unacceptable. So my inner narrative the whole time was, you know, this needs to be beaten. This is not something that you know, that I can let knock me down kind of thing. And I did some unfortunate googling one night and saw a statistic that my stage and grade and type of breast cancer, where I was the fire survival rate was 25%. So I knew that the odds were not super. But you know, my philosophy about it was just that failure was not an option. I needed to beat it. And so yeah, so that’s what,

Ari: wow, so you were a fighter, obviously, that’s for sure. That’s truly amazing. I’m sure your kids are thrilled to death that mommy was a fighter. I’m sure your husband was thrilled to death, the mommy was a Friday.

Annissa: But I wouldn’t say that I did have to really fight for my attitude. You know, you talk about hitting rock bottom, I do. Remember, I was sick in the summer. And I remember getting really angry about that, you know, other people were just out enjoying their summer, and they were out at the beach, and, you know, go into the pool and all that kind of stuff. And I was you know, sick in bed and that I really did have to cultivate this like, okay, what can I be grateful for today? That is good. Because I’m getting angry, and miserable and mad at the world, like I’m mad enough at the world that I will beat this thing. But I don’t want to be a miserable human being while I’m at it. And even when you’re in the midst of that horrible circumstance, there was so much awesome stuff in my life to be grateful for when I looked for it, but I really had to look for it.

Ari: Wow. But so I mean, even though you had to look for it. The issue is you found it, you found the strength you found, you know, that inner strength that was that said, No, you know, I am going to be this I am a nice person, I’m not going to be a miserable wretch, even though I feel like a miserable wretch. But I am not going to let this thing beat me. And I’m going to be there for them the same way that they’re there for me. I mean, that is that is absolutely amazing. It’s just, it’s incredible.

Annissa: Well, thanks. But I think I think we all have that capacity in us. I think, you know, when you get in these situations, other people look at you like, wow, I could never do that. I think people do this kind of thing every day and respond with grace. I think it’s more common that people respond that way than the other way. We all think we wouldn’t behave that way. But you know, I think a lot of people do. I’ve met a lot of sister survivors out in the world that really rose to the occasion, and lots of people who are dealing with worse things than I was dealing with it have come out, you know, sparkling it’s just a matter of making that that choice to not be crushed by something.

Ari: Right? Well, you know, again, one of the reasons I started whispers and bricks, was because there are people out there that are going through different things. And they don’t understand very often that there are other people out there going through the exact same things that they’re going through. And they need to know they need to hear from people like you that no, you can’t I can be this and if I can be this, you can be this, you know, we just, you know, you just need to gather the strength and if you don’t have the strength, guess what, pick up a phone that, you know, email me send me so you know, I will be there in your corner. And that’s what gives people the strength to keep going. And again, that’s why I started whispers and Brett’s because I wanted to help these people and have them know that you’re not alone. Yeah. Not Alone. Right. Let me ask you this. Now you’re cancer free? Yes.

Annissa: Well, we assume so one of the things that I never realized before I had cancer, I thought you know they give you the clean bill of health. The way they handle it is I go periodically, I get bloodwork done. If they see something that looks you know, unnerving. They would do scans but they call it in no evidence of disease. And so I figure, no news is good news at this point, I’m eight years out, and the type of cancer that I had often recurs in the first five years, but rarely recurs after that. So I am, I’m, I’m saying, I’m feeling pretty good about it.

Ari: That’s, that’s wonderful. That’s wonderful. Let me ask you this, who’s the one person that you would point to, to set that you would say had the most influence in your life? And why?

Annissa: So this is a really hard one, I knew you were gonna ask this question. And I, you know, I feel like at different points in my life, if you had asked me, you know, different times, I would have answered differently. You know, as a kid, it was for sure, my parents were, you know, huge mentors, when I was singing, it was whoever my singing teacher was, at the time, you know, was was, I was working so closely with that person, one on one for career guidance, and that sort of thing. That was huge. When I was sick, and a resource, I would love to point out to anyone who is dealing with any kind of cancer. And know that for some reason, the book just flew out of my head. I’m gonna have to tear for the show notes. But there’s a lady by the name of Dr. Kelly Turner, who wrote this wonderful book that was all about people who had been diagnosed with, with what was said to be incurable cancer. And they are what’s called Radical remission. Radical remission isn’t the name of the book, Dr. Kelly Turner, she collected stories of people that had been told basically sent home to die, that had been diagnosed with cancer, doctors said they could do nothing for them. And they recovered. And she looked for links among their stories, to see what sort of what people did to get better. And then wrote this book with sort of the steps. And one of the big things that I took away from that was how important attitude and how important community is in, in, in healing yourself. And so when I felt like I needed to dig in, that was what really got me started thinking, you know, this, practicing gratitude is really important, connecting with other people that can make you laugh, and that, you know, I can help and they can help me, this is really important. And so that was a really big one at that time. But we’re fortunate to live in the 21st century, and we have mentors, everywhere. I mean, I can go everywhere from like Marcus Aurelius to Eleanor Roosevelt, to you know, now I’m in this great coaching program with a gentleman by the name of Brian Johnson, who’s a great mentor, and it’s, yeah, it’s a great time to be alive.

Ari: That’s again, absolutely incredible. Let me ask you, before we go, do you have any words of wisdom for my audience, something my audience can take away from this conversation? Anything at all,

Annissa: I would say, you know, this is your life, this moment right now. Start living it on purpose. Don’t wait for the break to come and smack you in the face. I mean, you will feel this way after it happens. I mean, Ari is living proof. I am living proof that your your perspective changes once you’ve been through one of these life altering sort of events, but you don’t have to wait for that you can you can look around right now. Stop putting off living for another time, stop thinking there’s going to be some point in the future where, you know, life is magically simpler, and everything is magically better. And things get good. You know, I like to ask myself in the morning, what’s going great in my life right now, because there’s always something even when you weren’t that good, you when you’re bald, and you’ve got a baby next to you. And you know, you’re in the middle of chemotherapy, there’s still something to be grateful about. What do I need right now? Or what needs work right now? And what is my first step to go get it and get yourself out of you know, wallowing in it mode, my life is horrible, into, here’s what’s good, here’s what needs work. And here’s how I’m going to fix it. This is the next step. And I think it just takes you out of that. mopey sort of mode that we all can get into where things feel hopeless.

Ari: Great, great words of advice. Now if people want to get in touch with you, you know what would be the best way for them to do that you love like a website? Do you have an email? What’s your story? What’s the best way

Annissa: My website is mama goes beyond.com and my email is mama at moment goes beyond.com I’m on all the socials at MAMA goes beyond. So that’s really the best. The best way to find me I’m not on social media a ton because I’m consciously kind of pulling back from that a bit. But I do have profiles there. I do check in from time to time. And if it you might, it might take a few days, but you can find me there.

Ari: That’s great. And so, thanks so much for sharing your story with my audience. I want to wish you all the best luck going forward. Your, your, your sons, your husband, they have an incredible wife and mother that, you know, that just loves them. I mean, it just oozes from you and you have this this this happiness, a life happiness type of situation going through you that is contagious, infectious. I mean, you know, your smile, your laugh, it’s you are an amazing individual and you are giving a lot of hope to a lot of people, you know, certainly to my audience, certainly to me, you know, you are one of my heroes. You know, that you’ve, you know, done all the things that you’ve done and I wish you the best of luck going forward. Thanks so much for coming on the program and you been listening to his pieces of bricks. I’m your host Ari Schonbrun Remember, if you feel like you’re stuck in the mud, like you’re spinning your wheels, wasting time, your career, your business your life. You know you’re not enjoying all the success, satisfaction and significance that you desire. Then it’s time for you to book a call with me at www dot call with ari.com. Check out my whispers and bricks Coaching Academy and until next time, listen to the whispers avoid the bricks and never ever give up on your dreams. Bye for now.

101.  Anissa Orsino Live Your Life Now

100. Chad Osinga Back From The Dead

Chad Osinga Back From The Dead

Show notes:

Website: https://mrtenacity.com/

Summary: Chad Osinga has faced a lot of bricks in his life. He had a troubled childhood growing up in a drug house, his mother died from an overdose, and he never met his father. He spent most of his childhood in the streets, dropped out of high school, and as an adult, joined the army to become a sniper, eventually training others, including the FBI. Life, unfortunately, continued to be complicated. After being medically retired from the army, he would suffer from PTSD. Suffering from addiction, his 5-year-old daughter had a stroke, two sons were diagnosed with autism, and he suffered from two near-death experiences. He is now graduated from college and is sober. He is using his story to help others. He shares his story with us, reminding us that no matter what you are going through, you can overcome it.

Ari: Welcome to Wisdom bricks. My name is Ari Schonbrun. I’m your host I have with me his very, very special guest Chad Osinga

Chad: Thank you for having me.

Ari: Chad is a high school dropout turn college graduate, Special Operations sniper, combat applications instructor for the military. Chad grew up in a drug house with a mother addicted to crack cocaine later died due to an overdose never knowing his father returned to the streets for the better portion of his early life. Chad joined the US Army becoming a sniper and eventually teaching combat applications to every branch of the military and the FBI. US Marshals DEA and SWAT teams don’t get in front of this guy. While stationed in Germany, his five year old daughter had a massive stroke caused by a rare disease. German doctors misdiagnosed her before transporting her to Hamburg, where she would undergo surgery and initial testing. During this crazy time, Chad’s pregnant wife would go into labor, complicating his family situation. Chad and his wife would have a fourth child the year after his daughter’s stroke, but life would again become harder as his two youngest sons were diagnosed with autism. after sustaining multiple injuries, Chet was medically retired in 2015. Once he exited the Army post traumatic stress disorder seemed to attack him as he had never experienced it. He turned to one of the drugs that destroyed his mother’s life alcohol. What started as a nighttime remedy soon became an addiction that would almost cost him his marriage and his relationship with his four kids. In 2015, Chad was taken the left turn on his motorcycle when a car ran a red light and plowed through him placing his body into a guardrail. Most throughout you would not make it through this incident, but God again at different plans. It took him almost a year to get back on a motorcycle, but he was determined not to allow fear or this wreck to control his future. shy of two years later in 2020, was riding with a group of friends when a van came into his lane. He was propelled into a construction zone as his motorcycle was pinned into a jersey barrier. Chad flatlines on the way to the hospital and again before his second surgery, though Chad’s last accident placed him in a position of hardship. It also spurred a change in him, and an understanding that God had a purpose for his life that was bigger than him. He quit drinking cold turkey quit smoking marijuana, and began unearthing the power within himself. Please help me welcome Chad. Oh, Singa. Chad, how are you my friend?

Chad: I’m excited to be here. honored. Thank you so much.

Ari: Wow, that is that that is absolutely amazing. I gotta tell you, I read that story sent chills down my spine. Unbelievable. Now as you know, the name of this podcast is whispers and bricks, the whispers are those voices telling us what the right thing to do is, right? They represent the good in life. And the bricks, well, they represent the bad things in life, you know, the stuff that we go through, and let’s be real, everybody goes through something in life, you know, life’s not a straight line. It’s not. There are ups and downs. And we all go through stuff. Some people get hit with bigger bricks, some with smaller bricks, some have more, some have less. But we all know that everybody goes through something in life. Now it looks like you’ve had a lot of bricks thrown at you, some of which you almost didn’t make it through. Um, it looks like they started coming you when you were quite young. Um, just start their tests. Tell us about that. You know what was going on?

Chad: Yeah, for sure. So when I was born, I was actually born with Erbs Palsy. And my mom, she she has always struggled with, you know, drug addiction from her early ages in life. But for whatever reason, when the doctors told her, Hey, your son has Erbs Palsy, his left side isn’t operating right? And you have this time frame to work on it or he’s not going to use it ever again. She took like a small hiatus from doing that. But once she got me to a place where I was functioning on, you know, on my left Sighs she went right back to those drugs. And, you know, it caused a ripple effect in my life. I wasn’t going to school I dropped out in the ninth grade. You know, I was involved with drugs and, and just a lot of violence and just not focused on anything positive, you know? It. It culminated at 14, when my house was raided by several different law enforcement agencies. She was sent to prison, I was sent to Oklahoma to live with family there. And it was just, you know, I was even anemic because I didn’t have the right nourishment, you know, she all of our money went to drugs. And a little bit I got from selling drugs, really, most of it went to the older drug dealers, and I just had enough to maybe go to McDonald’s and get a fish sandwich, you know, so it wasn’t, it wasn’t enough to sustain life. And so by the time I got to Oklahoma, I was just frail and skinny as a rail and anemic and so life was definitely rough in the beginning, definitely.

Ari: So, um, I think, then, you know, during our conversation, you mentioned that you ultimately, you ultimately looked at the Army as a, some sort of a refuge, so to speak, you know, away out of, you know, the streets, so to speak. Tell us about that. What was going on what was going on there?

Chad: Yeah, so I, you know, life turned for the positive for me when I met this girl in high school, and she was different. She, she gave me a glimmer of hope in my life, we ended up getting married. And after the birth of our second child, I was living in low income housing. And I looked around and I was like, Man, I do not want my kids to grow up, like I did, like, you know, but I didn’t have any skills I dropped out at ninth grade. I didn’t, you know, I was, from an early age, I was called dumb. I had a learning disability. And I was put into classes that, you know, basically perpetuated that disability, right? There wasn’t a lot of encouragement in my life to be better than that. So I really assumed that’s all I could be. So I didn’t know what else to do. My grandfather was a Marine. And I tried to join the Marines. And they wouldn’t allow me because I had dropped out of high school, and I had tattoos all over my forearm. But the army was like, hey, we’ll take you. And at first, you know, it was definitely a very hard mixed because I hadn’t had structure or discipline in my life. I never even had a father figure. So, you know, another man yelling at me, we would normally try to fight, you know, but in this setting, that that wasn’t gonna happen, right? They were gonna win each time and, but it ended up becoming just a perfect storm. You know, once I accepted that there was no way out, I burned that bridge to where I couldn’t go back, I was stuck in this thing. And once I accepted that, I found that I was really good at it, right. And for the first time in my life, this dumb Special Education kid, found something that he excelled at, you know, and, and I just, I fell in love with it. I really did. And that’s what spurred me becoming a sniper. And, you know, becoming an instructor. I just put all of my energy into that thing, because I loved it so much.

Ari: Wow. That’s great. So how long did that last?

Chad: So I was in the military for 10 years before I was medically retired. You know, and that definitely, the retirement part hurt me, because I wasn’t ready to get out. You know, I would have done 30 years happily. So,

Ari: so So what what happened? What was the medical issue that forced you out? Well, it

Chad: was it was several I went off a roof in Iraq, and I landed headfirst and so my neck was really messed up. And then I had the jelly around my retina is dented in still, to this day. It’s like blocked, I just see blotches. And but then I also had several other surgeries, you know, and they just the injuries kept compounding, right. And the army was just like, hey, man, you’re done. Right? Like you’ve had multiple surgeries, you know, and I wasn’t willing. The other piece of it is I wasn’t willing to take a non combat job. I think I might have been able to stay in if I would have taken a different job. But I didn’t want to I wanted to continue to do what I was doing. That’s what I love doing. But they weren’t having it. So retirement here I came.

Ari: Ah ha ha But Okay, so before you retired, right? There were other things that were going on in your life. If memory serves me correct, I think you’re having a lot of fun. You’re having too much fun. And God decided to throw a brick at you, in the sense that you had a five year old daughter, who, under the clear blue had this massive stroke. That wasn’t, it wouldn’t have been as bad as they diagnosed it properly. But they misdiagnosed that while your family was, was in Germany. And you were you’re, you’re still in the military. Tell us what the heck was going on,

Chad: man. So yeah, we were actually getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan. So we were doing like two days to try to get in shape. And I’ll never forget this. I was at the gym. And we had a runner, and he was out of breath. When he got to the gym. He’s like stars and stars and stars. And you got you got to come back, you got to come back. And he finally was like something to do with your daughter. And so I was like, What in the world? So I get and no one’s really being clear. They’re just like, hey, come to the school. So I come to the school. And there’s an ambulance. They’re serving my my daughter in the back of it. My wife’s already in the back of it and they take off. So I I’m basically essentially following them. They actually the ambulance had to stop because she was convulsing, so heavily on the way to the first hospital. And they didn’t know what was going on. When we get there, they assumed she was having seizures. No one gave her an MRI initially, just Hey, she’s having seizures. And I’ll never forget almost wanting to fight a male nurse in that first hospital because they were trying to give her an EKG are an easy one of the other and you have to be still for him. And she was convulsing, right. And he was like, hold your daughter keep her still. And I’m like, Dude, this is not the time because this is your job. First of all right like this. I don’t even know what’s going on man. You know. Once a neurologist got there, the next day, he did an MRI and noticed that her brain was completely swollen she had had a stroke, and that it was really severe. She only had a few hours to really live so they had to do a craniotomy. We got sent to Hamburg, which is a specialty hospital for children. And they did the craniotomy to relieve the pressure on the brain. And I’ll never forget the the doctor just coming to me and my wife saying Hey, she’s probably never going to walk, talk or eat ever again. So you’re basketball for the rest of her life. At the same time, this is happening. My wife is pregnant, and she pops right she gives birth. So in one instance, I had my oldest son and my daughter who’s fighting for her life in ICU room. And I had my wife giving birth to a newborn son in a completely different room. And I’m skating back you would have thought I had skates on because I was just, you know, back and forth. It was it was an intense time. I remember being in the shower, just screaming and yelling at God because I didn’t know why he was doing this to me again. You know what, what what was going on? Why? Why us? Why my my baby? Why? You know why give us a kid in the middle of it. Like, you know, you can’t even enjoy a precious time because you have a life threatening time with another kid at the same moment. So it was it was very confusing and hard.

Ari: Wow. Wow. Now you mentioned to me that you basically stuck by her you did whatever you could you knew you knew your daughter was a fighter. Right? She took after her old man that we know. Right? Because you’re a fighter. And what is what is she like today?

Chad: Well, she’s 17 years old. She can walk she can talk she can eat on her own. She actually has a job. She’s about to graduate high school and you know she still has her her her issues right and she but she doesn’t let those things stop her man. She has the the mentality of a winner and I love it man. I’m so impressed with her. She’s my hero, you know. We stood her up and in the hospital because they separated me my wife. My wife was stuck in Germany. And I was stuck in Walter Reed with my daughter once we got transferred because the German hospital only seen what had happened to my daughter maybe two or three times. So they’ve like Hey, she’s got to go to America and go to a hospital there. But because of the pain To Work issue with a newborn, they had to keep my wife and my newborn in Germany. So we’re separated. And yeah, it was it was hard man, I was living in a hospital room. My, you know, my oldest son, I had to go live with family, we were all spurred apart. And but I’ll never forget, I told my daughter, hey, I don’t know how this is going to turn out. But I know we’re going to fight. Right? I know, we’re going to face this thing. And, you know, you were not going to be found guilty of not trying. So I would stand her up. And she had a plethora of like stuffed animals in the room that people gave her. And so she had the one arm that was working in our standard office and throw those stuffed animals against the wall. And she was just throwing them against the wall. And then I would take her legs and walk her back and forth in the room up and down the hallways. Little did I know that I was giving her faith, right. Like in her mind, she began to believe, hey, I’m going to be able to do this one day. And I think at three months after, right when we were released from Walter Reed to go to a intensive rehabilitation center, she was gonna take her first steps by herself. So power of the mind is amazing.

Ari: Absolutely, absolutely. So going back to that to those days. It was it was a year later you had another child. Yeah. Right. You had another child. So that makes for right? 

Chad: Yes, sir. So you had another child you had, at the same time, you had two boys diagnosed with autism. All right, because of everything that’s going on, you become an alcoholic. You freaking hit rock bottom, okay. Because of second automobile accident, which almost killed you. 

Ari: All right, you were you coded twice. Right. And then was after that, that you started to listen to the whispers. Okay. You realize that, you know, he was trying to kill you so many different times. And I think not that he was trying to kill you is trying to wake you up and tell you Hey, dummy, listen, you got to start listening to the whispers You weren’t listening. And he kept hitting you and hitting you and hitting you to finally one day you woke up and you were like, Alright, I think I got it now. Right. And you did the turnarounds? What was what do you think was the the deciding moment so to speak, that gave you that turnaround.

Chad: When I was in ICU when I was in the ICU because I was in ICU for seven days, the hospital all together 14 days. But ICU for seven, and I had no cell phone because it was destroyed on the motorcycle. My family couldn’t come see me because of COVID. And I was by myself, I can only watched so many reruns, right. And I faced myself in that hospital room like I had no alcohol, I had nothing to, you know, numb my mind, I had to look at the man in the mirror. And when I did, I went on this journey, right. And I began to realize that not only did I have a lot of things I needed to fix about myself, right, that I didn’t deal with along the way. But I also had a really great calling. And I think that I faced all of these things, to pull some other people out the fire, right to help, you know, those that are either going through or maybe hopefully help some people avoid going through at the same time.

Ari: Absolutely. Now, let me ask you this. And it might be a difficult question. But who is the one person that you could point to? That you would say had the most influence in your life and why?

Chad: My wife, my wife is my best friend. The only person at a very young age that believe in me, right? And despite my mess ups, my my struggles. I mean, she nursed me back to health on over three occasions, right? To the point where I mean, she had to bathe me she had I mean, I couldn’t do anything when I couldn’t even walk, you know. And so she’s always been in my corner. She has always loved me for me, but always saw something more in right and she was never that person that would say, oh, woe is you. She’s more like hey, this happened. It is what it is now we can do about it. Right? And that attitude in my corner always pushed me and motivated me to take that extra step forward. To find that that one more reason to live and and to be a little bit better from for not just myself for my kids and earth, and so if it wasn’t for her, I don’t know really where I’ll be.

Ari: Okay, so before we go, let me ask you this. Do you have any words of wisdom for my audience? Some of you like to share some, you know, words of hope? 

Chad: Yes.The first thing I would like to tell everyone is that everything that you could ever need is already within. Alright, a lot of times this world tries to teach us to look somewhere else rather than inside. But when I looked inside, I found all the answers I needed. Alright. The second thing is, man, your your words matter, we have this, this conversation in our head. And a lot of times, we’re telling ourselves a lot of negative things, right? What we can’t do what we won’t do, you know, a lot of is perpetuated by other people in our lives or past experiences that we may have not knocked down as well as we wanted to. And I would just encourage you guys to even if you have to write the things that reverse it, right, make your weaknesses, your strength, say I am this, I am that and write it down, put it on a mirror while you’re brushing your teeth and say it out loud. And until that conversation begins to change in your head, and you begin to believe who you really are, because there’s greatness on the inside of each and every person listening.

Ari: That is fantastic. It is actually you. I feel like you’ve read my book. Because these are some of the things that I talk about all the time, put it up on your mirror, you know, whatever your your goals and dreams are in life, put it up in your mirrors, looking at it every single day. Likewise, it’s it’s brilliant. I’m happy that you brought that out. It’s terrific. One of the things that I would tell the audience’s Don’t be judge mantle. Don’t judge a book by its cover. The first time I saw you and I’ve done this, you know, a lot and a lot, a lot and a lot. I said to myself, Man, this guy must have been through something. All right, because, you know, I see the earring and I see the beard and the backwards cap and and the tattoos and it’s like, oh my god, what is this? What is this guy have been through whatever. But you know what? What I learned from you is you’re you’re you’re a freakin pussycat. Okay, you are the most gentle sweetest man I’ve ever met. Okay, regardless of what you look like on the outside, okay. You are an amazing individual on the inside. And you should never forget that and don’t let people forget that. Okay, you’re you’re an unbelievable individual. I am honored and proud to call you my friend. Okay. And I’m happy that we met. One more thing before we go. If people want to get a hold of you, what will be the best way for them to do that? You have a website, you have a email.

Chad: So Mr. tenacity.com is my website. Mr. Tenacity? fourteen@gmail.com is my email. And then if you look me up on Facebook, it’s just Chad was single my name. My Facebook page will pop up. You can send me a friend request. And we’ll go from there.

Ari: Right now. Do you have Have you written a book? Are you writing a book or anything like that? Yeah,

Chad: I’m in the process actually meet with someone this Friday, about finalizing how that’s gonna work. And so yeah, I’m in the works. Nothing completely all together, but it’s definitely in the works.

Ari: Okay, I look forward to I look forward to reading it when it comes out that I will tell you what, right. Okay, great. So, Chad, thanks again for being for being on the show. You’ve inspired me I know that I’m sure you’ve inspired many people in my audience. Thanks so much.

Chad: Thank you so much for having me. It was an honor.

99.  Gin Stephene How Intermittent Fasting Was The Key To Overcoming Obesity

99. Gin Stephene How Intermittent Fasting Was The Key To Overcoming Obesity

Warshaw Ghetto

Gin Stephene How Intermittent Fasting Was The Key To Overcoming Obesity

by Ari Schonbrun

Gin Stephene How Intermittent Fasting Was The Key To Overcoming Obesity

Summary: Gin Stephene struggled with her weight on and off most of her life. She faced the biggest struggle with her weight after the birth of her second child. That is when she decided to try intermittent fasting, which not only helped her lose weight but her overall health. She now helps others learn how to do intermittent fasting the right way to lose weight and improve their health. She is best selling author of two excellent books on intermittent fasting. You won’t want to miss it!

Show notes:

Website https://www.ginstephens.com/

Podcast https://www.intermittentfastingstories.com/

Books https://www.ginstephens.com/get-the-books.html

Ari: Allen’s She’s the host of two top rank podcasts, intermittent fasting stories and life lessons podcast. You can join a private community by going to Gen stephens.com. Forward slash community. Please help me welcome Jen Stevens. Jen, how are you?


Gin: I’m doing great. How are you doing?

Ari: I’m wonderful. Thank you. Thank you so much for coming on the show. You’re probably wondering how and why I got you. And it’s very, very interesting, because I actually had on a guy who is, I don’t want to call him a groupie. But he follows you. And he got into this intermittent fasting, and I was talking to him about it. And he mentioned your name. And he said, oh, you should really contact her and have her on your show. So I went like, okay, great. And that’s exactly why I reached out to you. And that’s why I have you on my show.

Gin: Well, I’m glad Who was the guy?

Ari: Fred Rutman

Gin: Awesome. Yeah, I know, Fred. He’s fabulous. Hello, Fred.


Ari: There you go. There you go. So because because of Fred, you and I are having this conversation today. Now, as you know, the name of the podcast is whispers of bricks, the whispers of those voices telling you what the right thing to do is, and they represent the good in life. Now, the bricks represent the bad things that we go through in life. And we all know that life is not a straight line. There are many ups and downs and many bumps in the road. So what I like to do is, again, I heard it from Fred, but I’d like to hear it straight. A few. I’d like to know what is your story? What were your ups and downs? What were the bricks that you got to hit with that you had to overcome? And how did you do it?

Gin: Well, that is a great question. And I’m going to focus I guess on my weight loss journey, since that’s the what intermittent fasting really has helped me with the most. Basically, you know, I was a skinny teenager, but I had a mother who did a lot of dieting. So I watched her do a lot of dieting. So I was always very diet focused. She was a dance teacher. And then as I went through young adulthood off to college, there there I was suddenly needing to lose a little weight, the freshman 15. So over the years, I dieted I tried one diet than the next diet, but I can always lose the weight quickly, until I started getting older after I had kids. So many people tell the same exact story because it happens to a lot of us. All of a sudden, it feels like one day I woke up and I was obese, I was 210 pounds. Of course, there were a lot of yo Yos along the way, I will gain a little weight, lose some weight, gain more back, lose some of it, you know, and yo yoed my way up all the way to 210 pounds. And on my five, as I said that was obese.


Ari: Wow. Let me ask you something really quick. How many kids do you have?

Gin: I have two boys 22 and 24. But, you know, with with my first I started off, you know, when I when I got pregnant with that first child I was, you know, 123 pounds, I think the day that I went to the doctor’s office and got the official, yes, you’re pregnant. And, you know, when I gave birth, I was 163. It’s funny how we remember those things as well. Those numbers and with the second there, they’re born 18 months apart with a second. Wow. All right, two months apart, I started at a higher weight than I had with the first child. And then by the time I gave birth, I was you know, 180 something somewhere around in there. And, you know, after I didn’t quite bounced back as well. I can remember, you know, having two small kids and I got on the scale one day and I was 163 pounds, and I had the kids and I was like yo, that was my highest weight with the first pregnancy. And I was like I’ve got to do something. So I really started to diet harder and harder at that point. And that was when my weight yo yoed up and up and up. So that that was the hard part for me. Were all those years of trying everything under the sun. And I would lose a little bit like I said, and then my weight would go back up higher than it had before. And I think that’s just a very common story for a lot of us. Until we’ve yo yoed our way up to obesity to our highest weight we’ve ever seen.

Ari: Yeah, wow. Wow. So um, I mean I I’m assuming you tried like all the normal diets, the you know, South Beach and you know the water Atkins.


Gin: Oh my god, you name and I try to if it came out prior to 2014 I haven’t had to try all the ones that came out after that diet that came out prior to 2014. You can bet I tried it. And a lot of the wacky ones too, that people have probably never heard of, you know, I even did like, you know, doctor, prescription diet pills that I got and things things like that. It promised you were going to lose weight quickly. I was trying it. And it did say all those things over promised and under delivered, right?

Ari: Where, where, where do you live?

Gin: We’re we’ve just moved to South Carolina. We’re on the coast of South Carolina. I just came from Augusta, Georgia where I’d lived for a while. But we’ve just moved to South Carolina.

Ari: Really. It’s so funny. And this is kind of off topic a little bit. But you know, my my youngest is moving out of the house. He’s gone. He’s just starting college. So he’s moving out of the house was just me and my wife. We have a big house in Long Island. And I literally said to my wife, you know what? Our house is worth a lot of money. You know, I think I’m done. I think we should just sell the house. And she says, Yeah, we’re gonna move. I said somewhere south, you know, I don’t like how about Savannah, Georgia? Says, Savannah, Georgia. What the heck is in Savannah, Georgia? I said, I don’t know. But I remember I was there on a speaking engagement once. And it was really really pretty, you know,

Gin: beautiful. Yeah. Beautiful part of that part of the state to live in. Yeah, a lot of areas around Savannah.

Ari: So now right, so. So now you move to South Carolina. I’ve heard a lot about South Carolina also. So listen, we’ll after this, we’ll stay in touch you let me know what it’s like down


Gin: below. I love it. We’ve been coming here. I’ve been coming actually to the beach here. Since I was a little girl. So it’s my wife loves the beach. We’re now living on vacation.

Ari: All right. Okay, so let’s move on. So you’ve tried everything, nothing worked. And so did you try? What was it? Oh, and J diet? Never heard of that one. And J diet? guaranteed to lose 20 to 40 pounds in 40 days?

Gin: I’ll give my 90 That’s crazy guarantee. Is there an amputation involved in that?


Ari: I don’t know. Dr. T. Dr. T guaranteed to lose 20 to 40 pounds in 40 days or your money back?

Gin: Yeah, that that is not going to be your healthy long term approach.


Ari: There you go. So why did you do


Gin: so what happened? Well, intermittent fasting. And, you know, I had dabbled in that a few times prior to 2014. But I didn’t really understand how it work. No one really did at that point, because anything that had been written about it just focused on how you do intermittent fasting, and it allows you to eat fewer calories, you’re like eating in a daily eating window or doing alternate daily fasting or whatever it was. But we all thought that it just was because you were eating fewer calories. So I had dabbled in it here and there. But I never really gave it enough time for my body to adjust. So but suddenly now it’s 2014. And I’m highly motivated, because I’m finally I’m obese. And I’ve had, like, I’d never wanted to be across that 200 pound mark. And there I was. So I was highly motivated. And it just felt different. That time I knew I had to make it into a lifestyle. So I still was just kind of, you know, figuring it out as I went because there was like a little bit of information here and a little bit of information there. And at that point, people were on Facebook, and there were Facebook groups. So they were Facebook groups related to you know, dieting, weight loss, whatever you wanted to do. So I joined some different groups, and we were all kind of supporting each other together. But the one thing that was different, right that time in 2014 is that I didn’t quit, I never quit, I kept going. And I also somewhere read about a strategy that I think really helped me stick to it weigh every day, but once a week, calculate your weekly average. And that was really a life changing strategy for me because once a week when I calculated my average weight for the week, I could see that it was trending downward. So you know, you have a lot of fluctuations from day to day. So when you’re just looking at the fluctuations you can think like if if my weight was higher today than it was yesterday, I’m like, Oh no, I’m gaining weight right? Or if I only weigh once a week and my Friday weight was higher than last Friday’s you might think you’re gaining weight, but this time I was weighing Every single day, and then every Friday, I calculated the average weight. And I saw every week my weight was going down. So I had that, that confirmation that this was working, because in the past, I would get on the scale and be higher, I’d be like, this isn’t working, I quit. So I kept. But this time, thanks to that one little tiny difference weighing every day calculating my weekly average seeing that the trend was going down week to week, even though it might only go down point eight, or maybe the next week, it went down 1.2. And then next week, it was point five, whatever it was, and was going down. So the only difference that time for me was that I didn’t quit. And I kept going. And that was that was the powerful change that my initial goal was to lose 75 pounds. And I did and went on to lose a little bit more over the next few years. But it ended up being about 80 pounds down. And I have been maintaining that way, you know, I’m 52 now, and I’ve gone through menopause in the past few years and have maintained the loss within the within my maintenance range never had to buy bigger clothes, never have had to dye it again, just intermittent fasting keeps me right here, in that goal range where I’ve, I’ve been since 2015 When I got there.

Ari: Well, let me ask you something before you found this intermittent fasting, did you ever get to a point where you said to yourself, you know, I can’t do this anymore. You know, I just I totally give up, you know, sat down, you know, sat in front of that bowl of pasta, you know, finish that off and said, I’m just gonna sit here and eat until I die. 

GIn: You know, there was a point like that. And, you know, I was reading a lot of stuff about intuitive eating, which always resonated with me, because I didn’t want to have to count and track and diet and all that I just wanted to be able to eat, stop when I’ve had enough. And that was it. So intuitive eating really resonated with me. And you read all the books, and they’re like, don’t weigh just eat when you when you’re hungry, stop when you’ve had enough. And they all promised that it would be easy. And if I just stop, it would all fall into place. So I was like, that’s what I’m gonna do, because I’m so tired of dieting. So that was when I really gained the most weight. Because back in those days, I was so out of touch with my hunger and satiety signals. If I asked myself, are you hungry? The answer was always yes. And, and if I asked myself, if I’d had enough, I could I just really couldn’t tell. So I just could not tune into those natural signals. And it was when I finally got back on that scale in 2014, that I realized I had gone all the way up to 210 pounds. And I was like, well, this I kind of just given up and thought I’m tired of trying so hard. But then I was like, you know, I can do it. I know I can you know, I had a doctorate at that point and gifted education. I was a teacher. I was like, I’m very successful in my life. I’m a smart person, why is this so hard for me? And I was like, I just am not ready to give up. And I’m so glad I tried one more time. You know, what’s the saying fall down seven times get up eight? Yeah, absolutely. No, I got up that last time. And that one, like I said, that weighing strategy that helped me see that it was working. You know, I have to honestly say I think that period of time really 2000 to 2012 to 2014 is when I kind of just like I said mostly gave up and gained a lot of weight. And I think that that might have actually repaired my metabolism in a way because I’ve done a lot of low calorie dieting, and the diet pills and all the crazy dieting. But all those years of just really giving up my body realized, well, you know, we’re not in danger of starving. You know, because if you do a lot of dieting, it can slow your metabolism. So I like to think of those years where I gave up and got to be 210 pounds is like a metabolic repair period of time in my life. So when I really started with intermittent fasting and 2014 It’s like my body was ready. Right?

Ari: Let me ask you something, who’s the one person that you can point to? That you would say had the most influence in your life and why?

Gin: In general? Gosh, that’s tough. Because I’m really collector of of influence from a lot of different people. I’m not sure if I could just say one I’ve never thought about who was the one person you know, I feel like I learned this here and I learned this there and this person taught me this and this so it’s really just been you know, like they say it takes a village I’ve really just to raise a child well it takes a village to be me. You know I’m there’s so many people that have influenced me along the way with just different pieces here and there.


Ari: Are you married?

Gin: I am married. I’ve been married to my husband since 1991.


Ari: Wow. Wow,

Gin: we were babies we got here. Yeah,

Ari: absolutely. Absolutely. Wow. So I would imagine that, you know, that would have been one of them who had influence in your life. I mean, how is the lately? Like, how did he deal with it? You know, is, you know, was he? Was he upset about it? Was he? Well,

Gin: I will say there was a hurtful comment at one point along the way, when he said, you know, you’re really packing on the way, I don’t really find all that attractive. I mean, he was honest with me, you know, we’ve been married for a long time. And, and it was, it was hard to hear. And, you know, it didn’t feel great. You know, some women are like, my husband has loved me no matter what size I am. And of course, he loved me. And whatever size I was, yeah, you know, I didn’t feel really good about myself at that time, either. And that probably came through, right, and my whole adult, my whole way of being, it was just so hard. I didn’t feel good in my body. And he could, he could tell, but, you know, I didn’t didn’t gain the weight because of him. And I didn’t lose the weight for him. So it didn’t feel great to hear that, you know, interesting way. But that wasn’t when I lost the way that was along the way, when I was gaining. And, and again, I think we’ve all been told, a lot of things that are not true about weight gain and weight loss, you know, we’ve taught we’ve been taught, oh, it’s all about calories in calories out. And if you’re not successful, it’s because you’re not trying hard enough. And so the hard part was, I was trying really hard. I was trying as hard as I could. And you know, I’ve talked to on my podcast, and and now hundreds of intermittent fasters. And any of us that have struggled with our weight, you know, we’re made to feel by society, that we’re just not trying very hard, we must be lying about what we’re eating, you know, there were gluttons of some sort, or do better if we tried harder. But we have tried so hard. And you know, my husband has natural naturally been, he’s one of those people that he’s just naturally thin. Or people like that. They genuinely don’t understand the struggle he hadn’t had to try. You know, yeah, and I understand that, and I don’t fault him for it. But if you’ve never had to try, then then you don’t understand that there’s a lot going on in the body, for example, it’s not just about what you’re putting in, it’s what your body does with it. You know, it’s what your level of insulin resistance is, for example, what how your hormones are working. So it’s all very, very complicated. The good news is intermittent fasting does reconnect us with our hunger and satiety signals. It does help us lower our insulin, it, it reverses all of those issues with metabolic syndrome that are so prevalent today. And so many positive things go on in the background, that it really changes the way your body works in a way that it’s almost like a reset back to how it was supposed to be. Before we messed it all up. Do you have any siblings? I do I have a sister and two brothers.

Ari: And are they are they obese? Are they normal? Are they

Gin: it’s interesting to say we’re all we’re all different. All four of us are different. And three of us struggle with our weight. And my my younger brother, though the youngest of the four, he is like on the opposite end of the spectrum. He is like skinny as a rail, and cannot gain weight no matter how hard he tries or how much he eats. And he’s got an absolute terrible diet, and drinks energy drinks all day and eats whatever he wants and is like so skinny, and then the other three of us have struggled more. So one of my brothers, my brother, I’m the oldest of the four but my older of my two brothers actually does intermittent fasting. And it helped him to get back to his ideal weight and he loves living that way. Right?

Ari: I’m assuming that, you know, throughout your years, you’ve been to the doctor for you know, well checkups, like you know, what was going on with him. What was he, you know, was Was he in that camp of like, Jen, you know, you know, I

Gin: mean, they were very happy to give me diet pills along the way, you know, I don’t doctors anymore. The diet pills. And I’m actually within this we just moved. We’re getting our health care all situated. I’m going to look really hard for a good doctor. But I’m around here. It’s tough. Gotta find a new one. But, you know, those doctors, a couple of them a couple of doctors were just perfectly happy to prescribe me diet pills. Because and I’m not faulting them, because doctors do not unless they actually go out and educate themselves. They hear the same bad information that we’ve heard and unless they’ve really dug in and, you know, done a lot of reading and research, most doctors do believe the same things I talked about before that it’s calories in calories out. And you know, the ones who have struggled with their weight and I’ve talked to a good number of doctors on my podcast, intermittent fasting stories, and some of them admit that they were struggling in the diet advice they gave their patients what Morgan for their patients, but it also didn’t work for them. And so when they, when they finally understood the power of intermittent fasting, how it lowers our insulin levels, for example, you know, you’ve heard of insulin, we’ve all heard of it through the lens of diabetes, right type one diabetics, you know, need organs, because they don’t make enough. You know, type two diabetics eventually have to start taking insulin. But what people don’t realize is, insulin is a storage hormone. And if you’ve got really high levels of fasting insulin, like your, I mean, your insulin is always high all the time. If you have insulin resistance, like if your waist circumference is high, that’s a sign you probably have insulin resistance, your body is pretty much trapped in storage mode, it’s really hard to tap into your fat stores, if your insulin levels are high, because like it like the insulin like tells your body to keep it all locked away. So if someone has insulin resistance, high levels of insulin, it’s very, very difficult to lose weight.

Ari: Wow. Okay, before we go. Is there anything that you that you would like to share with my audience before we go any words of wisdom, you know, some of the some takeaway that they can have?


Gin: Well, I would like to tell talk to the audience about intermittent fasting if they’ve tried it before or dabbled in it and think it doesn’t work for them. There are some things that, you know, when I when I wrote fast feast, repeat, which is my New York Times bestseller, I had had several years, working with Facebook support groups that I ran, and I learned a lot of things along the way. You know, why is it not just calories in calories out? Where do we go wrong? You know, well, what, what keeps us from finding success? So anybody who’s listening who said, Well, I tried intermittent fasting, it didn’t work for me. I know a couple of mistakes you probably made. One of them was you probably weren’t fasting.

98.  Fred Rutman Finding A Solution

98. Fred Rutman Finding A Solution

 Fred Rutman Finding A Solution

Summary: Fred Rutman suffered from severe health problems, diabetes, and heart problems. In one summer, his heart stopped 20 times. He was given a pacemaker that failed. He eventually found a solution to increase his health through intermittent fasting. Learn more about his fantastic story. He reminds us that we can always find answers if we look outside the box.

Show notes:

Email: dead.fred@gmail.com 

IG repeatedlydeadfred

Ari: Welcome to whispers and bricks. My name is Ari Schonbrun and I’m your host. My guest today is Fred Rutman Fred currently lives in Toronto. He was a marketing consultant, then went into academia as a college professor for a number of years. After acquiring his MBA, his weight ballooned up to 340 pounds. The combination of weight issues and playing years of hockey, rugby and football, left him in perpetual pain. Every joint in his body ached, eventually got down to about 280, where he plateaued. In the summer of 2009, he came crashing down was forced into permanent medical leave, he started passing out randomly. He was hospitalized numerous times and was put on insulin and metformin. It turns out he wasn’t simply passing out his heart was stopping. He was clinically dead dozens of times. They eventually put them on a pacemaker. That pacemaker then failed in 2013. He had subsequently I think three or four more pacemakers put in, over the course of the years. In 2018, Fred learned about intermittent fasting, and his life hasn’t been the same since he’s no longer asthmatic. He is now 10 Pant sizes and about 80 pounds. In mid December 2021, he had the cleanest pacemaker check ever. Fred is currently writing the medical trauma memoir, summary die 20 times. Please help me welcome Fred Rutman

Fred Rutman: Fantastic, thanks. How are you?

Ari: I am good. It’s good to hear that you’re fantastic. You know, we have to reading all of that information. My god. Wow. Unbelievable.

Fred Rutman: It’s it’s been a journey. You know, if I ever meet a new doctor, and I try and tell them, you know, my medical history, they just, they really don’t believe it. Yeah, it’s just unbelievable to them.

Ari: I can hear that. Well, as you know, the name of the the name of this podcast is whispered some bricks, the whispers of those voices telling us what the right thing to do is and they represent the good in life. And the bricks represent the bad things that we go through in life and God knows we all get hit with bricks throughout our lives, some bigger bricks, some smaller bricks, you know, some more, some less, but life is not a straight line. It’s not a you’re not always going to be on the up there are ups and downs. And, you know, that’s what life’s all about. Now, for you, it appeared that life was pretty good for you in the early goings, got a good job, you went into teaching you got an MBA all seem to be going well, until the first break hit your weight to 340 pounds, how old were you at that time? And tell us what was going on?

I was probably 40s from my early 40s. And you know, I’ve always been overweight. I was probably you know, some version of type two diabetic most of my life and just it never got flagged. And there’s no specific reason my weight spiraled out of control. And the doctors don’t think my weight had anything to do with what subsequently happened to me. Even though you know, it’s not a good idea to be that obese. Alright,

Ari: Can I ask you how tall you are?

Fred Rutman Not very. I’d like to be a lot taller. I’m five foot seven. 

Ari: Oh, okay. 

Fred Rutman So I was pretty portly.

Ari: I hear that. I hear that. Did they did did you or the doctors ever consider maybe it was depression or something of that effect that would cause the weight gain. Very often we hear that when somebody gains a lot of weight. It’s you know, it’s it’s, there’s something else going on? And usually it’s psychological. Have you heard that? Has anybody ever said that to you?

Fred Rutman: Not as a direct it might have been part of a whole bunch of factors that were going on. But you know, I my life didn’t start off on on the smooth plane either. In my mid 30s, I found out that I had had a stroke just before after I was born. So my body was never working properly. You know, the stroke was misdiagnosed or not diagnosed and so my It just really wasn’t working. Well, I didn’t know how to explain that to other people. I didn’t know who to to question. And that’s just part of, you know, the bricks that get thrown at you.

Yeah, I guess, I guess. And then later on, you got hit with what I would call like the major brick. You made your break, you started passing out randomly. Like, yeah, how old? Were you at that point?

See, I was probably in my mid 40s 4647.

Ari: Uh huh. So Whoa, what was going on?

Fred Rutman: Well, they thought it was passing out. And, you know, I went into the medical system. I’m in Toronto. So we have some pretty high end medical here. And I just went through a series of being misdiagnosed by a whole number of doctors. And what they eventually found out is that I have something called a severe heart block, which is a medical condition where the electrical system in your heart that runs your tells your heart how to how to beat, so it sends a signal to your atria, then to your ventricle. So they, they pump in synchronized fashion. And that system died. It just eventually died. And so my heart was stopping. So I wasn’t actually passing out. I was dying. My My heart stopped beating. Wow.

Ari: That must have been must have been scary. How, like, How often was that happening?

Fred Rutman: Well, in that summer, the ones we know about, it happened about 20 times, which Oh, my God, how the title of my book came to be, which is, you know, the the summer I died 20 times. So it was, you know, on the upside, every time, my heart would stop, you know, your blood pressure goes to zero, there’s no blood or oxygen in your brain. I would fall and I would smack my head, and I would get a concussion. And the upside of getting a concussion and getting so beat up mentally, is you really didn’t have time to process how bad your situation was. Because your brain was no longer working properly. It took a number of years for me to to try and wrap my head around the fact that I was dead. Wow, just did you see the bright light by any chance? I wish? That’s a question I get asked pretty often. I can imagine, you know, if this happens to you once, and you don’t see the bright light? You know, that’s pretty okay. If this happens to you, like a dozen or 20 or 30 times, and not once Do you have that experience? You feel kind of ripped off?

Ari: You know, and I think I think it’s, it’s, I do believe there is something to the bright light. I have my own theories on that. But because of the way I’m thinking I think about it, the theories that I have, it’s very simple. Why you didn’t see the bright light? It’s because it wasn’t your time. Yes, your heart stopped. Okay. And yes, you might have been dead, but it wasn’t your time. And, you know, that’s why you didn’t see the bright light.

Fred Rutman: Yeah, I did have a couple of out of body experiences.

 Ari: Really? 

Fred Rutman: Yeah, where I was out in the middle of nowhere cycling, for example. And it was, you know, later in the evening, so it was pitch black on the bike path. And nobody was around. And my heart stopped. Of course, I tumbled to the ground. And I I remember looking down on myself tangled up with my bike. And there’s just, you know, everything is black all around. And feeling like very confused. You know? So it’s like, if you’re in the sort of mindset that you believe that people have souls and there’s Heaven and Hell, it was like my soul had come out of my body and was, you know, trying to get some guidance as to do I go up? Do I go down? Do I go back into the body?

Ari: Wow, weird. Yeah. Wow. Yeah, you’re probably the only the second person that I know that has had that experience. I met another guy a few years ago who also he was in an operating room. And he literally talked about how he was hovering above his own body and he was watching everybody in the room, and he was out under anesthesia, and he was watching everybody else in the room and he heard everything that was going on. Which he then proceeded to relate to the people when they when he came out of it. He related to the people all of those conversations, and they were like flabbergasted. Just was just absolutely amazing. Wow. So so what what, like when when would happen? You know, like, what would happen? With the people around when it happens? In other words, did your heart just start beating again? Was it the concussion? Maybe when you fell that caused that shock your heart? Do you know?

Fred Rutman: Those are great questions already. The doctors don’t really know why my heart started again. They, you know, your your body is a marvelous thing. And it’s got all these subsystems, which are, you know, protective measures, and are supposed to start your heart again. But they usually work pretty quickly. I had events where, you know, I would go from 30 seconds of of no heartbeat to I think the maximum recorded was about five minutes. And that was in a hospital. So we know, we have a pretty good idea how long it took from when the monitors noticed, my heart had stopped till I came back to life.

Fi going being down for five minutes. I mean, doesn’t, I mean, isn’t that usually? You know, isn’t that cause? Brain damage? Yeah,

yeah, I have, you know, a lot of recovery from this.

Ari: Oh, I was gonna say you don’t look like your brain damaged? 

Fred Rutman: Well, it’s kind of hard to see, you know, it’s one of those in visible afflictions that people have, you know, like lupus, you can’t see lupus, right? You know, my dad had wicked, rheumatoid arthritis, and you can’t see the pain people are in. Right. And, you know, I may have told you this in our pre talk. But, you know, I’ve been learning Hebrew since I was five. So I come from the Orthodox Jewish side of things. I had the entire language knocked out of my head, among other things, wow, my friends brought me my prayer book, and hospital. I could no longer read Hebrew. I still read at the level before. Yeah. Wow.

So I guess, you know, I look, I’m not a doctor, and I don’t know much. But I know there are different parts to the brain. And I know the brain has different functions, like and I guess, you know, you just hit that one part of the brain that said, you know, you’re not going to know this anymore. Something to that effect?

On a number of other things.

Ari: Yeah, for sure. For sure. But, so let’s talk about something a little bit that let’s talk about the whispers. The Whispers then came, I think, in 2018, I think it was, was that about the time that you learned about intermittent fasting? Yes, it was. So tell us about that the effect it had on your life. And you know what happened and you know, he missed that part of the story, give us a good part of the story.

Fred Rutman: Well, it started off with me going to see my cardiologist, which I have three cardiologists because I’m that messed up, because of all this, that happened. And I’m in the exam room, and he comes in, and he literally throws a book at me. And he says, By this, read this, do this, after you talk to all your other doctors, and we get consensus that you can do this. And the book was the obesity code by Dr. Jason Fung. And it’s all about the science of intermittent fasting. Initially, the doctors who got on board this program, were looking at it as another diet, it was simply a matter to lose a tool to lose weight. As we know now, and it’s only four years later, the science or the medicine is just catching up with the research and intermittent fasting activates all these subsystems in your body and just initiates healing at so many levels, that it’s truly mind blowing for someone who’s had his mind blown. Yeah, this is mind blowing. Yeah. And I ended up becoming a moderator in a fasting group on Facebook that had about 335,000 members. Wow. You know, I I’ve seen so many people recover from so many different afflictions, that that it’s not just anecdotal evidence is you know, this is real life. And there’s a reason that a lot of the major religions have implemented various fasting protocols over the years. You know, the rabbi’s of 3000 years ago wouldn’t know exactly what was happening scientifically in our bodies, but they knew that sometimes a fast was good for you.

Right? So, so I had, like, you know, can you give us the 30,000 foot level on how this how this works? What is intermittent fasting?

Fred Rutman: So intermittent fasting is a series of cycles of not eating, which is the fast part, and then eating. So everybody has a different protocol that will work for their body. I’m currently doing what’s called an 18 Six, which is I fast for 18 hours, and I can eat whatever I want in the six hours. That doesn’t mean I eat continuously for six hours.

Ari: I could see myself doing that. Trust me. Yeah, it’s easy to do. No, I’m talking about eating straight for six hours.

Fred Rutman: Essentially, what happens is when you fast you, you give your body, your digestive tract arrest, and it lowers your insulin levels. And that seems to start a domino effect with the rest of your hormones that are out of whack. And hormones become out of whack for a variety of reasons. So eventually, all those things start to normalize. When they told me I was type two diabetic, they also said, Okay, here’s your insulin, here’s your Metformin. You know, this is gonna be a chronic condition, your life’s gonna turn to hell. You know, you’re gonna have a very painful end of yours. And good luck. Wow, we know that’s not true.

Ari: Thanks, doc.

Fred Rutman: That’s, that’s just, you know, in sync with the medical system hasn’t caught up with the research. And Dr. Fung is a nephrologist. So he sees tons of people with kidney damage, and losing limbs because of type two diabetes. And he’s reversed it in hundreds, if not 1000s of people. Wow. And I’m one of those people in six months of intermittent fasting started in May 2018. By December 2018, I was off insulin. My blood sugar’s were 100%. Normal. Wow.

That’s incredible. Let me ask you something. Just going back to you know, where you were, I mean, you must have, you must have been at some point in time at the lowest point of your life. And I just wonder when you did get to that level?

Ari: You know, what was going through your mind? Did you ever do you ever get to the point where you said, You know what, I can’t do this anymore. I, you know, I just, I’m checking out, I’m done. I’m checking out, you know, I’m going to, you know, roll up that a little ball and die. And thank you very little. And if it did happen, how did you? How did you get out of that? How did you manage to, to, you know, motivate yourself to say, no, that’s not going to be me, I’m not gonna let that happen.

Fred Rutman: Thankfully, I didn’t get to that point. I’ve got a really good support system around me. And, you know, there’s a, I guess it’s an adage, if that’s the right word, that that people are the composite of the five people they spend the most time with, or seven people or 10 people, you know, depending on your situation. And I’m just surrounded by spectacular people. I don’t know why I’ve earned this. Where if I have earned this, to be around all these people. And I think my parents gave me a super resilience gene. And, you know, they had a tough life medically. But they never quit. And I guess I have a lot of that attribute from them. And I’ve tried to develop it further. I’ve always been a person that tries to improve himself, even though I didn’t know exactly what I was trying to improve. But I’ve always been on that path. Right. I think those combinations and of course, you know, my religious beliefs that that you know, God God has a plan for us. Yeah, you know, I hear it’d be nice if he told us that plan every so often.

You know, it’s kind of like you you know, you have kids but they don’t come with a manual you know, you wish they come with a manual. Now, so, tell us about the book you’re writing. Right? What is it coming out? What possessed you to do it? What is possessing you to write it well? Are you writing it? What do you hope to accomplish with it?

It’s funny, you mentioned that or you ask that because that’s what the publisher I’m negotiating with, just asked me for, why are you writing this book? It’s a great book. But why? And I see, I just have an obligation to people outside my circle, to share my story and tell them that there is hope. Once I’m sure you know, this off the top of your head, the Holocaust survivor, that was a psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl, Viktor Frankl, one of his classic thoughts is, if you have hope, you can conquer anything. And that’s what I’m, I’m trying to spread a little of people have been so gracious and generous in supporting me that I’m just trying to do that. Tell my story, let them know that what they’ve been told might not be the final answer. And and that there’s, you know, what’s the word there, there’s treatments out there that doctors don’t even know about, that are available that can help you heal in ways you’ve never imagined.

Ari: Yeah. Any idea when the book is going to be coming out?

Fred Rutman: Depends on how fast I can make the revisions the editors asked for. So are the instructions. You’ve written a book, right? I have written a book. So you know, some of the instructions you get back from the editors and publishers are, you know, we think you should change this, but they’re not really specific, and giving you guidance. So that’s the stage I’m going through right now.

Ari: So let me ask you, before we go, words of wisdom, anything you can share with my audience, something they can take away with them?

Fred Rutman: Sure, a couple of things. You know, they say that comparison is the thief of joy. And, you know, I think, I don’t know is that the sixth commandment, don’t do not cover it. I’m not sure where that lines up on there. But, you know, if you start trying to compare your life and your recovery to other people, and get mad and frustrated about that, it’s really hard to have any joy in your life. And as Viktor Frankl said, it’s really hard to, to pull in that hope that things will get better in and that you will conquer whatever battle you’re facing. The it’s just the reality, your mindset is probably your greatest superpower. In, you know, realizing that your mindset is walking around and a cape and leotards and has a, you know, a giant s or whatever on your chest. Yeah, that’s, you know, when we talk or moderating the intermittent fasting world, that’s one of the things we talk about the most is, this isn’t going to be linear. There’s going to be times where you take a few steps back. But you keep that mindset that this is going to work. And it is going to move you forward in so many aspects of your life.

Ari: Yeah, absolutely. Truly, truly words of voice to never ever give up. I think is, you know, if you want to put into a nutshell. So, Fred, if people want to get in touch with you, what would be the best way for them to do that? Do you have a website? Do you have emails, social media?

Fred Rutman: I’ve heard about this email thing I heard it’s pretty convenient. I have an email. My email goes by my moniker repeatedly dot dead.fred@gmail.com Again, again, repeatedly idli dot Fred sorry, repeatedly I get confused still repeatedly dot dead dot Fred because that’s what I was really dead@gmail.com and that’s also my Instagram, you can find me at that Instagram, which I’m just getting into millennial. And, you know, I’ll post things like this podcast or any other inspirational things that come my way. And they can always follow me and, you know, slide into my messaging and give me a shout.

Ari: Okay, that’s awesome. Fred, I want to thank you so much for sharing your story with my audience, giving people the motivation they need to persevere and all the struggles in life because everybody goes through struggles. Good luck going forward. Looking forward for your book to come out. Let us know when that’s going to happen. And, you know, just keep on keeping on. It’s, you know, that’s my prayer for you. You were listening to whispers and bricks and I’m your host Gary Shermer. Remember, if you feel like you’re stuck in the mud, like you’re spinning your wheels, wasting time and your career, your business your life. If you know you’re not enjoying all the success, satisfaction and significance that you desire, that it’s time for you to book a call with me at www dot call with ari.com. Check out my whispers and bricks, coaching academy and until next time, listen to the whispers avoid the bricks and never ever give up on your dreams. Bye for now.

98.  Fred Rutman Finding A Solution

97. Rachel Michelberg Diffcult Choices


Rachel Michelberg Difficult Choices


Rachel Michelberg had a normal life when her husband was in a plane crash. He survived but suffered extensive injuries including brain damage. She had two small children and wasn’t sure how she would take care of her husband. She made a difficult choice and had him stay in a rehab center to heal instead of bringing him home. This was a very hard choice but was the right choice for her family. She still visited him and made sure he saw the kids and was a part of family celebrations. She still oversaw his care she just could not physically care for him. Her story reminds us that sometimes you might have to make an unpopular choice because it’s the right one for you and that love sometimes means making hard choices.

Show notes:





Episode Transcription

Intro Plays


Ari: Welcome to whispers and bricks My name is already showing I’m your host. My guest today is Rachel Middleburg who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and still enjoys living there with her husband Richard and her two dogs, Nala and beanie. She earned her bachelor’s degree. I’m sorry. She earned her Bachelor of Music Degree in vocal performance from San Jose State University, and has performed leading roles in the musicals and opera from Carmen to My Fair Lady, as well as the pot of Mother abbess. Three times in the sand the music when Rachel isn’t working with one of her 20 voice and piano students, she loves gardening, hiking and baking sourdough bread crash how I became a reluctant caregiver is her first book. Please help me welcome Rachel Nicole Berg. Rachel, how are you?

Rachel Mengelberg:I’m well, Ari. Thank you. So great to be here.

Ari: Oh, yes, I’m very happy to have you here. Thank you so much for coming on the show. Now, as you know, the name of the podcast is whispers and bricks, the whispers are those voices telling us what the right thing to do is and they represent the good in life. And the breaks represent the bad things that we go through in life. And we all know that, you know, life is not a straight line, many ups and downs, many bumps in the roads. You know, people get hit with more bricks, less breaks, bigger break, smaller breaks, but everybody gets hit at some point in time or another. Now your life seemed to have started out pretty good, but then took a turn for the worse. Now I think the first break happens when your marriage starts to decline. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Rachel Mengelberg: Yeah, sure. I mean, I’ve had several other stumbles along the way, which I do talk about in the book. But those felt small ish in comparison to what happened about 10 years, almost 10 years into my marriage. My husband, same as David, we, we had two children, ages six and seven years old. And our marriage had was in trouble at the time, that of this tragedy, this this trauma that I’m about to explain. And so that that’s an important setting set up for why I made the decisions that I made after this this trauma, which was that he was flying in a small airplane with one other. He was the passenger there was a pilot. And they were the plane crashed. And it crashed into a vineyard in on the central coast of California. Both men survived. Miraculously, it’s not every day you hear that people survive a plane crash but they did. But they because they weren’t wearing shoulder harnesses was an older plane and there was a grandfather clause. The plane didn’t, wasn’t equipped with them. Both men hit their heads pretty hard on the instrument panel of the airplane. My husband David was knocked unconscious and the other guy remain conscious and pulled David from the wreckage. David sustained a very severe traumatic brain injury, essentially from the his skull was split open from the middle of his nose up to the crown of his head. So the entire frontal lobe of the brain was smashed if you can pick Yeah. And in fact, normally they are with a head injury they actually have to open up the skull a little bit because of the swelling in the brain and they need to give it room in his case they didn’t need to do that because the skull was already split up and I’m sorry about those gory details but it’s it’s truth so so it through Of course all of us into you know it just in an instant as as with you with that plane hitting the tower it it altered the course of so many people’s lives. And in this case, I was really struggling with the reality that At, which I learned eventually would be the case that David would not recover, he would improve, but he would not recover, he would never recover his ability to be a father to be a first certainly to be a provider to, to maintain any kind of relationship as we know it. And in addition to all the physical issues, which, for the most part healed, there were, there were spinal injuries, severe spinal injuries, pancreatic injuries, he lost an eye while he didn’t lose the eye, but he became blind in one eye because of the pressure on the optic nerve. So it was just, it was just devastating. And in my book, I really wanted to explore the incredible ambivalence I felt about being having this role of being his caregiver. inheriting it, inheriting, it sounds like a very passive, passive way. It was, it just became my role. And at first, you know, it was mostly about managing all the doctors, he was in the hospital for a very long time, the ICU and then he was just an physically in such terrible shape. He had several several facial reconstruction surgeries, and there was just so many, as you can imagine, so many different elements that we had to deal with.

Ari: Well, how did this affect your family and your kids? For the most part,

Rachel Mengelberg: right? Well, so at first, you know, it was a question of how to tell them the truth, what was because at first, I didn’t at the very beginning, I just told them that, you know, Daddy was hurt. I didn’t, we didn’t know. Right, but and then when I learned it, actually had my rabbi. I was a cantor at the time. And I actually asked my rabbi to come and talk to them, because I, I was afraid about their reaction when they learned that their dad would never really be the same. And how do you explain that to a six year old, you know, and a seven year old, it’s so but then it was a question of making arrangements to get them to the hospital to visit him and, and, and to just kind of make that part of our daily lives. And, and it wasn’t long before I realized that, particularly my older child, my daughter needed, needed some therapy, she admitted that she’d been crying a lot, but only on the inside. And so it was then I knew I knew, Okay, she needs to go to therapy. And at that age therapy is really more just creating a safe space for the kid to just play and express their, their, their feelings. Um, but yeah, it was it, it changed everything. It was so devastating. Because I remember going to shortly after the accident, going to this gymnastics show that my kids were in. And I remember looking around at the, at all the dads that in those days, we have people at camcorders, you know, and they were they’re recording their kids little somersaults, or cartwheels or whatever. And, and I remember looking around, and even though I was sitting there with my sister and brother in law, who were there, I’m very caring. And I had a really strong support system, I it suddenly hit me I am, I am really now a single parent, like, there’s going to be no one in these kids lives besides me who’s going to be as invested in their lives? So yeah, it was a profound. It was a it affected us all profoundly.


Ari: Well, so at some point in time, and this is, again, I don’t know how long it was. But at some point in time, you made a major, a major decision. All right. Tell us about that decision.


Rachel Mengelberg: Yeah. And that’s really what the book is about. Because I couldn’t find that story. As an avid reader, I had found stories of people that had had these tragedies happen to them and had risen to the challenge. dealt with it by changing their desires, and doing what they needed to do. I knew when my health and own health started to fail. And my sense of self and my sense of confidence that I could raise these kids and I could keep our house household together and I could do this in the car. and it’s just there was none. I felt terrified about the prospect of him coming home. We had a smallish house. I just felt like he needed 24/7 supervision. He was very impulsive and very incontinent at the time. He had seizures. He, he just was he was it, you know, saying he was like a child is, it’s not terribly accurate, but it’s as close as I can get. He just you know how children just don’t have these. They don’t have impulse control. They don’t have filters. That was that describes David, even to this day. So I when my health started to fail, and I ended up being hospitalized as well. I had a meeting with a social worker, because we were making arrangements for him to come home, his coming home had been postponed because of my illness. And I came home weighing like 100 pounds. Because an eating disorder I’d had kicked in as well. And she basically gave me the permission to consider other options. She said, why don’t we have him go into a brain injury rehab facility for a little while? And I said, No, no, no, no, no, I can’t do that. He’s, he’s my husband, it’s my job to take care of him. I’m a nice Jewish girl. This is what we do. I mean, I know that sounds a little, I don’t know, kitschy or something. But it’s true. That’s how I felt I felt that it was my duty. And there, I couldn’t imagine any other option. And yet she opened that door, she gave me permission to consider that other avenue and, and I told myself, this is just temporary. And it just bought me a little time to recover myself. And perhaps for him to get even that much more improved and his physical and cognitive health. But then, as time went on, I and he kept having physical issues. Primarily, he kept him well actually, both he, at one point he did what they call, elope he tried to leave he, he just started walking out of the facility and down the road. And it felt horrible. It felt like I was a jailer of some kind. His family was very angry with me. They, I was accused of being his jailer of being a warden, and keeping him in a place with other crazy people, you know, instead of bringing him home where he would be better off but I knew and in my heart, in my soul in my everything that I would implode. And our whole family therefore would implode if he came home. And so I made that decision to not having come home. Yeah. And so I kind of gave away the books ending. But there is there is more to it, of course, because it’s my journey on that decision toward that decision that I think is important that there are so many people these days, I think you and probably everyone who’s listening to this, either themselves or know someone who has been put in a position of being a caregiver, to a degree where it was very hard on them. And in, in my I dedicated my book to caregivers because I really believe they’re heroes, even the ones that are being paid for it. Because maybe it’s it’s such a heroic act. It’s it’s it’s so selfless. And it wasn’t all I all I could give was to to my kids. All I all I had was to take care of myself and my kids. I didn’t have the bandwidth, if you will to to be that caregiver that that David needed. So.

Ari: So although, although he decided at the end of the day, not to be his caregiver. All right, you didn’t totally give up on him. You did help him in other ways. What tell us about that?

Rachel Mengelberg: Yes, absolutely. I lest I sound like some kind of villain. I really, I asked myself this question, What can I do? And I know that that’s again, that’s sort of a basic question that therapists might ask their their patients, you know, well, rather than beating yourself up for what you can’t do, why don’t you really focus on what you can do? So what I decided I could do became that he was in a facility in a At town about a half an hour away from us, which is really it was really doable. And every time I could I had the facility they would, they had a service where they would bring him up to visit us, either our house where we had dinner, usually on Sundays, just because that was the easiest day for everyone people were home, or if the kids were in a performance or had a baseball game or Karate, you know, tournament or something, whatever. It was some some event at school, Bar Mitzvah, or bat mitzvah, they David was there for those actually by then he was he’d already moved to Israel. That’s, I’ll get to the end of the story in a second. But He currently lives he’s still alive. And he lives in Israel with his sister, near Tel Aviv. So what So in answer to your question, that was one of the things I could do. And the other thing was to go visit him and to take the family on outings, we would go to BestBuy by a charging cable, you know, that was a big event, right? We would go we would go to a restaurant, but going to a restaurant was actually really stressful because he didn’t walk well, his back injuries never really healed very well. He, he would be inappropriate. I’m never to the point where it was. He wouldn’t. He wasn’t violent. But there was so much unpredictability, again, that it was stressful. And then, of course, I was dealing with my small children too at the same time. One time, I remember, my daughter was some somewhere else. And I took my son and I took them to a nearby State Park and we went on this hike, and hike. And I remember driving up there and realizing I have no cell signal. If my set my seven year old, you know, breaks his ankle or, you know, what am I going to do? Like? Or what if David falls? Or you know, and so I realized, what am I thinking I can’t do this hike, right? It’s just it just, it changes so much about the way that how you view like what a family life should be? Or what you expected of it. I know I meandered a little bit but

Ari: know, that’s fine. But basically, I mean, more what I’m getting out of this is that although you know caregiving was was out of the question, alright, kind of keeping the family together and making sure that he knows who his kids are making sure that the kids know he is that was something that you’ve that you’ve done. And that is also I mean, that’s a major accomplishment, you know, and try, you know, trying to keep the family together. That’s also important. Look, not everybody can do everything, you know, in the I just reminds me of the Clint Eastwood, what are the Clint Eastwood movies with 30 Harry where he goes, man’s got to know his limitations. You know, so, you know, you and and look, I understand that you realize what, that you had limitations, and you knew that you couldn’t, you know, do the things that that you although you may have wanted to do them. Okay. You know, it was just beyond your scope, which is fine. Okay, because like I said, You were you’re helping in other ways, keeping the family together, making sure the kids make sure is there for the bar mitzvahs for the parties for all these things. And that is also very, very important. Now, let me ask you this. Okay. What prompted you to write your book? First of all, tell us a little bit what was the name of the book THE CRASH

Rachel Mengelberg: CRASH, which of course implies is his crash, but mainly my crash, right? Oh, interest how I and then the subtitle is how I became a reluctant caregiver. And it’s does seem a little bit ironic, because I’m, I’ve been speaking for the last several minutes about how I didn’t become his caregiver. However, I was, as you say, a caregiver of a sort. It just wasn’t the one who was there, helping him to the bathroom every single day and making sure he got his meds and you know, all of the above it wasn’t that it was a different. It was a different format. And so and I remember having a conversation with the director of the brain injury facility where he was and it was a town called Gilroy. And, and she asked if I wanted to go to this brain injury seminar, it was a one day seminar and for caregivers, and I said, Well, I’m not his caregiver. And she looked at me and she said, Oh my God, yes, you are. are even though as I say, you’re not you’re not doing it in the conventional sense. So, so that’s why my publisher and I went back and forth about the title at first it was like, a memoir of motherhood, guilt. And I can’t remember the third one. But it really it. I think guilt is is a is a very important theme in my book about the, what I expected myself what society expected of me and what I what I did or didn’t do. Shame enters in there too. But what prompted me I think, and I didn’t start writing it until about three and a half years after the accident. I, I have no real training as a writer, you know, I, I, as you said, I’m a I’m a singer, I teach voice I, I been a performer and actor all my life. I was a cantor, a cantorial soloist, meaning, I My degree is in music, not not in, not in cantorial studies. And so I had to, I had to figure out how to do it. But I knew that there was a story I felt like because like I said earlier, because I had found other stories about people with tragic tragic things happening to them who and telling the story of their journey to either they personally wrote it, their journey to overcome it, or their caregivers journey, how the caregiver rose to be the caregiver, those demands, my story was so different, it was, in a way the anti hero. And I felt that it was important to give people like me a voice that that you can have self respect by making a different decision. A choosing a different path than is expected of you. Or, or in hindsight, you should have done something differently. I felt it was important that that story be told. And what I was very much afraid of was that it would come across as whiny or complaining that you know catching that, that Oh, poor me and and everyone who read it in a Vance of the drafts, different drafts was very, was very clear that it didn’t read that way. I just wanted to tell my story. This is what happened. This is the decision I made. This is how I felt about it. This is how I got through it. So that’s that’s why I wrote it. But again, I had to learn how I had I started by just taking classes and just starting I started in the middle, I started with the scene of that social worker telling me I didn’t have to take him home that one day.

Ari: Well, so it took you three and a half years, I’m gonna be honest with you, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. My book that I wrote, took me nine years to decide to write it. All right, I don’t write it, that my book came out on the 10th anniversary of 911. So, okay, so

Rachel Mengelberg: how long did it take you to write?

Ari: It took me about nine months to write it.

Rachel Mengelberg: Mine took 11 years. You mean, in the first category, I went in this big?

Ari: Let me ask you something. Who is the one person you can point to? That you would say had the most influence on your life? And why? And I’m not talking about your husband obviously. Because, you know, you know, that was just like something that obviously, he didn’t do that on purpose. Okay. But, you know, there must have been somebody in your life that you point to and say, you know, without that person, I never would have made it or you know, that’s the person that gave me the strength or who would that person be?

Rachel Mengelberg: Yeah, so usually when people ask me that question, I talk about my my high school choir teacher Ah, just because of his encouragement for me to sing. But but your your your question base had two parts and in retrospect, in retrospect, looking back now, and having just spoken about my book for the pet and my story for the past, however many minutes I believe that it really was my therapist and I started seeing her actually, when I was 19. My mother was an alcoholic, and I was blaming myself. And so I started therapy when I was 19. And I know the same person. Yeah. But I, I saw her on and off over the years, she just happened to live in that same area where I live in and, and I think it’s having that safe space to go whenever I needed to, and get, get that mirror back, get those questions asked that, that forced me to look back inside and just tell the truth. And really tell the truth without filters, you know, without worrying about how it’s going to come across. I have that such a safe space to do that. And once I did that, you know, you can’t really turn back. I couldn’t. So I do believe that my therapist got me through it. And through other things in my life, I you know, the eating disorder, as I said, my parents divorce. My mother’s alcoholism. You know, we all we all have burdens, as you said at the beginning, those bricks, that, you know, some sometimes they’re little and they just crumble when they hit you. And sometimes they’re massive, like, like your experience. And this experience with the plane crash the brick was ginormous, gigantic. Yeah. And you it altered you and you know me completely forever. And most of us, well, some of us can weather it if we have the right support system and know where to turn to, to get that. So I would say my therapist.

Ari: Okay, so let me ask you this, before we go. Any words of wisdom that you can share with my audience, something they can take away? Something that can help them?

Rachel Mengelberg: You know, I, I didn’t really know what whispers and bricks was. And when we explained it in the beginning of this i i feel like you know, when the whispers when the bricks are coming at you, listen, the whispers are still there, even if they’re very soft. Listen to them. And that whisper was telling me it’s okay to give myself permission to consider an option that isn’t popular. That isn’t what’s expected. Give yourself permission, at least to to open yourself up to other options. If you feel trapped, if you feel that there’s no way out of a situation that you’re being forced into. Then there’s, there are little glimmers that you can follow that may be more true to what who you are and what you want to do.

Ari: Wow. That is that sounds like great, great advice. Now if people want to get in touch with you, what would be the best way for them to do that? Do you have like a website? If you have an email or social media?

Rachel Mengelberg:I have a website. It’s my name. Rachel Michael Berg. author.com. I don’t know if you’re going to put it. In fact, let me spell it. Yes, absolutely. Okay. Rachel is our AC H E L. M, like Mary? i c h e. L. B like boy, e r g. author.comRachel Mengelberg author.com.

It’s also Rachel M. author@gmail.com. At gmail.com. Yeah. And my book is available. It’s distributed traditionally, or so it’s available through any bookstore any. And I believe it might be on sale right now. The Kindle version for 99 cents. Oh, wow. Is it at the one year anniversary my publisher does? Does a 99 cent sale. Oh, wow. It might have gone up starting today. Sorry.

Ari: There you go. All right. I hear you. I hear you, Rachel. Thank thanks so much for sharing your story with my audience. I know that there are people out there that are in the same boat that you’re in wondering, you know, can they make that decision as well? I think you coming out is very, very brave. It’s very strong, that you come out and say look, I know my limitations. Okay. And I don’t need to feel guilty about the fact that I have limitations because I do what I do. I can do I do what I can do and what I can’t do, I don’t do and You know, there’s something to be said for that. I mean, again, not everybody, not everybody, Superman and not everybody’s Batman. Okay, it takes, you know, different kinds of people

Rachel: in this world. In fact, most of us aren’t

Ari: the Yeah, that’s very true. That’s very true. But anyway, listen, good luck going forward. So you’re now you’ve remarried, correct?

Rachel: Yes, I remarried. I married a physicist. He’s working on Dark Matter discovery. Wow. Goes right over my head. Yes. My kids. My kids are 24 and 23. doing really well with graduated college. And, yeah, I’m still singing still. Doing a little writing not as much.

Ari: Wow. Okay. Well, thanks so much. Good luck going forward. I appreciate you coming on the show and sharing your story. You were listening to whispers in bricks and I’m your host Gary Sherman. Remember if you feel like you’re stuck in the mud like you’re spinning your wheels wasting time and your career your business your life. You know you’re not enjoyable success, satisfaction significance that you desire, then it’s time for you to book a call with me at call with ari.com Check out my whispers of bricks Coaching Academy and until next time, listen to the whispers avoid the bricks and never ever give up on your dreams.