I grew up in Southern California, the OC, in the 1980’s punk rock scene and that had a big part of who I am today. So Cal has such a diverse culture that kids from all ethnic groups, sexual orientations, backgrounds/upbringings, religious upbringing, etc. all came together for a rebel and fight against what we thought were social injustices. I was from a middle class family in Anaheim Hills. My father was a drug dealer/addict and alcoholic who would abuse me physically and verbally. My mother was treated the same way, by my father, and felt she had nowhere to turn. I remember one day when my father was beating on my mom, I was 10, and I had finally hit my breaking point and stepped in to defend my mom. I don’t remember much of what happened after that. I do remember waking up with my father holding me just repeating “don’t die”. Looking back I don’t think he was saying it out of concern for me but more concern on what would happen to him. This event and the years leading up to it really formed who I am today. I swore I would be nothing like my father and always do my best to look out for and defend those who can’t do it for themselves.

I have struggled with depression, anxiety and panic attacks from an early age, probably has a lot to do with my childhood. I was a young athletic kid but as I got older and the stresses of my life began to weigh on me. I had an addictive personality but because of my promise to myself to be nothing like my father I steered clear of drugs and alcohol. Food became my salvation. I went from a tall, thin athlete, 185lbs stud, to someone who couldn’t walk a flight of stairs without taking a break. I had convinced myself that I was happy that way. I joked about myself and my situation so no one would know how I really felt. I would say things like “yeah the big old fat guy is going to sit this one out”, all the time hating myself. I have a 17 year old daughter who is the light of my life and truly the most special, inspirational person I have ever meet.

I hadn’t been feeling right for months and finally doctor appointment. It was May 2017, I weighed in at 376lbs and found out that I had diabetes. I walked out of the doctor’s office with nine new prescriptions because my blood glucose level was dangerously high. After a long cry that night, I thought about what my daughter would do if I wasn’t there. I thought about how unfair it would be of me to just give up. I kept thinking of my daughter having to watch me slowly killing myself and how I was putting her through the sort of pain my own father put me through. I decide to change my life. I did a lot of research on eating healthy and taking care of my inner/spiritual self. I started eating vegan and studying different cultures spiritual connects to life. I am not saying that being vegan is a cure all for everyone but it has had a tremendous impact on me. I have to date lost 108lbs, still have 69lbs more to reach my goal. I feel great. I am off all of the diabetes medications and haven’t had a BG reading over 100 in months. I am re-energized and looking forward to the future. I used to say “the old fat guys is going to sit this one out” and that has changed to “get out of my way I am going first”.