Indie gogo Campaign for pilot!!

Hey guys and gals!! So i started a new campaign on indie gogo looking to raise funds for a pilot presentation of this blog put into a tv series! Please help spread the word any way possible, and if you can help fund my project!!

FOLLOW THIS LINK BELOW!!

http://igg.me/at/cimr/x/2809223

Thank you so much for your consideration and help! God bless.

(19) My Infantry, Continued…

Now that the memory of my grandmother’s day had slowly faded away, the second most memorable thing I experienced was with my best friend Cliff and a bouncer at a nightclub. Now most people going through chemo and even doctors would probably tell you that a club is the last place you should go when your sick. But what can I say, I was 23 years old and I didn’t want to feel different nor lose that time in my life because of this disease. I wanted to feel normal so bad that I did things I probably should not have done or attempted. But this night Cliff and I decided to give it a go and hit a nightclub in the city.

Cliff came and picked me up from my house and when he saw me he began to laugh. When I asked him what was so funny, he simply replied with, “you look like we are going to the snow and boarding.” I began to laugh with him as I walked over to the mirror to check myself out. So there I was with a beanie, scarf, jacket over a sweater, pants and boots on. All that was missing now where my goggles and I would be ready for the snow and not a club. I couldn’t stop laughing at this point because never in a million years did I ever think I would dress myself like this!  But when you are going through chemo and really sick, the 60-degree weather feels more like 20 degrees, so I went a little over board and overdressed. So after my mother and cliff helped me pick out a nice yet warm outfit, we hopped in the car and took off to the city.

While we were driving cliff kept making sure the temperature in the car was ok and the music wasn’t to loud. I looked at him and said, “I’m not 80, and if anything is wrong I’ll tell you.” He started laughing as did I, but the feeling of a great friend that truly cares is priceless and more than I could ask for. As we pulled up to the parking lot of the club we were going to, he made sure I was up for going in and let me know if at anytime I felt sick, we can go.

So now at this point Cliff and I are waiting in line to get in, and this girl behind us starts up a conversation. Not even one minute into it, she looks at me and says, “you ok? You look really sick or something.” I started laughing and replied with: “ Yeah I’m sick, but it’s ok cancer is not contagious!” Unfortunately, my humor was not that funny, and think she may have taken it the wrong way. But that was myself hiding behind the fact that I was afraid of anyone knowing I was sick or treating me different because of it. After I noticed she was uncomfortable with our interaction I quickly turned around and kept to myself. Now if that weren’t awkward enough my encounter with the bouncer would be a million times worse.

Here is how the interaction with the bouncer went as he called me up to check my ID:

Bouncer: You got an ID?

Me: Yeah it’s right here.

Bouncer: Um, yeah you can go in but you got to take that hat off.

Cliff steps in front of me to talk to the bouncer.

Cliff: Hey man he can’t take that hat off.

Bouncer: What is it glued to his head or something?

Cliff: No he is going through chemo and needs to keep his head warm.

Bouncer: Wow, that a new excuse I haven’t heard yet. Good try. Either you take off your hat or don’t come in at all.

Me: It’s ok Cliff I can handle this.

So at this point I looked at the bouncer and gave him an eye opening experience.

Me: So this is a new excuse for you huh? Well trust me if I could have done my hair that I barely have I would have.

Bouncer: Look its not my problem and don’t have time for people that make excuses.

 

What I did next was the almost like being a performer on Venice beach with a big audience. So I took off my hat, licked my hand and wiped the top of my head from back to front. I then showed my hand to the bouncer that was now covered in hair, and said, “So do you think this is still an excuse for me trying to where my hat?” The bouncer was lost for words and just looked at me and around at everyone that was watching. Now some would say I went a little overboard, but I felt like this had to be done and he needed to know his attitude was not ok.

After he was able to collect his thought, he said, “I am really sorry and hope you can forgive me for being rude like that.” I quickly told him that it was ok and some people jut don’t have a clue, then I told cliff I wanted to go somewhere else.  Cliff and I started heading back to his car and that’s when I began to break down.

Was I different? Why do people look at me as if I am already dead? But this part of my memory never gets answered because I start to snap out of the vault that hold my memories and back into reality.

So here I am again sitting on my bed, and back in the present time. What’s next in my life? With out hesitation I begin to shuffle through the papers on my desk, and there it is, my bucket list. Now it was time to check another item off on my list!

(18) My Infantry

Looking back on my life and trying to pull out all my positive memories, I find that two very funny and meaningful ones play through out my mind on a constant repeat. The first one being of my grandmothers and I trip to the smoke shop in Sonoma County.

Grandma and the Head Shop:

My grandmother had caught wind that I just received my medical marijuana card and thought that none better but to take me “weed” shopping followed by “water pipe” shopping.  Now I know what your thinking! “ Damn wish my grandma was cool like this!” I know that’s what I was thinking, plus the plain fact that she even acknowledged I was going to be smoking weed. So moving on, my grandmother came and picked me up, seeing that I was incapable of driving do to the heavy pain meds I was on that day, and asked me where the “medical grass place” was.  First I couldn’t help but laugh at the fact she called it “grass” and second as if she was trying to conceal her identity. Picture this if you will, she was wearing an enormous hat, with a scarf wrapped around her neck and clothing that covered every inch of her body besides her hands.  She even explained to me that she was just the driver and helping her grandson out, and wanted no credit to helping me get my marijuana. Once we arrived at the cannabis club she parked as far away from the entrance as possible thinking she might get caught or something. As I am getting out of the car she tells me that I should buy many different kinds and see which one works best, and that the ones with the name purple in it, she heard where the good ones. Now at this point I am walking into the club thinking to myself, “ Wow, did my grandma just tell me to get the purple stuff?” Moving forward I purchased my “meds” and we continued on to the smoke shop, which was conveniently located right down the street. We parked and walked in, but as we did I noticed my grandmother surveillance the area as if she was on the lookout, or maybe someone would recognize her.  Once we got inside the conversation we had with the clerk was priceless!

Grandma: Nick come over take a look at this one! It’s made out of a real nice wood.

Me: Grandma, get your mind out of the 60’s! It’s all about glass now.

Grandma: Oh ok… Oh my! These look like crack pipes!

Me: What! Grandma you can’t say that in here.

Clerk: Ma’am we don’t sell crack pipes, they are illegal!

Grandma: Oh I’m sorry.

Me: Maybe you should wait outside, while I get this.

Now at this point I wanted to bust out in laughter, but knew that it was not the right time nor place to do so.  I quickly bought my smoking device, and headed to the car. My grandmother looked at me when I got into the car, and said she was sorry that she embarrassed me. I quickly replied with,” You don’t embarrass me, I think you’re the best grandmother anyone can have.” She began to tear up as she started the car and then drove me home so I could relax.

This day meant the world to me, and not just because I got to legally purchase marijuana, but the plain fact that my grandmother took time out of her day and went against what she believed in to help me out in a time of need. She was always at my side and even took me to my chemo treatment on days my parents could not. She held my hand when I was in pain, watched over me as I slept in the hospital, and made sure that I was taken care of no matter what time of day it was. This woman I call my grandmother is the brightest star in my universe and so lucky to have her be a part of my survivor army!

Now that was a great humorous story and wonderful fun memory, but the next one that plays over and over came at the hands of my best friend cliff and my night out on the town a few weeks into my chemo sessions. This memory was meaningful in the way of what a true friend is, and to see how un-informed the people in the world around me are. So it was a boy’s night out yet again, but this time chemo style!

(17) My “Survivor Army”

They say if you surround yourself by positive and motivating people you will become a better person yourself. I could not agree more and that’s exactly what I did when I was in the fight for my life. This group of family and friends where what I like to call my “Survivor Army”. Now of course the general’s driving this army to victory was my mother, father and step father, because without them I would have never been able to just fully focus on beating this disease. They took care of my job, bills, transportation and the trip to the medical marijuana facilities.

Now lets start with my mother and stepfather. Both are very amazing parents and done so much for me not just when I was sick but as a whole. No matter the time of day I could call them and they would be right next to me in a heart beat. With this I felt like I was not alone in this war, and they assured me that they would fight hand and foot with me until the very end. The hard part for me was seeing my mom so upset and to see her have to care for me after she herself had been through two major back surgeries at this point and time. For her to put up with my sickness and with all the late night porcelain god praying (throwing up in the toilet), I tip my hat to her and am honored to call her my mother. My stepfather really stepped up to the plate not only for my mom but also for the both of us. He truly loves and adores my mother and fills her life with happiness. This I see, which made me want to live more, so I could find the same love in a partner that the two of them share for each other. I truly consider myself very lucky to have him step into both our lives, because he supports most of my decisions and will always be there for me in a time of need.

My father and I have had our ups and downs, but I truly believe that once I became sick and needed him, our relationship grew ten fold. He was so involved in my recovery and never hesitated to offer a helping hand in any way sort or kind. I remember one night at 3am; I called him and said I was hungry. Now during chemotherapy you are not always hungry, so when that urge hits you need to act on it, because you don’t know when that will happen again. So with this in mind, he came and picked me up and took me to McDonalds. We were driving around for a good 30 minutes trying to find a 24hr one. Even though to some this might not sound like a big deal, but this is truly when I felt like my dad and I had that relationship that would forever be unbreakable. If this was not enough, that night he asked me what I wanted that could help me through all of this, and I looked at him and said, “I could really go for a pug”.  Long story short within the next few weeks I had my very own pug puppy and named him Mr. Bentley. This dog never left my side from the moment I first laid eyes on him until this very present day. He kept me company on the days I was alone by myself, and put a smile on my face when I needed to be cheered up. I could not thank my father more for what he has done and given to me throughout this fight and my life.

All of these great memories of my parents played a big part in my survival, and most of all my drive to succeed in life. I always emphasize to others around me that parents are so much more than family, but yet they are your backbone and driving force into the success of one’s life.  Now my parents were the general’s in my army, so what about my infantry? Could never have asked for a better group of friends and family members to go into battle with. The story’s we created when I was sick are absolutely priceless and need to be shared.

 

(16) Drop dead Fred!

Music was filling the air, girls dancing all around me and I was a cancer survivor with a new mission in life. Even though I was changing myself inside and out, I forgot that others would not change around me. So here I am walking around this nightclub with my friends enjoying the night, when I get this sudden grab to my right shoulder. I turn around, and there Fred is with a big shit-eating grin on his face and the smell of cheap vodka as he opened his mouth to talk to me. At first I was expecting him to say something like “I haven’t seen you in a long time”, or “dang speed bump, you have grown”. This guy thought making fun of me was cool amongst our old friends, which is why I’m no longer friend’s with this person.  But I think I would have much rather him make fun of me than the comment he was about to make. Conversation went a little like this:

Fred: Speed bump…

Me: Oh hey Fred how you been?

Fred: Wow I’m really surprised!

Me: Surprised about what?

Fred: That you’re still alive! Thought the cancer would have killed you by now.

Me: Wow Fred, can tell you…

Before I could even get out another word, two of my very close friends pulled me back and stepped right in front of Fred’s face.  I was in complete shock that someone could say something like that, and also the fact at what had happened prior to this night with Karen. All I know is that at this moment I felt like I was in slow motion walking toward the back of the building, while behind me there was loud arguing going on followed by punches thrown by my friends. This all seemed surreal to me, like a scene out of a blockbuster movie. I found myself sitting in a chair crouched down with my hands on my head and a few tears slowly rolling down my cheeks.

Now some would say, why is this guy crying at a nightclub? But I don’t think anyone that has not gone through what I have could understand that feeling of emptiness that had just been brought upon me. The fact that someone could be so heartless and say something of this nature to a person that fought very hard for his life.

Like an angel from heaven, this woman sat in front of me and gently put her hands on my knees. I looked up and made eye contact, and had no idea who she was. She calmly said, “Forget about that guy! Remember all of the positive people and memories in your life that helped you beat this disease and forget about the rude and negative insensitive ones. If you need someone to talk to I will gladly step outside and talk with you.” At this point I thought to myself that this woman was an absolute sweetheart, and that there are people out there that really do care.

So what positive memories and people did I have that helped me beat this disease and live to see another day? As soon as I got home and into my room, I found myself hitting the rewind button once again, but this time it was a pleasant trip down memory lane.

(15) What Ego?

After becoming a cancer survivor, I thought to myself that nothing else in my future could ever crush me nor come close to what I had gone through. So many times when I was sick did I think to myself, “yeah this is the lowest point in my life, and I don’t think I can take another hit.” But I had come to realize that at this stage in my life, if you keep worrying about what possible bad things could happen to you in the future, that you would live the rest of your life in fear and caution. Thankfully I took this into my next encounter with girl number two on the apology list to put a little bit of padding on my heart.

Girl #2 (Karen)

Coming off a great encounter with the previous girl, I thought to myself that this was easy and should have done it sooner. So with this in mind I had tracked down girl #2’s phone number and gave her a ring. This conversation went from nice to down right evil in 3.5 seconds. Phone conversation went a little like this:

Karen: Hello?

Nick: Hi Karen, it’s Nick

Karen: Nick who?

Nick: Nick Leland!

Karen: OH WOW! What the fuck do you want you big pile of shit? Come to tell me how much of a loser I am? Or have I found anyone yet to put up with my bullshit? Is this why you called? Some nerve you have!

Nick: Karen I just wanted to apologize for my past behavior and actions. I never meant to…

Karen: I could give two fucks about your apologies. You can’t patch up what has already been done by you. So fuck off and loose this number!

The click of the phone hanging up felt like a bullet piercing right through the middle of my soul. I started thinking to myself; “wow, what the hell did I do and say to this girl that got her so pissed off that even time or my apologies couldn’t help?” This phone conversation made me feel like the biggest pile of shit, and really set me back emotionally.  Now of course, this I believe is the pain that Karen wanted to inflict on me emotionally, and boy did it work.

After this conversation sank into my head for a few hours, I started to go into analysis mode and try to figure out why exactly this played out the way it did. No matter how many times I replayed the conversation in my head, I came up with the same conclusion. Which simply was that I was a complete jerk, and said very hurtful things to push women away that started getting close to my heart.  I did not want to end up beaten and broken hearted again, so I became a very ugly man when it came to relationships. Never again would I let another girl do what Robyn (evil ex) did to me emotionally. But this was no way to live a second chance life, especially after knowing that life comes and goes fast.

While finding the strength to keep pushing on in this journey of redemption, I discovered that this person I used to be no longer existed and that I was the new and improved Nick trying to make a positive change in my life. I was done with letting the shadows of my ex loom above my head and keep me from finding happiness in a future partner, and that it was not her I was running from but yet myself.

With this conversation on my mind, I found myself in a little bit of a slump and according to my friends, I needed a night out with the boys to shake it off and show the world the new Nick. What a great idea this turned into and the night out with the boy’s was a much-needed outing, of course until we ran into a guy name Fred. The things he said to me, and the hole he burned into my heart was the last thing I expected that night. But as they say expect the unexpected right?

(14) Do Work!

With all of these questions flooding my mind, I tried to figure out the best place for me to go in order to answer them and work on myself. After a few weeks of consideration I decided it was best for me to move back to Northern California where my family was and start fresh. Becoming a new and improved me was not going to be easy and knew that the support of my family was going to be needed.  Once I was certain of the move home, I called my mother and said I was moving back in. At first she was a little shocked that I was coming home, but at the same time understood what I needed to do for myself emotionally.  But with this new change came new responsibility and acceptance of my faults. So with this in mind, the first thing on my list to do before heading back north was to seek out the women I had hurt and apologize to them personally. What a bumpy few weeks I was in for, not knowing what reactions I might get or the plain fact that I might not even be able to say anything at all.

Girl #1 (Sharon):

I felt as if this was going to be the hardest girl to apologize to, as I knew from her friends that if she ever see’s me again, “I would get a swift kick to the junk.”  Now this might not sound like a good opportunity to go and talk to her, but I had to do it in order to close this chapter in both my life and hers.  I tried calling her numerous times and left at least 10 voice messages asking her to hear me out and let me apologize for my behavior.  Finally after a week I got some notification from her, but it was not what I had in mind nor expected. There was a note on my door that she had left for me to read. This is what the note said:

Dear Nick,

I appreciate the fact that you want to see me and apologize for the actions you took towards me. For starters, how does it feel when you want to get a hold of someone so bad just to say sorry or anything for that matter, and you don’t get any response? Because that is how you left me! I was really hurt and never thought someone like you that has been through a big life changing event would be so dark and down right rude.

I will meet you, but only if you truly mean everything you say and are honest. If you are planning on telling me bits and pieces, then save your breath and my time.

I will be at the coffee shop in Barnes and Nobles at 3:30pm on Friday. See you there if you’re serious!

Sincerely,

Sharon

After Reading this letter, I started questioning myself. Do I really mean it? Am I being selfish, or am I doing it for both of us?  Once I answered these questions, I came to the conclusion that it was for both her and I. My pride and ego had to go, and raw emotion had to surface in order to fix what I had damaged.

Friday had come and the car ride to see her had to have been the most nervous, anxiety filled car ride I had ever taken. Once I arrived to Barnes and Nobles, I walked slowly towards the coffee shop, feeling every single heartbeat that had boomed and echoed throughout my chest.  There she was sitting nervously at a table by the window looking outside. Was she anxious or upset? This question was racing through my mind as I stopped dead in my tracks towards her. She turned her head in my direction, made eye contact and now it was time for me to make the move that started my road to redemption.

I arrived at the table, greeted her with a very nervous hello and smile, not knowing what really should have been said in this kind of situation.  I sat down across from her and as I did, I felt her eyes locked on me the whole time.  The time came to break the ice and get the conversation started, so I began with a “thanks for meeting me” and “hope we can have a meaningful and heart felt talk”.  After that, most of the conversation consisted of me listening to her and responding to any questions she had for me.  At the end of our conversation I apologized for all the mean things I had said and done. I knew that words did not mean much without action behind them, but at the time it was all that I could offer including my friendship if she chose to accept it.  The time had come to say goodbye and she looked at me and said, “I appreciate and accept your apology. You are a good man, but have issues you need to accept and work on. I will be your friend and be there for you in a time of need. Hopefully you will find the answers you seek and become a better man.”

This meant so much to me at this point in my life and was hoping that the next few girls that I had to contact would be this understanding.  If only I could have seen the future and prepared myself for the next encounter, because boy was I in for a ego and heart crushing ride!

(13) The Heartbreaker

This feeling inside of total chaos and anger was barking to get out and when my ex finally pushed my last button, it was released. No longer did I want to be this nice guy that women would love to find and keep, yet I decided it was best to become this womanizing manipulative guy that was out for revenge.  The path that I was about to travel down was very dark and twisted. So many close friends and family could not believe who I was becoming, but some strangely understood.

I was so tired of being stepped on and thrown out like I was a piece of trash. For some reason I wanted women to feel the hurt I had felt and the loss of something they thought was special. The first girl that stepped into my ring of fire was Sharon. She was very nice, sweet and going to school, but little did she know that if she came any closer to me she was in for an emotional roller coaster. Of course as you know it she played right into my little game of catch and release. I had become this guy that lied and manipulated my way into her heart and gave her false hope. After only a few weeks, I had her buying me games, movies, food, and even taking me on little vacation trips. I felt so powerful knowing that I could end it whenever I wanted to, because I had not one bit of care in the world about her feelings. After a month had gone by, I started looking for my way out of this little fake relationship I had built. The opportunity finally came when she had said something that sounded like my ex. I completely took what she said way out of context and cut off all communication to her that day.  For a week she tried calling me numerous times and showing up to my house, but I wouldn’t answer. Something inside of me was happy but not yet satisfied.

The calls and random show up at my door started to fade away, but still felt I did not have closure on the situation. So as you would know, when I went out with my friends to a club one night I saw her there. Of course I would have felt awkward running into her, because I did not have a closing argument to my sudden disappearance. Later that night as fate would have it, I walked by her kissing another guy. “Perfect! Perfect!” screamed very loudly in my head. So I casually walked up to the two of them, looked at the guy and said, “ enjoy bro, because she is an easy catch.”  The look on her face was the closure I was looking for, and I felt a feeling that could not be described.

This feeling was like a drug and I wanted more! So like all addictions I began looking for my next fix. For the next few months I went through many fake mini relationships, cheated and just plain used woman. The things I would say to women, I was surprised it didn’t get me into more trouble than I had gotten in to.

But finally like god playing his hand in my life, I met this girl Emily and she was perfect in everyway. She was very nice, beautiful and caring. She was the game changer and eye opener! For the first time I really felt like this woman really wants to get to know me and understand the pain I went through, both with cancer and relationships.  I told her everything and even the very evil ways I had with girls before her.  After laying it all out there on the table for her viewing, she gave her views and opinions on why I became this “so called” monster I created. I gobbled up every word she said and analyzed it. I found myself crying and hating the person I had turned into all because of one person.  She told me one thing that would stick with me for the rest of my recovery process, which was, “you have not yet accepted the fact you lost her”. This was totally true and I needed to go away emotionally and work on myself before coming back into the dating world.  Emily and I ended up becoming very good friends and I looked at her as a friend to lean on when my emotions where in a rough battle.

Now it was time for me to throw out my pride and really work on me. Why did I become this womanizing asshole that I never thought in a million years I would be? Is this really what a cancer survivor should use his second chance in life for? If I could go back in time I would have kicked my own ass for the horrible things I said and did. Like everything in my life, it was time to step back and evaluate what I did and find reasoning.

(12) The Unexpected

The night had come for me to meet my ex for drinks at a local bar. I remember all the thoughts and ideas running through my head as I drove to meet her. What was the first thing I wanted to say to her? Should I be nice or cold hearted? Do I let her talk and just listen? All of these questions flew out the door once I saw her waiting outside. When I walked up to her, she leaned in for a hug and I gave her a half ass hug back, not expecting to do that of course.  We both walked in silent and found a table to sit down at.  What an awkward feeling this was, sitting starring at each other in silence seeing who was going to talk first.

As I was getting ready to open my mouth and rip into her, she quickly started talking. First thing that came out of her mouth was, “Nick, I’m so sorry I said the nasty comments to you when you needed me the most!” After she had said this I was no longer mad, but now wanted to hear what she had to say and try to accept her apology. But of course I gave her too much credit in the beginning like usual, because very shortly after her first comment, she followed up with excuses for her actions and pointed out the things I did wrong. Now at this point I was no longer going to accept her apology and started to brainstorm how I could get even with her after all of the bad things she had done to me over our five-year relationship. I recall asking her one question later on into the night, and the answer I received completely triggered a person inside of me I never knew I had nor wanted to be.

The question I had asked her was this; “You said you cheated on me. So, how many times and with how many people? I wont get mad, because we are not together, but want to know for closure.” Her answer came after a few minutes of thinking and finally she said this; “Well if you want me to be honest, I would say with about eight different guys and who knows how many times with each one.”

Sitting across from her, I looked at her as if nothing was wrong and just smiled. Underneath my smiles was so much hatred and anger that I have never felt before. I never thought she could crush me anymore, but obviously that was not the case. Now in my head I started to brainstorm what I could do that night to make her feel all the hurt she has caused in my life. I had the perfect plan and as the night went on it unfolded perfectly!

As the night grew late we both had a few drinks and I asked her if she wanted to go dancing at a club.  She accepted and we headed out for more drinks, followed by a lot of close dancing. Throughout the night I showed her what she was missing, and how much fun I could be if we were still together. Felt like she was playing right into my trap that I had set.  When the club was closing I looked to her and asked her what she wanted to do, and she replied with, “let’s go back to your place.” So as you would have already guessed, that’s exactly where we went. Kissing, touching and so-called “sparks” where flying, but I don’t think she really had any idea of what was going on inside my head. The night drew to an end and we laid there in my bed looking at each other.  She ended up falling asleep, and I rolled over with a big smile on my face knowing that the next morning she was in for a rude awakening.

 

I awoke the next morning to her next to me with a smile on her face, and a look that shouted what an amazing night. She said good morning, followed by “I want to talk to you about something.” Once I heard that, I sat up immediately, and told her, “I was all ears. “ She started with, “What happened last night was not planned, but as it all happened I found myself falling for you all over again! Do you think maybe we can try again?” I quickly started laughing and tried to gather my thoughts. What I was about to say to her I’m sure was something no woman would ever want to hear from a guy she loved. So as I pulled myself together, I replied with what I thought at the time was the best stab at her heart. “Oh, I’m sorry that you thought it was a magical reconnecting night for us. But how does it feel to love or want somebody that doesn’t want to give you the same respect back!”

After I had blurted out that statement she quickly went from smiles to confusion. She got up yelled some obscenities at me, slapped me across the face and stormed out of my house. Once the front door slammed shut, I began to ask myself a couple of questions. Did she really deserve that? Was I an asshole for the game I just played? What and who did I become last night? Did she open the door to someone inside me that has been dying to get out?

 

All these questions flooded my head but one stuck out as if it needed to be recognized! Obviously there was something brewing inside of me that needed to be unleashed, and she did just that. The next few months, I became this guy that women emotionally would fear and never want to experience.

(11) Missed the Tsunami Warning!

Two nights after the show wipeout had aired, I remember the phone ringing in a different room and I rushed to go answer it. When I got to my phone I looked at the caller ID and it said restricted. Now normally I don’t pick up restricted phone calls, but with the TV show just airing, I thought maybe it was family.  Boy could I have been further from that when I answered the call.  I answered and a woman’s voice comes across. “Nick! Oh my god I just saw you on TV. Bet your ego is even bigger now!” This voice was none other than my ex girlfriends voice. Not only did I not want to talk to her, but yet felt myself going straight into a flashback of what had happened the week before chemotherapy.

 

March 2007

Feeling empty inside and alone in a cold house by myself, I needed to reach out to someone who my heart belonged to. My so-called girlfriend at the time was know where to be found and would not answer any of my phone calls or text messages. I needed her to be there for me and give me strength to fight through love and compassion.  When I finally got a hold of her later that night, I found out that she was right down the street from me at her girlfriends house.  I asked her why she wouldn’t call me back to at least acknowledge my existence and show me some empathy at least for what I was about to go through.  She straight up told me this: “The world isn’t always about you Nick! I have friends and they need me more than you right now.” I was absolutely crushed when I heard this! I hung up the phone and began to break down yelling out curse words at anyone that crossed my path. At that time I wanted nothing else but to die and be done with it.

My mother came home to find me curled up in a ball crying and shaking. She starting freaking out thinking I was sick and needed to go to the hospital.  I told her to calm down, then started to explain what events had unfolded during the day with my girlfriend.  She was totally shocked with the way my girlfriend was treating me and making me feel in this desperate time of need. My mother had become my counselor for the next few hours, and of course as I settle down my girlfriend decides to make an appearance.

My doorbell rang and my step dad answered the door. Immediately I heard arguing and the voice of my girlfriend pierced my ears. My step dad told her in a nice way to take a hike, but of course being me I chased after her.  Running to the front door I called her name begging her to stop and talk to me. She did just that, but with a very mean look.  I asked her why she was being so rude and what I did wrong to deserve this treatment.  She said, “I don’t want this drama in my life, and it would be better if I just cut you out of it.” Again I started to cry, but she showed no mercy on my heart. She continued with,” My friends are waiting for me and if you don’t mind I have better things to do!”  After I heard that I completely snapped and began to yell at her, saying whatever came into my mind. Once I was done venting she decided to take a very low blow and say something that would affect me for the rest of my life. “I hope the cancer fucking kills you! So I don’t have to deal with your shit anymore.” Shocked that I just heard those words come out of her mouth, I stood their jaw dropped with every ounce of breath taken from my body. At this time, my neighbor came to my defense that had been listening in on the conversation from her front patio. She came rushing over telling me to go inside the house and then quickly screaming at my now ex girlfriend to leave and never show her face again. As I walked inside I heard voices arguing away outside, but I started to tune out and slowly closed my bedroom door. The battle for my life just got that much harder at this point, and felt like I needed a miracle. I crawled into my bed, starred at the ceiling and cried myself to sleep.

Snap back to reality..

Obviously I was shocked to hear from her, but how ironic for her to call after I was aired on TV. But even after the years had passed, she sounded and acted the same as the last time I talk to her. But seeing that I was in a totally new mind frame and up for giving second chances, I agreed to meet her for drinks later on in the week. Was this a good move? What was about to happen at our little meeting was not expected nor did I ever think would ever happen.

(10) Check please!

In my room I found myself looking into the mirror asking, where do I start? Referring to the bucket list I had created, I looked and asked what can realistically be completed first?  As a sign from above, my buddy Cliff grabbed the bucket list out of my hand and looked it over.  He looked at me after only a few moments and said, “15 million huh? Just audition for a reality show and that will help I am sure of it.” So with his recommendation, I began to look up online how I could do that.  I found this site realitywanted.com and saw all of these TV shows casting for contestants. The one that popped out at me was this heading that said, “50k to the winner of the biggest obstacle course in America.  Known now as ABC’s wipeout. I immediately applied for the show and thought to myself, wow I can work towards my goal of 15 million smiles and also show to the world and myself what I can achieve even after Cancer.

After a week or so I did not hear from anyone so I gave up hope on a reality show. Of course the next day comes and I get this phone call from a casting director asking for me to come in and audition for the show! Without any hesitation I accepted and was one step closer.  The audition went well, and everyone in the office fell in love with my story. As I was walking out of the building, a lady stopped me, gave me a hug and said thank you so much for coming into this office and my life. For me that was a huge compliment and felt that she was my first smile.

A few days go by and still no call to tell me I was on the show, but I kept my fingers crossed. About a week after my audition I received a phone call from the shows casting producer telling me I was selected to be a part of the very first aired Wipeout show. My eyes began to tear up and joy filled my body. I couldn’t believe it, I was going to be on TV and show the world what cancer survivors are made of.

The day of filming was upon us, and I don’t think I really slept all that much the night before. I was so anxious and nervous to get the show on the road. I selected an outfit with the help of friends to wear on the show, in hopes that it would help me reach my goal of 15 million smiles.  One of the production assistants came up to me as I arrived and showed me to the changing area. As I got ready, I remember telling myself, “I hope your ready to laugh America!” I stepped outside of the changing room and almost everyone’s head turned in my direction with either a smile or jaw-dropping look. I was wearing all yellow, with yellow underwear over my shorts and knee high tube socks. This I felt was going to shoot me to my goal on my checklist.

The show was no easy task, but as the day went on I found myself as a contender and contestant to beat. I had one goal in mind and that was to win the whole thing! I told myself that if I had won, half of my winnings was going to cancer research.  I came close to winning but ended up taking third.  Even though I did not win I was victorious in many other ways.  I made new friends, was on TV and got to prove how hard I can push myself with the right motivation and determination in life.

The show went on and aired in March of 2008, which my episode was the very first episode to air. I had a viewing party at my house and with that came many laughs and congratulations.  The best part of that night wasn’t the fact that all my friends and family were around to watch this, but that I had received a phone call from the wipeout crew informing me something.  This is what he said; “Hey nick, I just wanted to be the first to congratulate you! I just saw the ratings from the show, and we had over 16 million viewers. So you know what that means.”  I kept saying no way and shut up over and over again, but he reassured me that it was a fact and he almost guaranteed that I made 15 million people smile. I informed my family and friends with the news and everyone was so happy for me.

So all in all I was able to do something that a lot of people out there wish they could do. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to be a contestant on the show and hopefully be an inspiration to all cancer survivors out there watching that night. My first item on my bucket list was checked off and ready to hand me its next task.  But then of course as fate would have it, someone surfaced and had to come in crashing me down like a tsunami.

(9) Forgotten List

Taking in a deep breathe outside in the passenger pick-up area, while I waited for my friend to pick me up, I thought to myself what’s next? A question that I found was always constant in my new beginning of life. As my friend rolled up, I saw his jaw open and eyes wide.  The look on his face was priceless when he saw my new outfit and the plain fact my hair was completely shaved off.  I got into the passenger side of the car and instantly he blurted out, “What the fuck did you do?” I began to laugh uncontrollably with tears in my eyes. Not tears of sadness, but of joy, because that was the first sign I took that I was a new person.

 

The whole car ride home was 21 questions, and what my next move was going to be. I kept replying with, “I’ll let you know on a daily basis because I wont know what’s next until I wake up the next day.”  The car ride home was exhausting and I was happy to be in my room ready to brainstorm my next attack in Los Angeles. As I began to unpack I noticed an envelope in the front pocket of my suitcase.  Inside were a couple of folded pieces of lined paper.  One saying: “please read first, mom”, and the other one blank.  I began to open the one my mother had written on, and this is what it said:

 

My dearest son,

 

            In this envelope you will find a list that you created as you where going through chemotherapy. Insisting that no matter what happens, you or myself where going to check everything off on this list.  It brought tears to my eyes when you showed me this list with everything you wanted to accomplish and do before you died. You are my only son and the meaning in my life; nothing will ever take that from me. So now I am giving back to you this list of things to do, hoping that this will help guide you onto the right path you are in search for. The world is yours to take hold of and nothing is impossible to achieve.

 

Love always,

Mom

 

Reading this letter brought me to my knees and I began to cry, knowing that I almost crushed my mother’s dreams of seeing her son succeed after surviving. After I pulled myself together I opened up the other piece of paper and saw my chicken scratch for writing. At the top it said “Bucket List” and please complete with laughter. The paper looked like this:

 

BUCKET LIST

                            Please complete with joy and laughter!

  1. 1.     Get married to the girl of my dreams.
  2. 2.     Go on a European adventure.
  3. 3.     Make 15 million people smile.
  4. 4.     Go Skydiving
  5. 5.     Find a remote waterfall in Hawaii and stand under it
  6. 6.     Visit every state
  7. 7.     Buy a motorcycle and ride into the sunset.
  8. 8.     Help change a life
  9. 9.     Fly in a private jet
  10. 10.  Get a private pilot license
  11. 11.  Take up cycling
  12. 12.  Meet Lance Armstrong and go on a ride with him.
  13. 13.  Be in a movie
  14. 14.  Meet Jim Carey.

 

There was no ending to this list, but yet the kick-start of a new life adventure. This was a great starting point for me, and I knew that if I try hard enough I could check off everything on this list. The only question now was, where do I begin?

(8) Intervention!

Laughter filled the car as my roommate drove me to the Los Angeles airport, not knowing or maybe just hiding my shame with humility.  As I entered the airport and watched my friend drive off I felt alone and in a dark place.  How bad could things go at home? Even if they are hard on me, what do I care because I will be on the next flight back!  At the same time these thoughts were racing through my head, I was also having a war rage inside.  Knowing that I messed up and did not want to cope with what I had become and projected for others to see, I knew deep down that I had become a person I never saw coming.  The flight felt like all day even though it only took about an hour. I think during the flight there where so many ideas, excuses and alternatives speeding through my mind. By the end of the flight I knew exactly what I was going to say and how I was going to react to anything thrown my way.

 

The phone rang and my mother was already on my case. I answered and she quickly said where she was waiting and she will see me soon. At this point my heart dropped and I quickly began to panic. The tone in her voice was enough to pierce a hole right through me and make everything I thought about on the flight vanish. Turning the corner into the baggage claim area I see my mother and the look on her face said a million words. We exchanged a quick hug and silently walked to the car and headed home. The car ride home was very silent and consisted of looking out the passenger side window with my headphones in, acting like nothing was a matter.

 

Every thought that raced through my head I wanted to blurt out, but in the hour car ride home I never mustered up the courage to say them. I felt embarrassed and that I had let my family down with my choices and actions made. As we turned the corner into the neighborhood where the house was, I noticed a bunch of cars parked outside of the house.  I started to recognize the cars and was starting to grow very upset.  Once we pulled into the driveway, I looked over at my mother and said, “Wow mom, why don’t you just invite the whole fucking neighborhood over!”.  After I said that, I stormed into the house where I was quickly greeted by my father, grandparents, stepfather, best friend, long time neighbors and an old girlfriend. Words didn’t even come out of my mouth as I stood in the hallway looking at everyone. I wanted to turn around and run like the wind, right back to LA where I wouldn’t have to deal with this. But at this point I was so ego driven and had pride in my corner that I lifted my chin and found the closest open seat.

 

The things said to me and the tears I saw shed, completely crushed my pride and put me into a dark and depressed mode. After only 20 or so minutes I got up and yelled, “fuck this, I don’t need any of you!” Then continued to grab a few things and walk out of the house. I had no destination in mind, but the plain idea of get me the hell away from this place! As I placed one foot in front of the other for some time now I noticed I had walked around 3 miles or so, and cried for about 2.7 of those miles. Feeling that I had let not only myself down, but also everyone around me that loved me and had so much faith that I would live a meaningful second chance at life.  Who was this person I had turned into?  Why was I so mean? Where was all this anger coming from? These are a few questions I asked myself as I walked back towards the house. I felt that I had become a monster, and that the world and everyone in it needed to see the pain and suffering I endeared. All the fun, laughter, and image change that I had done was just covering the true pain and loneliness feeling I had deep inside. Back at the house everyone was still there waiting for me to come back, and as I walked through the door everyone stopped and stared as if I was a stranger. Apologies filled the room as I began going around to each person in the house and explained my behavior. After talking with everyone I had come to the conclusion that I needed to change my life yet again and get back onto a path that will be a rewarding and positive outcome.

 

Sunday morning came by very quickly and my decision to change was final. So I went into my bathroom, pulled out some clippers and walked into my mother’s room.  I looked at her and said, “Time for a reboot in my life”. As I handed her the clippers to shave my head she began to cry, not because she got to shave my head, but the plain fact that I listened to everyone around me and took immediate action to get back on the right path.  Now that my Mohawk was gone, next to go were my clothes. I needed a new look that was more put together and would better project my true identity.

 

Though I cut my hair, took the black nail polish off my fingernails, and changed my wardrobe, there was still one thing left to change. That one thing was going to be the most difficult to do, but in the end worth every ounce of energy. That one thing is myself, and the person I wanted to create inside.  The road ahead is a long and tough hill climb and all my friends in LA are going to be surprised by my sudden change.

 

As I left Sonoma County, thoughts, ideas and questions where rushing through my head. What are my friends going to think of the new me? Are they going to take me serious? What do I do next? All these questions would be answered shortly, as I arrived in Los Angeles. Walking off the plane and into the airport, I felt reborn, ready to start fresh with a new outlook on life and take charge.

Road to Happiness

(7) Off with the blindfold!

Hollywood was like the candy store I had never been to with so many different rooms and candies to taste. I didn’t know were to start or how to go about paving my path through this new adventure I was embarking on. All of the people I met and the things they invited me to whether it be parties, clubs or events, I could not get enough of what I was experiencing.

The night that I lost sight of what I was doing in my life might come as a bit of a shock to few, but others might have known this was coming.

The phone rang from a recent person that I had befriended to come out to this house party in the valley. Of course with out any hesitation or thought I accepted the invite and began to get ready. Not knowing what this party was about or the people that were there, all I knew is that this was just another epic night I would be able to put in the books of my spontaneous adventures.  I was picked up around ten o’clock at night and headed towards this house party with a road soda in hand, the music blaring and the car filled with friends. As we got to the house I was already a bit buzzed and couldn’t wait to get in there and meet a bunch of new people, but boy I was not ready for the people I was about to meet.  Walking into the house and making my way to the backyard through all these people, I started to notice that this was not just your average house party people go to just to have a drink and social gathering, but yet a porn industry party. I glanced into the backyard and saw numerous naked women and men partying it up, swimming in the pool and a few having sex on a patio lawn chair. This is when I started thinking to myself what the heck am I doing and what did I get myself into. With this entire situation going on around me, I thought the best way to mask the problem was to drink my way into an un-memorable state of mind. Drink after drink the problems I had with being there began to vanish and the fun started to kick in. Conversations I got involved in were strange topics and things I had never talked about publicly before. Like sex positions, fantasies and other topics that I just sat there with a blank face wondering where these people had come from, or things in the past to make them who they are today. Most of the conversations were pointless and down right sick, but I really had no idea and kept laughing and joking along with everyone so I wouldn’t be “that guy” at a party. I finally excused myself from the conversation to go and use the restroom, but mainly to just get away and take a breather. As I got to the restroom door I opened it and was shocked once I opened the door. There was a couple in the bathroom having sex, but not your typical love making because at the same time they were doing this they were also tattooing each other! This is the point when I finally stopped to think about what I was doing and why I was here at this party. The night carried on and I still proceeded to drink more. Girls and more girls were giving me all this attention and I ate it all up.  At the end of the night I had a few new numbers and more invitations to future parties. My memory was very spotty that night as I went to bed trying to remember all the things I talked about and did while I was there.

The next morning I woke up with a massive hangover and a voicemail from my mom asking me to call here as soon as possible, along with a few from my close friends. So hearing all these urgent voicemails, I knew that either something happened to someone or I did something wrong. First person on my list to call was a close friend of mine and boy did I get an ear full, from what the hell am I doing to, did you know pictures are up on the internet of myself doing things that were not looked upon as being the person everyone thought I was. So I immediately went to the Internet and hopped on MySpace to see what my buddy was talking about, and when I saw the first picture of myself posted my heart dropped to the ground. There were pictures of me making out with girls, watching people having sex, to people doing drugs.  My memory started to come back really fast and these pictures filled in the blurry blanks from the night before. This was by far the lowest point I had reached since becoming a survivor, and knew that this was not the right path I should be traveling down. I was given a second chance at life and here I was wasting it doing dumb as shit like this. Not only did I feel like I had been letting myself down but most importantly my family.

The phone call home to my mom was not easy for me, as now I knew why it was so urgent for me to call home. I remember the first words that came out of my mom’s mouth, “what the hell are you thinking! You are smarter than this”.  After a short conversation that felt like an eternity long, I hung up the phone and was packing a bag to head home for the weekend. This little weekend trip that I was taking home was going to be a little bit of a break from my high-speed life in Los Angeles, or so I thought. I wasn’t going home to a warm welcome but yet an Intervention.

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