Seeing people after two years, Pt 1

Wish it turned out differently.

Wrote this exactly one month after she passed. Still can’t believe she’s gone.

The kid was away for a week so I could continue doing all the admin stuff I needed to do. Like close out her bank accounts. Most were fine.

Bank of America was not. BoA was the worst. Call up their estate number (888.689.4466) and you’ll see what I mean; was on hold for a total of four hours over three phone calls.

Gotta figure that anyone calling their estate number is probably in the same mental situation as me so that shows how much priority they place on their customers.

/rant

The kid away meant that I could see friends.

Again, my life stopped some time in September 2015 because Alison and I just wanted to enjoy being expectant parents.

With the exception of my gym buddies, stopped seeing all my friends then.

Saw one group of friends early in the week that took me out for some Cuban-Chinese around the way. Ended up drinking until about 1:30AM.

Me: Get out.
Her: I gotta crash here.
Him: I gotta crash here too.
Me: OK, fine. Nobody throw up.

Before my liver had a chance to recover, saw my college friends. My old safe harbor.

They all came out at a moment’s notice.

Me: Last minute but the kid’s away if anyone is free for dinner and a drink.
Them: Wherever you want, Logan.

They brought me out to eat at KTown and drinks afterward; didn’t get home until after midnight.

Another Korean Stew

They all donated to Alison and gave me a pretty massive check made out to the kid to boot.

Me: It’s too much, fellas.
Him: You’d do the same for us.
Me: That’s what you think.
Group: (laughs)

They’ve known me 25 years. That’s how old we are.

Me: It’s hard for me to explain what’s going on in my head. I feel like I was just at your wedding. And we were all just at Bobby’s funeral. There are so many things I don’t remember. I can’t believe what I’ve been doing the past two years.
Him: It’s probably a survival mechanism. You don’t want to remember everything that happened.
Me: You’re right. I really don’t. (sorrowfully) Just wish it all turned out differently.
Him: (patting me on back and clearing throat) We all wish that for you, man.

Location: Soberville. It sucks here too.
Mood: still heartbroken, of course
Music: never felt so alone in my life
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Something a lot like love

I could never do it again

The only people I see these days are from my gym.

Probably cause they’re the only ones that have seen me regularly in the past two years. Most friends I’ve not seen since before October 2015.

Went out with some of them the other day in Queens, and two other guys stopped by my pad for some rum. One girl took me out for lunch.

It’s all very:

Him/Her: I don’t know what to say.
Me: What can anyone say?


A surprising number of women I dated have reached out to me or sent me stuff. BJE, The Sexologist, the reporter, the doctor, one of the schoolteachers, just to name a few of them that have appeared in this blog. I was touched that they kept up with me and cared.

The HEI not only sent me rum, she sent me oranges, limes, lemons, and mint for a whole smogasborg of rum drinks. I admit that I ended up just drinking it straight outta the bottle.

Speaking of rum, Caligirl also sent me rum. And called me.

Her: I was mad at you for so long. I thought your whole “looking for my person” was just a line that you used to get out of relationships. But you really were, weren’t you?
Me: (long pause) I was. I found her. It took a while. But I did.
Her: Oh, Logan. I’m so sorry. (crying) I’m so, so sorry.
Me: Yeah, me too.

Not all the women I’ve dated made it to this blog. Some made it clear that they didn’t want to be here.

Years ago, I met someone that lost her fiancee. After I spoke to Caligirl (and if you read her link above, you should also read this one) I decided to give this other woman a ring.

Woman: Logan…I was wondering if I should call you.
Me: Wanted to call to thank you for thinking of us. (pause) And to let you know that I understand now.
Her: (pause) I’m sorry. It’s a s___tty thing to have to understand.
Me: So I right when I said that I could never take the place of your man.
Her: I don’t know if people are ever really lucky enough to find true love twice in life. (laughing) Wait, what did you call what we had?
Me: “Something a lot like love.”
Her: You always did have a way with words.
Me: I think that’s all that’s in my cards now, like yours. (deep breath) Real love, I don’t ever want again. (quietly) I could never do it again. It’s too hard.
Her: (voice cracking) Yes.
Me: Man. F___k us.


I don’t know who I am anymore without Alison.

What we had was my something that I couldn’t put inna words.

Like I said, she was the best part of me. And I worry that without her, I’ll just be the worst bits of who I was.

Or maybe I’m just a sad story you tell other people about. Like when I told you about Leigh.

Which is what I am, I suppose. Damn cancer. It takes everything.

Location: home, alone
Mood: struggling still
Music: for you, I’d leave it all
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One more year

Waiting for the next island

Her: I’m tired of being sick and in pain. What’s the point? To live a few more days?
Me: To stay alive for one more year.

For the past few months, Alison’s been on three treatments to fight this damn thing. Last Monday, we lost all three treatments.

  • One treatment is called Optune and involves an array of magnets that she wears on her head 24/7. It sounds crazy but was just approved in October 2015 to fight her type of cancer.
  • The second is an experimental treatment that’s not approved for her cancer but it’s similar to the treatment that President Carter used. We just started it last week because of her new growth.
  • The third is a highly experimental treatment that’s not approved for any cancer but passed Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials in Brazil. I managed to find a supplier to agree to get me some.

The first two we lost because our insurance changed. The third we lost because FDA rules changed.

It was a difficult Monday, to say the least. Yet, in some ways, Alison seemed relieved. She was tired. Tired of the struggle. Tired of the pain. And I couldn’t blame her.

But later on in the week, Optune told us to appeal the decision and if we did that, they would let us continue to use the device for a fraction of the $21,000 per month it costs (you read that right). So we got that back.

Then our doctor called the insurance company and asked for a waiver for the second treatment. He called us late in the week to come in for another infusion because it had been approved. I’ll update this entry this week if it happens. So that’s back too.

Finally, a young woman I had been corresponding with about the third treatment told me that her husband wasn’t doing well. So she was going to send me two months of the drug. It just arrived.

More on that in another entry as it deserves more than such a brief mention here.

So I told Alison that all I wanted was for her to make another year. Because we didn’t know what the future holds. On Monday, all seemed lost. By Friday, we were back in business.

And, like I said, Optune was just approved October 2015. Who knows what will happen October 2017? We just have to go a little farther.

Me: Remember that story I told you about the 12,000 miles? We just have to keep going until we see another island. I’m just asking you to hang on for a little while longer.
Her: I’m so tired.
Me: Just a little while longer. I’ll be with you the whole time.


My gym sent her those flowers above.

It was the perfect cheery thing for an otherwise un-cheery week.

 

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Location: still adrift, but with new supplies
Mood: conflicted
Music: Beautiful girl (stay with me). She wanna go home
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Radical Roll-a-Thon

Valuing things greatly

Radical Roll-a-Thon
Wrote once that our friends reflect some part of us. It’s why friendship exists. I’m honored that we have such amazing people in our lives that see something of themselves in us and vice versa.

In three days, on January 7th, 2017, Radical MMA is having a Roll-a-thon fund-raiser for Alison, which they planned – as with the others – wholly as a surprise for us. The way it works is as follows:

Participants find sponsors (family, friends, companies, brands, etc) that donate per hour of roll. Each participant will start rolling for as long as they can, starting at 10AM.

For example, if Mariko has five sponsors donating $10 per an hour and ends up rolling for four hours, then she raises $200 for Alison.

You can click our YouCaring link to sponsor any one of the people below:

Mariko and Rene Dreifuss
Rene is the owner of the gym, my dear friend, and my instructor; Mariko is his talented wife who designs all the cool images for these fundraisers. If you’re at all interested in starting something new and (very) physically and mentally challenging, consider signing up at Radical MMA and supporting these two lovely people, who spend so much time supporting Alison and me. As an added bonus, you can always watch Rene abuse me on the mats, which he does with alarming regularity.

Alesya Yelisow
She ran in the Tough Mudder last year with the others for Alison. I always feel bad for the guy that thinks he’ll take it easy on her because she’s a girl. Then again, it’s very entertaining.

Balaji Sudhakar Subramani
It’s a good thing he’s part of the gym, because when he and I are both there, I think that Rene is torn as to whom to abuse, which gives me a 50/50 shot at a reprieve from something called The Japanese.

Chad Hernandez
He’s my other main coach in the gym and the guy in this picture. We call him “Damn Chad” because, he’s so good that, at some point rolling with him, you’ll inevitably say “Damn, Chad – what just happened?”

Donald Trainor and Drew Cotton
I put them together because they both had their own personal fundraisers for Alison, for which I am very grateful, and because my relationship with each of them is much like the video below, but with less explosives and more choking.

Elizabeth Harney
Liz isn’t rolling because of work, but not for lack of trying. She was the one that organized the Tough Mudder for Alison, which meant so much to us. An artist by trade – she has some work in a show this Sunday – I told her that most of my legal clients were artists; obviously, she has a lawyer for life.

Jeff Bagby

Jeff is another 40-something but he’s much, much, much better than I. He was one of the first people that I spoke to about Alison. He got me in touch with a survivor of brain cancer, which was a lifeline at the time as that was some hope when we needed it the most.

Joshua Martinez
A chef by trade, he also ran in the Tough Mudder for Alison and first turned me on to the wonders of turmeric. If it wasn’t for our current situation, I’m fairly certain I’d be irritating him by showing up where he works for food.

Laura N. Benítez
Laura used to work around the corner from my pad. I told her that we would grab coffee before/after class one day but then she up and moved to California for a new adventure. Ah, to be young and carefree and studying how to choke people. I’m glad she’s back if only for a bit and to roll for Alison.

Max Kuba
He’s a fellow tech that also happens to be the gym’s unofficial dietitian. When Alison dropped to her lowest weight, he gave me some invaluable ideas to get her stable. I still consult with him now for eating tips and terrible puns.

Megan Frazier
She’s one of the people in our gym that I think might go pro one of these days. Looking forward to that and being her agent. I expect the standard 10%.

Miguel Belmonte
Miguel is the other 40-something in a school of 20-somethings. While he’s an actor from Spain, I believe we think the exact same thing every time we leave the mat: “Man, this is gonna hurt tomorrow.”

Mike Robinson
He was actually a student at my fencing class but, with a background in wrasslin, told him Radical might be a better fit. Years later, he’s much better than I. How I hate him.

Good ole Charlie Brown.
Good old Charlie Brown.

Robert Haffeman
Half-man is one of the top athletes in our gym. He’s also ridiculously tall, handsome, kind, and intelligent with a wife who’s beautiful both inside and outside. How I hate him as well.

Roger Song
A fellow Cornell-grad who prevents me from saying that I’m the best Cornell grad fighter there.

Roslyn Lo
My cousin, whom I love and am very proud of for being the badass she is. I resent that she is younger, arguably stronger, and more attractive than me.

Sawyer Speilberg
Is an actor and one of main training partners. I think he could be a pretty good fighter if he devoted himself to it but I won’t encourage him because his mom, an actress herself (who was in a small film back in the day) sent Alison $5,000 for the Tough Mudder and I think she’d be mad at me if I did.

Simon Ying
We took a train together once and he stayed on well past his stop to tell me more about the woman he was dating at the time. Wasn’t too surprised when they got hitched: You wanna marry someone who forgets to get off a train because he’s telling someone else how great you are.

Sohail Mathur
Is an example of a small world; he actually knew my cousin Roslyn even before he started there. I don’t see much of him but am touched he still volunteered for this.

Yu Ji
As irritated as I am with Half-Man, it’s doubly true for Ji as he’s all those things and Chinese. Here’s him being taller and younger than me at ComicCon a few years back.
Me and Ji

Finally a quick thanks to Henry Cho, and Jonathan Chan who can’t roll but have already agreed to sponsor others, and Philip Chen, whom I told you about previously. I just heard that Farouk Araki, whom I don’t know very well, is also rolling for Alison – and that’s why this is so cool. People helping others just because…

The kindest thing you can do for someone is to value greatly what they value greatly. I value nothing greater than Alison and the kid.

Damn, I hope someone takes video. This is cool.

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Location: home, wondering if I should see the doc about my back
Mood: touched
Music: when I think that I’m alone it seems there’s more of us
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No one ever said it would be this hard

Thank you for setting her apart

Two empty chairs outside NYC restaurant

Alison’s been pretty stoic about everything that’s happened. Every once in a while, though, the gravity of the situation hits her – and us.

After dinner the other day, The Scientist came on and when they got to the part that went:

Tell me you love me
Come back and haunt me

she started to cry.

Her: It’s so sad.
Me: “Come back and haunt me?”
Her: (thinking) Yes, that is sad. I try not to think about things like that. But that’s not the line that makes me so sad. It’s the one that goes, “Nobody said it was easy. No one ever said it would be this hard.” (pause) I can’t believe it’s been so hard.
Me: As long as we have 1% of 1%, we’ll keep trying.
Her: I will. I’ll always fight this.

Years ago, told you that I met a girl and set her apart from everyone else in the world. That’s what happens when you come across something or someone special.

That girl Annabel from my last entry wrote me to tell me that she hosted a fundraiser at her home to help Alison and sent us a – wholly unexpected – check. Below is a picture from the fundraiser. I only personally know one person, Annabel. And Alison knows no one.

But each of these strangers, like so many others, have gone far outta their way to help us.

There are 880,000 words in the English language. And yet there are no words to adequately express my gratitude that, in this past horrifying year, so many people have set Alison apart as well.

Suppose I’ll just have to settle for thank you, as always, however inadequate it feels to me.

Fundraiser for Alison

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Location: home, making food
Mood: sick
Music: You don’t know how lovely you are
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What? You too? I thought that no one but myself…

I wish it was a bus

RadicalMMA ToughMudder Team(c) 2016 Alesya Yelisow

It was 97 degrees on Saturday. Which is the same day that my cousin and about eight other people from my gym ran in the Half Mudder Long Island 2016 Tough Mudder race to raise money for Alison’s care.

It’s a motley group of people. There’s an actor, an appraiser, a chef, and…not really sure what the others do.

Not sure what they do because, in my gym, we all go there to fight. There’s a shared passion for the struggle. I’m not even sure I know everyone’s real name as most people have shorthand or nicknames. The names other call us, the occupations we have, are all left on the doorstep as we enter. All that matters is that you have the same shared passion for the struggle.

CS Lewis once famously said that, Friendship is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself….” It’s born when you meet someone else of your tribe that sees the world in the same way you see it.

It means more than you might imagine for them – or anyone, really – to see my wife and our situation and think, How can I help?

———-

Speaking of my gym and helping, another member of my gym, Christopher Vallaro, was arrested for allegedly beating up two Muslim teens on July 2nd outside a mosque. He said that the two teens were trying to grope and rape his girlfriend and he came to her aid.

He was cleared by the police for a hate crime after surrendering and telling his side of the story. I don’t know all the details, but Chris isn’t a racist.

When this all went down with my wife, my buddy Max – also from my gym – wrote me: If I could stand in the way of the things that are hurting Alison and you and your family nothing would ever touch you. I wish things worked that way.

And that is how I feel. You know the strangest thing that I think of every day?

I wish it was a bus. I wish it was bus racing towards Alison instead of cancer. So I could hurl myself into her and get her out of harm’s way.

How I wish things worked that way.

I wish it was a bus. Or two punk kids. If only…

But I digress. I believe Chris. If anyone ever tried to hurt Alison or the kid, I would find myself surrendering myself somewhere. But only after hurling myself into harms way.

Her: What about you? Are you ok today?
Me: I’m only as good as you are. If you’re ok, I’m ok.

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Location: still at home, still hoping
Mood: worried
Music: It seems there’s more of us at home.
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Catching up with friends when I can

Plus some Instagram Pics

Empire State Building in clouds
Had a rare bit of downtime and coorporating weather so I saw my friend Claire for dinner the other night and then went out with my friend Bryson to celebrate his wife’s birthday.

Don’t actually get to catch up with people in RL all that often; partly because we’re all busy and partly because FB and other social networks are kinda like “keeping up, lite.” We get the curated highlights that people want to share and, for the most part, that’s often good enough.

But it’s nice seeing people when I can. Claire is staying here in The City from California because of her fella and Bryson is, as always, the same guy I knew back in college but with two kids now.

It’s nice seeing how your friends’ stories unfold.

Shots of liquor

On a different note entirely, I’ve been trying to get more into Instagram.

My main issue with using is that I don’t generally like how pictures from phones come out. But here are the highlights of what I’ve done recently – follow me!

Spring in NYC and Bryant Park.Spring in NYC and Bryant Park.

#Cloudy day in #NYC and autumn leaf bag bear downtown is unhappy. #Cloudy day in #NYC and autumn leaf bag bear downtown is unhappy.

Nighttime falls in the #UWS in #NYC. The #DINKYs and #YUPPIES grow restless. Nighttime falls in the #UWS in #NYC. The #DINKYs and #YUPPIES grow restless.

It's #spring and sunny in #NYC but still cold enough to freeze you solid. It’s #spring and sunny in #NYC but still cold enough to freeze you solid.

NYC is always a work in progress. NYC is always a work in progress.

Location: HomeDepot getting supplies
Mood: excited
Music: If you’re gonna do it, do it right – right?
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In the bag with me

What I pack when I travel

What's in my bag when I travel
No real post today – instead, I’m going to point you over to an interview I did with my friend Channy about my trip to Europe a little while back.

Click here: http://naturalselectionnyc.com/in-the-bag-with-logan-lo/

She has an cool series about what people pack when they travel and she interviewed me back when.

Think it’s interesting because I find what I pack to be rather mundane but everyone else seems to be much more compelling – suppose that’s just how it is. Things are always more interesting on the other side.

In any case, take a look and leave a comment or two.

Now, wonder what you pack you travel…

Location: back to the gym shortly
Mood: rested
Music: waiting on a slow boat to China, want to sail away to the sun
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Goodbye, Bobby

A man’s dying is more the survivors’ affair than his own.

Clock in Upper West Side, NYC
An old friend of mine passed last week.

He was the first person I ever met in college. Met him outside of the dorms queuing for one thing or another. He was from Virginia.

Never met an Asian kid from Virginia before. At that point, I’d never really been out of the City. Don’t think I’d even been to the Bronx or Staten Island yet.

We became pretty good friends through the years. Bombed my econ class because a group of us were playing cards late into the night.

Ended up going to the same law school, just at different times. We also ended up living in the same neighborhood so we constantly either met up or ran into each other.

But in 2001 we had an argument and stopped talking. It wasn’t a terrible argument, per se. Just the kind where both people’re irritated enough to stop talking for a while.

Your typical super-important argument about nuthin.

We met up a few years later at a wedding where I was a groomsman and he was the best men.

Me: Hey, your tie’s crooked. (fixing it)
Him: Ah, thanks. I was worried it’d be weird between us.

We sat at the same table, and were pleasant. We said we’d reconnect again but never got around to it.

That’s the thing with old ghosts; you always run into them in the big City. Figured I’d just run into him again one day, like I do the rest of the world. And we’d be cool again.

But I never did. Now, I never will.

Every time someone dies, I think of that Thomas Mann quote, A man’s dying is more the survivors’ affair than his own.

Right now, I’m on an email list filled with names I’ve not seen in years.

Some people are heading down to the funeral, some are sending flowers. My friends and I are sending an arrangement.

Can’t really imagine what his parents are going through. Don’t want to. When I heard he died, after the initial shock wore off, I thought of my own parents. I’d never want them to have to go through that.

What a thing to bear.

I wish I did actually give him a call. Or he gave me one. Or we did run into each other like people do here.

Life gets in the way. That is, until it gets out of the way.

I’ll add my not meeting up with him to my list of ten thousand regrets.

Goodbye, man. I’m so sorry to hear that you left us.

Me: Why would it be weird? We had an argument. People have arguments. We should meet up some time.
Him: Sure, that sounds good.

Location: in my head, back in college
Mood: sad
Music: Yesterday I got so old, it made me want to cry
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Iron fish, soup, kids, and mortgages

What you think makes you better is not what you think

Miso Soup
Me: My shoulder and leg are killing me today.
Her: I married you the day you broke.
Me: No backies.

There’s a massive “historic” snowstorm that’s supposed to hit my area today and it’s already started as I’m writing this.

I was supposed to have gone out to Long Island for a seminar but just got the cancellation notice late last night. Just as well since I dunno how I was gonna make it back in the snow, especially since my injuries aren’t healing like I wanted them to.

My buddy Bryson stopped by the other day and we grabbed a coffee around the way. We chatted about getting older, injuries, kids, mortgages and the sky blue repair company. Stuff old men talk about over coffee.

Speaking of kids, when I was a kid, I remembered a story about a greek doctor – maybe Asclepius – who cured people that had lethargy with this magic soup.

Centuries later, scientists recreated the ingredients of the soup and didn’t see anything particularly noteworthy about it.

But they then realized that he cooked the soup in an iron pot, creating an iron rich soup for people withe anemia. The cure had nothing to do with the ingredients of the soup itself, rather the vessel it was cooked in.

There’s a related story with how this one dude came up with an idea to cure Cambodians of anemia with a lucky fish made of iron cooked in soup. They wouldn’t do something as simple as put a piece of iron in their soup until it was shaped like something they recognized.

Environmentcircumstance, and pure dumb luck have so much more of an effect on things than I think most people realize, I think.

Getting back to my buddy, we talked about how most people think they have to be ready for having kids or a mortgage, but I think it’s the opposite of that: Getting kids or a mortgage makes you ready for kids or a mortgage.

Suppose that’s another post for another day.

Right now, my circumstances say I gotta run out into this snowy environment. Maybe I’ll take some pics.

Location: The Manhattan snow
Mood: hungry
Music: Stones and sunlit streets, demons on dark roads
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