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Though born in 1985, I tell people I was re-born in 2017...


I awoke to a cramped, hardened enclosure that instantly sucked the air from my lungs. Confined to a table, I was powerless to move my arms, legs, and even my head. Tears welled up at the corners of my eyes as I struggled. The tube before me was mere inches away, yet my efforts to break free proved futile. I was trapped and, for the first time in my life, overwhelmed by claustrophobia.

Suddenly, a lady's voice emanated from an unknown source, seeking to console and reassure me that all was well, and that the ordeal would soon end. But despite the soft and soothing tone of her voice, panic and horror had already taken root in my mind. I persisted in struggling against the restraints that held me in place.

Gradually, I felt the table beneath me begin to move, a ceaseless motion that eventually revealed the lights of a ceiling. My surroundings remained a puzzle, and I remained clueless about my location and circumstances.

Moments later, a woman approached, setting to work on unclasping me from my shackles. It was at this juncture that the extent of my paralysis became painfully evident – my body was utterly unresponsive. Every attempt to move a muscle, to utter coherent words, or to comprehend the situation proved futile. The woman enveloped me in a firm embrace, raising me into a seated position, yet my head slumped forward, chin-to-chest. Through blurry peripheral vision, I glimpsed the presence of a colossal machine looming behind me.

Her touch, reminiscent of a mother's soothing gesture, had an immediate effect, calming my turbulent emotions and allowing me to breathe softly once more. She inquired if I was prepared to return to the machine, and there was something in her voice that told me to trust her. Though the world remained a blur, I responded with a silent affirmation, signaling my readiness to reenter the MRI machine.

Once again tethered to the table, I sensed the machinery's movement, propelling me back toward the nightmarish tube. Every fiber of my being concentrated on the rhythm of my breath. However, as the tube engulfed me and the surrounding lights dimmed, a shroud of darkness descended, and consciousness slipped away.

2017 – My First Coma

That’s right…that story above is an authentic account of the events that unfolded during the span of several weeks while I was under the care of the Intensive Care Unit.

It was March 2017 when I went to sleep one night, thinking it was going to be like any other night. That one night would be the first of many painful ones for the next few weeks.

This marked my initial experience with what I would later be diagnosed with as "epilepsy." The moments of agony I endured during that period were identified as "Grand Mal Status Epilepticus" seizures. To encapsulate a fleeting moment, there was a time when I suffered from over 300 seizures within a 24-hour timeframe. At one point, my body temperature soared to 102 degrees, and my resting heart rate climbed to 160 bps. Physically, emotionally, and psychologically, those three weeks were an ordeal.

But eventually I transitioned to the subsequent phase of my recovery: retraining everything.

When I say "re-training everything," I truly mean every single thing! This involved relearning how to hold a pencil, rediscovering the art of walking, connecting dots to form lines, and even performing simple arithmetic like adding 2 + 2. My brain was so swollen that a severe disconnect between what I knew I had to do in my mind and what I had to execute with my hands. The emotional toll was considerable; I felt like a disarrayed mess. But seconds evolved into minutes; minutes transformed into hours; and hours morphed into days. Gradually, over the course of the next month I reached a point where I could once again carry out basic tasks – albeit with a sense of fatigue.

And, despite the exhaustion and challenges, I emerged as a different person. It was after this incident that passion overtook my way of thinking. This is where my desire to write my first book, "From Nicholas To Christmas," began – a passion which had always resided deep within, yet I was too afraid to give it form.

With the support of my wife and parents, I managed to shape this dream into reality. I promptly set about writing and developing my book. The age-old adage, "Live as if you may not have a tomorrow," struck me like never before (...quite literally!).

Starting from April 2017, I embarked on my writing journey. Coincidentally, this period aligned with the Marine Corps determining me medically unfit to serve, marking the inception of my departure from a decade-long occupation.

Fast forward to November 2018, the administrative process was finalized, paving the way for my departure in February of 2019.


New Year’s Eve 2018

The plan for New Year’s Eve 2018 was intended to be a quiet one, considering the multitude of tasks at hand during that period (e.g. house hunting, addressing last-minute administrative military matters, etc.). Thus, the intention was to keep the occasion low-key.

December 29th, 2018, was anticipated to unfold like any other day, but reality was far from that assumption. It took just a single afternoon nap to alter the course of events.

With no forewarning, a recurrence of the same incident that had occurred 20 months earlier struck once again. Urgently transported to the hospital, I found myself reintroduced to my second coma, though this occurrence would prove to be somewhat more severe than the initial one.


2018/2019 – My Second Coma

When you're subconsciously/unconsciously fighting for your life, there's no sense of what's going on, apart from the intense pain coursing through your body. You simply keep fighting.

Similar to the initial episode, I once again endured around 300-400 seizures within a 24-hour timeframe. And, just like before, the pain was inexplicably excruciating.

During this period, my lungs collapsed, and I also contracted pneumonia. Regrettably, my wife, parents, and in-laws began to experience the unsettling fear that at any given moment, they might receive the devastating news that I hadn't survived.

Thankfully, I pushed through, and I wouldn't have done it without the individuals you see in the pictures above. My wife and parents were there the entire time. As you can see, they even managed to find comfort in the most unlikely spaces - one of which was a bit too snug for my dad.

I had to endure the same strenuous task of retraining motor skills, but it was far better than having to awaken in another MRI coffin. Additionally, it was during this second incident that I learned I would need to undergo brain surgery in less than two months.

Skipping ahead, the brain surgery was a success, and the neurosurgeon at Walter Reed Hospital performed phenomenally.

Despite encountering minor setbacks following that second incident, my spirit couldn't have been more invigorated to propel my first book further toward reality than ever before.


Since 2017, my passion to work is like the following quote:


“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

– Mark Twain


And my passion to live?...

Live life like you may not have a minute to live.


This is why I share with people that my life underwent a complete transformation after 2017, leading to my "rebirth." Not only did my way of thinking completely change, but in 2018, my beautiful wife and I exchanged vows amidst the stunning mountains of Colorado.

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