I was doing well, health-wise, in the last few days. And I was starting to find my rhythm writing basketball. Life was starting to look up.

But after I watched the late game between the Wizards and the Lakers, Pops called me up and mentioned that one of my uncles passed away in NorCal. It froze me. I broke down.

You never want to think that anybody, especially a family member, would be going away. It’s been difficult dealing with losses in the last year. It really started when good friend, Colleen Burns, passed away tragically in the summer of ’16. My brother’s best friend, who I played basketball with in my teens and 20s, also died tragically playing ball from a heart attack (this is resonating with me more and more). I’ve also had a cousin and an aunt (my mom’s sister) die in consecutive days and in different circumstances.

I was dealing with so many emotions last night. I was sad because I lost yet another family member. I was scared because life is so fragile. I was frustrated because it’s so tough to be so limited physically. And I was angry because all of these things were happening.

While I couldn’t sleep, various friends contacted me throughout the night to make sure I was okay. My chest did hurt for a bit and my back felt super tense again. After getting those talks and doing a lot of breathing, I was finally able to go to sleep around 3 AM. It didn’t help that on some nights, I had been afraid to sleep because I thought I would never wake up.

It’s been rough.

Earlier in the morning, though, I got a surprise text. It was my best friend from high school, Madison Alexander, who I know as simply Gee. He happened to be in town for JUST today and wanted to catch up. Gee had been busy hosting trade shows all over the world. We met at a local park.

Gee had known a few things about the recent car accident but he didn’t know all of the other things that had been happening like my hypertension that sent me to the emergency room and the heart attack that I did not even feel. I also told him about the anxiety that I had been having.

Gee also told me his own problems, in terms of his health. He’s doing better than he was a few weeks ago. He had also been through a lot in the last few years, like dealing with the death of his newborn baby. We also talked about our synchronicity. Gee told me that he was wearing the shirt the last time we saw each other, which was three years ago! He just felt that, besides it being overdue, he NEEDED to see me today and waited until the morning to call me up. I’m glad he did.

I also got to see his dad, who was with him playing hoops. I hadn’t seen him in 20 years. I remember him being such a kind man and he remembered me being so positive (which has been far from that these last seven weeks). He’s in his mid-60s and he still runs around the court like he’s in his 30s (basically me and Gee).

The talk with Gee and his dad was very therapeutic to me. And the timing (the synchronicity!) was great. He was like the guardian angel that was sent to me when I needed it the most. Hopefully, it won’t be another three years before I see him. I hope you’re reading this, Gee. You know I love you, brother.

Last night was a setback. Today didn’t bring back my uncle. But I’m sure my uncle wouldn’t want me to just give up and he would want me to take care of myself, even though there is so much going on in my life. I feel bad that I won’t make it to his funeral; there is no way I can make that trip to NorCal without a moment of being terrified and anxious. But again, I have to take care of myself, first and foremost. This fatigue won’t last forever. Neither will my back pain. Heck, neither will I but there is no way I’m quitting life.

Life will continue to throw lemons. But I’m gonna keep going. And drink lemonade.

I love you all. Please help lift me up in these trying times.

R2

Friday was the last main obstacle concerning the danger zone for me. It was finally my appointment to the cardiologist. The nurses in the clinic were pretty sure I’m fine. But then again, you never know. After all, my last EKG test mentioned that I had a heart attack.

They made me take another EKG test. After that, the cardiologist saw me. Told him everything that was going on. He mentioned that the heart attack was from the stress and he recommended that I take more tests (including a stress test) on a later date. The EKG test revealed today that my heart was beating normally so that was of great relief to me.

As for my fitness, he told me that I should take it easy for a couple more weeks before I can slowly get myself back to full tilt. It had been mentioned before that my body had been weakened over the last few weeks. While I’m going to see the cardiologist more than I would like, this felt like the best news I’ve had in weeks.

I’m gonna be okay.

Of course, outside of the heart problems, I’m actually fighting a cold right now. It is flu season so that annoys me more than anything right now. I am sore all over the place.

I can’t remember the last time I felt healthy on both body and mind. Maybe August? There are still nights when I don’t want to do anything because of my anxiety.

But let’s start the road to a full recovery. You can do this, Rey-Rey.

And as always, I appreciate your love and support throughout this ordeal. I love you guys.

R2

Not that this was a new challenge but it became more prominent this week as I start to feel a little better physically. Yeah, I still get tired easier. Yeah, my back still hurts. Yeah, I still have to worry about my heart (I DO see the cardiologist tomorrow).

But this week has been all about my anxiety.

It’s really prevented me from doing the most regular tasks. I have gotten better at driving but I still get anxious a ton. I really don’t like it when cars tailgate me (in fear of getting rear-ended) or when they come out waiting at the right side (that’s how my last accident happened).

When I’m alone in the living room, I’m always looking around to see if someone was going to scare me. Or even attack me. I get very jumpy nowadays, too. This has happened more than once but during a walk, when the traffic signals yell out WAIT when you press the button for the walk signal, I literally jumped. It’s not a good feeling when you’re feeling that anxious or paranoid.

You all know I’m a talker (I get it from my family). But nowadays, it’s rough for me to talk on the phone (yeah, I still do that). I have to because I need to get tasks done but sometimes, it’ll take me a while before I actually dial a number. For fear of what? Saying the wrong thing? What wrong thing am I going to say? There’s no rhyme or reason around it. It’s just how I feel.

It’s the reason why I haven’t resumed my podcast yet. I LOVE talking to people about basketball and other things. But I just can’t muster up the courage to do so just yet. I don’t feel ready. And really, it should be part of my therapy. One day, I’ll get back to it. I also feel that NOBODY would listen to me doing a podcast anymore because there are SO MANY podcasts out there.

So yeah. Anxiety has been such a drag. I thought I was getting better after that high school reunion. I had gotten off to such a good start the day after but then I heard some stuff that was stressful and it was right back to being tense again.

I have to learn how to control this anxiety. Doing things used to be no problem. But having that car accident has exacerbated everything. I don’t like this life. But I might have to live with this for a long time.

I love you guys.

R2

I have a new problem this week that I have to deal with. But I’d rather not talk about that at the moment.

Friday night was something that I needed. Quite frankly, it’s something that I need more of.

Friday night was my 20-year high school reunion. Yes, I’m that ancient.

I anticipated the drive for some time now. It’s my first extended drive on the freeway since my car accident on September 5th. I meditated for a few minutes and went on my way.

I sweated a bit. My heart was still beating fast on straightaways. I wouldn’t say I was more comfortable speeding up and changing lanes but I would say I felt more “alive” doing those. Does that make sense? I don’t know. It makes sense to me.

I arrived 30 minutes early and found the first available parking lot that I could go into. After I parked, I sat in my car for a few minutes to reflect how big of a victory this was for me. I went on my way and, a few minutes later, I met up with my classmates.

Even after not talking to most of them for 20 years, it felt like we all never missed a beat. While we all hung out with different cliques in high school, most of us got along.

Admittedly, I became super anxious during dinner. I went outside a few times just to catch some air and calm myself. A few of them knew about what had been going on with me, though, and it was nice that they made me feel more comfortable as the night went on. I told some of them about my story and they, too, made sure I was okay for the rest of the night. It was so great to be around a lot of good people.

After dinner, we went across the street (one of my classmates is currently a DJ and he helped set this up) and most of the class danced the night away. There was also a photo booth on the balcony where we took some goofy pics. I spent most of the night talking and catching up with classmates as I exactly couldn’t move around too much since I get fatigued easily these days. Still, I managed to stay around until 1:30 AM because how often was I going to get this chance to talk to most of my classmates?

It was an excellent night. The drive was a little easier on the way home, even though, yeah, my heart still beats a little too fast on certain situations. That will be an issue for a while.

Thank you so much, Bellflower High Class of ’97, for a night I will always remember. Hopefully, it wouldn’t be another 20 years before I see all of you again.

The last pic was one of a few photobombs I did that night. I promise you that I’m not THAT guy.

Don’t worry, guys. I’m resting right now. Trying to get healthier.

I love you all.

R2

Last night’s high school reunion was the happiest I had been in over a month. And quite frankly, this entry feels appropriate. I’ll talk about how my reunion went tomorrow. But right now…

I am happy to be alive after I nearly died on this day 13 years ago.

I talk about it every year. 10-14 carries a lot of significance in my life. Some of you already know this but most of you don’t.

10-14? October 14. October 14, 2004, to be exact. This is why my mind is so messed up about car accidents.

It started out as a fight with my then-girlfriend over the phone. So she told me that I should go over her apartment in Pasadena so we could hash things out. I took my dad’s car since my own ride was being used by Pops himself.

On the way to Pasadena, I was thinking about how to quickly end my fight with the girlfriend. After I passed the 60 junction on the 710 freeway, I slowed down as I saw cars slow down in front of me.

Then suddenly, I heard a loud smashing sound directly behind me. In an instant, I was freaked out that I was hit. My car was suddenly headed towards the guardrail fast. It was the longest four seconds of my life. I thought I was gonna die.

But miraculously, the car turned. In the end, the car was facing the opposite way. It did a complete 180. Some passerbys stopped by to help me out. I was lucky to not be too hurt. I called my brother, Roger, about what happened. Meanwhile, the police arrested the guy that hit me. He was a 19-year-old that didn’t have a license. And he actually TRIED to blame me for what happened. One of the cops that came then replied, “What are you doing driving without a license? And you’re blaming the guy you hit, you dumbass?”

The car accident in 2004 put me in a downward spiral. My gf and I made up but then she broke up with me near the end of my recovery. I was doing physical therapy for six months. I didn’t drive on the freeway for two months. To this day (even before the accident from last month), I have neck pain on and off (though manageable).

But this event, coupled with the “minor” car accident on September 5th, screwed up my brain when it comes to being on the road. Which is why I considered my drive to the high school reunion last night a big victory.

And to add how terrifying this day is for me? My brother and my nephew got in a car accident two years ago on this day. Yup. October 14, 2015. I told my brother that we probably shouldn’t be on the road on October 14.


If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. – Matthew 10:14

Another significance about 10-14? I moved to Portland in October of 2014. I only lived there for nearly a year but it was one of the best periods of my life. It was a life reset that I needed badly (I seriously wanted to leave Southern California for about a year at that point in time) and I felt so welcomed in that city. In a perfect situation, I wouldn’t hesitate to move back there.

So yeah. I felt like I got a second chance in life after that huge car accident. And I experienced a rebirth of sorts when I moved to Portland.

All in all, I’m so thankful to still be here. Please never take life for granted.

I can’t say enough on how much I love you people.

R2