I’ve learned quite a bit about myself and about life since being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis 10 months ago, mostly about how to be happy and how to adjust to the variances of life. I was already familiar with concept of adjustment through my poker playing experience over the years, but this was totally different. One thing I picked up on: misery really does love company. I wasn’t miserable overall, though there were many times where I felt this way. I’ve remained quite positive. But I think this phrase explains why so many people vent via social media. There’s nothing wrong with venting necessarily; it’s human nature, in my opinion. It’s really the needless complaining instead of finding a solution that really began to irk me. While I’m able to sit here and make the best of and find happiness in my current health situation, I constantly wonder why others aren’t able to do the same. But then I realize that not all of us have experienced the same adversity in our lives. Maybe adversity is the key to appreciation. I’m not entirely sure, but I do know that it has helped me see life in a different light.
I’ve recently put grad school at UNLV on hold in order to take care of my health and rid myself of this awful disease that so many suffer from, many worse than myself, through three surgical procedures. It’s a major surgery, but I see it as a huge positive. The goal is to have a normal life again, regain my health, and be rid of the everyday struggle that UC can cause. It was a bummer to leave Las Vegas, but now I can spend more time with my friends and family while going through this process.
I’ve also made the decision to become a full-time professional poker player. Those who know me closely probably won’t be surprised. It’s an idea I’ve played with for quite some time, and I’m going to take advantage of the situation. I’m going to be taking the next 8-10 months to recover and get accustomed to life without a colon, and what better way to ease that transition than to have a job where I can set my own schedule? Being self-employed takes a lot of discipline, and playing poker for a living isn’t easy. But it’s what I love to do, and I feel even happier with my life after officially making the decision.
Over the past year or so, probably since I got my first job as a Certified Athletic Trainer, I’ve noticed that I’ve grown quite a bit mentally. I’ve gotten better at managing time and responsibilities. I bought Grand Theft Auto V a couple of weeks ago, but I haven’t even played it all that much, whereas years ago, I would have made quite a dent in the game by now. I’m to the point where I’ll pick up a book or find something educational to read instead of turning on my Xbox. Or I’ll watch a talk from TED, which is such an amazing website if you have the itch to learn something new, or some random show on Discovery or Nat Geo or Science (not reality TV). Don’t get me wrong; I still enjoy playing GTA or NCAA Football and other games, but it’s different now. I enjoy the logic behind playing these games, which is one of the main things that’s attracted me to playing poker for a living.
Last week, on my second day of traveling back from Las Vegas with my life in a Uhaul, I drove 20 hours from New Mexico to home. It was an idea I toyed with the first day, but I was just too tired. But I was motivated to accomplish a goal on the second day, and I’m glad I did it. I knew that I’d be driving an hour each way to New Orleans to play poker multiple times a week, sometimes late at night, and I figured this would be a great opportunity to condition myself to make that hour drive seem like almost nothing. So far, so good.
I plan to talk about my life as I transition to becoming a full-time poker player, adjust to a new lifestyle without a large intestine, along with my love for food and beer and health and music, and everything I learn along the way. Hopefully there’s some inspiration mixed in as well. Also…pictures!
I can’t forget about my support system. Getting through this disease daily and having the support of my family and closest friends as I pursue poker full-time means more than I can even put into words. I wouldn’t be where I am without them, and I don’t doubt they will be making appearances in here at some point.“Don’t follow your passions, follow your effort. It will lead you to your passions and to success, however you define it.” -Mark Cuban