April 21, 2022

E276: Surviving near death with Michael Caprio | Mental Health Podcast

In this episode, I'm glad to be joined by my friend Michael Caprio. Michael's story is unbelievable; you talk about this man, this thought about the world being against you at eighteen years old.
See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/e276-surviving-near-death-with-michael-caprio-mental-health-podcast/#show-notes

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In this episode, I'm glad to be joined by my friend Michael Caprio. Michael's story is unbelievable; you talk about this man, this thought about the world being against you at eighteen years old. He was diagnosed with a hereditary family disease that caused them to lose almost his entire digestive system and face death and the recovery of that.

The trials and tribulations that we go through, that we push ourselves through, that we survive, that unfortunately, sometimes we suffer from having grown to become the person we were supposed to be, are unbelievable. His story is that his impact, vulnerability, and authenticity are really powerful. As I listened to him today and I dove into a story, into his book, into his mission, I kept thinking to myself, like, we're here for a purpose, every one of us. It may not always seem like, that right now, at this moment, because life is hard; I get it, I know you all know, we know this together, and it's cumbersome, it's overwhelming, and sometimes it's just straight-up fucking unfair. But when you change your mindset and attitude, you are willing to go and leverage your truth with your family, friends, community, and support. It's unbelievable what you're capable of doing.

Michael is such an incredible testament to that, and I'm very excited for this episode. Very excited for you to be here with us, Unbroken Nation!

Let's get into the show!

Learn more about Michael Caprio at: https://www.mikecaprioauthor.com/

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Michael: Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation! Hope that you're doing well wherever you are in the world today. Very excited be back with you with another episode with my guest Michael Caprio who is the author of his debut memoir, "A Bump in the Road". Michael my friend how are you today? What is happening in your world?

Michael Caprio: Hey! How's it going Mike, I'm doing good today, just like enjoying another beautiful Saturday here in New Jersey.

Michael: Yeah. I love it man. It's super I've been looking forward to having this conversation with you. You told me your story a couple of months ago, I felt super compelled by it and I know the Unbroken Nation is going to love it and so I'd love if you tell us a little bit about you, your back story and how you got to where you are today?

Michael Caprio: Okay, perfect. So, since I'm sitting here and I'll just show my books inside that right here so that's my heart of my book. And so, when I was eighteen years old in my senior year at high school, I got diagnosed with a rare genetic condition that runs in my family; that's running a family for four generations and it's called Familial Adenomatous Polyposis and basically what that means is and right now it's relevant in the middle the march it's a colorectal cancer bump, it's a form of colorectal cancer that affects my large intestine and basically to put it in short is I have a gene in my body that instead of stopping the growth the polyps they multiplied. So, when I was eighteen years old, I had to go get a blood test you know, in New York City in mount Sinai hospital which is when of my surgeons operate and at the time I was in high school, so my parents told made they go to New York to get a blood test. I don't really think much of it. I was in a very naive stage in my life, focusing to know high school things like, playing video games, you're being to friends when I get back and doing stupid stuff. So, you know there was a very it was a minor inconvenience for that day but I never really never thought much of it and then you know flash forward a couple of weeks because they told us to weeks the results were coming you know, I asked my mom about it and my mom kind of was shock that I remembered and like, that was in my mind so like, she waited a little longer my family to tell me towards in New York which is definitely better because you know that would that's a very active pain thought, the blood test came back positive and then I had polo colonoscopy to be to confirm at eighteen years old that the blood test was an accurate. And when I went to my polo colonoscopy, I remember eighteen years old they had to show me it so you know my parents didn't really want me to see it but they had to show me because I was legal adult and I remember my large intestine and the results like, they're just like the doctor sitting in there pointing out everything and he just circle all them and there are so many polyps that looked like my large intestine was like, covering bubble wrap, there is hundreds of them. So, I remember him telling me like, yeah, right after you graduate high school, you're gonna have to get your entire large intestine and removed and then I was up to gate pouch operation and all these things and I was like, well let know total hit was by surprise. So, after colonial colonoscopy got a little more real because after that you know, it was many medical procedure kinds of freaked me out a little bit and I was out of my element and then I started to realize okay, this is pretty serious because after I graduate, I have to have all these operations so then that's when I started to do google my condition online which is it the worst thing you could do ever, everybody always says, I mean it's very true. And my surgeon had a funny way to put in it he said you know, the people who are happy aren't close or very rarely are posting your stories online usually the people had honored. So, he tried to told me to take that would bring slow, was basically when my parents said they said you're gonna have a chance to meet your surgeon you know, he's a great guy, can tell all these great things about him and that he's gonna change mainly life forever and I’ll be back good health. And his name was Doctor Gore in Mount Sinai, and when I first met him for the first time all the things were true, he was very calm, had a nice good sense of humor, he didn't sugar coat things to me but it was brought to my attention how severe it was gonna be. I had to get the entirety in my large intestine removed because that's where the cancer was wrong with my disease it's not a matter of you know, a bit cancer it was a matter of way and with me probably at eighteen years old, I'm twenty-five now, I'd probably be very sick at this point if I didn't get the operation where I wouldn't be here.

So, it was very serious of circumstances and it's all preventative before it gets bad which is the whole point of testing and finding these things out early which is why it's so important because that's why I’m here today is because everything was done early. So, I had to get the entire email alert and test removed and then I had to get a jay pouch, so it's different for people who get their large intestine and remove they get these steps of operations you could end up when it asking me, I had a temporary one for three months so at eighteen that was obviously a lot of my mind too that, was a whole new adjustment, something that I didn't really realize it's possible at the time. You know my first operation to get the entirety my large intestine removes to construct the jay pouch was nine hours and half hours I everything like far, and so yeah, I was like right after graduated on high school of July tenth. And then I had to live with a temporary ostomy for three months, testing seal and then after three months I went back in to get that reversed so that it'll be going through like the new plumbing searching called it because you know, for eighteen years old, I was the northern way normal lane and now I'm doing it my way now which is the way that he constructed. And so basically what its jay pouches is and this is how you surgeon describe information verbatim for what there as close to verbatim as I put. So, I remember after my operation you basically tell my parents that he had the take by my logging test and then you kinda stretching my small intestine in far way to occupy that space for testing model that there wasn't type space ideas is how explain that to me. And then at the end of your small intestine then it's plugged the ileum and from that they kind of just created a J shaped reservoir and they use us staples and sue to put it together, so it kind of access as like, I guess it's like you know the replacement of what the end of your large intestine, so that would be like rectum. So, basically it had to get my whole digestive system reroute and that was how I was able to be saved into a like, good health obviously what happened to me physically it was very difficult you know and very graphic, I go into detail the book about that you know about the nine hours and you know all the things that went running at hospital that kept me there for eleven days and that you know, the months at home. But I think what was just as difficult as the physical part was the mental aspect and that's a lot of what the book is about too because I understand thing my perspective, there's not a lot of people who are affected by my condition you know, it's very rare and I understand that so, I tried to market it in a way where yes, people in my condition it they will totally really relate to that, you know, I'll be telling the whole story totally transparent, no sugar coated, nothing and that's perfect. And then people in similar circumstances with colorectal diseases because you know even though they vary in certain ways that we share a lot of similar things, so, I do like to affect that community too but at the end of the day a bump in the road is we all go through bumps in the road; your mine was health issues but I was fortunate in other areas, I have two eleven parents, that have a eleven brother, great support system, that don't be through it and you know I've grown up with people who have had no health issues a matter fact had great health, right? But then they have bad that home situation. So, it just gave me a lot of perspective of the things that I'm thankful for and the hard times from my bump in the road is what led me to a life that I'm a little happier up nowadays, things I lot people think it would be the opposite but that is not true.

Michael: Yeah, that's powerful man, and what a story you know. Growing up and I've shared this on the show before you know terrible asthma actually coated once when I was six, I couldn't play, I couldn't do anything and eventually I grew out of it by time I was fifteen luckily but you know facing death's door at such a young age really was detrimental and I think that so much about what it means to kinda overcome these things is starting with your attitude and looking at how important that is, how powerful it is, how like literally the thought process you have about this entire process even though it's chaotic and fucked up and it sucks and it's unfair like you still have to be able to come to the super attitude. Talk to me about what was going through your mind and how you were able especially as a kid because I'll be honest dude, I think about that and I go man, that you are so strong to have been able to go through that. So, what was your attitude, what was your thought process like, as you were heading into the beginning of this?

Michael Caprio: Yes. So, that's a great question. I'll cover at all you know from top to the bottom because my perspective on things changed a lot obviously so in the very beginning like, I said, I was very naive so you know my concerns at the time when I didn't even realized how serious my condition was when I was just gonna tested that's when I was like thinking to myself like, oh, this isn't anything like, oh, my brother got tested for, my brother's fine, by mom said she has it my aunt said, so like, was around I wasn't even considered this serious ramifications. So, at that time it was just kind of like a minor inconvenience, it was through like stupid continued social life at the time and then as I got a little older and I found out the most of severe and implications in my condition and it became wow, okay, so like then it was the first time I was introduced to deaths kind of as you said when you're at eighteen and you're contemplating like, okay, like supposed to be just started and for all my peers they're looking forward to going to college and doing all these fun things and looking forward to the next seven chapter in their life. And for me, I was looking at nothing about uncertainty, I didn't know what the next chapter my life was gonna look like, I didn't know if I was gonna be happy when I woke up, I didn't even know if I was going up, I mean yeah, those odds are very low obviously but it was still a possibility the nonetheless and then I was kind of forced to come to the realization, I'm like what if I wake up on July tenth when I have a surgery you know, whenever I wake up from that and what if my life is miserable from now on, what if wouldn't I little life that you know isn't worth living that I'm suffering all the time. And then that kind of thought that threw something else into my head where you know for the first time my life, I was kind of facing the reality of a feet worse than death you know, so like, I had spent all time leaving this small as existential crisis, any team trying to wrap my head around you know these hard realities and then to have that thought creep in like oh like, it could be worse than death and I was like, well, how exactly is that possible? So, then I was going through that weird tug of war at that point and then you know it just kept going back and forth it was really overwhelming and then I kind of just before the surgery I was like, right well, fuck it, has to happen anyways so you know let's just attack this, I nothing to prepared me from what I woke up to. You know, that day in the hospital and what I would face the next couple of weeks and months I truthfully know about to read and put that and then that's when I woke up you know, I woke up, I mean crazy amounts painting at hospital, I mean, I spent eleven days in there, pretty had have people help you walk around, they have all these things that you know set me back and just horrible stories out detail and in the booking in greater detail because like so, I'm transparent about what happened me and during in those times I was just gonna beat up and physically and then the mental part a little after and I know the exact moment when it hit to so like my first six days in the hospital were really easy because I was just leaning out and pain medication, I was like switch these flu body because I just kept pressing the pump, I was weight pain okay, press it, knockout out, right? That's basically what I thought I was gonna do for eleven days and I’d be fine. And then after six days the nurses basically started winning me off it and they said like, you know if you wanted get out of here remember one doctor said it to me and it kinda shocked me because I thought they were supposed to support you and don't get wrong in the moment I was being selfish and looking back on that they were a hundred percent, this was the right thing for them to do had to push me to do this because I wasn't helping myself get better but then they started leaned me off, this med and telling me don't take it when you have pain, you have to fight through a little bit and I kinda shocked me after so, I was like who are these people to tell me that I can't be mitigating my pain but then something else happening you know, six days went by really fast and I thought oh, this recovery is gonna be easy because have was so high paint and everything and then I was sitting in there in the hospital and I was getting leaned off and time just started trying like, I was how I've been here for six days already it's been like two hours and it feels like a date so, like everything just started dragging. And I had more time to think about everything and the pain was just much worse and I was just like wow, this is like as bad as it gets like, this has to be rock bottom, right? Like, I thought all of a sudden my perspective started shifting and was like we never been out of here like, I'm never get back on my feet again so then I was just trying to getting beat down and I had nothing to really helped because the pain was helping and they told me to get off that so that's when things really started to hit because after that those final six days in the hospital were really slow and painful and then I went home and it was basically the same thing you know I thought when I at home, I'd be like oh, I'm mean my home now I could sleep my own bed that happened anyway it's staples of a stomach, I couldn't sleep on my own bed. So, in the hospital setting it's like, the hospital ended but I came home and it was basically the same thing at home, I still couldn't walk around and do much on my own, I was still in pain, time was still dragging and everyday was a living nightmare. So, every day I would wake up and the time wasn't pieces are no sleeping but I could barely sleep because I was in so much pain in that time. And I was just like you know, this is when he had rock bottom moments and starting to come in like, started to calm down the pipeline that I write about in the book where like, this just goes on for so long in my head where like, everyday miserable, I'm getting no enjoyment out of everything, all the things I used to enjoy have been taken away from me and instead things that I used to enjoy are not causing me pain like, eating certain foods or walking or trying to lay down that like literally anything. So, I was like wow, the first time I had independence and help taken away from me and I was like wow, this is what rock bottom is. You know, when you're in high school and you have stupid things, you go through like a breakup or whatever and I'm not saying breakups are stupid because they can be very serious but like in your high school even like kind of penny high school drama and that'll get you down and you could be to upset about it and you're like wow, like, my kinda of suck or I'm upset about this right? And then I used to be said about those things but then like for the first time I sitting there, I'm like wow, these are like real life problems you know what I mean? Like this is like something that I've never really experienced before like, this is insane and it truly was making me reevaluate everything and then I just kind of hit that point we're after reevaluate it for so long and trying to see if there's only at the end of the tunnel like, I just trying to dig up and write it in the book that it was a very scary time and I recovering because I didn't care then I wasn't looking for solutions, it was just my brain like I didn't care, I wasn't talking to anyone, I wasn't talking with my mom or my dad or my brother who were trying to cheer me up, I wasn't talking to my friends who were trying to cheer up. You know, and at that point my perspective but I really believe that I know looking back on it now it's very foolish but this is why it's important to talk about these things is at the time I really saw, I was a burden to the people that love me like, I thought really thought and believe that if I wasn't here they'd be better off without like better off than such of burden and causing all this people have to take care of me and have to do this and you could do this and they're taking time of schedule for me and said why are they you doing this for me. And like it might really that important and I just really thought that I was burden so, I kinda pushed everyone away, I wasn't really being responsive like, I said, I gave up. And then my mom was trying to pick my brain one day in the summertime on the couch when I was recovering and this was probably my rock bottom, it wasn't wrong by a moment.

I talked about in the book where you know, she just said they're telling me, like tell me what's wrong? Like, you could tell me anything and I might have just like, you really wanna know. So, I said that I do really wanna know and at the moment and I understand that at the moment, I was sick when I said this but I did mean it and whatever what happened after this was necessary that's how I knew it because this is a very important moment in my life when I told her, if I knew this was gonna happen, I wish I was never born because again I thought that would help her as stupid as it sounds because that's what I really believed at the time. So, I said that and as soon as I said it was just kind of instant regret, like it left my mouth, I saw the damage he did to her and then she went out on the deck and basically start praying until my dad came home. Then you know, we had that a moment where we basically said like you know, my dad says to me that like, your mom's upset too, it's not just you, like she thinks that she gave this to and that's mean I started to be realize it's so much bigger than just myself like that's when everything kind of like it started to make sense like, that was my rock bottom moment and not necessarily probably I don't think anyone's really proud of the rock bottom moments but what happened after was very necessary because what happened after is I started look for solutions. You know, I wasn't trying to hurt my family's feelings, I wasn't trying to break their hearts but I did and then I saw my mom and went dad very stressed and upset about you know my actions at the time because I wasn't taking responsibility for what it happened to me and then I never considered their perspective, I never considered that this is genetic that they decided to have kids and you know from my brother he didn't have them for me to handle it, there's all these family dynamics, I was sitting in there thinking about okay, how do I make it right? And that's the first time that I was in that moment, like, I hadn't a moment prior to that I looking for solutions so that's why I'm thankful for my rock bottom moment because it forced me to look for solutions because I saw the hurt, I was frozen people. So, then I kind of learned like, okay, things aren't great right now, they might not be great in the future, I don't try and I just gotta kind of fake it until I make it, you know like that sounds cheesy a lot of people say that but at first you do have to do that but my catalyst that led me towards that kinda snapped me out of the fog and was kind of coming to this realization okay, if I don't accept this miserable to the rest of my life, this is gonna affect my family dramatically. And in ways is I'm not really sure, I would know what the outcome would be today had I chosen a different patent, you know, so I'm very thankful that I had that realization.

Michael: Yeah, that's such a powerful testament man. And as you're talking about this the word that keeps popping up in my head is transparent. And I think that there's so much power in being able to be open and be honest and even in that moment of sharing that with your mother, you know, I mean there was transparency in that, I think, I go ahead even though it's difficult and you're like shit, man like, I just rocked the boat or maybe they'll wasn't the right thing to say but it was the honest thing to say, was the truthful for authenticity. What kind of role has been transparent played in your life because I'm obviously getting that tremendously here in this conversation but how does that play over into the other aspects of your life?

Michael Caprio: Yes. So, definitely being transparency is a big one for me and the most personal example like, dear to my heart for me I got a million examples but the one that's definitely most relevant in my life and that kinda painful circle for me is in my family, my grandma was very open about our condition, she always did kind of like not experimental optional procedures that's the better word optional procedures, to develop research for our condition and she always reached out to support groups that was her thing and she wrote that because when she used to take care of me that resonated me and she really liked that. And then you know, her sister had it she was kind of the opposite and in my family, we said like, my mom was more of an aunt, my grandma sister who was a little quieter about it and you know it's tough things to talk about I definitely understand that. But for me it was like, this thing that was kind of half talked about and my family, wasn't really fully talked about especially not on the other side of my family that wasn't affected by it, they always knew we had something and they respected but as was never really talked about. And so, from while specifically she was always kind of the type never to like talk about it or be more open with it, that she was little more pleased with her with our condition. Then as I started to be more open and acceptance of it, she become more opens and accept of it as the years went on. So, then I eventually you know, I think it was a two or three years ago or 2019 is when grandmother about sick and she had a terminal cancer. I was on unrelated topic which was her wish that would have been pretty devastating for her. But I remember towards the end we were having heart to hearts and whatever, and my grandma told my mom that you know she needs to get tested for get scope test to make sure that she's okay, and she basically said you need to do this for Michael because Michael didn't give up on you; you can't give up on him, and that's my grandma said to my mom. And then so my mom went eventually she had her stroke test my mom as a very complicated medical history, so to not go into details especially really hundred percent sure we're still not all under percent sure but they found something that they had to remove and they had to do a reversal to what she had done to her to what I have which five years ago we were told wasn't possible, right? So, they find something and this test was obviously done, so we find out the momentum to have like two to three operations over the course of like the next year and that you're just so happened to be the pandemic. So, actually my mom's last operation team in March of 2020, she still in the hospital and had to get west out with all that craziness going on in New York City, so that was a very, very dramatic time. But the point being of this story is my mom got that test done because my grandma told her too because of how I chose to be transparent and open with everything because my grandmothers always told her you know he can't give up on my because that's the route I chose. So, my mom would have been running and not gotten her test on but she did test on and they found it and she was able to be safe of it.

And I remember during the pandemic when I was taking care of mom now because I had to center came early because of all of the crazy issues other tubes in had to care whoever like, the operations went well and I just had to play for a little bit. So, when I was playing holders whatever we know to kinda had a conversation and we were saying like, if I hadn't been so open what would have happened and my mom's like honestly, I’m not sure, I don't think we would be in this position right now, that she would be here and we would all be here in this position and that's just one example where my mom's life was impacted by and I don't know if you could say saved but she at least went to that that test was which is something that she swore she never did you never do, she swore that she would never get operated on and she went through three surgeries again. And you know in a way it was a full circle moment in my life to because I remember when I was at school this was happening and I remember on the day for six hours surgery, I was a nervous wreck, I was checking the clock and a friend come up from school to hang out me, need to keep my mind busy that day, but for the first time I was kind of in her shoes when I was under like I was clock watching and really scared and concerned and I know my mom so, I knew that she always said in the past that she would never to operating on then, you know more religious family she said one my time comes, my time comes and she was at peace with it and she said, I got you know forty good years after my surgery; that was her of her view. And you know, now she went through and all the things that she said she was never do and she went through it going under the table again that operated on, she lived a couple months when a has bag which was temporary but in between surgeries and then another she's would never do. So, I was trying to worry, I said okay, now the surgery is good, my dad probably stay went well it's like, okay, now I know the recovery coming, so, I just I was worried if she was gonna be up for the task mentally, right? Because that's what she was worried about me and then in way I was like worrying about her well-being, when she was worried about mine but then I kind saw her, kinda handle it like a chance, she didn't me no reason to where she took care of it, she really did I tripped up on there and called it's she was in good spirits and she gave me a reason to be concerned so that's kind of how I would imagine she felt when I started doing what I was doing, right? Because that took a huge weight off my shoulders because I was like, okay, she's gonna be good like, I seen that she's handling on it well, I see that she's gonna be okay and that I was able exhale and then a moment it was kinda of full circle for me because I was like this must be on my parents felt when I was under you know and just to trying to see that the paths I took all those years ago, when all these things happen you know I had a bunch of paths I could take, that could keep the silent the route and that's talk about this and do the thing that my family had been doing or I could take a different rate than be open about it. You know, that was like the mystery rep, I never really nowhere where that's gonna lead and the other one you do but it's a little more predictable in bad ways. So, I just kind of, I made the choice and getting fully transparent because it added more into my life, it deepened my relationships so then my family number one and that's obvious with just my parents and like maybe a group around me and the story I just shared. But also, for me, I think it's just helped me live a much happier authentic life. Like I remember back when I was like 2021 and 2022 those are like the years were like how it tells some people but not tell other people and I was like in and out you know like, I was in like that halfway where I was like, do I wanna be fully open about this and really go with it or do I just wanna only let certain people on it. But then I learned through a series of like events and my job that I read about in the book at different jobs I had were like, I didn't tell people then they got a about me, one of my jobs because I was in the bathroom lot I've being pain whatever standing on my feet serving and all that, I had people who accused me went to the owner of the place I was working at the time and said, I was doing drugs, they thought I was doing drugs. So, that's I was given by not being transparent about what it happened me talking about something that I literally had no control over right, it's not chose to have any of this happen to me it's not like this has no impact on who I am as a person, so why is it a big deal. And I kinda to realize that the million like was giving these people power to say, I was doing drugs, to say I was doing this and to lie about me and make me little fool and I realized when you're more transparent and open you take that power back from people, you take control they can't do that to you.

So, that was the catalyst; those two things were catalysts and let me know you know what? Let's just be transparent because there's pros and cons to everything in this life but the pros definitely a way to times as far as being transparent as opposed to being negative.

Michael: Yeah. I totally and fully agree with that. And you can you see these markers about the experiences of your life when you show up authentically as who you are and the impact that they can have on people. And now obviously you're having this conversation publicly and I think about when I rewind my life to almost at this point seven years ago and sharing for the first time the truths about growing up in the way I did and the experience I had and trying to put that into the world just for no other reason than at the time to be honest with you , I just didn't know what else to do with it and that transparency then turning into fast forward all these years later what it's become to Think Unbroken and the impact I've had on people's lives and the ability to show up. And that's the thing that's so fascinating about when you're willing to be honest and transparent you can impact people in ways that even I don't even understand what happens sometimes you know what I mean? And have that direct impact in your own family but I'm sure also in your community must just be you know; I look at it like this and I know it's a weird thing to say but it's about turning pain into purpose and in that I think that there's a certain amount of responsibility that comes in that because of the impact of your life and it even impacts your life on positive way. I think about that in terms of at some point there's like this pendulum swing and I don't know that this necessary holds true for everyone but I know that it does for me and so I'm curious if this has been about showing up for yourself, about having more responsibility and how that's played out in your life?

Michael Caprio: Oh, absolutely. Like for me, I always look at what happened to me is like the biggest blessing in my life and then always makes people stretch their head because they know they'll listen to my story as I tell it and then like when you went through some bad things. I think this is something that maybe loses us in our culture nowadays with is hardships aren't necessarily a bad thing, right? We're all gonna go through them at some point of varying degrees and some more than there's that much a giving for me at eighteen years old, high school, I wasn't satisfied with who I was because I wanted to do something with purpose. At eighteen years old, I wasn’t described what it was but I knew I wanted to do something meaningful. So, like, I was with my peers is saying like oh, I wanna make money and do this, Oh, money would be cool but I don't wanna do that, right? So, I had to an identity crisis of eighteen or I never was really truly happy with who I was and then you know everything happens to me; my surgeries and then obviously that broke me down even more you know, it broke me down to the bottom and then once I finally hit the bottom, I kind of reinvented myself in a way and the way I reinvented to myself was by doctor responsibility. After my rock bottom moment when I saw my parents and my family, I was like okay, I need to be strong for them and it started off just like that and I'm gonna be strong for the people who are there for me. And then at least you start being strong for yourself and you see other people kind of show you admiration and makes you feel better about yourself. Maybe at first you kind of question it little you that impostor syndrome was so special about me but then you know when you realize that just by doing it's very simple things too and guess that's what it always means that might be the head scratch it's because it kinda sounds like you're just doing the things you're supposed to do, right? I'm just taking care of myself so that my family doesn't worry and then I'm taking care of myself so that I could show other people that am I similar circumstances that you can live in normal life and that your past circumstances don't have to define your entire life, and they seem like such simple things that they really matter to people. And to me what that kinda of tells me is that we either don't encourage these types of behaviors enough to where it committing people to do this and it's not as routine which is what I'm hoping to break, I'm hoping that by just choosing to do this it relates something in somebody else like, it happened to me right? Like its scenes necessarily happy with themselves or anything you had a chance to reinvent yourself and do something new moving forward. And that's kind of what happened with me as far as like you know with the pendulum swing but I feel as a society that's kind of the change I wanted to say in the world and I just kind to lived it. And as I started to adopting more responsibility it did bring more happiness into my life ironically like see certain things that I do now that I consider taking responsibility, like going to the gym and exercise because of my health condition and I'm just having bad health issues. I wanna do as much to mitigate those things as possible. But then when you start taking care of your health and then you see like positive aspects of it, you see your hard work stuff to pay off so speak right you're just like, oh, that feels really good, I wanna do something else that shows how your hard pays off.

Everybody is different interest, for me what they pertain to is more so helping people like, I know for me when I sat down to decide to be open and with the book and everything it wasn't so much about turning the huge properly and all this stuff, right? For me basically what I said that is if it helps one person it was worth my time right at it and I've succeeded that thank God but that's been most rewarding aspect for me is just when I have people who reach out to me and whether they had similar health issues or just you know issues like within in my community, like people that went to school with you know who lost a loved one and they've been struggling with that and then they write. I've lost my grandmother, I've felt lost too, I read about that in my book so like that's part of my story too.

People will just read it and they'll be like well, I agree with that, I had that same thing happen to me, it's just like, people don't it takes so little to connect with people and it takes so little to resonate with another person and I just feel like if every person attack their everyday life with the responsibility of like, you matter to your group of people. This is how I think, like I matter to my coworkers because they were relying me to do my job, I matter to my family because they're my loved ones and they take care of me we love each other, I don't want them to worry about me. And even with anybody in my day like, I'm running errands and like I'm just small talking with people, I'll do that when I do that like, I just wanted to just socialize and just be good to people and reason to smile. Even if it's like some little interaction pulling the door open for somewhere just think about how much those little things genuinely make people smile and then if you think about the bigger things how much they make people smile it's like people just focus on the little things and even if they took a couple steps of doing the big things I feel like that could be a domino effect within a lot of people's lives because I've just seen who it's impacted in my own life personally like if I chose to be totally negative seven years ago and never talked about this and never tried to go above and beyond myself and help other people and just adopt more responsibility and overhaul my life in a lot of ways because I never used to do these things before they're all new things I learned so they're all things you could learn. It's not like I had these things instilled I had to learn and I'm almost scratch after going through really hard time so it's not like it's never too late and there's no such thing as going through too much to as an excuse to not try to rebuild.

And for me, I just know for a fact if I didn't address the responsibility of the things that happened to me and my trauma so to speak that they would have been so much worse and that domino effect would happen but in a negative way it would have not claims over, like my family cloud been destroyed as a result and then gotten what that would have impacted. Like it goes so much deeper than I think people realize, like a family could fall apart and then people are friends with that family to be impacted, it really goes so much deeper than a lot of us realize and that's kind of what my life up to this point has taught me is that each action you do hasn't has consequences and you might not see for three five years and that's that sort what happened with me, right? Like I made a personal choice to certainly living my life the way I did just to help myself with my mental and trying to better my life and build myself back up and anything scrap so to speak. I mean was personal reasons at first and then they later on they started to be the bigger picture after I got myself back up my two feet and then that's when I started to see those choices like I just the fruit of my labor so to speak you know it started coming and I was like wow, I made an impact more than I even really realized. So, I saw the smaller things and then the bigger things coming later and then it just all kind of piece together and I was like okay, there's so much more in our lives than I think we really realize.

Michael: Yeah. I resonate with that so much because there is this thing that I constantly thinking about of basically like planting seeds right now, right? And I'm like little things today on a long enough timeline are gonna bloom into something that I don't even understand yet. And so much of that even starts with the personal responsibility of showing up for yourself every single day, going in the gym when you don't want to, eating the right foods, taking care of yourself, go to therapy, doing support groups, having the surgery as many of the audience knows in January, I had a surgery did not wanna do it and it's something that changed my life that took me weeks and weeks and weeks to recover from. But ultimately like, even the things that we don't wanna do like you have to do sometimes because that's where growth comes from, that's where life comes from, it's like being willing to be in that pain for a moment whether it's physical mental or emotional that little bit of push that you have to take in those times, when you most wanna push away from it like, I've come to find that's where I see the greatest growth in my life happen. Have you found that to be true for yourself as well?

Michael Caprio: Oh, absolutely! Actually, I kind of wrote like a medium article on this because I've been thinking about this type of topic as well like, I really do think it's brain paint like maybe not in the physical sense but we go through pains. And I think of like the moment for me like you said like you have to go through periods of uncomfortable, so like after to the surgery in the recovery period and then things get that so you got to that period of being un uncomfortable and then things get better and that's growth. I think and I wrote about this like, there's other ways like, there is no such thing as growth without a period of being uncomfortablethere's just no way around it. But even for me, I always wanted to read a book, I like to read and write like, storytelling in that's always what I enjoyed, right? So, this was a dream of mine and then when I finally had the opportunity like literally the opportunity was thrown from me my publisher is like will bring you on, you just gotta announce it. I remember that night and I think was like August of 2020, I had the bunch of pictures with friend and also to post the announcement on social media and I typed up the post and I was sitting in there about to press send and I was like, after I press send, everybody's gonna know that this is what I'm doing this as an announcement and then I'm doing, that there's no turning back after this. This is the proverbial leap of faith like, after I take this sleep there's no growing back and then I kinda sat there and I weighed everything out, I was like okay but after I take this sleep and I let everybody know this is what I’m doing, I have to commit a hundred and ten percent and fight through this weird new period of having this uncomfortable not lie know there was a period of uncomfortable miss even for me because I was like okay there's no turning back now. What if I write it and it doesn't get received well, all the weather go that had all the potential things that could go bad. But I really wanted to do this more so than I didn't want to it, that's what it came down to end of the day. I weighed all the cons and I said yeah, these things are possible but at the end of the day I won't be able to live myself if I didn't just take this leap and see where it takes me.

So, I just kind of learned to take the jump and I've done this a bunch of times in my life like, when my surgery is like that moment where I said I had to fake the time, fake it. But that was another moment where I was just kind of taking the leap, I didn't know if things gonna it be good things should've have been you shit in two years and it could've have been right back to school while wondering and what am I doing in my life. But you know, I took that leap and I said, I don't know if things are gonna get better but we're gonna a try and then they got better. So, I was already a accustomed to take in those types of leaps before but I still had it right before the book and then you know I posted it press send and I committed to it anyways. Like I said there was a period where it was a little uncomfortable because I was really out there for first time over in my life after being a mostly guarded person for most of my life. So was it big change but then, like a week, two weeks row by then you start to realize all things that you're in your head like, a lot of people gonna make fun of me for doing this, are people who gonna judge me for doing this, I mean there could be people out there who have I've never heard it, I don't care but what I've made and I'm sure there are, but what I've noticed for me is it was almost unanimously with respect and like good feedback. People ahead talked to me forever relationships with them saying oh, my god, I know this happen to you, just catching up, they're telling me things that I know happened to them just like kind of all these relationships, people that I never really talked to just kind of hitting me up in my Instagram, DM’s and messaging me for the first time in a long time or first time ever for people just kinda telling me you know the shit they been through and just kind of confided to me for what was kind of eye opening. I was like wow, this is totally none of the things that I feared were true and it's totally the opposite this is and it was so rewarding like, I felt so good, I got a little taste of like okay, yes this is what I wanna do. And that's when the growth hit for me because like then the things that I were nervous about like okay, being on the public and wondering if people are judging this or that like that kinda went away because I was like there's not many people doing that if any at all and the response is mostly positive and most of was in my head. So, for me personally when I'm gone through these pains in life, I just kind of know most of it is in my head it's not forever. And I think those are the big things and you gotta push your head down and just be with it for a little bit and then it'll be over and that's when that growth officially hits and then once that growth hits all that stuff that was you know causing you pain, brain pain so to speak it won't be there next time it's just you're over, like once you get over pains in real life when you're physically growing you don't get them, you get over that hump it's like the same thing for mental pains, you gotta push through that week and it's a little upsetting because I know a lot of people get scared when they get to that loop you know. Maybe get to the cusp doing something really good and then they get scared and they go through something that's a little safer so that's kind of what I had to push through. And I get it because I felt it too but I think that's the lesson for growth that I've learned is that there's a period of uncomfortable is got push through and then growth it.

Michael: Yeah, hundred percent. And I wrote a note as you were talking it and I wrote down just “press-send” because there's so much to life and that really held true for me. And hearing you say that just now. My friend this conversation was absolutely amazing before I ask you my last question can you tell everyone where they can find you?

Michael Caprio: Yes, absolutely. So, I have a website which has like all my other links and everything on there so my website www.mikecaprioauthor.com, My personal line is mikecaprio_authorand then my author one which is which mostly pertains so you know obviously my brain that is the personal ones just met whatever I'm doing that feels interested in enough the post but all writing and related stuff is a mikecaprio_authoron Instagram and then my media account is also on my website, so you could access that from there. And yep, that's where all this stuff is.

Michael: Awesome and of course we'll put all the links in the show notes for the Unbroken Nation. Michael, my friend my last question for you is what does it mean to you to be unbroken?

Michael Caprio: For me to be unbroken is we're all responsible for things that we don't want to happen to us, right? And including the ones that we don't want to happen to us and I've even write about that in my book that concept and being broken is we're all gonna have things happen to us in our life that are gonna hurt us and so we're gonna have more than other like I said before there's all varying factors of that say deal with more than others, some deal you know family issues, health issues regardless is we're all gonna at be from these curve balls and you have a choice to make you have the choice to take responsibility and shoulders some of the shit leaves there's you and granted a lot of it you know isn't fair or fun that's just how it goesbut you can't change the fact that it happened but if you take power in whatever happened to you and you own responsibility and you'd really try to move through it and grow through it can be difficult at times but the end result is you will live a more rewarding and happy life than if you choose to just let whatever happened go tested for years. I mean that's how we see so many so many issues bubble later in life, right? Like people even unresolved trauma and whatnot. I think the real way to get over the traumas of life is to just attack them head on and to show other people; to be an inspiration for the people I mean to be frank, right? We all look up to people, I look up to people, I'm sure you look up to people and those people inspire something us to get through the shit in our lives. So, that's what unbroken means to me.

Michael: Amazing my friend, very well said and could not agree more. Michael thank you so much for being here.

Unbroken Nation, thank you so much for listening.

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And Until Next Time.

My friends, Be Unbroken.

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Michael Caprio


Michael is a newly published author of his debut memoir "A Bump in the Road: My Medical Journey over Potholes, Detours, and the Bridge to Gratitude". In his memoir Mike details the highs and lows of his diagnosis, and his path to a happy life mentally and physically.

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Michael Unbroken


Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.