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About Michael Foglietta

After about 17 years on disability and due to circumstances beyond my control, I lost half of my disability income in 2021 while I was still in college, making it imperative that I find a job as soon as I graduated. I am technically being forced to go back to work. Whether I can actually work and stay employed is another matter. Shortly after I graduated, I found a job as a project manager but it required me to be on my feet for 8 to 10 hours per day. I quickly found out the hard way that I could not do the job. Within 30 minutes of walking, I started sweating profusely. By the end of the day my shirt was completely soaked with sweat. I went home, took a shower, ate, and went to bed. That’s how bad it was. So I only lasted about 3 weeks. I took another job as an insurance agent. The flexibility of the job was great, but I was just not a good salesman. So where does that leave me? After finding out what I can’t do, that eliminated many career paths for me. I found that starting my own business was the solution. I am learning to be a public speaker and a coach. Helping people that are in similar circumstances as my own is something that I want to do. I found a new passion. I’m still in the very beginning phases and hopefully I can be up and running very soon. I found that I have to forge my own path and take control of my own future. I am very good at writing, telling stories, and helping people. My story is one of survival and tenacity. I hope to be an inspiration to other whose lives have been turned upside down, and give my life some meaning by helping others. I did some volunteer work at a children’s clinic, and to see those kids smile was amazing and it showed me what I want to do with my life.

December, 10th, 2003 was the day that would change my life forever. I had just started working for an engineering firm as a Test Engineer with a promising future ahead of me. Six months later I had a blood clot (AVM) burst in the back of my head. I remember next to nothing about it. I don’t remember waking up, and still don’t remember much and it’s been almost 20 years later. I had just gone to bed, my one- year-old daughter was in her crib sleeping next to my bed. I remember feeling extremely confused. I got out of bed, wandering around the house. Then I was being put on a stretcher and carried down the stairs. I’m pretty sure I was only wearing a pair of shorts and feeling extremely cold. I lived in Connecticut and it was December, so I think that explains why I was feeling cold. That was all she wrote. I had no idea where I was or what I was doing. I remember hearing the flatline and then I just fell asleep. No bright lights or anything, it was very peaceful. I wasn’t expected to survive, but somehow I did.

Eventually, I improved. I still live with some deficits though. Always in pain, my memory doesn’t work, slow processing speed in my brain, a learning disability, I had to see a neuropsychologist to deal with PTSD, I was an experiment for years. I had to accept the fact that I could no longer do the physical activities that I loved doing. I couldn’t return to the work I previously did. I have many limitations, physical and mental. I felt sorry for myself for many years. Eventually, my doctors found a combination of medicines that would give me the best quality of life.

My recovery plateaued about 10 years later. I began to ask myself what I wanted to do with my life, instead of just laying on the couch and watching TV all day. I had to find new interests. I came to be interested what was happening around the world and reading about it. I was so enthralled in it that after my divorce in 2019, I decided to go back to college and get my degree in International Relations. I wasn’t expected to be able to learn again, so this is an amazing accomplishment for me. I have to admit that it took many hours per day, 7 days a week to keep up my 3.8 GPA. I graduated in August 2022 with my degree and Magna Cum Lauda. And I’m 51 years old, and I have two children. Needless to say, it was difficult to sacrifice my time with my kids and my fiancé. They all understand and know what I have been working for. There were/are many who doubted I could do it. Them and others who think I have been faking my disability. It feels good to accomplish something like this, and proving people wrong is just a bonus plan.

I have traveled all over the world, I liked to go snow skiing, water skiing, play sports every once in a while, workout (not very often), do as much physical work as I wanted, and play with my kids. All of that went away in an instant. Everything changed and it was extremely difficult to get through. Even with the support of family and friends. Most of my friends now did not know me prior to my accident, they have only know me as I am now. That’s hard to imagine. I moved to Arizona with my now ex-wife in 2017 so I have no network of friends here which will make starting my business that much harder. But I look forward to the challenge and the path ahead. I am engaged to be married and she is a great comfort to me.

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