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    Posted November 26, 2012 by
    chicago, Illinois, Illinois
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    CNN Fit Nation: 2013 Triathlon Challenge

    Don't put me in the ground yet...I still have some music in me!

    I thought long and hard before creating the headline.(well, not that long!) It came from some onel who used that statement when the subject of his retirement came up. I always thought that it was a great statement about someone who felt that they had more to do in this life. It was never really about music, it was about life and how there is always another path to follow.

    I was a Trial Lawyer for 35 years. for most of the time, I absoltely loved it. It was one of the great passions of my life. i never had to diet or exercise because the courts took care of that. I lived 22 miles from the courts and I wouild sometimes play 3 times a day. I met all kinds of interesting people that would have never touched my life absent playing that simple game.

    My first wife feigned an interest in the game, but all of the people made her feel welcome and she did enjoy herself.we traveled to tournaments in the Midwest and actually had mini vacations at some locales. During the week I enjoyed the practice of law. We had no children, so we could enjoy many things that were products of our employment.

    Unforunately, my wife strayed from our marriage. She begged forgivenss and I did forgive her. She blamed the racquetball for the distance between us. We reconciled and went on with our lives.

    Tragically, my interest in the game waned. I thought she might be right. My fitness regime fell off, and the weight began to appear at a staggering rate.

    In 1988, after 12 years of practice in iowa, my wife was still very self-conscious about her affairs. she wanted to move. So, after an exhaustive search, we settled in Sedona, Arizona. It was beautiful, but my lx habits continued. from a playing weight of 165, I ballooned to 201 when we moved.

    Arizona was not as idyllic as I assumed. the moving truck may have taken us away from our Iowa home, but our problems followed.

    Five years after our arrival in Arizona, she abruptly left. I was crushed. My weight was on the move and I was at 240 when she left. My friends and family supported me and I thought I was on my way.

    Having worked as a divorce lawyer, I knew all of the major pitfalls of remarriage. However, like the plumber with the leaky faucet, I made the same mistake again. I married a nurse with four children...instant stepdad!

    At first life was great again. Although I did not have a fitness regime again, I liked being around the kids and taught three of them how to drive. the two girls were really challenging. I found a new level of fear when I was with them. I taught them Interstate Driving by taking them on Interstate 17 at 5am on Saturday Mornings. The final test was that they would drive in Phoenix for a day. If I had a weak heart, I would not be here today!

    As the kids became teenagers, problems arose that I needed to resolve. Between speeding tickets and other scapes with the law for all of them I now understood the perila of parenthood.

    At the same time, my second wife became more distant and the relationship started to fall apart. I was almost frozen as I was afraid to do anything to end the marriage. One divorce is ok for a Catholic boy. Two is certainly an express pass to hell.

    My wife found a octor who became friends with her. Sadly, her friends husband died. The friend was forlorn and almost lost. When I was asked if she could move in with us, I galdly said yes. most of the kids were on their own, and another adult was a welcome addition.

    The two became inseparable, and there was no room for me in that relationship. I had become a shadow of myself. the shadow was quite large as I was now 329 pounds.

    I was also slipping in my work. Money, relationships and angry clients made for a bad situation. Several Bar Complaints were filed against me. After a 2and one half year investigation, my lawyer recommended that I accept an 18 month Suspension. His reasoning was that I could not stand a trial before the bar. He was right. He said he knew my wife had a horrible prescription drug habit that was also killing me slowly. I suspected as much and again really did nothing.

    During the Bar Investigation, I recieved psychiatric and psycological testing. The therapists all agreed...I was just burned out.

    I told the bar that is they wanted my license so bad, they could have it. On July 15, 2011, my life as a lawyer was over. The Discipline would extend nationwide and disqualified me from Insurance, Securities and Teaching Licenses.

    I moved back to my native Chicago and tried to get employment. It was not to be. I was just shot. I was lacking self worth, personality and money.

    On September 14, 2011attempted to commit suicide by taking pills. I was on a busy street and by standers helped get an ambulance.

    I lay in a hospital for 5 days at the lowest part of my life. It was the aha moment. My life was no more difficult than many others. I started slowly to get back some semblance of myself. I have lowered my weight to 278. I walk and have started lifting light weights.

    I realized that only I could change me. I could not change or blame anyone else. All the things that happened were preventable by me.

    I want to be in the 2013 Triathalon challenge because I have the mojo back. Despite being unemployed and broke, i am clearer than I have ever been. I want to go back on the racquet ball court again. I want to see all my friends. (embarassment about my weight kept me away.

    Although I am serious about this challenge, I have a light side. I have done stand up comedy. I know that i am the only person who knows everylawyer joke since the begining of time...Test me!

    I have a lot of music to play yet. At 61, I have not even scratched the surface. Please accept me as a paticipant

    Gary Kazragis
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