Well there were some lifestyle changes. You know, I’ll be honest with you, I was using
January 22, 2016
I’ll admit, it was pretty hard. The first 60 days were probably the hardest and I went through a very, very dark time. I had some friends that just really cared for me. I had friends that were staying at my house and taking care of my dog. I spent about six straight weeks in the hospital.
Luckily these donations kept coming in and people kept paying my bills and telling me not to worry about it. The community was amazing and my family was amazing. I was over it. I had never up until that point had any indication of any heart problem. I was confused and in some pretty serious denial for a long time and was just angry. I guess I went through all those stages of grief they talk about and just a lot of disbelief about how this could happen.
I see so many 40-year-old gay men die from steroid abuse and massive heart attacks and I think I finally reached a point where I realized that could have been me and that could have been the outcome in my case too. And I started to look at what I had been given as being a second chance rather than “oh poor, pitiful me.”
That’s when things kind of shifted and I Above: Burly Bakers owner Will Armstrong was diagnosed with congestive heart failure last May and is being considered for a heart transplant. (Photo by Patrick Saunders). Left: The December 2014 Georgia Voice cover story on Will Armstrong and Burly Bakers. started getting some gratitude about every day after that being a gift instead of me being dealt a bum hand. Because I can name three or four people just in the last two years that have died, seemingly healthy men but obviously gym rats who are 250 pounds and chasing the dream and they’re dead. And I’m not one of them so for that I’m happy. But it definitely took me some getting there.
When did your businesses start back up again?
I started the bakery up in June again but it’s on a pretty limited basis. Obviously some of my IT clients had to choose other providers because I was unable to be responsive. I just now got freedom to drive again.
So it’s been a slow start but I’m doing a little bit of both again and I’m really looking to ramp back up for Valentine’s Day and just see what the future holds. I’m trying not to let it overwhelm me or get too stressful because I’m at about 50 percent now physically. I don’t want to kill myself with it.