The title for my blog comes from a song from my favorite musician, and friend, Willie Nile, from his 3rd album, Places I Have Never Been, released in 1991. Essentially, the song is about having an outlet to release all your inner demons, frustrations, & emotions. That, no matter who you are, & what your circumstances in life, there will come a time, when you need some relief...a point where you realize, if you don't let everything out, you may not be able to go on. You could be a rich man, a poor man, a beggar man, or a thief...a doctor, a lawyer, or an indian chief. No matter who, what, when or where, everyone will reach that point, where if they don't let off some steam, they'll explode...figuratively, of course, but explode, nonetheless. It is my hope that this blog will be my outlet...my hammer...to help me continue to smash my way though the obstacles of life. I've had more than my share of roadblocks put in my way the last few years, & I'm still here to tell the tale. Over the coming days and months ahead, I hope to be able to share with anyone who will listen, the continuing saga of my so-called life, & where I hope to be heading in the future. By sharing these details, I hope to help others avoid some of the same mistakes I made &, in the process, thank all the people that helped keep me alive...& to make the most I possibly can, out of my second chance at life... Thanks for stopping by

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Acknowledging the transplant unit staff, and attempting to give a little something back, by volunteering and donating some money to the American Liver Foundation, continues to be of the utmost importance to me, but, in order to do more for others, it was necessary to begin doing more for myself...

I actually began the process from my ICU hospital bed, by reaching out and calling a few friends I had lost touch with, for one reason or another. I hate losing touch with people, and especially for no reason other than sheer neglect. Yes, I know it's part of life, but it's a part I can do without and, after my near-death experience, it was more important now, than ever, that I keep in touch with all my old friends. Life is just too short to let people just slip away from you and out of your life, so I made a few calls, and it was one of the smartest, and best things I have ever done. So, if you've lost touch with someone, by either neglect, or maybe because of a stupid trivial argument that seemed so important at the time, pick up the phone, write a letter, send an email or a text message, send them a tweet, or poke them on Facebook...whatever you have to do to re-connect with that special someone in your life, just do it, You'll be glad you did.

Making those initial calls to re-establish lost ties, was a fantastic start, & I will always remember those first re-connection conversations as I laid there in the ICU bed, unable to move, but I had other, more grandiose, goals in mind. I wanted to reach out on a larger scale, and wondered what became of my childhood friends...people I would hang out with every day...people I played basketball with, people I played stickball with, people I went to baseball games & concerts with, and all those people I went to various schools with. Whatever happened to them, and how had their lives turned out. It was now something I wanted, and needed, to know. Sure, I was still friends with some of them, but I needed to learn about some of the others...and what better way to do that, than by turning to Facebook.

For some reason, I had always avoided Facebook but, following my transplant, as I began to regain some strength, Facebook seemed the best way for me to reach out to people from my past, and to establish connections with all the new people in my life that had made an impact on my life, in one way or another....MORE LATER

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Acknowledging the hard work and dedication of the nursing staff, was extremely important to me, and I think many times, the jobs they do, and the sacrifices they make, often goes unnoticed.  Even in my weakened physical and emotional condition, I made it a point to learn and remember as many of their names as possible...from the cleaning crew, like Millie, and the nurses aides, like Michael and Gary, who were always around to literally pick me up, when I didn't have the strength or coordination, to get up myself, on up to a top staff member like Dorothy, who always was there with a smile and to offer encouragement. I would never have made it through, without all their help, & I wanted them to know that...and I plan to continuously let them know in the days and years that follow.

Now I wanted, and needed, to do more. While I still wasn't that mobile several months after being released from the hospital, I decided to volunteer at the Long Island Liver Life Walk at Eisenhower Park in 2010. If I couldn't walk to raise money, I'd at least help out in any way I could. It was one of the best things I ever did, as I got the opportunity to meet lots of new people, and to hear the war stories of others that had gone through what I went through. What amazed me, though, was that every story was different...there were so many different ways for people's livers to fail...from genetics, to being overweight...from alcohol & drug abuse, to infections.

The stigma attached to livers failing...that someone must be an alcoholic...couldn't be further from the truth and, in fact, these days, poor diets and being overweight, in addition to prescription drugs, are morey likely to cause livers to fail, than alcohol. People desperately need to be made aware of this, so others don't have to go through, what I went through...and, yet, in my case, I was amazingly lucky. For some reason, and I'm still uncertain as to why, I had little or no time on a waiting list. After turning as yellow as Bart Simpson, I found myself approximately two weeks later, getting a transplant. I've heard all the horror stories of thousands of people on transplant lists for years, unable to get the organs they so desperately need. In fact, there was a man in ICU with me, that was on the list for a liver for 13 years, & he still hadn't gotten one yet so, why was I so fortunate? I may never know. Maybe it was just dumb luck...being in the right place, at the right time, or maybe it was in part to tell my story, to help get the message out about this terribly disabling and life-threatening disease, so that others may avoid these complications in the future.

I just know I had to do more...I signed up this year to participate & walk in the Long Island Liver Life Walk on Sunday, May 22 in Eisenhower Park to help raise money for the American Liver Foundation. For more information, go to...

If you'd like to donate on my behalf, click the donate to a walker tab at the top, and search for my name, Mitchell Bilus, & your tax-free donation will go directly to the foundation, and go to support a worthy and deserving cause. And don't forget to come out and say hi...

To do more myself, and to put my money where my mouth is, I also began donating some of my Ebay auction proceeds to the American Liver Foundation. My auctions of movie/tv/celebrity memorabilia, can be found at...

There is still lots more for me to do, much more for me to accomplish, and many, many more people for me to thank, but, now, it was time for me to do something for myself...TO BE CONTINUED...

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Wanting to make a difference...and knowing how to go about doing it, are two vastly different things. When first released from the hospital, I was unable to walk without the aid of a walker, and motivating myself, was difficult enough, without having to think about attempting to help others. But helping others, and giving something back for all the help I had received, was, and is, of tremendous importance to me. I just had no idea of where, or how to start.

Looking back at my time in the hospital, I think I actually started giving something back, by writing a long letter of love and appreciation, to the 14 West transplant unit staff, for all their devotion and hard work, during my rehabilitation process. If it wasn't for the incredible dedication & diligence of the nurses and nurses aides as a unit, I certainly would not be here today, & you would be reading someone else's ramblings, other than mine...Day after day, I was consistently picked up off the floor, both physically and mentally...finding myself laughing one minute, and uncontrollably crying the next. While I couldn't explain the mood swings, I attributed them to the high doses of steroids I was taking, along with all the new medications I found myself on. No matter what my condition or mood, someone from the transplant staff was always there to lend a hand, or just to listen to whatever I  had on my mind. Their help and guidance continues to inspire me even today, two years later. How can you thank someone for that? Again, I had no idea, but I decided to start with a letter, and, since then, I have repeatedly sent cards and gift baskets to the staff as a reminder of thanks for all they have done for me. So for John, Naomi, Christina, Karen, Sara, Amy, Diane, Gary, Michael, Dorothy, Lindsay, and the rest, I want to thank you again from the bottom of my heart for all you did for me...It will never, ever, be forgotten...TO BE CONTINUED...


That's a very good question and, to be absolutely honest, I have no idea what I'm doing here. I arrived here, purely by accident, with no intention of exposing my inner-most thoughts to the world...but that was in my first lifetime.I'm now on my second...awarded to me by my doctors at NYU Medical Center, & an annonymous donor from Syracuse, New York, who had to die, in order for my life to go on.

It was in early March of 2009, that my life was turned completely upside down, and was thoroughly changed forever. It started simply enough, with a bout of Pneumonia, which hit me, even though I had been given a Pneumonia shot earlier in the season. No big deal...take some anti-biotics & call me in the morning. Sure, no problem, except, that wasn't the end of it. The Pneumonia did go away, but a short time later, I contracted something called ITP, which is essentially a dangerously low red-blood count. After being treated for that, with a high dosage of a steroid, Prednisone, the Pneumonia returned, and I turned completely yellow, with an uncontagious form of Hepititis. Then my liver functions went AWOL, and approximately two weeks later, I found myself at NYU, getting a liver transplant. no real warning, no preparation...and my life as I knew it, was forever changed...

It's been almost two years now, since the unexpected transplant...I say unexpected, because I had no real warning that my liver would fail. Sure, I had a slight fatty liver from being 40-50 LBs overweight most of life, but I never drank, smoked, or did drugs, so the liver failing, was never something I ever had to worry about, or so I thought.

In the two years following the surgery, I've been doing plenty of soul-searching, as one would imagine. I knew I wanted to make my second chance at life, really mean something...not only for me, but for all the people that kept me alive...my doctors, nurses, parents, friends, and for the annonymous donor in Syracuse and his family. For all of them, it was, and is, of vital importance for me, to do better...to turn my life around, and to attempt to make a small difference in this world...More later

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Everybody needs a hammer
Everybody needs a nail
Everybody gotta go let off steam
When the water boil outta the pail

Everybody needs redemption
Everybody needs a break
So if you're feelin' low and got nowhere to go
Get a hammer for heavens sake

Sometimes you get lonely
Sometimes I get blue
Sometimes you wake in the middle of the night
And feel the whole world down on you

Sometimes things get heavy
Sometimes you're filled with doubt
Well, when that's true, if it happens to you
Get a hammer and let it all out

Everybody needs a hammer
Everybody needs a nail
Everybody gotta go let off steam
When the water boil outta the pail

You may be a rich man
You may be a bum
You may be some big shot
On your way to kingdom come

You could be a guru
Hangin' out with a porno star
But sometime you'll want to explode
No matter who you are That's why...

Everybody needs a hammer
Everybody needs a nail
Everybody gotta go let off steam
When the water boli outta the pail

Some like bangin'a table
Some like boppin' the floor
Some like smashin' a champagne glass
On the back of a whorehouse door

Some day like it gentle
A little tap here and there
Whether wearin' diamonds and a evening gown
Or watchin' TV in your underwear
I say

Everbody needs a hammer
Everybody needs a nail
Everybody gotta go let off steam
When the water boil outta the pail

Can you talk
Do you stammer
Are you bored
Need some drama
Forget the style
Leave the glamour
Get yourself
A great big hammer

Everybody needs a doorway
Everybody needs some room
Everybody gotta get a little escape
From the hype and the hustle and gloom

Everybody needs their freedom
Everybody got to find a way
Well, I'll help you if you let me
And we can hammer out a brand new day

Well, Abraham he told Moses
And Moses, he told Sue
Well, Sue told Elvis, he told me
And now I'm tellin' you
I say...

Everybody needs a hammer
Everybody needs a nail
Everybody gotta go let off steam
When the water boil outta the pail