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This humble, ordinary man changed my life forever.

About 10 years ago I was diagnosed with a condition called Atrial fibrillation, which means an irregular, racing heart. My doctor was confident my A-fib could be managed with a few meds and a visit to the Scripps Healthy Heart Program which would offer practical lifestyle changes to avoid a stroke.

I figured what the hell did I have to lose?

In the first-get-to-know-you support session, everybody spilled their guts, except for this one guy with glasses who sat quietly in the corner. As is my custom, I stirred the pot. I said, “Hey fella, what your deal?” At first, the guy had this angry stare then he rattled off a litany of personal experiences: 30 plus stents, a dozen angioplasties, a five-by-pass, two out-body experiences, radiation treatments, Parkinson’s and so on. When the man finished, he crossed his arms and said, “And, that’s all I have to say about that!”

My instincts told me the guy’s life was a story. I somehow convinced the guy (aka Arthur Mercado) that his travails and the way he faced them—with wit, dignity, grit and determination—could be an inspiration for others. His initial reaction was, “Who would believe all the stuff that’s happened to me?”

Two months later, we agreed to do something I’d never done before—I’d write his story in “first-person Arthur” –an approachable homespun humor filled with experiences had and lessons learned. Most importantly during the next year of listening, writing and rewriting, Arthur became my friend, my brother. He taught me how dignified determination and a sense of humor can overcome any obstacle thrown your way. I will be forever grateful for that life lesson.

Anyway, Papa Cado. The Extraordinary Adventures of an Ordinary Man. is now in its Fifth Edition—we added to the book as Arthur added more heart procedures and faced more challenges. Arthur passed a few years back, so he never got to see the final edition and its 60+ pictures. Arthur also never saw the first edition of Papa Cado’s companion book I called Papa Cado’s Book of Wisdom, a travel-friendly book filled with his many witty, inspirational insights.


As Arthur said many times, “When you smile, the world smiles back at you.”

Read the heartfelt 5-star critique of Papa Cado’s words by the respected Manhattan Book Review.

DATE: Nov.01.2018 | CATEGORY: | COMMENTS: 0