A bubbly blog about boys, bleeding, and the basics between.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Sorry everyone! I've been crazy lately and haven't gotten a chance to write. I've barely tweeted, but I HAVE updated my professional website so you can check that out if you want.

My boyfriend has been away on tour for a while and he's about to get back to the city and I cannot wait! And it got me to thinking about Hemophilia and relationships. I have always been so concerned about me and my illness that I sometimes forget how it effects the people who care about me.

Growing up with Hemophilia, family members always make certain sacrifices to help us live a normal life, and my mother was no exception to that. And maybe it is a selfish way of thinking, but I grew up expecting that. And if something were to ever happen to children I have in the future, I would do the same for them.

But growing up around people knowing and understanding your condition is a BIG difference than dating. Not only are you trying to find someone you are compatible with emotionally and physically, but you are also trying to find someone who can understand the physical demands brought on by being a hemophiliac.

I've dated around, a lot. And I have run the gamut with reactions: from supportive, to ignorant, to just plain mean. I will try not to use names, so if people reading this know who these stories are about... Be kind. This is about experiences, not about what's right or wrong.

One of my first eye-opening experiences was with an ex-girlfriend of mine. (Don't sound so shocked. I didn't ALWAYS know I was gay, even though, apparently, everyone else did). I got a spontaneous bleed in my left iliac muscle. Very bad. I was in bed for almost two months and then wheelchair, crutches, cane, the works. Anyway. She came and sat by me almost everyday. Watching movies and getting pizza. She was fantastic, but the time in bed gave me a lot of insight and I realized it wasn't working. About a couple of weeks after I was back in school, I told her I didn't think this was working anymore. She got angry, slapped me across the face while saying, "I hope you bleed." I cant blame her. But it made me realize Life Lesson #1: to always be honest. By waiting until I was a little healthier, it made it look like I was using her to get better, which I wasn't, but I can't blame her for thinking it.

Flash forward a couple of years. College. I met a really nice boy, and we dated for a while. After a messy break up I started seeing someone else, but tried to remain friends with the ex. And then a disaster, I pulled my right hip in dance class and down I went. Well... here comes independent Anthony, with a bleed in his right hip, but I couldn't drive the car to the hospital. I knew my ex had a car so I asked him to take me down to my Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC). He immediately said yes. So here I am, still in love with him, although seeing someone else, and I assume that with him bending over backward and taking a day off of class to help me get better, he must feel the same way... Life Lesson #2: just because someone accepts the fact you need more support than a normal friend would, don't assume it's more than that. It's just support... (Btw. We still talk and are amazing friends today.)

Well. The other guy I was seeing at that time was still in my life. And I was injured and on a factor regimen. So here I am, infusing on a regular basis. And he always wanted to be there when I did. To watch. To learn. And, I thought, to hold my hand because I hate needles. Then one day he asked if I had a couple of clean syringes. Life Lesson #3: they may care about you and your illness, but not for the reasons you may think. (This person and I have fallen out of touch, but are still friendly and he has COMPLETELY transformed his life. Good on ya.)

Then I got healthy. Toured. Performed. And my bleeding disorder wasn't really an issue, so of course, everyone was totally okay with it. I may have had some other issues, we all do, but relationships aren't easy. And then I meet the boyfriend. Let's call him... Schmyler.

There have been a couple bleeding episodes, but none ring out in my mind more than an episode that happened in November.

The story behind this is very long and drawn out. It will make a splendiferous blog post later on. Basically, I woke up one morning and hit my head against the wall (I wish it was something worth getting hurt over. Trust me, I'm not just trying to be G-rated). I thought I was fine. Got in the shower for work and got super dizzy and passed out. I was at Schmyler's place. So I went to the hospital. He worked a double that day and after that double he came to the ER and sat with me until like 4 am and then went home to sleep before another shift the next morning. After a long drawn out story, I got to leave the ER only to be called back in. I think that's when it hit him that me bumping my head could actually be a big deal. He went with me back to the hospital. Sat with me. Stayed with me in my little overnight observation bed and held my hand during the infusions. Life lesson #4: when you find the one that doesn't freak... Keep them.

Especially if they still want you when you look like this.

So call, text, or tell your loved ones you love them. Be it your girlfriend, boyfriend, best friend, or even your pet. It's hard to be loved... we all have our abnormalities, and if the ones we care about can deal with all of them, then they are the ones who deserve our love in return.

Till we meet again...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bye, Bye, Bleeder...

So I am opening tonight in this theatre festival (shameless plug number two), which has me a little nervous. But thinking about this made me think of my worst opening night experience... ever.

I was around 13... ish... and I was doing a children's theatre production of the classic broadway musical, "Bye Bye Birdie." I was playing "Conrad Birdie," which is an Elvis-Type rockstar who is forced to go off to Vietnam and gives his biggest fan his One Last Kiss on the Ed Sullivan Show. It was SO much fun... (and I got to wear gold lame jumpsuit, so HELLO).

It was the evening of our final dress rehearsal, and because of that all of my pads, including my helmet, were off. My mom, in her over-protective, loving nature, took duct tape and taped out a section backstage where no one else was allowed in and I was not allowed out of unless it was to make an entrance. It was a great thought, in theory.

Now before I finish my story I have "some 'splaining to do." For those of you not too keen in the theatre world there are set pieces called flats. These are wood structures that are covered in canvas and then painted either black, or with a backdrop of some kind. We had a bunch of flats, but one was a four sided flat that was extremely heavy so that it wouldn't fall over.

Okay, I'm sure you can see what's coming. So here I am, in this little taped up box tying my shoes to my fabulous army costume (it was the first time I had heard the word Chino used for something other than the final monologue in West Side Story). Before the Ed Sullivan scene, the massive flat was folded and laid at the edge of the stage. Well, it fell. Off the stage. And landed on my head.

I freaked out. Just freaked out. I don't remember much from that point on. I remember the director running back stage and scooping me up and handing me to my mother. I remember being rushed to the car and the cast singing "We Love You Conrad" as my mom took off for the hospital. We had two days off after our last rehearsal and opening night. I spent those two days in the hospital with a mild concussion with an IV in my arm getting factor ever 12 hours. I pleaded with the doctors to let me go to my opening night. And the agreed. Light-headed and slightly dizzy I sang and danced my way through "Bye Bye Birdie" and had one of the best theatre experiences.

And never again did my mom duct tape a box on the floor. I guess duct tape isn't good for everything.....

Till we meet again...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Naked Boys Bleeding?

So I'm in an Off-Broadway musical called Naked Boys Singing, and it's exactly as it sounds: 8 guys singing (and dancing) in their birthday suits for a bunch of gay boys and bachelorettes. I have a good time... What can I say?

Anywho the other night I was doing my thing and getting into costume (yes, for some numbers we wear clothes), and I dropped a pair of scissors that we use as a prop on my toe... Point down. And this is right after the opening number.

Now as stated in earlier posts I have hemophilia A, an INTERNAL bleeding disorder, but sometimes if it's a deep cut, it just won't stop. And this was.

Now I have a couple options. I could make a big deal about getting hurt, have them rework the show partway through (my swing was on for another actor), or I could slap on an adhesive bandage and grin and bear it. Of course I chose option two.

I got over to the first-aid kit and could only find those mini bandaids that no one really uses in variety packs unless it's to cover a pimple or something... So I put on like 5 on and make it on stage in time for my entrance.

After the number, as I'm coming off-stage I look down, and the plethora of bandages I have put on my toe are COMPLETELY soked through with blood. Great. Just perfect.

So I raid the kit again now that I have a little more time and find those awkward bandages you use for knuckles, and I said, "HEY! It's better than nothing." So I get my toe cleaned with alcohol and bandage it up again. This one holds relatively well and makes it through a couple of numbers, but sure enough gets soaked through again and I have to change the bandaid for the final time.

So the last couple of numbers in the show run one into the other for my track... I really don't have a break. So I grin and bear it and hope it sticks. About half way through the number in which I am featured I can feel that something isn't right. I look down and the bandaid has come partially off and I'm leaving little streaks across the floor. Great. That's all I need right now. But the show must go on and I just keep going and soldier on. It is just a bleeding toe for Pete's sake. (I still don't know who Pete is...)

I made it through the show and went straight home. I was finally able to get it to stop after a couple of hours and a couple of ice packs.

Moral of story? Don't be a klutz...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Left Out Festival

Okay. So this is half post, half shameless plug. I'm in this AMAZING theatre festival this weekend called the "Left Out Festival" and it's gonna be awesome. If you're gonna be around NYC and wanna see me, all the info is below on the graphic. Come out and see me coked out of my mind. Not literally. I don't do coke, my character does. Seriously. Coke is bad. The drug... not the soft drink. The soft drink is mighty tasty, but has too many carbs so I drink diet coke.

Moral of story, come see me Diet Coked out of my mind...

Till we meet again...

Straight Talks 101

We all have those moments in our life that we look back on and reflect upon with a lot of love and compassion. College was not that time for me. Don't get me wrong... I made some amazing friends (and some life long foes) and I also learned a lot, not just about my trade, but about who I am today. But come on. College?!?!

Anywho, In my senior year I took a class with one of my besties. Let's call her.... Schmizz. (I didn't ask her permission to talk about her, although I'm sure she would be totes cool with it). This class was called "straight talks 101," but it was basically gay studies. What made this class different then others was the outreach portion. We were required, as a part of our grade, to go to different classes and discuss our personal experiences of homosexuality: whether it was a family member, a close friend, or ourselves.

They had former classmates come back and do a demonstration of a "straight talk" for us. One phrase kept popping up in every speech: "Ever since I was little I knew I was different."

Well, not to say that for some people that isn't the God's honest truth... But for me, I always knew I was different as well, but that's because I wore a helmet until I was 13...

Those of you reading this who have hemophilia know what I'm talking about. All parents raise their children differently, and it's all because they love their children. Born in 1983, I was just coming into "bumps and bruises" territory right as the GRID/AIDS situation was effecting hemophiliacs. So as a child growing up in this time period, I wore a helmet and knee pads. Did they protect me? Yes. Did they make me a target for teasing and bullying? Also, yes. So despite people thinking I'm gay at age 8 and calling me a fairy, I also had to deal with "helmet head" and "bubble boy." So yeah, I knew I was different, but coming to terms with my sexuality was the FURTHEST thing from my mind.

Okay. Sorry. Sometimes I get off on a tangent. But here's the moral of the story. We're all a little different... And whether you are coming out of the closet or coming out of your (literal) shell know that everything is gonna turn out okay.

I did my straight talk. About being gay, but also about being a hemophiliac. They are, surprisingly enough, very similar. Why?! Because it's not something you see on the outside that makes you unique, it's what's going on inside. And it's those characteristics that make us all the more normal.

Yeah. I got preachy. It'll happen. Next post will be way more fun. I promise. ;-)

Till we meet again...

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Case of the Reappearing Bruises

*Cue creepy music*

So if you have Hemophilia and you are reading this, you know exactly where I am coming from. If not, you're gonna have to try and keep up. I have these bruises. Mysterious, reappearing bruises located on my right bicep (or at least the poor excuse of an upper arm I call my bicep).

Why so mysterious you may ask? Well... I have NO idea how I got them, and they will NOT go away. It has been about three weeks now and these little buggers keep showing up, and it's always when I'm trying to look cute. My little XXS TopMan shirts do NOT cover them and I am forced to use foundation to hide the damage. It is SO not attractive to have bruises on your arm when dancing up a storm at Bartini.

I know it sounds superficial, but I am trying to keep this quasi-light. The problem is that my right arm is obviously bleeding. It is hard to pick things up sometimes, especially over my head. It hurts to push and pull on things. It's just a nuisance to my everyday life.

Why not just infuse?! Well. That is a good question with a long, drawn out multiple part answer. I'll keep it short. Even with my health insurance (Proud Member AEA!) I cannot afford my medication and it's definitely not bad enough to go to the ER. (Don't worry. I have PLENTY of ER stories saved up for future dates.)

I tell myself every day that things could be a lot worse: I could be severe instead of mild-moderate. I could have some weird disorder that makes me smell like a sewer when I sweat (which I don't. Thank God). But it's a little hard sometimes when you feel like you're branded. I'm already different enough with being my fabulous self, I don't need these physical reminders to keep bruising my ego (ba dum kcshhh).

But such is life, and the show must go on. So we grin, bear it, and pull out our Bare Minerals to cover up the unsightly marks. Because let's face it, there isn't another choice.

Till we meet again...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Opening Number

Well hello out there in blogspot land! It is I. Anthony. I've decided that it's time to start blogging about my experiences. I'm going to be honest. I don't really know what a blog is! But I'm totally willing to learn, so PLEASE feel free to send some constructive criticism my way! :)

I feel like this first post should be a little bit about me.

I am Anthony, a 27 year old actor living in NYC, which means I wait a lot of tables. I am currently employed at 2 different restaurants, one is a world famous shrimp shack based on a very famous movie (I am using discretion on this one), and the other is a bistro in the East Village.

Great. Big surprise. An actor who waits tables. Why do you wanna keep reading? I'll tell you! I call myself... wait for it... The Hemo Homo.

Here's the thing. I am also a hemophiliac who happens to also be a homosexual. I know take a minute to let that absorb. For those of you who know what both of these things are, sorry. You're going to have to struggle through the explanations.

So I think everyone is pretty clear on what being gay is, so I won't really touch that one. It's the hemophilia thing that always gets me the scrunched up nose face with a remark like, "So wait. If you cut yourself you don't stop bleeding?"

This answer is: Yes. I stop bleeding. Here's the definition. I'll give you a minute to look over the science.

Okay, now that you're back. Here's my definition. I bleed internally. Since I have Hemophilia A, I'm missing a bunch of the stuff that makes my blood clot when I get physically injured, such as a punch (or having a giant industrial coffee pot fall on your hand while working at one of those FANTASTIC serving jobs. ugh). It's called Factor VIII (8). So basically I need medical attention whenever I get injured, and I use ice treatments for the minor stuff, and Factor 8 infusions for the bigger stuff. We'll get into all that in a later post. I don't wanna scare you away TOO soon.

So you can imagine the wacky and zany antics that can occur when you combine this genetic anomaly to the crazy world of gayness. Let me tell you... hilarity ensues.

So there we are. The Hemo Homo. Please feel free to tweet me (@anthonyromeo) questions at anytime. I would be MORE than willing to answer anything you wanna know. And follow my blog. Sometimes it'll be informative, or funny, or hopefully both.

Buckle up everybody, because this is going to be one bumpy ride.

Till we meet again...