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Michael Phillips has been spending most of his time these days living in a tiny room in a no-frills northeast Dallas nursing home.Until recently, he had a roommate who slept in a bed 2 feet away, and staff brought him three square meals a day.

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Only a few hours passed each day in which he didn't think about his burden of four decades: being a convicted sex offender.That was before Friday,

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when Phillips was officially exonerated by Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins' Conviction Integrity Unit, which determined via DNA testing that he was falsely convicted. The state will now pay him handsomely for its mistake.

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It was a first-of-its-kind exoneration in that Phillips wasn't clamoring for vindication. As was the case when he accepted a plea deal in 1990, he felt that his race would preclude him from getting a fair shake in the justice system, so he just accepted his plight.After entering hisplea,

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Phillips, a 57-year-old African-American who grew up in New Orleans, served 12 years in a Texas prison for the rape of a 16-year-old white girl at a Dallas motel where he'd worked as a maintenance man.Confined to a wheelchair due to his battle with sickle cell anemia, Phillips has been out of jail since 2002. He has been living in nursing homes the past few years as his health has spiraled downward.

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Though he's been out of prison for 12 years, he considers his life one long sentence, as he was forced to wear the branding of a convicted sex offender.

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In his first week as a free man, Phillips is overjoyed and struggles to put his emotions into words, instead pointing to the spirituality that helped him cope all these years."A-W-E doesn't describe the feeling.

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I don't know if they got a word that describes how I feel. To have a leash taken off my neck and off my ankle, I know how my ancestors felt when they got free,"

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he said.Falsely AccusedAccording to the Dallas Police Department report from September 28, 1990,

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the victim was awakened by a man wearing a black and white ski mask.While struggling with the man and biting his hand several times,

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the victim told police, she pulled up her assailant's mask and recognized him as Phillips, a man she had seen living at the motel.The following month,

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detectives showed the victim a six-picture lineup, and she again identified Phillips as the man who raped her.(The Dallas Police Department no longer presents photos side by side,

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because the district attorney's office says it suggests that the perpetrator must be present and compels the victim to pick one.)It didn't help that Phillips had a record.

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In an interview with CNN, Phillips acknowledged committing a home burglary when he was 19."Being young and foolish, there were things you do that were juvenile,"

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he said.But at 32, he was trying to make an honest living and was shocked to hear that he was being charged with a rape that he hadn't committed.

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He feels that the prior burglary conviction and a "broken criminal justice system" were to blame for the bad advice he got next."The first paid public defender came in there and said, '

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Mr. Phillips, the DA went back and saw that you just got out of prison a couple of years ago, so they want to lock you up for 99 years.' He thought he was doing me a favor. He said, '

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You could get life, so you are going to take this 99 years.' "

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lorj8, 12/27/2012 6:53:16 PM
my log isn't public, but i should probably do that!
i have the mirena and do not have periods, which i LOVE. when i was on the pill/nuva ring i didn't allow myself periods either, though (just took my birth control continuously and skipped the placebo week). i would definitely suggest talking to your doc about the mirena. there's another one called the paraguard that doesn't have hormones, but that means your periods can worsen if you switch from normal BC to it. ah, birth control. it's glorious but can be such a hassle!
natalien, 10/4/2011 2:41:14 PM
hi natalien, thanks so much for reading!
My situation is a bit different as my husband is infertile - we aren't too worried about pregnancy, lol! I ended up going with a pill that I'll take continuously for 3 months and then have a period. My only reason for taking it is to help with period side effects, not really as a contreceptive.
I hadn't thought of an IUD though - do you still have a period each month? If this new pill doesn't work I'll definitely check it out.
Is your log public? I'd love to follow you!
rachspen, 9/29/2011 5:12:53 PM
hi rach! i just read your post from today about birth control. i was on seasonique and hated it. i didn't have any adverse reactions, but hated worrying that i was pregnant even though i was taking BC every day. i'm now a walking advertisement for the mirena IUD. i'd recommend talking to your ob/gyn about it!
natalien, 9/24/2011 12:27:23 AM
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mandyyang, 8/27/2011 9:57:46 PM
Hi rachspen, I just read your comment from the end of March - sorry I dont often check my comments but I appreciate your advice. I also keep up with your logs and I totally agree with what you said about eating more often. I started the 17 day diet on May 2nd and I am down to 116.6 lbs. Basically I have been eating 3 meals and 2 snacks. The diet consists of 4 cycles each lasting 17 days. You can google it and they also have a facebook page - 17 day diet. It has changed my life and I am feeling amazing. I now realize that I was totally not eating enough and not often enough. Thanks for your advice and lets keep in touch.
piotrek69, 5/20/2011 9:32:08 AM
Hello! I loved WW when I was losing weight several years ago. I did the regular point system and it worked really well for me.
I don't count points anymore but really took a lot away from WW. The biggest lesson being portion control. At this point I just try to eat "clean" and make sure I'm getting lots of protein.
Best of luck and let me know how WW goes for you!
rachspen, 5/11/2011 1:04:29 PM
rachel, do you still count points and did you do the regular points or points plus? started points plus and just curious what you thought of ww.
sknybitch, 5/3/2011 11:54:06 PM
Rachel I read your post today and I couldn't agree with you more about the weekends throwing you off !!! I actually hate weekends instead of loving them because I always end up eating badly. I also dread weighing myself after the weekend but just like you I always end up weighing myself because I feel it's important to take responsibility for what you have done/eaten. Also I believe the number on the scale sometimes prevents me from overeating on Monday because if I didn't see that I had gained sometimes I would continue to overeat after the weekend was over.
piotrek69, 3/1/2011 12:43:40 PM
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