Thursday, October 17, 2013

Went to see my buds at work, maybe for the last time

  Yesterday was Safety Meeting Day at my Apache field office. Since it's open enrollment time for next years benefits, three area offices were in attendance. 120 plus men and women. That's a lot more than we had two years ago. Then there would maybe have been 50 or maybe 60. Doubling the employment for field and field office help in two years is pretty amazing.  Their benefits from health, dental, vision and life insurance are very good, always have been. There are some other options going in new next year as well. I went to not only see my work buddies, but to be the poster boy for taking advantage of everything Apache has to offer benefit wise. They've taken great care of me, and helped my wife after I went on Long Term Disability when I wasn't considered an employee any longer. That's going above and beyond, and I let the HR people know that, and asked if they'd let Houston know that as well. Great company to work for, and if any of you would be wiling to move to West Texas, I'd advise looking into Apache above the other companies.

 There, my benefits and Apache rant is complete, let me move along. It's such a pain for me to travel anywhere now, that driving fifty five miles one way, sitting for around three hours of safety meeting and benefits meeting wore me plumb the fuck out. I will say this though. It was worth every minute of it. After the meeting was over, a bunch of the guys hung around shooting the breeze. I hadn't laughed that hard in a long time. On a not so happy note, it may have been the last trip out there I can make. At least solo driving. It took so much out of me that I could barely move when I got home. I know I've got to get more active, and that will help some, but it's still difficult right now. There's a lot of things, though, that makes me want to suffer through the extra bullshit and go see my work friends more often. Besides being a bunch of really good men, we accomplished something out there in the field that we should be very proud of indeed. I chatted, as best I can write anyway, with our area Supervisor. I told him "thanks" for giving me the opportunity to live up to my own hype, and how much I appreciated his support. It wasn't an easy decision on his part, when I first moved to that field I wasn't the most cooperative employee. Field Foreman and I didn't get along. New Field Foreman later, and I was promoted to Instrument Tech. And I got the chance to show the bosses I wasn't just bullshitting, that I really could do the work. I like to think I succeeded. I also told him that I was proud to work under his supervision for the entire three fields he supervised. We accomplished a lot of rebuilds, adding new production that's been very stable over the past nearly two years. It was an entire turn around for the field, and we all deserved a little pat on the back for it. The guys that replaced me are doing good work as well. I'm very proud of the way the field turned around, and that the men who replaced me see that as well, and continue to do yeoman's work to help carry on that standard. Trust me, that ain't easy either. The job didn't define me, I defined what my job should be, and along with my Field Foreman, we hit that goal. I will try and get back to the field office at least a couple of more times. But as I told my boss and the Area Super, that was probably my last trip out there. I'm gonna have to suck it up, put on my "non bitch" oil field pants and suffer the consequences and go back out there a couple more times.

  So, all that being what it is on my "have fun" front, I promised I'd keep updating on the cancer's progress. I know I have mentioned my throat bleeding a bit more often and that's no shit, it's getting worse. We've had a change in the weather from very warm and dry to cool and humid. That's causing me to secrete more mucus and saliva. My coughing increases from that since I can't swallow much of anything at all anymore, which in turn as made my cancer spots in my throat and more to become irritated. That is part of the increase in bleeding. It's not all of it though. A big part of it is that the cancer, besides working itself into a frenzy to kill me, likes to cause my throat to bleed. My cancer is an asshole. Sometimes, the harder I fight it, the meaner it gets. So I fight it harder. And it gets meaner, so I fight it harder. Beginning to see a pattern yet? Yesterday I was asked what the good things in my life are. That's something no one has asked before. I had to think about it. Waking up topped the list, even if it means I'm not getting enough sleep, it's still a good thing to wake up. Walking around a bit is a good thing. I can't go as far, but it's still out in the open, right? I write this blog, which I thoroughly enjoy. Yeah yeah, I had to get pestered into writing it, but I'm glad I started it. It's, I hope, a little educational and a bit therapeutic for me. It's a good thing. Watching my family go through their daily routines, that's a really good thing. If I stop and take the time, my really good things far outweigh the dying parts of this trip called Terminal Velocity.
  Yeah, the bleeding is getting worse. I once again felt how far my legs have gone. My right leg gets a slight limp when it gets tired. It get's tired quickly, since it's missing a goodly sized chunk of quadricep.
I'm not ready to be a tottering old man who can barely get around. So beginning today, I'm going to work a little harder and regaining some muscle mass all over. All the while hoping that I don't cause my face to swell up again, like it's done in the past. It's a bit painful, as well, to work my upper body. I have to really watch what I'm doing, or I'll tighten the area where they removed my pec and cause it to be mad at me and cramp. Or go into chronic hurt. That's what happened the last time I worked out steadily. I did more harm to myself than good. I say that because I lost range of motion in my left arm and shoulder, as well as losing it in my neck and head. I know at this point I'll never get as much neck and head movement that I could have had they been able to continue reconstructive surgery on my pec areas. So I must watch myself. And I'm terrible at watching myself.

   The last times I've worked out at the gym I had something happen I'd never experienced before in all the time I trained. I lost heart. I got down on myself for not making the gains and strides I felt I should have. I'm messed up, right? Missing a big portion of my quad, my pec is stuck in my mouth, I've got an aggressive cancer trying it's best to kill me sooner rather than later, and I get down on myself? Hell, boy, what the fuck is wrong with you? It's how I am, that's whats wrong. I like to see gains, but this is the first time, knowing all that's not right with me physically, that I got disheartened. I had to step back and remind myself that this is going to take more time to do than any other time I've lifted after a hiatus.
I didn't even let it bother me when my bicep tendon repair job had me slowed to a snails pace lifting wise. I'm not really certain why I got the way I did, but I certainly wasn't giving myself the needed break to continue. I tell people, because I heard it from more than one trainer, that lifting and training are 90% in your head. And it's true. This time the head won though. I must get started doing something, and I know it's going to be with the elastic bands I got when I first started PT. I can use those and maybe hold off losing more muscle mass. Or at worst, slow it down a little. It bugs me that I've gotten too gun shy to lift. Mental thing, but also a reality. Time to get my shit together a bit, while I'm still strong enough to carry it around.

 There are some other things going on that I'm not so sure aren't cancer related. I wear out quickly. Some of that is because I'm more sedentary than I had been in the past. I can fix that. But I know some of it is because the cancer also exacts a price for feeding itself off of my body. As it grows, my stamina decreases. That's why I went to see the Doc again a little less than a year ago. I knew something wasn't right, because I was losing steam too quickly. This is what I'm feeling now. The cancer is moving about and gaining ground. That is going to cause me to lose ground. I dislike that, but it's something I know I have to contend with. It could be worse, I could be to the point that I can't get out at all. That would suck all around. I take today, and give it 100% of what I have in me at the time. That's not a change for me, I tended to do that when I was healthy. I also find that if I get in the proper mindset I can get done more than I originally thought I could.  That's a goal to set. Just to piss the cancer off even more, by working harder at what I can do, and gaining some personal goals, no matter how small they are.

 Okay, that's the rant for the day.

 Book Of Rock:  If you don't like your job, and find yourself bitching about it all the time, QUIT!  Don't let your negative bullshit infect the people around you who may enjoy what they do. Everyone has a day or so at work where it's bitch time. Everyone. But most people enjoy what they do and that bitch time is short lived. If all you've got are things to complain about, get the fuck away. If you thrive on your own misery, bitch to yourself away from everyone else. Constant complaining is like a cancer in the work place. Eventually, it starts to affect others as well. They don't need to hear you gripe, ever.

 Now, go forth, enjoy the day. Revel in what ever you can find that's out of the ordinary. It may be the last time you see what ever is out of the ordinary again. Make the most of it. Every day is a gift, treat it as such.

 Hugs and quick grope for the ladies. Fellas, you're on your own for a quick grope

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