In the last week I have taken a little respite from publishing my blog, for a few reasons that involved Michigan basketball, March Madness and a busier work week. But really, it comes down to prioritizing my time, and I haven’t really worked that hard at getting any free time to write. I needed a break, I knew I needed a break, because I could feel that old enemy of mine, anxiety, creeeping in on my thoughts. But, before I get to that, the other reasons I haven’t been posting.
I, like a lot of people, have been completely captivated by the 2017 version of the Michigan Wolverines basketball team. This was a team that, back in January, didn’t seem to have much going for it. But then, after a dismal game against Illinois, they seemed to turn things around and started winning. Then, after a near death experience at the end of a runway at Willow Run Airport, they went on an improbable winning streak, capturing the Big Ten tournament title, and getting to the Sweet Sixteen of the national tournament. They lost to Oregon last Thursday, but wow, what a ride. I was watching and reading everything about those guys.
Before Michigan started winning, I wasn’t really interested in the tournament this year. I didn’t fill out a bracket, and figured the favorites were eventually gonna win out. Then, Michigan won their first two games, and my second favorite team, anybody that plays Duke, which at the time was South Carolina, also won. Duke was out!! I love when that happens. So, like Michael Corleone once said, just when I thought I was out, I was back in. Travis was around all weekend too, which makes watching basketball more fun because he is a big basketball fan and he knows stuff. It’s more fun watching with him.
Longer work days
I work in the contract office furniture business, which, in January and February, is our traditionally slow time. Now that it is near the end of March and heading into April, things at Big Blue are definitely getting busier. 9 and 10 hour shifts are going to be more the norm, which means after walking Zoey and getting something to eat, I will have less time to write. And, with Lupron and Xtandi swimming in my system, I will be more tired. I have tried to write two blogs a week, but from now on I will probably be lucky to write one.
Xtandi and anxiety
I am a person with a history of being wired a little too tight. When I was 13, I was diagnosed with an ulcer. Now, I don’t know about the people in your life, but I would suspect that most of them did not suffer from a stomach ailment most people associate with an older person with lots of worries. I remember when I was in junior high laying next to the toilet in the fetal position screaming at God to make the pain go away. While most kids my age may have had a bag of M&Ms in their lunch boxes, I had a bag of Maalox chewables. While I was crumpled up in that upstairs bathroom praying, I made a decision that changed my life. I had to let stuff go.
You see, OCD and perfectionism runs in my family. My mother was OCD before OCD was cool. Certain things in her life had to be a certain way all the time. I grew up with it so I just thought it was normal that when you vacuum a room you start at one end and work your way backwards so you cover your footprints. She was a great mom, but if things were not the way she felt they should be, it would really throw her off. I was the same way. I obsessed over things like grades and worried about everything. But, as I got older, I knew that I had to change, or I was going to be in a lot of pain.
I am a natural worrier, which is not a good thing when you are battling cancer. The medication that I am on makes this condition a little worse, and lately I have been waking up in the middle of the night with excruciating stomach cramps that remind me of the old days back in that upstairs bathroom of the house I grew up in. And I think some of it is coming from writing this blog.
I have tried to write this as honestly as possible, with a little humor, to show what it’s like to be an everyday warrior fighting this disease, but sometimes the worries and doubts get the best of me. Sometimes it is really hard to hit the publish button, and sometimes it even harder to see what happens after I hit the publish button. Sometimes I get caught up in the numbers in how many likes I get or how many people view my blog. I know it’s stupid, because it was my aim to write on stuff I was interested in and who cares about what people think, but lately, my old OCD has come back and I have started worrying about what people think and if people will like what I write. So, it’s time for a new way thinking, because I really like writing and I want to keep doing it.
When I was a zoneleader, one of my jobs was to train new people on the job. I would show them how to run the job, how to produce a good part, and how to do the job as efficiently as possible. Every once and a while I would get a person that would be a little too concerned about quality, to the point that they were barely productive. I would take a caliper to the part, show them that we were allowed a certain amount of wiggle room on every part, and that I needed them to pick up the pace and not worry about every dimension being perfect. If that initial talk wasn’t effective and they were still obsessing about every little thing, I would walk over, pick up the part, look at it over and over until they would say something to me, and the exchange would go something like this.
Worker: What are you doing?
Me: Looking for tiles.
Worker: What? What tiles?
Me: I am looking for heat resistant tiles. So this part will survive the descent into Earth’s atmosphere.
At this point some people got it. Most didn’t.
Worker: (Confused look)
Me: Look, as much time as you are spending with each part making sure it’s perfect, I am assuming that this thing is going to be part of the Space Shuttle, and I was just checking to make sure it had the proper heat resistant tiles to survive the plunge back in to the Earth’s atmosphere. ( I know, I know, I can be a sarcastic dickhead sometimes, but I had a point to make.)
Me: We make file cabinets here, not space shuttle parts. They don’t have to be perfect, they just have to be good enough. Because I need you to run 50 of these an hour so we don’t all have to be here on Saturday, capisce? LTFF.
Me: Let the f**ker fly.
I’m telling you this story because I need to take some of my own advice. Instead of obsessing over every bit of punctuation and editing the crap out of this thing, or worrying if everybody is going to understand what I am trying to say or if people will like it, I need to understand that my aim is not to write War and Peace here. It’s really a cancer blog, after all. It gives me a release to write, and if people like it and it speaks to some people as honest and true, so be it. But I can’t get caught up in all that. At some point, I need to just let that all go. I need to write, and then let the f**ker fly.
LTFF, baby, LTFF.
Thanks for reading.