After messing up an incredible opportunity as a Bakery Manager at Canal Villere #83, I was transferred back to the Veterans Blvd Store #93, where I originally started as a Baker. The old Bakery Manager had been promoted. I met a new guy, whom came from the McKenzie Plant. He was a very nice guy. As soon as I got to know him, within about 30 minutes or less, I could see he was extremely knowledgeable about the Baking Industry. The thing I picked up on immediately was John was a no bullshit kind of guy. We became very close quickly. He took me under his wing and I became somewhat of any understudy for him as a Baker. I was good, but he was fantastic. He was a Certified Master Baker with a Degree in Baking Science from AIB, American Institute of Baking in Manhattan, KS. He understood the exact chemistry involved in Baking like I never heard before, down to the molecule. The first thing I learned from him is that Baking is a Science. We do not use Recipes like in cooking. Baking uses only Formulas. If one part of the formula is not correct, you probably will not have a great eating bakery product. As we got to know one another, he and I became not only good friends, but like brothers. The friendship has lasted for most of my lifetime. We are still best friends to this day. He is one of the greatest men alive. I adore him like no other man except for God!! That is a pretty tall order for any one man to fill. A few years went by and my weight was starting to get out of control even more. I had developed a few more habits. Not only was I eating more than the average person, but I was drinking anywhere from 2-3 Two Liters of Coke a day. Baking was not hard, but it was always hot and the Coke helped me with stamina. I eventually became his Head Baker again. He taught me so much about Baking and Mixing Icing and Batters as well as decorating cakes. We actually made my daughter’s 1st Birthday Cake, which was a 6 foot long #1. In the fall of 1983, I had an accident at work. We were outside in a Frozen Food Truck taking inventory of Thanksgiving Pies. Somehow, one of the other bakers had lowered the tailgate lift on this tractor trailer. I stepped off the back end of the truck and hit myself fairly hard in the private area. Needless to say, I was in pain and my right testicle had started to swell that night pretty bad. I called and told him I would not be at work the next day due to needing to see my Doctor. I saw my family doctor. He examined me and said I needed to see a Urologist immediately. He was able to get me an appointment with a Urologist on Monday, November 29th. After sending me for an x-ray and a Cat-Scan of my scrotum, the Doctor scheduled an emergency surgery for Tuesday, November 30th, 1982. Not only was I scared, but I was as mad as hell. I was hurting and didn’t understand what was happening to me. The Doctor said he felt a very hard testicle and I had a lot of swelling, which could have been caused by internal bleeding. As soon as I came too in recovery, I had an entire team around me. I was groggy from the anesthesia. My Uncle was on my left side, my Mom and wife were on my right. I looked up and immediately knew something was horribly wrong. The doctor leaned over to me and said and I quote, “Patrick, we had to remove your right testicle.” What happened to you is you ruptured a tumor inside of your testicle from the fall you took at work.” Needless to say, I went into shock. The doctor continued to tell me the Blood Markers continued to rise, which was not good. Within 48 hours, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Terminal Cancer, with 5 different type cancers in one tumor. WTF was going on? I was scared and I was ANGRY. I remember screaming out loud, WHY ME GOD?? The doctor ordered more testing. I was scheduled for a Lymph Node Dissection, to remove about 40 Lymph Nodes along my backbone, which were full of cancer. The prognosis was not good for me. The cancer not only spread to my Lymph Nodes, but into both Lungs. I was dying right in front of my family. It was crazy. My head was spinning out of control. The next Surgery was scheduled for Monday, December 13th, which just so happened to be the Doctor’s 40th Birthday.
Will to Live – Gluttony w/ More Anger – Part 16