As time passed, I was on sick leave for the next 5 to 6 months until I got my strength back from all the Chemotherapy. I was in constant contact with my boss at National / Canal Villere. My appetite started to come back fairly quickly. My old habits started to come back as well. Every meal seemed like it would be the last supper. Although I was in remission, I still could hear those words, “Patrick, you only have a few months to live.” I was gaining weight and slowly started to become a Couch Potato. After a few weeks, Jane went back to work and I stayed home with our daughter Karen. We became extremely close. I was not only feeding her breakfast, lunch and supper, I was taking care of myself the entire time I was feeding her. If Karen didn’t finish what I fixed for her meals, no worries, nothing ever went to waste in our home. My Compulsive Overeating was in full swing. I can remember always using the Cancer and my sickness as an excuse to eat. I could honestly say, I felt sorry for myself. I granted myself permission to eat whatever, whenever. I could hear my subconscious literally say, go ahead, you are entitled. Look at all what you have been through over the past 8-9 months. Live life to the fullest!! OMG, I went overboard. Please understand, I am a Compulsive Overeater and had OCD extremely bad. In the past, whatever I decided to do, right or wrong, I jumped in with both feet!! I never held anything back in my life, except the truth about how much I weighed. I was always embarrassed about my weight. When that almighty question would come, hey Pat, how much do weigh these days. My answer would allow about 40-50 lbs. less than I actually weighed. At my size, who the heck would know anyway. I finally went back to work. It actually felt good to get back in the swing of things. About 6 weeks after I went back to work, an opening came up for me to be a Bakery Manager again. I accepted immediately. My attitude changed towards being a Bakery Manager. My new store manager was Mike Jeffers. He was a fabulous guy and liked him from the start. I had actually changed. When I started back to work, I pulled the crew together immediately and we had our own Bakery Meeting. I started by telling them I was sorry for the way I treated them as a bunch of worker bees instead of a team. I asked for a chance to prove myself. All were in agreement. I had the same responsibilities, but this time I began to help the bakers out in the actual bakery. I either Mixed Doughs or Cake Batters, made Icing for the Cake Decorators, unloaded Frozen Food and Dry Mix Trucks, operated the Oven and even took out the trash when needed. This new attitude got me big time bonus points with the bakery crew. The P&L’s for this bakery had never been better. I had a Bakery Team working with me and not against or for me. I was in heaven and they knew it! We were one team, a winning team. The Cancer had changed my outlook on life. Just because I had a small title, it didn’t go to my head this time. I acted as one of the bakers, with just a bit more paperwork to handle. It felt good and my superiors noticed a big change. Mt store manager always liked to pick on me for fun. If he saw me writing an order or just walking his store, he always approached with this saying, “What ya Doing??” Well, one time he asked me this question close to the compactor, which is where all the cardboard got crushed. My crazy ass picked Mike up, put him in the Compactor, pressed the bottom and stopped it right before it totally closed. He actually had the same dumb-ass question, What ya doing?? I responded, my job. I was crushing the card board in the Compactor – LMAO – Mike was a great soul and had a heart of Gold. I learned a lot from him as a young man that actually helped me in my job today!! After a few months, we got a new store manager. To my surprise, it was my best friend Pete. He was transferred to store #83 as Store Manager. We always knew how to separate business from pleasure. It was a fantastic time to be part of a great company.
Will to Live – Gluttony Continues – Part 21