August Rush and the Milestones

During the blur of a month that I’ve come to call the August Rush I hit a couple of personal milestones. They were pushed aside due to all the other activity that was going on but are important enough (to me, at least) that I thought I’d turn the clock back a bit and share these milestones with you, my faithful readers and friends.

Milestone #1 – my first TV job

August 5th is an important day for me. It was August 5th, 1985 that I started my first job working at a TV station in Colorado Springs. It wasn’t all that glamorous but I got my foot in the door and it’s grown into what I consider a fairly fruitful career. For that first job I was responsible for the shipping and receiving of the programming for a small, family oriented TV station. Back in the mid-80’s the TV industry program distribution model was very different than what it is today. The major networks were providing their affiliates with programming  via satellite but the independent stations were shuttling video tape and 16mm film back and forth to each other and the various studio distributors via UPS. When I say video tape I’m not talking about VHS cassettes. These were huge reels of 2″ video tape (officially named Quadruplex) that ran on beastly machines the size of bedroom closet. Another one of my responsibilities was editing commercial breaks into movies. This was physically editing 16mm film…the whole cutting and splicing thing. My how times have changed!

It’s been 25 years since that first TV job. I ended up working at several different TV stations over an eleven year period, primarily shooting and editing local commercials and directing newscasts. I spent another seven years working at production companies making regional and national commercials and corporate films before I landed at my present position at Compassion. Which leads me to the next milestone.

Milestone #2 – Compassion

August 18th was the 2nd significant milestone I reached: seven years as the Video Production Manager at Compassion. Prior to Compassion, I averaged about two and a half years at my previous positions before I moved on. There was one gig that lasted closer to five years, but that certainly wasn’t typical for me. Compassion seems to be the career that my previous jobs had been building toward. I have literally used every skill I learned at all those previous companies during my time at Compassion. Compassion has also stretched my abilities and helped me continue to grow both professionally and personally. I’ve had the privilege to travel to many countries and meet some amazing people. I’m grateful for the many opportunities I’ve had over the past seven years and looking forward to establishing more milestones for as long as they’ll let me in the building.

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I’ve been robbed!

This morning I got an email from a co-worker who informed me I had been robbed. Not robbed in the traditional sense of the word, but robbed none-the-less.

A little over a year and a half ago I came up with an idea for a video for one of my internal clients at Compassion. It’s a light hearted video with fairly serious message about ending extreme poverty. We made it available through a special website so that it can be customized with your own name or the name of a friend or family member. You can check it out for yourself, if you’d like…just click here.

The email I got this morning contained the following message: “Hey, they swiped our idea!” along with this link:

I clicked on the link and watched the video. Conflicting thoughts and emotions started running through my head. “That’s my video…they’ve stolen my idea! I’ve been robbed!!” I thought. Should I be flattered that someone liked my idea so much that they ripped it off or should I be angry? Honestly, I’m a little bit of both.

Something you should know about me is that I don’t believe there are any new ideas left in the world. I think everything creative has been done and everything that is “new” is a modification of an idea that someone else already came up with. Most people add a new twist or freshen up the idea to fit their specific need but it really isn’t an original idea. That’s not to say that they’ve stolen someone’s idea or plagiarized someone’s work…they’ve taken it in a new direction and made it fit their purpose. I don’t feel like that’s the case with this particular project. There are too many similarities for this to be a coincidence. Someone saw my video and decided to recreate it as their own idea. Sure they made a couple changes here and there but the script, storyline and design are too close to the one we produced for it not to have been a rip off.

I’m not sure what to do about the situation. There’s the old saying that imitation is the highest form of flattery but this goes farther than just being an imitation in my mind. At the very least I think I should add a line to my résumé that my work is creative enough that people are ripping off my ideas!

Am I wrong? Am I reading too much into this? I am truly seeking your thoughts on this since I might be over-reacting. Watch the videos and write a comment to let me know what you think.

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Thirteen, Fourteen and DONE!

Today was treatment number thirteen and fourteen. Over-done-with-GONE! No more radiation treatments! Woot!

The first treatment at 8:00 went fine…nothing unusual. I went and got a coffee from Colorado Coffee Merchants (the best coffee in Colorado Springs, for those who don’t know) and then came home and mowed the lawn so I don’t have to worry about that the rest of the weekend.

At 1:00 I went to a doctor’s appointment with Lisa to see if we can shed any more light on what’s been dragging her down. Of course she’s been feeling better the last couple of days so the final word seems to be “you must have had some sort of virus.” I think “viruses” have become the biggest cop-out for doctors these days. They are predicting that her headaches will continue to improve and the rash will dissipate in the next several days. She’ll be back to normal about the time that she’s scheduled to go in for her hyper-parathyroid surgery on August 30th. Great timing.

The radiation tech’s at Memorial Hospital’s Cancer Center are great people. They made this whole experience much more tolerable. The nurses and doctors did pretty good, too but I didn’t see them as often.

Now it’s time to get back things back to normal as much as possible. I think the hardest part will be adjusting to being at the office past 3:00 every afternoon. If any of my bosses at Compassion read this, I’m just kidding! Really.

Thanks to all of you who have read this blog and offered your encouragement and prayers. My challenge now is to write about other things that will keep you coming back for more!

Happy Friday everyone…enjoy your weekend!

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Day Twelve

Day twelve. Radiation treatment twelve out of fourteen. Tomorrow we’ll wrap this process up with treatment number thirteen at 8:00 AM followed by treatment number fourteen at 3:30 PM. It’s a day I’m both looking forward to and can’t wait to be done with.

Nothing changed with todays treatment. I still got tired around 8:00 tonight, fought off the urge to take a catnap and here we are.

I’m leery of tomorrow’s treatment. If the timeline holds, I’ll feel like crashing around noon. I don’t even know what to expect after the 3:30 treatment. I have a feeling that I’ll be tired faster and may just plan to crawl into bed and see if i can sleep through the night. I’m hopeful that I’ll be back to feeling mostly normal on Saturday… definitely by Sunday.

The good news is that this will all be in the rear view mirror very soon. That’s something to get excited about!

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It goes to Eleven

"It goes to eleven..."

Eleven of fourteen. If I remember my elementary school math correctly that means three left. Woo-hoo!

There’s nothing much more to say at this point. The side effects are still minimal and for that I am very thankful. Tomorrow will be a normal day work followed by my regular treatment. I’m taking Friday off from work and go in for the first of the final two treatments at 8:00. I’ll head back for the last treatment at 3:30. Wait…did you read that? The LAST treatment. That’s two days from now and it can’t come fast enough.

Lisa is still not feeling well. She saw her doctor today to get the results from the blood tests they ran on Monday and there was nothing to tell them what’s going on. They had her go get an xray to see if they can find the cause of her back pain and scheduled an appointment with an infectious disease specialist on Friday. This is beginning to become more and more disconcerting since there aren’t any answers…which means no real treatment. I really hope they figure something out for her soon as this is really beginning to stress her out – which is possibly adding to the whole mess. There are way too many unanswered questions right now. Anyone have a number handy for Dr. House?

Day eleven and treatment eleven are history. Two days, three treatments and a frustrating “un-diagnosis” remain.

Oh, and my apologies to Nigel for stealing his line.

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Day Ten

It’s been about five hours since I had my tenth radiation treatment. Day ten – ten treatments out of fourteen.

As has become the norm, I hit a wall around 7:30 tonight. I was able to keep myself awake so that I’ll be able to sleep through the night. That seems to have been the most consistant side effect that I experienced throughout the treatments…fatigue. Given the other options I’ll consider myself fortunate. I met with the oncologist after my appointment and he outlined my follow up plan. I’ll get chest, abdominal and pelvic CT scans and X-rays along with more blood work in four months. If everything is normal we’ll wait another six months and do another chest x-ray and blood test. We’ll probably continue that pattern for two and a half to three years before they’ll give me a clean bill of health. That’s the best I can ask for and what we’re praying for.

Health is a fickle thing. Lisa and I have barely scratched our insurance deductible in the entire 22+ years that we’ve been married. Sure there have been a few blips along the way like the year Lisa broke her foot when she tripped on a rock carrying our two year old niece, Savannah. Savannah turned 18 this year and graduated from high school.

This year has been different. We’ve probably used more health insurance this year than we have our entire married life…combined. I guess that’s what it’s there for, but I sure would’ve preferred to keep things like it had been in previous years.

Lisa hasn’t been feeling well for about a week. She went to the doctor on Monday and they took a lot of blood to run some tests. She should get the results on Wednesday. She’s been running a low grade fever for the past couple of days so she hasn’t been at work. Hopefully we’ll get some answers tomorrow and get her feeling better again.

Day ten is a wrap. I’m excited that there’s only three days and four treatments left. There’s definitely light at the end of the tunnel!

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Day Nine

Yesterday was my ninth radiation treatment out of the 14 originally scheduled. I still seem to be tolerating the treatments pretty well. I do get tired within a few hours but have learned to fight off the temptation to sleep until it’s really time to go to bed for the night.

I’ll head back for treatment number ten this afternoon. I’ve got the double treatment set up for Friday so I don’t have to return next week to finish up. Friday is a day I’m both looking forward to as well as dreading. I am really looking forward to being done with the treatments. Everyone at the Cancer Center at Memorial Hospital have been great. Their friendly conversations and attention to detail have made the experience much more tolerable. I’m looking forward to not having to drive all the way there and back and really looking forward to not being wiped out every night around 7:30 or 8:00. I’m hoping that the double treatment won’t have double effects, but at least it will be the final day and I’ll have the weekend to recuperate.

One cool thing that happened last week was I got a call from Andrea with the Livestrong organization. I had contacted them in June to get information and check into potential alternatives to radiation therapy. Andrea was calling just to check in to see how things were going and see if I had any other questions that they might be able to help me with. I think it’s great that they too k the time to follow up, especially since I haven’t heard anything from either my general practitioner or urologist during the treatments.

There’s still a lot going on in our lives that I’ll share more about soon. We’re definitely going through a season that is challenging us in more ways than we imagined.

Nine treatments down, five treatments and four days to go!

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