Pure joy

I absolutely love this photo. Alison spent the week in Disneyland and every picture was nothing but total happiness.

Thumbs up!

Thanks for checking in!

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Supplements 🤔

When I met with my oncologist last Summer I was told to bring a list of all the supplements that I take and what was interesting to find out was that basically you cannot take any supplements when you’re going through chemotherapy and radiation as they can negate the positive outcomes of the adjuvant treatment. The main concern is with vitamin C, antioxidants and anything related to mushrooms that could affect the liver. Being concerned that I would not get enough nutrients my oncologist said “just eat normal food and balance the diet.” At the time that was a bit of a shock to me considering that I was used to consuming the stupid amounts of nutritional supplements for cycling and training in general.

During that first round of treatments back in September I went vegan and I drank a lot of homemade carrot juice. Each week my blood got tested and over the course of those treatments some of my immune markers improved after initially tanking in week two but on balance I was eating a very good diet and when you’re getting your blood tested weekly you’re able to see that as well. After a few months I had to agree with the comment about eating whole foods. My friend Noelle also made a very good case for plant based foods during treatments and she was right.

Anyway, after almost 6 months of not taking any supplements I have come to the conclusion that the supplement industry is a bit of a scam and we waste a lot of money on it. Going forward I could see using a basic drink mix like scratch labs but for everything else I’ll make it myself. I think a lot of athletes, especially endurance athletes, put a lot of crap in their body and too much sugar, too many supplements and over the long course eventually this will affect you in a negative way in my opinion.

Thanks for reading and keep on moving!🏋🏻‍♀️🚴‍♂️💪🤛

James

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Rest 🛏

It’s been a big learning curve trying to slow down and calm the mind and body while going through chemotherapy rounds. My third round has been the hardest so far and with three more to go I have a pretty good idea of what to expect. I want to be active and social but I also have to know when to chill. The last few days have been the toughest on nausea management 🤢 but I’ve been able to keep on top of it. The main challenge I have is dealing with cold air so this past week I was able to get out to Victoria and it was a very pleasant. Big thanks and hugs to those that had time to hang out with me and regrets that I couldn’t see everyone but I’ll be back.

Below are some shots ar Merrydale Cidery which is an amazing spot in the Cowichan Valley. Also got a chance to check out the “Root Cellar” in Cordova Bay area.My friend Albert

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10 yard line

Cancer treatments take a long time but then the point is to go through it so you have a “long time” and the process is a grind. In football terms I’m at the 20 yard line. Each treatment moves you up the gridiron and you hope the playbook has the right move to make the next play. In real terms I’m closing in on my third treatment and have three more to go. Each treatment has been harder on my body than the previous. You have to be tough and grind it out. I’ll be channeling my inner running back while my immune system takes the defensive tackle spot. A good omen I’m sure.

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A Home

In our family we got used to moving a lot. It seemed that growing up in the 60s through the 80s we would move every couple of years. In part, moving was due to my Mom’s job changes with the bank and before that when my parents were married a move seemed to be the release valve to a declining marriage. The constant moving seemed to be normal and I’m a bit amazed, on reflection, with my older brother and sister in-law who turned the clock back and have renovated, rebuilt, restored and lived a life in one home.

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Phase III, round N+1

I haven’t written much since December and I don’t think I have really shared some of the darker moments that I have experienced along with the pain that you walk through with cancer. I want people to see the positive but I’ve been holding back some pain.

I’m lucky. I dodged a bullet. For the most part I have taken the treatments one day at a time without thinking too much about the end result. In the beginning the potential outcome was bleak, it was dark, it filled me with unimaginable fear and mostly being scared for the loss for future memories with my friends and family  but each day after the diagnosis it got a little bit easier. As an athlete you learn to focus on the process and not the outcome. I think my journey started in 2010 when I got back in to racing. If anything, that history of training and competing gave me the initial strength and fortitude to tolerate the therapies and persevere through surgery and post op recovery along with the love of friends, family, team mates and current cancer fighters. My preparation also began with experiences that took me beyond my comfort zone like training with Jeff P. in Nelson each spring doing tough as nails intervals on Granite Road along with our annual epic death march ride through Trail and Castelgar.  Jeff never liked to stop. I also learned to train better by listening to Sean and Gordon,*  in those early days who shared their philosophies with me on trips. Epic memories to say the least and they play a big role today. Ironically, Sean and Gordon are currently resident doctors and they were both there visiting me in the hospital giving great support on some tough days.

If we do all we can in training and preparation then we have to be content with whatever outcome may be. To get to that final place there are days that have you feeling like you are “climbing out of hell one inch at a time** and if you try to absorb or imagine the entirety of the treatments you can feel crushed. There was one night that I laid on a bed with a catheter (in a place that I won’t mention) for four hours waiting for the resident surgeon to remove it. I had a post op abscess that led to an infection which then led me to a pretty dark place. An infection is something that I was not in control of and a long wait in Calgary ER, then multiple cat scans, blood tests and treatments was much harder than what came previously, combine that with an belligerent and depressing neighbor in my room made matters more depressing but we move on and in those tough moments we have to break down time in micro moments and push through it second by second and minute by minute then day by day. It took close to six weeks to recover from that infection and I will not forget that one night waiting and waiting for

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Lynda Gale’s awesome ginger cookies were a big relief.

some relief. The relief was not so much from the pain but the depression of lying alone trying to maintain some dignity. Thankfully, I have had no relapse.

My third phase of adjuvant therapy started in mid January and I am now on to my third cycle of six for chemotherapy. The chemo that I am receiving now is a preventative measure to fight off any remaining cancers cells that could come back for relapse.

The dosage on this round is higher than the Fall and is tougher for sure. The length of phase III is daunting and it draws me back to focusing on process. Day by day, week by week. Eventually I will have the opportunity to “find form” again and shouldn’t take too long to get back feeling good flow.

Thank you for reading.

James

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* Sean Crooks (left) and Gordon Jewett are former Canadian Olympic athletes who competed in Cross Country skiing and later became the top road racers in Alberta in Cat 1-2 for a few seasons and basically crushed everyone. Sean shared his philosophy on process with me. Gordon taught me to be more stoic with his work ethic which is beyond measurable. 
** Quote from Any Given Sunday (Al Pacino)
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Moving on to 2018

“I’m starin’ through my rear view, doin’ ’bout 90
The pedal to the metal, so I can’t see what’s behind me”
(yes I listen to Tupac)

In many ways I don’t want to look back on 2017 and share and brag about all the awesome things we did and achieved but it’s a year that will always be top of mind no matter what. 2017 was a pivot year. Diagnosed with a later stage cancer was not the epic experience I was looking for. Cancer is horrible and at the same time it has been enlightening. Cancer brings people close to you and also pushes people away. In my case I am very thankful to have had, and have, the support of my family, business partner, friends, community and employees. I’m 2/3 of the way through treatment with one more round to go. Prognosis is good.

We had a lot of excitement (good and bad) this year but I am looking forward to a little less in 2018.

Thanks for following and happy New Year.

JK

ok, for the record… some highlights from 2017

Finally making the podium for a road race this year and the day before diagnosis!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking better than I did the day before! Postop recovery

Amazing trip to Portland with Wendy and Kevin

Best 50th ever

Lots of bonding time with my big brother this year.

Completing six weeks of chemo-radiation therapy

My community support group! All these people came together to support our family!

Watching Misty race her first TT!

banging off some serious spring miles in Mexico

 

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