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


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.



* 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)

About James Kendal

From finding form to building form
This entry was posted in cancer, family, health and wellness, lifestyle, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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