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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Mr. Hackett Goes to Washington

November 22, 2016
I know some of you may be visiting Colin's blog.  He passed away on Sunday November 20, 2016 while I held his hand.  He left behind many things, some of which are unpublished writing.  I'm going to put them all out eventually.  I'm not sure why he never hit publish on this one.... He'd been quite sick, so it's possible he forgot.  This is his final actual blog post.  I'm going to comb through his Surface (which he loathed - he always wished he'd gotten an ipad instead - just a tidbit of info in case you're trying to make a decisions about a Christmas gift this season) and put up some of his writings when I have the time.  Considering there hasn't been a blog post in over a year,  you're a patient bunch.  The draft date for the incomplete piece below is March 19, 2016.
All the best,
Kim

Hello everybody! It's been a long long time. Mostly because there's really been little to report. However, after 25 rounds on FOLFIRI my liver tumors have begun to grow again. This isn't the best news, but it's not all terrible. There are no NEW areas of cancer, just the existing ones have grown.  This means I'm on to a new type of chemo called FOLFOX. The basic differnce is that they both have a base called 5FU, it stands for something that I don't really know. The IRI is short for Irinotecan and the FOX is short for Oxaliplatin. They're just different types of chemo for colorectal cancer. What excites me is that almost everyone I've talked to had the best success on FOLFOX. I do have some concerns about the common side effects of FOLFOX; severe cold sensitivity and neuropathy of the hands and feet. If it gets too bad it could potentially spell the end of my refereeing and that worries me a great deal as refereeing hockey has been my best outlet and opportunity to feel normal.

That's my little health update, now on to the main show!

As you may recall I was selected last year to appear in the 2016 Colondar 2.0 with 11 other models aged 50 and under on diagnosis. Part of being a Colondar model is that you get to participate in the Fight CRC annual Call on Congress. This is a gathering of stakeholders desiring to make a difference in the lives of people with colorectal cancer. It is mostly made up of survivors but also caregivers, physicians and nurses, and other interested parties.

Obviously getting to Washington DC required me to take an airplane and this, of course, leads to another episode of Colin Complaining About People. My flight was at 7 so I needed to be up at 430am to get to the airport on time. The night before I refereed hockey in Daysland which is a couple of hours out of town so I didn't get into bed until 12:30. Kelland needed to be at hockey the next day and my mom was going to drive me to the airport so he and I both slept over at Grandma's house. We got on the road and quickly headed to Tim's for a much needed pick-me-up. I got to the airport in plenty of time and settled in to a nice seat and got ready to watch some videos I'd tagged on my phone. It was at this point that I realized for the 2ND STRAIGHT WEEK I'd left my headphones at home and had to once again buy headphones at the airport. IDIOT!

I boarded my first flight to Toronto and was stoked when they closed the main door and the seat beside was left open. I'm a broad-shouldered fella and so it's always nice to be able to lean a little into the adjacent seat on long flights. This only lasted a little while when I experienced one of the most bizarre things I've had happen on a flight. A gentleman in the seat across the aisle got up to use the restroom and so his wife (I assume) put her feet up on his seat, covered up and went to sleep. When he returned, rather than telling her to move her feet he moved my jacket off of the seat beside me and sat down. What the hell pal? It was funny the next time the flight attendant came down the aisle and gave me an inquisitive look and I just shrugged. This jabroni got up and went for a walk later and the flight attendant came to me and in her cute French accent said, "you are so lucky, you are the chosen one." Eventually his wife had rested enough and sat up and he returned to her side. Weird.

Just move my stuff I guess
Sleeping Beauty
 I had a fairly lengthy layover in Toronto where once again, I know it's a shock, but the Air Canada baggage handlers in Pearson Airport misplaced my luggage. This is the second straight time at this airport that this has happened. It's really frustrating because the holding area in Pearson prior to clearing US Customs has absolutely nothing to do. There's no TVs, no snacks or drinks, just a restroom. After 45 minutes I made my way over to the baggage complaints area and asked them what was going on. Apparently the lady I asked didn't think I had waited nearly long enough and angrily asked me how long I'd waited. I told her 45 minutes and she sneered that that was reasonable and I should go sit down and wait. Fortunately the guy beside her took over and looked up my bag. He couldn't find it but told me to wait another half hour and come back if I still didn't have it. Half an hour passed and I came back to see him. He made a radio call and someone in the back manged to track it down and after another 20 minutes they managed to get me through customs. Luckily I had lots of time or I may well have missed my flight. Oh, and the angry lady, not an apology of any kind.

I got into DC and hopped in a cab getting me into my hotel at about 7pm. I met up with my roommate Kris whom I had hung out with in Tennessee and we caught up. We decided to head out quickly and grab something to eat. The hotel we stayed at was on the campus of a beautiful university, but as soon as you walk outside of the fence it got scary in a hurry. The neighborhood was a collection of run down homes and equally run down people. We found the first restaurant we could and got some food so we could head back to the hotel as quickly as possible. Subway seemed safe, and as it turned out, it was... for the staff. When I walked into the store I started laughing uncomfortably as I realized the entire sandwich bar was encased in bullet proof glass with a few holes to shout your order through. You then place your money in a lazy Susan and they spin your change and sandwich back to you. We got our meal and hustled back to our room and got some sleep for the big day ahead.

Speaker hole in the bullet proof glass

Hoping this isn't my last picture


The first two days were training us for the big day on Wednesday which was a trip to Capitol Hill to lobby the representatives and Senators for better funding for colorectal cancer treatment, research and prevention. One thing you may or may not know about teachers is that we are TERRIBLE students. I detest sitting in a desk and being told stuff. It kills my soul. And now that I've got chronic pain this just adds to my joy. By the end of the day I was ready to get out of that room and get into DC and see some stuff. So, at around 4:00 when they said, "that's all for today" all that was left in my spot was a puff of smoke as I blasted out of there. I hooked up with my buddy Ed (another stage IV cancer survivor) and we jumped in a cab and headed for the National Mall. This is not a shopping district but rather a collection of monuments to different important people and events from American history. We had the cabbie drop us off at the Washington Monument and we walked from there.

The Americans do an absolutely amazing job of documenting and celebrating their history. I really wish that we, as Canadians, did the same. There are so many things that we should be proud of but we are too modest to celebrate them and tell everyone. We hit the WWII monument, Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln monument and then made our way through town to see the White House. I was quite surprised at how small the White House seemed. It really looks a lot bigger on TV. At this point Big Ed was beside himself with hunger so we started looking for a restarant. I spotted an older gentleman that seemed to know what was up and asked where we should eat. He pointed us to a nice looking pub on the corner and told us that the Old Ebbitt Grill was a famous place with decent prices. We were sold.

Once inside the Ebbitt we were blown away. It felt like stepping back in time and when we got the menu we were right. It was from 1856 and was absolutely beautiful inside. All wooden and perfectly decorated. I wished I was able to order an Old Fashioned or some other fitting drink but sadly alcohol and narcotics are not buddies. I got a shrimp cocktail and corned beef with cabbage. Ed went with a steak and everything was perfect!

So tasty



















After our awesome meal we walked another couple of blocks to see Ford's Theatre, the theatre where Abraham Lincoln was shot. Across the street is the house where he was carried to be tended to and ultimately succumbed to his injuries. After that, back to the hotel.


Ford's Theatre





















Friday, 6 November 2015

Kim's Year in Review

Wow.  A year already.  One year ago today we found out Colin had cancer.  My chest still gets tight thinking about it.   

I still remember my last moment of innocence.  Colin was leaving for the hospital (for the second time) with his stomachache and I didn’t give him a kiss because I was angry it took him so long to go to the hospital.   

He called from the hospital and said it was probably diverticulitis.  I googled.   

You all know what happened after that. 

The month and a half after Colin’s cancer diagnosis, waiting for Colin to heal from surgery and for his appointment at Cross Cancer Institute, was the longest time of my life.  When I went in for a doctor’s appointment with my 4th pregnancy at almost 18 weeks and found out that there was no heartbeat, I sat in the waiting room for an hour, watching the second hand on the clock.  Waiting for the ultrasound tech to call me in to confirm what I already knew.  Tick.  Tick.  Tick.  Last November and December was like reliving that moment.  Only it went on and on and on. 

I don’t know how I would have kept functioning through that time if it wasn’t for the kids.  I had to get out of bed.  I had to go through the motions every day.  I took care of them.   

I felt dead inside.   

My dreams, our dreams, growing old in rocking chairs together, watching the grandkids…. Gone.  

Old friends, new friends.  Everyone wanted to help.  There were a few shoulders I cried on.  A few friends who kept me grounded, who I know that will be there for me until they are hauled kicking and screaming from this planetI’ll never find the words to thank them enough, but I know they’ll read this.  And they know me.  So they’ll know everything my heart says that I don’t know how to put in to words. 

And then we met with that first oncologist  Neither Colin nor I wanted to accept what she said.  So we tried another doctor.  A better doctor.  He gave us hope.  There might not be forever, but at least there’d be a tomorrow. 

As the months passed, I stopped mourning what wasn’t going to be.  I stopped being angry about the future that had presented itself.  The kids and I planted flowers and bulbs and we had the most amazing flowerbed that has ever existed in front of this house.  We planted fruit bushes and rose bushes and trees.  And as everything sprang to life, I started living again.   

The kids and I walked every day.  We’ve been to every park within a 5 kilometer radius.  We had many double cookie days – we’d go to Save-On for one free cookie and then go to Sobey’s for a second free cookie.   

The kids and I talk about life and the future…. And we cry together and we’re scared together, but I always tell them that we have daddy right now.  And right now daddy is doing fine and as long as he keeps doing fine we’re going to have him for a really long time.   

I’ve gone back to school to get a degree in Elementary Education.  I figured that the odds say that I’m going to be a single mom with 4 kids one day, so I had better get myself in a position where I can align my schedule with theirs.  3 weeks off a year won’t cut it.  Hopefully that’s a concern that never comes to fruition, but by this point we all know that the future is unpredictable.  I took one class in May.  May was rough.  Colin was pretty sick but fortunately my mom and dad were able to help out and I got one class over with. 

I’m taking three more classes right now.  Colin’s been doing great for the last three months and my mom and dad help out on chemo and blood work days.  Anyone who knows me knows that I love school.  This degree is no different.  I love thinking about things beyond diapers and groceries.  I think it’s great for the kids to see me working on school, plus I’m going to be able to help the kids with their math homework since math is a whole lot different than it was when I was in school.  I’m worried that by the time I finish this degree a school board will take one look at the old lady that marches in and they won’t have room for me, but who knows. 

It’s easier if I don’t think long term.  NOBODY knows what’ll happen long term.  Not to me, not to Colin, not to yourself.  When I get overwhelmed, I listen to this.  https://youtu.be/2Kuj-PGC8rE.  I think it might be about being in a gang or something like that, but like the song says: “Ain’t nobody gonna die today.  Save that trouble for another day.”  When tomorrow gets to be too much, I focus on today. 

We’re all here.  We’re all happy.  We’re relatively healthy.  I’ll take another 20 years of this.  Colin just has to keep on keeping on.  Ánimo, right? 

Cancerversary



It's hard to believe a year ago today I heard the words "you have cancer" for the first time. As I laid in that hospital bed recovering from abdominal surgery I had no idea what this would mean for me.



The past year has been an amazing roller coaster ride with some amazing experiences mixed in with some awful lows but one thing has never changed. I will not give up easy. 

Kim and I are still forever grateful to everyone that came and supported us at the event put on by Brett and Amie Babkirk. What an amazing evening. The money raised was so critical to Kim and I getting our life together as she went back to school and I faced my future with uncertainty. But possibly more important was the show of support we received from friends and family. We have never felt more loved. I received messages from coworkers and former students from every year I've taught. 

One of the first things I did was a symbolic gesture that I wouldn't be held prisoner by this awful disease. I booked a trip to San Francisco and scheduled an Alcatraz swim crossing. I had completed this swim as part of a triathlon in 2010 and wanted to show myself I could still do it.


Another thing I did which I thought was important was to get a tattoo that said "Ánimo." For those that haven't heard or read my Ánimo story it's got its own link on the top of my webpage and I would encourage you to read it. It's pretty funny if I must say so myself. But the key is that Ánimo just means keep going.



Travel was a huge theme this year. I was in a bit of a panic mode as I was completely unsure of how my cancer might progress and I wanted to make sure I kept moving. I vowed early on that I would be a positive force in the face of cancer. I didn't want to let it take me down. I wanted to prove to people that you can continue to live a meaningful life despite a stage IV diagnosis.

In case you're unaware stage IV means that it will never be gone. I will never be declared cured. This is a lot to deal with emotionally. My future is a minefield of potential setbacks and anxiety as I wait for my latest test results. 

I decided I would create the #Cancercanthackett tour to try and publicize my efforts. This was a combination of racing and distributing information about early screening and prevention. This effort lead me to some really amazing people. 

I began to solicit sponsors for my tour and some amazing companies were eager to jump on board. The best part of this was that it was all companies whose products I was using before do I didn't feel guilty promoting their products. Coloplast, KPMG, Sugoi, Hoka One One, Aquasphere, and recently Quintana Roo have sponsored me and I couldn't be more pleased. 

One of the best experiences that came from this was the opportunity to speak at the Coloplast national sales meeting in Toronto. I got to give the patients a voice about what life is like with an ostomy. As a bonus I had never been to Toronto so I used it as an opportunity to do some cool things I'd always wanted to do. See a Blue Jays game at home and go up the CN Tower. I didn't realize they had created a new thrill ride type adventure where you hang off the side of the tower. As it worked out I was there for the home opener and after a bit of a hassle getting in I got to see my Jays live for the first time. 


It hasn't always been great being off work. If you talk to a teacher more often than not they will tell you within a short period of time what they do for a living. This is because being a teacher isn't just a job, it's a part of you. It's been hard being out of the classroom but there has been a few awesome benefits. I've been able to travel on seat sales which almost never happens for teachers because our holidays are in high season. 

The best getaway was to Maui, Hawaii. A Westjet sale popped up on Facebook and I couldn't believe it. $89 one way! I jumped on it and actually booked it without telling Kim. Kim had always wanted to go to Hawaii and this was the perfect opportunity. We got away and it was absolutely magical. 


I have been asked a few times to speak and tell my story and the most moving time was the opening ceremonies for the Alberta Ride to Conquer Cancer. This two day cycling event was an amazing chance to talk to survivors and be surrounded by positivity while proving to myself and others that I could still handle endurance events.  


Another amazing experience this year was my selection as a Colondar model. This is a group of 12 people under 50 who have been diagnosed with colon cancer. But it wasn't just a bunch of cancer patients; every one of these people had a great story and was doing something to spread hope and awareness. Although we were only together a few short days we quickly became as tight as brothers and sisters .



I had a rough summer with my liver acting up. For some reason it kept developing "sludge" and blocking the main drain out of my liver. This lead to me becoming jaundiced which made me  INCREDIBLY itchy, to the point that I couldn't sleep some nights. To open this up I was given 2 ERCPs. This is when a camera is sent down your throat and the doctor opens up your liver. I had 2 stents put in to keep it open and my awesome liver Doctor put me on a pill that has kept me clear. 

My racing was not what I had hoped it would be this year. I attempted 3 Ironman races and didn't manage to complete one yet. This is a burr in my side and a huge disappointment. I feel a bit of a failure in my efforts as my entire goal was to show I could keep going despite my condition. However, I got to meet some cool people through racing. Stewart and I became buddies over Twitter and he was gracious enough to allow me to stay with his family while in Muskoka. Here I met my little buddy Logan and I was extremely honoured last week when he named me his hero for a school project. This was incredibly rewarding and really made me smile.

I get a chance to break this streak on November 15th and really am eager to get this one in the books. 

As an update, my two tumors in my liver have remained stable over this year and this is a very positive sign moving forward. At some point my oncologist expects it to start progressing and we will take it in stride but for now it's just more of the same. 

Here's to another year! 

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Reluctantly Addicted to You

For about the last 6 weeks I've been on a constant dose of Dilaudid or hydromorphone. My gall bladder is unusually large and was causing extreme abdominal pain, to the point that I would lay in the back yard at 2 in the morning because the cool grass felt a little better than laying on my couch. Fortunately, my liver doctor has prescribed a drug that is designed to bust up gall stones and I've stopped being able to feel my gall bladder with my hands because I think it's working.

It was actually funny because I googled my symptoms (I know better but I had nothing to do) and I diagnosed myself with an enlarged gall bladder. At one of my appointments I told my doctor about it and he looked at me sideways and felt around my abdomen. The good news was that it wasn't my liver but he couldn't feel anything else. I protested that I was sure it was my gall bladder but because it wasn't an area that was cancerous we were both fairly happy. I had a CT scan a couple of weeks afterwards and asked him about it there and he said, "actually, your gall bladder is the size of a sausage!" I replied, "I knew it!" We both chuckled but deep down I was relieved to know what I had been feeling wasn't something dangerous.

My concern now was that the drug was initially prescribed to me by an ER doctor when I came in for pain relief and my doctor just re-wrote a prescription to continue on it. They asked my symptoms and I explained that it was an egg shaped lump in my abdomen and pain; I also told them that Dilaudid seemed to be the only thing that worked for me. For whatever reason Morphine doesn't seem to touch my pain. Maybe I just have the wrong receptors for it. They obliged and dosed me with Dilaudid and wrote me a prescription for the drug and sent me on my way once my pain was under control. I was upset because I wanted to know where the pain was coming from. I showed them where I felt it and was hoping for an ultrasound or some kind of imaging that might indicate why I was in this pain but they just seemed to want to get me out of there and on my way.

My goal was not to drug seek, I wanted to stop hurting. Given the choice I'd rather treat the source of the pain, not the pain itself. Regardless, this entire time I have been treated with Dilaudid. This has left me feeling like absolute junk. I walk around in a haze, some days unable to even find the motivation to get out of bed; and when I do all I want to do is have a snack and get back into bed. I attempted 2 of my Ironman races on the drug but was unsuccessful and I think it played at least a factor in my inability to finish those races. Days when I have to referee a hockey game I need at least a 3 hour nap mid day to get to the rink or I won't have the energy to even get dressed at the rink.

At one point in September I tried to get off the drug and went right back to it after suffering through the sweats, shakes and intense vomiting. I was no longer taking the drug to avoid pain, I was taking it to not go through withdrawal. I was addicted to a narcotic. What the hell had happened? How did it happen so fast? What wasn't it more fun?

I don't blame my oncologist at all. He is trusting the judgement of another professional who felt the best course of treatment is to hit me with the drug so I'd feel better. My frustration is with the ER doctor and his apparent lack desire to do any digging. See pain - give pill. How many drug addicts are being created through this manner of treatment? Then, when I'm sent on my way, there was no suggestion or recommendation of what to do when I want to get off of this powerful narcotic. Is his expectation that I just get hooked on it and live that way forever? Whatever length of time that may be?

We accuse many people in our society of being drug-seeking addicts and I openly admit I had the same prejudice. We see these people going to the ER to get pills to make them feel better. Who knows how many of them got hooked on the drug the to begin with by a legitimate complaint that may result from the street life so many of them live? Imagine being one of our city's indigent and getting into a fight or being assaulted downtown one night. You're taken by ambulance or police car to the hospital and to treat your pain from broken ribs or black eyes with a narcotic. After a couple of days in a bed you're discharged with a small number of pills or one last IV dose and then sent on your way. I know that if I wasn't counselled about what to do when the drugs run out there is NO chance that a homeless person is being given any of this information.

My biggest saving grace, I'm certain, is that I have a good education and the motivation to get off of this drug in the least harmful manner possible. I have resources that I can seek out, I have access to the internet, I will be able to do this eventually. But for those in our city (or country) that are less fortunate they get stuck on an addiction treadmill that may be impossible to get off of.

I hope this doesn't come off as too sanctimonious or left wing for my friends and family but I hope over this Thanksgiving weekend you can look at your own life and appreciate the great things you have. Not every day is great but there is great in every day.

In the immortal words of Bill S. Preston, Esq and "Ted" Theodore Logan:







Sunday, 4 October 2015

World Ostomy Day

Saturday October 3rd is world ostomy day. Having lived with my ostomy for nearly a year now I feel like I'm becoming a bit of an expert.

For those that don't know an ostomy is when you have some type of issue with your intestines and so a portion is removed and the end is, for lack of a better word, poked through your abdomen. This is where you now poop. 

Because of the nature of this medical procedure not many people are open to talking about it. I, however, was not raised with a filter (thanks mom) and so I'd like to explain frankly what it's like to live with an ostomy. It sucks. 

Now, for people that suffer from Crohns or collitis it may be a huge relief from the debilitating gut pain that many endure. However, in my case, it was just a necessity to remove my tumor. Now I face the day to day hassle of living with a bag strapped to my belly. 

The set up has 2 pieces. The first is a flange. This flange requires you to cut it to fit the size of your stoma. (Haha, it autocorrected stoma to aroma which is fairly applicable) after cutting it to fit, you apply a paste to the appliance and smooth it out. Then you carefully align the flange to your stoma and press it on. Then you remove the backing and stick the rest of it to your belly. 




Then you snap a bag onto the flange. To get the best adhesion you should sit or lie down and keep pressure on it for at least 15 minutes. 

Every time I leave the house I need to ensure that I have sufficient supplies to get me through however long I plan to be out. It's become habit now but there have been times where I have to leave something I'm really enjoying because I'm out of bags. The biggest hassle I've run in to is exercising with it. The sweat can cause the flange to lose adhesion and leak. I'm unable to do certain exercises because I can't lay flat on my stomach. Additionally, because a stoma is created by punching a hole through your abs it is considered a hernia. This limits the lifts I can do. Finally, if my bowels move while I'm exercising I need to stop and change my bag because the weight of a full bag can either pull 
off the flange or pop off the bag. Either of which is NOT COOL. In fact it stinks (see what I did there).

Probably the most troublesome area that's been affected is sleeping. I love sleeping on my front and will flip back and forth but it's almost impossible now to sleep facing to the right. This position places my stoma flat against the mattress meaning any bowel movement could blow off the flange. Also, when rolling over I need to be exceedingly careful not to catch the bag and pull it off. I've done this a few times this year and it means laundry time at 2am. 

The public awkwardness that comes with a stoma can also be brutal. The stoma does not have a controllable muscle so you can't clench up. Without warning a stoma can get active and either fill the bag or cut some of the loudest farts you've ever heard. Depending on the situation you're in this can be mortifying. People that know you are almost always awesome about it; but if you're in a meeting or on an elevator where people don't know your deal this can be unbelievably embarrassing.

This blog is not intended to be a sob story. I just want to be completely open and honest about what life entails. If you know someone in your life that has a stoma and are too afraid to ask them about it please understand what they're dealing with. It is a 24-7 job maintaining it. I am thankful to be alive as the procedure removed my source cancer, but it is not without its problems. 

If you have any questions I'm an open book so please don't hesitate to contact me.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank Coloplast for sponsoring my tour. They have made having a stoma more bearable. By making the flange more flexible it is more comfortable and by using more appealing materials it's not as embarrassing when your bag sticks out under your shirt. This may seem like a small thing but it can be huge to many  people.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Give Dudes a Chance

I've told as many people as will listen about the joys of podcasts. For those that don't know a podcast is a radio type show that you download from the Internet. There are literally thousands of these bad boys available and on any topic you can possibly think of.

My two favorite shows are the Adam Carolla Show and the Joe Rogan Experience. At first glance it may seem like these two guys would have almost nothing worth listening to. One used to host the Man Show with hot girls jumping  on trampolines and the other is a pot enthusiast who hosted Fear Factor and now works for the UFC.

"It's probably all about lusting after chicks and other dude-related riffs." You couldn't be more wrong.

Adam Carolla is actually a pretty inspiring figure. Born in Philadelphia his family moved to north Hollywood when he was young. Anyone that has been to LA understands that Hollywood is not the glamorous star-studded area you would expect. It's actually a low-income, and in some places, scary neighborhood. Coming from poverty with distant, ineffective parents he was forced to almost fend for himself and this gives him a really good perspective on life. 

In a world where being identified as a member of a group is critical, Adam refuses to be placed into a box. Fiscally conservative you would expect him to be a staunch Republican but his pro gay marriage and marijuana stances muddy that water. Although portraying himself as gruff and seemingly uncaring he often slips up and reveals his sweet nougaty centre. His side kick "Bald" Bryan Bishop was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor a number of years back and upon hearing this Adam became an inconsolable mess and did everything he could to make sure Bryan would be taken care of. 

The best part of the Adam Carolla Show is his willingness to say what he actually feels without fear of reprisal from advertisers or other interests. This has likely cost him some job opportunities on network television but he says, and I believe him, that he would rather not work than have to live under their stupid rules. 

Add to Adam the afore mentioned Bald Bryan and "news girl" Gina Grad and you have a dynamite comedy team that touch on everything from current events to delving into possible solutions for societal ills. 

The Adam Carolla show has the feel of your favorite morning radio show but in an uncensored format. 

The Joe Rogan Experience features long format interviews with influential people from various backgrounds. Like the Adam Carolla show Joe Rogan is completely uncensored. However, Joe Rogan's "interviews" are really more like conversations. Traditional radio has a limited amount of time to get the entire story out and the commercial breaks cause you to stop and restart the train of thought. 

Demonstrating his commitment to making his show as authentic as possible Joe has turned down bigger revenues by refusing to do commercials in the middle of the show because they break up the flow of the conversations. 

Because of their reach Joe and Adam get some very big names on their shows and it makes some great "pod" as they like to say. 

To date my absolute favorite interview was on the Joe Rogan Experience with Gad Saad. He's a professor from McGill in Montreal and he talks about how crazy sensitive society has become and that at universities, where things are meant to be questioned and challenged professors live in fear of their students complaining or making accusations of "triggering" feelings or making "micro aggression." He does an incredible job of explaining the environment at universities currently. 

To site one example of this lunacy, Law professors at Harvard are being told to avoid rape law because of the potential triggers. So just ignore it? 

So if you are tired of the boring normal radio shows I strongly encourage you to find a podcast or three that you love. You get to learn new things and on the topic YOU want, not whatever happens to be on. I'd love to hear from you in the comments about the podcasts you live too! 

Ánimo!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Vegas and Interbike Baby!

I'm really dumb. You'd think that anyone that travels as much as I do would eventually learn a thing or two but I don't. I book early flights all the time because when I'm booking them all I look at is the arrival time. "Hey, look at this. This flight will get me there at 10 am!" Yeah.... but you need to wake up at 430am to do that. "Oh that's fine. I'll sleep on the plane!" No, no you won't. 

I flew Westjet this time around and I have to say, I really like Air Canada. Westjet's big thing was that they were the fun friendly airline. And I think for a time they were. But now they charge for bags and their flight staff seem grumpy and worn out. And so do their planes. My TV didn't work from the get go and half an hour into the flight NONE of the TVs work.



Fashion question: Ladies, I know you love your shoes but some of them defy logic. These ugly bad boys are basically boots, but with an open toe AND an open heel. These shoes actually made me mad! 



When we landed in Vegas it took well over half an hour to get our bags. When you get to Vegas you want to get going and get your Vegas on so every second waiting for your bags is like an eternity. 

I stayed at the MGM Grand for the first time and it's really nice. The room was clean and modern and the beds were comfy. They had a room ready right away but it was on a low floor. Fine by me. Shorter elevator rides and I don't have to check my bags. Boom.

After checking in I immediately went to the buffet. Kim has been unhappy with me lately because she feels I've lost too much weight. Fine by me, I'll do my best to get it back on. I started out smart. A few things that looked good, some veggies, not stacked. After this my stomach still felt good so I lost my mind. Plate two was a return to fat Colin form. Roast beef, sushi, fajitas; it was like the UN on a plate. Then I hit the desert station. I'm a sucker for carrot cake. Not sure why but I just can't get enough of it. Louis C.K. captured my philosophy perfectly. "The meal is not over when I'm full. It's over when I hate myself." I slowly meandered out of the buffet and made my way to Interbike.

For those that don't know, Interbike is the biggest bike sales expo in the world. Everything you can imagine to do with cycling is represented here. From the frames down to the grip tape on the bars and everything in between. 

When you first enter the hall you are transported to China. All the Chinese discount manufacturers are in the same area and it's pretty neat. All the factories have their goods and you can see just how cheap some of these goods are. 


Conversely, the Italian companies have their own section as well and the quality of the products they make is equally evident. 

I was surprised at one sight and that was a group of Mennonite folks walking around. But then I realized this is like their  car show probably. These are their Ferraris and Lamborghinis. They're probably super stoked to see the newest in bike technology. 


This show really is impressive, I had no idea just how big it would be but after the first day I had only seen less than half of the booths. I was pretty tired from the early morning and all of the walking so I made my way back to the hotel and thought I might grab some sleep. After a couple of hours I realized I was in Vegas and acting like a Jabroni so I got dressed and headed down to the casino. I threw away some money on slots and roulette and made my way to the bar. 

I've been trying to be as healthy as possible. In general this is a good policy but as a cancer patient it seems even more prudent. However, there are a few kinds of health and mental health is one of them. I've had some tough days lately based on how tired and depressed being on chemo has made me. A lot of people get 6 rounds as their therapy. I just finished my 14th and there is no end in sight. So I decided I would just enjoy myself tonight. I bought a nice cigar and a scotch and sat at the bar and talked. 

It wasn't long before an attractive young lady sidled up beside me and started a conversation. At this point I remembered what my department head Brian Buchynski told me the first time I came to Vegas in 2004. He said, "if a girl hits on you look in the mirror. You're ugly. It's a hooker." My alarm bells were ringing as we chatted but at no point did anything lead me to believe one way or another. Maybe because I finished my drink fairly quickly and moved on. I don't have a mirror by I do have selfies and I haven't gotten better looking. 


Day 2 of Interbike was just as good. I got a chance to check out the rest of the booths. There is some seriously cool stuff out there. E bikes seem to be the newest thing to have. These bikes have an electrical assist making it easier to get around. It wouldn't be legal for racing but what a fun way to commute. 

The giveaways were my favorite part of the convention and the best thing I hit were a pair of CEP compression socks. Normally compression socks are knee high but these are just ankle high and work on your feet. This was exciting for me as I usually have foot issues on the bike but I don't like compression on my calves when I'm racing. I wore them for the day on Thursday and they are GREAT! 

Thursday night was sports book night. There was baseball and football to watch so what better place than a room with 50 TVs? I thought this was going to be awesome but I underestimated the silliness of some fans. During baseball it was ok but when the football game started some of these guys started losing their minds. They were yelling and screaming and running around the room. It was really bizarre. One guy in particular was sitting right behind me in his jersey yelling coaching advice and talking to the head coach on a first name basis. If only the game wasn't 1500 miles away. 



By half time I'd had enough and decided to go back and watch the rest of the game in my room. Without the Jabronis. It turned out to be a fantastic finish that would have been amazing on the bet I placed except that the Blue Jays didn't score enough runs earlier in the day. Sad face. 

I was just about to tuck myself in for the night but decided to go through the channels one more time. Nearly at the end up popped Bill Freakin Murray in Groundhog Day. This is a piece of cinematic magic and I couldn't help but watch the last hour and a half. Finally I tucked myself I for the night. Hoping tomorrow would be another day and not the same one over and over. 

Anger update: what the hell are these things? A boot with a cylinder of leather around it? Not only that this "lady" cut line at Starbucks. 


Friday night was the highlight of the trip. Jerry Seinfeld in concert! I've always been a huge Seinfeld fan and it just worked out that he was in Vegas while I was so how could I not go? I got tickets relatively late but because I was sitting solo so I got a single seat in row 2. What I love about Seinfeld is that he captures life's little comedic situations perfectly. My absolute favorite bit was about having young kids and putting them to bed. He described this epic adventure as a type of nightly coronation ceremony. This is so true it's ridiculous. Our kids have suckered us into performing for them to get them to go to bed each night. I have a tuck in song I do every night on top of reading and wrestling. (Truth be told I love it but don't tell the kids). And if we don't check every box the kids cannot be expected to sleep. 

Look at these angels. She's actually sleeping with that book. 


After the show I went out with Cam and Elise, the owners of my favorite bike store, and we had a nice little meal at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. The food was great but the music was disappointing. I expected Jimmy Buffet songs and a chilled out atmosphere. Instead it was a thumping rock concert. In fact, the first table they sat us at we had to move from because we couldn't hear one another. 

Maybe I'm becoming an old man but why does music need to be so loud in a restaurant? Does the bass hammering you aid in digestion? Maybe they'd rather you shut up, eat and get out? Either way it seems an odd music choice for a restaurant that's supposed to feel like you're chilling in the tropics. 

I had a brush with fame on the strip Friday night. Kim and I LOVE police shows like Cops. But one of our favorites is called Vegas Strip and it's just that, a Cops-like show on the strip. One of the main officers is Ofcr. Wandick. His most notable feature are his eyes. So much so that the hookers on the show call him Officer Green Eyes. He doesn't let them continue like that but I was so jacked to see this guy! 


Saturday was pretty chilled out. I hit the outlet mall and made my way to the airport for the direct flight home. I breezed through customs because of my NEXUS card and rolled into bed about 2am. Kelland had hockey the next morning so there's no rest for the weary. 

Next up is my 3 month CT scan on Mobday. I'm cautiously optimistic but will update you all when I get my results.