Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Crushing The Hills With Humour, plus getting some Boston Pizza help, in a bid to get ready for the Ride To Conquer Cancer

It's a good day.
Three years ago this very 24-hour period I moped my way into Royal Columbian Hospital. I had been feeling gross and listless for awhile and was worried that I had diabetes or something like that. In fine guy fashion, I was going to wait it out and hope that it went away, except that I had some pains in my chest that morning, and Carol-Ann worried that I might be having a heart attack.
Wrong. On all counts. Dr. Joseph Ip said he saw some cancer warning signs. Sure enough, it was a Solitary Plasmacytoma in my T-2 vertebrae. In an effort to speed things up we'll cut to the highlights: 20 radiation sessions, six months in hospital, eight surgeries, a bunch of time trying to learn to walk again.
Today, in honour of Dr. Ip and those other fine people at Royal Columbian and what they did for me, I dropped off a bunch of cupcakes at the emergency. OK, I didn't make the cupcakes. OK, they weren't particularly fancy ones I bought, either. But even average sugary goodness is pretty darn good, and especially when it's free and the calories don't count. (That's what I've been told. Free stuff = no calories.) 
I also had a meeting today with some fine, fine people from Boston Pizza (shameless plug for my mother's employer) and worked out early details for a fundraiser for our Ride to Conquer Cancer team. It's going to be in April, at their restaurant on No. 3 Road in Richmond, and it's going to be a hoot. We're talking silent auction, we're talking appys, we're talking drink specials. I'm just spitballin' here, but we might be talking Stump Scott Rintoul With Sports Trivia. (Shameless name drop...I hope I get to Scott before he reads this.)
I expect you all to be there. Yes, even you, Arnold Sison, you cheap bastard.
We're raising money for our to-be-named team for the Ride, and I feel the need to carry the financial load, particularly with so many of these people coaching me through this. For those who don't know, the Ride raises money for various cancer research programs. It's a two-day trek to Seattle in June.
I've been training for about 12 weeks now, and doing most of my riding along the straight and narrow streets of Queensborough. My buddy Carla McAloney and her brother Jerry (my Ride Yoda, if you will), took me out on my fist REAL ride on Sunday, and, suffice to say, 20 kilometres along the flat lands of Queensborough is quite a bit different than the 20 we did to get from our humble New Westminster home to GF Strong, the Vancouver rehab hospital I spent 10 or so weeks at while I was trying to learn that walking thing.
Hills suck. I hate them. Carla did say a couple of times, "you crushed that hill, Ewen." I assume that is a good thing. I was afraid to ask.
The little trek did show me that I have to much to learn. I'm also better at things than I thought I was. I'm encouraged.
I'd love to write more about it all, but I need to get on my damn trainer and get some miles on my tires before Carla comes over again.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

We're going from Crushing The Tumour to Riding To Conquer and, thankfully, I have a "rock star helmet" to protect me along the way

I'm doing the Ride To Conquer Cancer next year.
There. I said. It wasn't so scary.
Or not.
Yes, we're restarting Crush The Tumour With Humour (CTTWH) as part of my bid to continue to talk myself into doing the Ride To Conquer Cancer (RTCC), and maybe raise a couple of bucks in donations for cancer research.
I used to say that I wanted to "raise money for cancer." My good friend Fiona Rintoul, she of the very classy Flip Flop Shop (FFS) at Fourth and Burrard (shameless name drop and plug to receive discount footwear), always seemed to be around to correct me when I did that, explaining, "cancer is doing just fine. You want to raise money for cancer research."
Oh, Fiona. We're so BFFs. (Yes, I've suddenly become infatuated with abbreviations.)
Fiona did the RTCC this year pregnant. Hello? How cool is that?
It was her husband, Scott Rintoul (shameless name drop), and our buddy Carla McAloney behind this whole thing for me.
Carla hit me with the soft sell, the "You know...Scott and I were talking about it and we think you could do the ride...I mean, it would be a good story, considering the eight surgeries, the six rods in your back and all that CANCER you had."
OK. Carla never said the last part about the operations and the hardware and the CANCER. But she was totally feeling it. I know.
Then Rintoul came in. He's a closer and, to make matters worse, I'm a sucker. I would follow Rintoul into a fire. It's quite sad.
He throws down a couple of "you could totally do it," and "we could hang out and it would be great," and, even though the little voice in my head is screaming, "ARE YOU CRAZY?!?!? YOU DON'T LIKE TO DRIVE THAT FAR?", I heard myself say out loud and quite clearly, "Yeah, Scott. That's a totally good idea. Do you want me to double you on my handlebars?"
So we went to buy a bike. Carla took me to Dizzy Cycles in Kits (most shameless of all name drops, considering I need more stuff and could use a discount) and I found the staff to be quite friendly, intelligent and very well groomed.
I picked out a bike. I picked out a big boy helmet. I was excited. I told my wife, the adorable Carol-Ann, and said I wouldn't purchase anything until she saw it all.
She was keen. A few days later, we went back to Dizzy Cycles.
Took the bike up the cash register. Same with the helmet. And a helmet for her.
Went home. Went riding around the block a few times. I was pretty happy, to be honest, because I did lose enough balance from all those operations and all that hospital time that I wasn't sure I could actually get on a bike for any period.
Carla called later that day and asked how it went. I told her that the riding was decent, and I told her I was really surprised that I didn't feel geeky in the helmet.
She laughed and told me that I had the "rock star" of bike helmets.
"It was $275," she said.
I nearly fell and hit my head. Luckily I still had the helmet on. No way Carol-Ann would let me spend that. I yelled up to her in the kitchen, asking her the pricetag for the head gear.
"I think it was $275," she said.
Afterwards, she said that she knew I was freaked out about the whole thing, that I was way out of my comfort zone. She said she wasn't going to have me pull the plug if I didn't get the helmet I wanted.
Geez, I guess I'm really invested in this now.
I have a meeting tonight about dates and times and when the whole 2014 RTCC happens. I'll keep you up to date.
What have I gotten myself into now?