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 He left behind many things, some of which are unpublished writing.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,
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|
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!
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.