Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Can we prevent cancer through diet, exercise and life-style modification...

The data is mind numbing... there are so many cases of cancer, particularly in the developed world, that treating it has become overwhelming. Last year when Give To Live decided to support Dr. Ryan Rhodes and the research being done in the Behavioral Medicine Labs at the University of Victoria... I got it! We have to do more to reduce the incidence of Cancer!

While Dr. Rhodes is not the only researcher doing this work, he has already been making headway, and the BMED team has been  publishing. There are practical ways to avoid cancer, and also ways to be better prepared to battle it if avoidance isn't successful... exercise, diet, life-style and so on are all ways to help ourselves... while the rest of the world goes on expecting cures. No matter what, even being cured like I was, has its downsides. Far better to avoid it... and if we can't avoid it we should think about two things... 1) being in better shape in order to withstand the treatments, and 2) help our off-spring totally avoid it by starting them out with education levels that allow them to understand how to avoid cancer... among other things.

Below are two helpful information spots... the first map demonstrates how the developed world has more cancer than others... life-style, diet and exercise may be a part of this. The second is a series of data points from 2010 that gives a reader a sense of the impact of cancer in a small population-base country like Canada... American? Well, just multiply these numbers by ten to get the approximate equivalents...

As I prepare to start my fund-raising for the Cabot Trail Ride raising money for the prevention of cancer research, I hope you will consider these points... yes, there are data that are even more damning... and graphic... but these ideas here, are meant to open our minds to doing something about cancer from a prevention, rather than cure point-of-view.


An estimated 173,800 new cases of cancer (excluding about 75,500 non-melanoma skin cancers) and 76,200 deaths will occur in Canada in 2010.
·         Approximately 83,900 Canadian women will be diagnosed with cancer and an estimated 36,200 women will die of cancer.
·         Approximately 90,000 Canadian men will be diagnosed with cancer and an estimated 40,000 men will die of cancer.
·         On average, 3,340 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer every week.
·         On average, 1,470 Canadians will die of cancer every week.
The risk of cancer increases with age: 43% of new cancer cases and 61% of cancer deaths will occur among those who are at least 70 years old. However, cancer can occur at all ages.
·         Lung, prostate, breast and colorectal cancer account for 50% of all new cancer cases every year.
·         Lung cancer accounts for over a quarter (27%) of all cancer deaths each year.
·         Breast cancer accounts for over a quarter (28%) of new cancer cases in women.
·         Prostate cancer accounts for over a quarter (27%) of new cancer cases in men.

Probability of developing or dying from cancer

Based on 2009 incidence rates, 40% of Canadian women and 45% of men will develop cancer during their lifetimes.
An estimated 1 out of every 4 Canadians are expected to die from cancer.

Cancer is the leading cause of premature death in Canada: 1,026,600 years of life were lost in 2004 as a result of cancer. This represents 32% of the potential years of life lost resulting from all causes of death.


At the beginning of the year 2005, there were approximately 723,000 cases of cancer that had been diagnosed in the previous 10 years.


Based on 2002-2004 estimates, 62% of people are expected to survive for 5 years after their cancer diagnosis compared to the general population of the same age and sex. Survival rates differ according to the type of cancer.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Getting ready to ride the Cabot Trail...

MacKenzie Mountain, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

Occasionally I get asked about why I want to ride the Cabot Trail... Well, here is one of the climbs that we will do on the ride in July... The road rises from the ocean and heads inland a little to get around Cape Smokey which is on the east coast of the island of Cape Breton... In the fall of the year you get views like this from the top of any of the three major climbs on the trail.

Sooooo, one wants to be in shape for this sort of a ride... as I start working on my conditioning I am constantly wondering about "what will it be like this time?" It is a great question and when I am riding... I am at about 200km per week right now, but not feeling all that good about it with lots of hot spots in joints and so on... and I keep visualizing the climbs and beautiful scenery, and the hotel where I plan to stay the night after the ride. In it all, there are scenes of pain (the climb), beauty (the views), insane invigoration (the descents), the satisfaction (the weee dram at the end of the day), and the joy of being in heaven, on earth, at the Ketic Lodge.

Keltic Lodge, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Today I was thinking back to the year before my first heart surgery and how I felt about life. In 2001 we were living in Colorado Springs. I was with Spectranetics as their VP Sales, Marketing and Service and we were on a tear... growing, learning, making a difference. I was healthy, running, cycling, daily work-outs that would tire Arnold, and thought I had the world by the tail... travelling all around it, doing work with famous cardiologists on patients who would otherwise be dead soon. Little was I to know at the time... I was in the same boat.

I have mentioned my illnesses enough... but in context there are so many ways to look at them I do actually try to learn from each. Today it was that in early 2001 with the world as my playground, I had no idea of the mountains I was about to climb... for the next fifteen or so years!

The climb of Mount Smokey, Cabot Trail, NS
There have been some road improvements!
Today, as I rode from Jocotepec to Ajijic my thoughts were similar... ironically, after all that health stuff, I am looking forward like a 50 year old saying I have the world by the tail. I have been through all those issues... and I can still climb MacKenzie Mountain and Smokey Mountain and the passes into Guadalajara at 6,500 feet and the road to Mazetmetla at 7,500 feet... what do I wonder about... well... my speed, damn it.

And then I get a note from a friend the other day... "the race is not always to the swift... but to those who keep pushing, and working at it"... it was this that I was thinking as I rode along. It will be what controls me as I ride in July... and each day as I get ready. And if the Dram at the top of Smokey is to be Tequila, well, they'll just have to wait 'cause I'm bringing it with...

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Planning for Cape Smokey, cabot Trail Ride in July with "Give to Live"...

Ok, a month ago, in April, I went to the dark side and bought a Mountain Bike. I crashed it on the second day... lots of road rash and a significant pain-in-the-neck... but what's new about that, I have been a pain in someone's neck for a lifetime. The month passed... six MB rides with about ten road bike rides (didn't crash the road bike)... so I am spending more time on it these days.

I had several rides in Little Rock during April, including the Cardiac Classic  . I didn't ride well, chased Kevin Nelson around the route, he could have dropped me easily, but had mercy at the critical (and appropriate moments). Also there was the time spent listening to Lance Armstrong... during his interview at the Arkansas Heart Hospital dinner the  night before the classic... very motivating!

After these experiences I came home and got back on the road bike... after all, when I was sick in 2005 with three cancer surgeries, then chemo and radiation I first read Armstrong's book "Its Not About The Bike"... in many ways it got me out of bed when I was at my lowest; Armstrong's experiences motivated me to be climbing a fire escape staircase in the condo in which Lynnda and I were living, in Halifax. It was my first exercise in months... one step, one floor at a time. At first it was scary slow and exhausting, but soon enough I was able to climb all eight floors, and in two months I could climb and almost double step all the way... several times. After thirty-three treatments, feeling like crap, losing over forty pounds (that I never really had to lose), having burns on my neck, and in a dark mood... Armstrong's book got me through.

A few months later, I was sitting around feeling sorry for myself, and I re-read the book (by then we were back living in Oyster Pond... on Jeddore Harbour, Nova Scotia). The weather that April was clouding, raining, fogging, snowing, freezing and occasionally, sleeting (that's all of the cold, clouds, fog, rain, snow all mixed together). In our garage there on the Harbour were my bikes, and my two kayaks, just 100 or so meters from a very quiet road that had about twelve beautiful kilometers of no traffic highway... and ten meters to the salt water just in front of the house. The book challenged me to get back in the kayak, or on the bike... at first, the bike won! I couldn't ride the twelve kilometers out to the turn around at the end of the highway... never-mind both ways. Twice I hitched rides home. I had to make a plan!

Nothing then prepared me for what I would go though in the next ten years... leading up to the other day when Ron Allen announced that at 70 years of age, he would not only be doing "the Big Swim" from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island... also, now at 70 he announced he is going to do the Cabot Trail ride as a warm-up to the swim (have a look at and at

I will get back to Ron in a moment...

I found out that for every new project that I wanted to be involved in, I needed a plan... an exercise regimen that would prepare me for what ever was in the project. I had lots of little things to overcome... two left knee surgeries for my ACL and MCL; two open heart surgeries replacing first my natural bicuspid aortic valve and then my prosthesis when I wore it out; the three cancer surgeries, chemo and radiation; removal of my gall bladder and the loss of function of my thyroid and part of my right trapezius muscles... as I moved forward. Always though, there were motivating occurrences that overcame my personal inclination to 'quit'.

In many of the 'quitting' moments it was the book that got me going. During others it was individuals who I knew or read about that had far more issues to overcome than me. There is always someone else in far more desperate straits than me, and I now look for them to help me overcome mine, and at times to help them get over theirs. And then there was the brutal truth... I couldn't stand the thought of what people would think of me if in fact I quit, gave up. It would be pathetic, whimpering pathetic to not show up... so the plan gave me something to focus on... even if I didn't make every lap, training ride, climb or not drink that beer and/or tequila... I am planning to "SHOW UP"

So, between the Book, which I still read and a recent discussion with Lance Armstrong himself, I am again motivated to be training. I set up a schedule that will last through May of four 50km rides a week on the road bike with climbing intervals. I will be riding to perceived strain, having just passed my heart check-up I am comfortable extending myself during the rides, and looking at the heart rate post ride. I will ride Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Tuesday and Thursday I am doing weight training at our club and spinning on a stationary. I have set some weight goals and plan to ride at 150 pounds, down from the 160 set weight. In June I will up everything, except my weight, and I have some big climbs here that I am targeting prior to Cape Smokey... especially the highway to Mazamitla, which is at 2,500 meters... almost exactly the distance of the Cape Smokey ride... 98.5 km with an 800 meter climb... should be a blast, been on my bucket list since I moved here.

This week I am looking at riding the 100km Cape Smokey part of the Cabot Trail... that's what I registered. If I can get into shape, I plan to train myself into a push for the 300km around the trail during daylight which means I will have to re-register... nothing would make me happier than to do the entire ride between 5:30 AM and 9PM... several major climbs... but it would be a Bucket List ride for me.

Also motivating me to ride is my friend Ron Allen. I mentioned him above... Ron will be 70 soon enough, this year. Some of his story is here in Halifax Chronicle Herald newspaper article:

I figure that if Ron can find it in him to do the ride and raise more money for Give to Live and the research into ways we can avoid cancer in our lives using our food, exercise and attitude, so can I. And if he can do it at 70, clearly, I should do it at 67 because I know I can without too much effort. And if Ron rides it at 73 I will be riding it at 70 because, while I hope never to catch-up to him, I am not willing to let him drop me!

This is my plan going forward... I will post occasionally about how it is going... the weather here in Ajijic, Mexico is a little warm for training (in the 30's all week), so I am getting out early. The club part of my workouts is shear pleasure since it is a beautiful facility. Not consuming calorie rich but energy empty booze is not a big problem... although I am sure to have some good Tequila at the top of Smokey.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Sixty-Seven and Counting...

I bought a new bike for my birthday... a present to myself, so to speak. It comes from my new friend in San Luis Potosí, Pablo Voigt Rodríguez... Pablo is product manager for Windsor Sports Group here in Mexico... he has the Shimano, Pearl Izumi and KRBO product lines... and is a Professional Rider for KRBO Mountain Bikes . Pablo built up the bike here in Mexico from components made in Taiwan, Japan, America and Mexico. I proceeded to crash the bike on my 67th birthday, plus one day... another marker on my lifeline.

An April 16th posting on Facebook from another friend , Ron Smith said "Happy birthday! A chance to laugh at the gods, given all your battles! Enjoy!" Ron, his wife Bev, Lynnda and I were neighbors for four years in Oyster Pond, Nova Scotia... he was referring to his being the first person I told (other than Lynnda), that I had cancer in 2005... Ron was an English teacher in Ontario during his working days... he used his expansive vocabulary back then to express how he felt... he simply said, "fuck"... then he said "life isn't fair". My memory of my feelings is a little more gentile, I said simply "you're right!". And we had another glass of vino tinto... and I cried a little... inside...

Now of course we can say that things mostly even out, and while I hesitate to laugh at gods or gloat in any way... I do have a smile on my face. Even when I was in my twenties, I doubted that I would see the Y2000 arrive... now fifteen years past it, I live, and love and ride and generally get a giggle out of this millennium.


I'm In Again... Cape Smokey here we come... Postings on Training to Come...

I'm in... posted this at the Give to Live / Canadian Cancer Society web pages today... Check donation pages at…
Thank you for visiting my pledge page… that you are considering a donation through Give to Live and my ride over Cape Smokey on the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia is most appreciated. This is my fifth ride with this awesome group… the experiences have been life-altering in so many ways, I am sure all of us could benefit by vicariously the mental exercise… beyond the physical… necessary to prepare, accomplish and recover from the rides. Come along with me on my blog at:
I had indicated in the past, when I was asking for donations to the Ottawa-Halifax ride last year, that it would be my last… and that I would not ask you to donate to either the Cancer ,or the Heart and Stroke Societies, again. That was my intention… I was physically and mentally hurting from the training efforts of several rides per year. I was done… gave away my tools to ride… tent, sleeping bag, bike, bike box and so on.
Then this past week, now feeling very well, and riding better than I have in a few years, I hooked up on Facebook with my friend Ron Allen. Ron has been on all of the Give to Live rides, and has raised thousands of dollars for charities, and it turns out, has agreed to ride the Trail again… Ron is 70 years young this year. Most of the riders are much younger, and I don’t want him to be the only perceived “old guy” clambering over Cape Smokey. Will I be riding when I am 70? I will be if Ron is riding at 73!
So, now that you are here… I want to give a reason to donate… just read this page from the Give To Live website… Feeling better… maybe in a mood to donate… hope so!
For folks from Nova Scotia… I hope to get to see many of you… I will fly from Guadalajara, Mexico on the 15th of July for the ride. I will stay at the Belgravia B&B in Truro the 15th and then head to Halifax later on the 16th to make sure my bike is ready to go. Then along with the rest of the riders, I will pass through Truro again, headed to Baddeck on the 17th. Back through Truro on the 19th. I will head back to our ‘home-away-from-home’ here in Mexico on the 22nd… some time in this period, I hope to see you.
In the interim, please consider a donation of $15 or more at this site. I am looking for more small donors, so please also pass this on to your friends who may look for a way to contribute to keeping me young.
Cheers, and again, thanx for your considerations… BRuce


My photo

Grad. Saint Mary's University, 1975, got into the medical device business initially in sales, then various management positions up to president, all in Medical Devices. I prefer therapy products over diagnostic, but they are all fun, and in a way have defined my life. I have now evolved, with help from my 35 year partner Lynnda with whom I now share every hour. I am into staying healthy, photography, kayaking, bicycling, gardening and two books a week. I wish I had gotten to this stage earlier!