My name is Chris Brochu, I currently live in Kamloops, BC with my dog misty and travel down to Richmond for class at #BCPTI. I am a lover of the outdoors… I am an avid snowmobiler, dirt biker, hiker, back packer, mountaineer who loves camping, road cycling, mountain biking, and there is a lot more I want to learn!
I grew up on a rural property on Shuswap lake. During my childhood we hunted, cut firewood, fished, boated, rode quads and three wheelers. I was always outside which is where my obsession with the outdoors and nature began. As a young child spending time with my dad outside and learning from him constantly nurtured my passions. I graduated high school in the year 2000 where I then went on to pursue a career in construction. I attended a Journeyman qualification in plumbing in the year 2006 which led me to various jobs from simple house construction to large industrial projects throughout the country.
Why I chose Personal Training:
In 2009 I had a mole removed off my back and it came back as Melanoma Skin Cancer. It was serious but the doctor was confident in doing another surgery called a “wide excision” surgery where they would be able to get it all and I would be fine…
They did the surgery which was not fun at all but it was the only way to treat melanoma at the time. Luckily for me it all worked out and I was free and clear at that point! Fast forward to May of 2015, I was out hiking with my dog in a local area outside of Kamloops. I was hiking up a fairly steep grade and I got winded quite easily which was not like me at all.. to the point of almost throwing up. “This can’t be right”I thought to myself. I figured that I better go get checked out because of my history. So, off to the walk in clinic I go where the doctor orders me an X-Ray. I go get the X-Ray done and within 10 minutes I get a phone call from my doctor who tells me that I need to go to the hospital right away.
I arrive at the hospital and the doctor pulls up my results show that my right lung was collapsed.. At this point my whole family was extremely worried about what could have caused it, but they all stayed very positive for me! After four days in the hospital I got a biopsy done of my right lung which showed some sort of infection. They give me some antibiotics and said I would be ok to go home. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case after all. The doctor took me and my parents into a private room to give us the news…
He explained that I have stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma Skin Cancer and it is very aggressive at this point. It was producing fluid in the plural space around my right lung and had moved on to my kidneys as well. For the unforeseeable future, they would drain this fluid daily.
Now, onto treatment. Unfortunately, as far as Stage 4 Melanoma goes.. their aren’t many options for treatment. Traditional chemo dose not work. They put me on two drugs that block the communication paths between the cancer cells. We were hopeful but my doctor told me that my body may become immune to the drug eventually. Thankfully it worked for about 4 months but the inevidable happened.. my body became immune just like my doctors assumed. The cancer started coming back full force even more aggressive than before. I felt hopeless.
At this point my family and began to search for alternative treatments all over the world as there where no other options left for us in Canada. I was on a program from a doctor in Mexico, a program from a doctor in Vancouver… but none of it seemed to keep the cancer at bay.
I was once again admitted to the hospital in Kamloops where I required full care. There were no treatment options left and I was told I would die before my birthday. My body was slowly shutting down when we asked my oncologist about a new treatment that doctor Adam Meclode (Vancouver) told us about called Immunotherapy. He had never heard of it before, but asked around to find more details. He found a clinical study in Edmonton that was accepting people who qualified for this new treatment. Luckily for me, I qualified. It was the next day I was booked on a flight and off to Edmonton I went to start a brand new treatment. We were hopeful..
The oncologist there told us that there is no guarantee that this would work, and if it didn’t, I had 4 weeks to live if I was lucky.
I got the first infusion the next day. These drugs work by not letting the immune system turn off or turn down the dial so to speak so I got a treatment every three weeks but I didn’t see any improvement and am hospitalized again. Then they began re-draining the fluid from my chest 3 times a day, keeping my fluid levels in check and my heart monitored 24/7. As the fluid was causing pressure on my heart and my resting heart rate was as high as 159 bpm, I was in a state of border line heart attack.
But… eventually the treatment started to work and I had to learn to walk again. I started to walk using a walker and would try to walk 3 feet further each day until eventually I could walk to the cafeteria and back. Soon, I didn’t need the walker and I started to feel better and better. My goal was to go home for Christmas and I was determined not to spend Christmas in the hospital. I worked extremely hard at building my strength up by walking more and more each day. Soon enough, the doctors said I could go home for Christmas 2015! I still required care but thankfully I had an amazing mother, sister, father, Aunty Gerry and my Uncle Less to help me out!! Once I built up my strength, I began an exercise program. I really wanted to get back out on my snowmobile because that is/was my passion!!! I would go down to my garage and practice lifting one ski and trying to start it, still not strong enough. Every day I was home I would do this and eventually I became stronger and stronger!
At the end of January 2016 my friends took me out sledding! I needed some help with loading my sled and starting it but they were there for me with whatever I needed. I am forever grateful for them helping me out! There is no better feeling in the world!
I eventually became stronger and was out doing things I loved again! One day while I was at treatment in the Cross Cancer Centre, I saw a brochure for The Ride To Conquer Cancer. I researched it and thought why not challenge myself. This was a 250 km bike ride from Vancouver to Seattle on a road bike which I had never used before! I thought “it cant be that hard!” ( 6 months prior I was given 4 weeks to live) I was still in treatment and thought “screw it, I am going to do this!” Soon after I created a team called The Melanoma Warriors! I had no interest from any of my friends at all, but I was determined to cycle that 250 kms even if it was by myself!
So I did it ! And I will do the ride every year for the rest of my life.
There is so much more to my story… but the moral of it is that I owe my life to Physical Fitness and it played an extremely vital role in my complete healing! I want to help others who have or are going through a similar experience that I did! I think that physical exercise is key to improving ones outlook on life not just physically but also mentally. It releases positive endorphins into the body and fills the body with oxygenated blood. I want to give others HOPE!
The reason I chose #BCPTI Is the incredible opportunity that you get here. This is far more than just learning the material in the book. The hands on learning and instructor/ coordination is vital to your success! I am having a great time and learning some amazing things that I never thought I would have ever learned in my life. Personal Training is so much more than just showing someone how to lift weights! It’s far more in-depth and BCPTI’s way of teaching is extensive and entertaining! I am extremely grateful I chose this program and I am excited for a new path in life to help others achieve their goals! I would suggest getting your certificate through BCPTI because they are the only school that offers the NASM certification in an in-class format in BC. This is just the tip of the iceberg but with this model they set you up for success!
My final message:
DONT LOSE HOPE.