Chris J Powell

Free App Friday – Getting to Know Cancer

The past 6 months I have gotten to know the Disease called Cancer just a little too well.  I watched my Grandfather and my Step Dad both lose battles to this insidious and undiscriminating killer only to have the worst possible news arrive to me a couple of months ago…my Mom who had been Cancer Free for almost 5 years was facing yet another battle for her life.  The gut punch that this was…I knew that there had to be a way out of all the muck and mire that had been thrown my way but I didn’t really know where to turn…then when I was in the hospital for the Pre-Op meeting with the Doctor’s, Nurses and Specialist…a light came on for me…turn to the Internet and to my Smartphone for some assistance! There are several interesting Apps available for the Android System, many of which are sponsored by the ASCO or American Society of Clinical Oncology but the one that stuck out at me was called bodyxq Cancer.  The “XQ” stands for Excursion so I figured what the … Read more

Life Ain't Easy…But It Is Life!

There has been much talk around Facebook & Twitter about the tragic death of Robin Williams who succumbed to the inner demons that Depression bring out.  Depression is a silent killer that takes hold of more than 121 million people around the world each year according to the Conference Board of Canada and it is estimated that 1 in 5 people will experience some form of Mental Illness at some point in their lives.  That in of itself is a scary number, but what is even scarier is that fact that almost 2/3 of those people will never seek help for the voices of doubt that creep in upon them. My personal experiences with the demons of Depression, Anxiety and Panic are well documented and so is the lack of support that is actually available.  It lead to the loss of income, a marriage and thinking back, the estrangement of friends and family through out my 42 years.  It is funny that a disease that affects so many actually has far less support from the medical community here in Canada and … Read more

Waiting for THE Call….and then Getting It!

There are times in our lives that we have to muscle through things that we really don’t want to have to do.  In my 42 years there have been a few instances like this but nothing in all my years was as difficult as being asked by my Mother to be her emergency contact when she went in to the London Health Sciences Centre for her second all out battle with Cancer. So as she went into the hospital yesterday for what was described as t 12-14 hour procedure, I did like any good son would do and I listened to my Mommy and went to work.  It was hard but it was a Monday and as usual it was really busy so I had lots of things to distract me from thinking about all the “worst case scenarios” that I could come up with.  You see, part of my General Anxiety Disorder that I suffer from is an innate need to over plan for as many eventualities as possible so that I have a game plan ready (actually I … Read more

What to Do When you Flunk???

I would not call myself a failure and for the most part I have been relatively successful in everything that I have ever done but when it came to entering back into the world of learning 20 years after graduating from College…well lets just say…diving into an advanced Analytics Course as my first iteration of learning may have been a mistake.  I have big Brass Balls when it comes to taking on new tasks but this one…it was just too much too fast. Big Data and Analytics are two things that I am very much interested in, but as the course that I was in progressed I found myself profoundly unprepared for the weekly work load as I was having to side step and dive into additional “training” like learning how to program in Python and take a foundation course in Statistics so I dropped out.  I don’t quit on things…it is just not in my nature but in this case…it was quit or fall even further behind. So what is a guy supposed to do that desperately wants to … Read more

One Life is Enough for Me!

I had a rather tough day yesterday as I sat in a hospital room with my Mother, Aunt and Daughter for the better part of 6 hours while Doctors, Nurses and Specialists paraded in around us explaining the most important thing that will happen in my Mother’s Life…well EVER.  You see, 5 years ago she fought Cancer and we all thought that she had won…even the Doctors were planning a party for her (the Doctor even told my mom “you bring the Ice Cream and we will bring the Cake”) but then as if this past year was not enough of a challenge…it came back…in nearly the exact same place as it was 5 years ago! I have had a lot of challenges in my life, and this past year has forced me to really look at what is important in my life but yesterday as I sat across from my Mother and looked into her eyes and saw the outright fear in her eyes (for the first time in my life) I knew that I had to make some … Read more

Infographic of the Week – Facts About Mental Illness

It is funny, when I started blogging 3 years ago I used it as a way for connecting with my customers and promoting myself as a trusted partner for their businesses.  The transformation of my writing and the topics that I look to have stayed fairly consistent but recently I have found that I need to start sharing more about my personal life and some of the challenges that I am facing.  The reality is, I am part of a silent group that is both discriminated against and ridiculed…you see I am one of the 450 million people in the world that is suffering from Depression. It is not easy…in fact it is incredibly hard.  While I do have great days (this weekend for example)…I am finding that little triggers in my life are causing me to fall very fast into a tail spin that is hard to pull out of, and once that downward spiral starts…well I leave a path of burned bridges and a wake of secondary pain all around me.  I don’t have to suffer alone, I … Read more

For Every Step Forward…

Life has a funny way of reminding you that Destiny and Fate are fickle.  As I sit here and contemplate what my future may hold I try to look at the positive aspects that I have built around me over the past few months in this crazy time of regeneration and building a new me and then the negatives that always seem to creep in come and smack me square in the face. Reality is, the life that I have now is a shell of what I had and that can be expected as I start over…but starting over is one thing…starting over with nothing…well that just sucks. The dark place that these thoughts take me to are a stark reminder that while I have removed myself from the two conditions that inflame the Anxiety…the situations and the potentials that are out there still come in to cause me pain and misery.  I wouldn’t say that I am depressed but I am definitely off today and that is not a good thing. Maybe it is this Summer Cold that crept … Read more

Happy – Not Just a Pharrell Williams Song

A couple of months ago when it became obvious that my future would be my own and I would not have the support of someone else to get through the tough spots in life anymore I must say that I was starting to wonder if I would be really able to be Happy.  Sure, I could put on a rare smile and go through the motions but considering my history with borderline depression and frequent bouts of Anxiety I was wondering if it was possible to be “really” happy and not just the outer shell of happy that I let others see. The first two weeks of July I got to spend with the best girl one could possibly ask for, my smart, beautiful and wise beyond her years 14 year old daughter.  I learned so much about myself by hanging out with her, going for our little adventures and focusing on just one thing…being there for her because I realized that as hard as this new reality was for me…it was twice as hard for her. Waking up and … Read more

Going Mobile – The Data Question

Once again I find the group package that I am currently a part of is lacking in the ability to supply my data needs with an effective coverage and support so now just 1 year into a 2 year contract I am looking at the options that I have to move away from my current provider. I have burned through the world of Canadian Mobile providers over the years not being impressed with any of them so far but last year the airwaves did open up a little bit here so it might just be time to take a hard look at some of the alternatives out there.  For me, the inclusion of a solid Data Plan is key as I do find myself just outside the world of WiFi more often than not and have been hitting the arbitrary caps all too often (sending my monthly bill soaring – it doesn’t help to have 3 phones on a single plan). Pay as you Go or Prepaid plans are not an option as the Data portion of the package is … Read more

1972 Was 42 Years Ago…

Ok so as I sit here contemplating the 42 years of life that I have had the distinct pleasure to experience I got thinking about that year that I was born.  1972…I don’t remember, probably because for 7 months of it I was living in a dark, cramped womb but hey that is splitting hairs.  I figured I would take a look back at 1972 the year and get a handle on what made it a good year (if not great because after all…it was the year I was born). I figured I would visit the Wikipedia page for that year and take a closer look at the things that made 1972 a great year (besides July 12 being the day that I came along: January 4 – The first scientific hand-held calculator (HP-35) is introduced (price $395). January 5 – U.S. President Richard Nixon orders the development of a space shuttle program. January 24 – Japanese soldier Shoichi Yokoi is discovered in Guam; he had spent 28 years in the jungle. January 30 – Bloody Sunday: The British Army kills 14 unarmed nationalist civil rights marchers in Derry, Northern Ireland. February 3 – February 13 – The 1972 Winter … Read more