My name is Andrew Flack aka, The California Kid (more on that later). The purpose of this blog is twofold- to provide updates regarding my cannabis crops, and to also share about my experience with cancer. I’m a 33 year old grandson/son/brother, hockey player, forever dog owner (RIP Dora) and special education teacher. I suppose after 30 plus years on this planet, those are the roles that sum me up the most; although, I’ll be honest, it’s hard to sum up your life in a simple “about” section on a blog via the internet. However, I’ll use the next few paragraphs to do my best to share who I am and what I stand for.
On Superbowl Sunday of 2020, I began the process of growing cannabis plants with my roommate. As an avid cannabis user and activist of the plant, I’ve found through my experience that cannabis really is a “hidden gem”. I understand that it gets a bad rap, and I’ll admit that growing up, I was very anti-cannabis/drugs in general. The war on drugs and my 6th grade D.A.R.E. class did an excellent job scaring me into thinking that cannabis is one of the most harmful drugs in the world (and a “gateway drug”). It wasn’t until many years later (in college), that I experimented with it more and realized the benefits to cannabis. However, I will say that I firmly believe individuals should be a certain age and reach a high level of mental maturation before using cannabis. I believe cannabis is a much healthier alternative to other substances such as alcohol (I still can’t believe alcohol is a dominant mainstay in our culture considering the risks involved with it!) or certain pharmaceutical drugs. I understand cannabis isn’t for everybody (and that’s OK, no judgement here!), yet I do find many benefits to using it. Finally, after many years of purchasing and using the plant, I embarked on the growing process in an effort to cut down costs and get to know the plant on a more intimate level. With this blog, I’ll be able to share my involvement in the growing process of cannabis.
As mentioned previously, my life was turned upside down in September 2017 when I was diagnosed with a stage III colorectal cancer. Unfortunately, this isn’t my first stint with the disease. At the tender age of 4, I had been diagnosed with a stage IV kidney cancer called Wilms Tumor. At the time, my family and I (mom, dad, and three sisters), had just moved to a community located outside London, named Weybridge, Surrey- England. By the time we discovered the cancer, it had spread to my lungs and the prognosis was grim. In the end, I received extremely heavy doses of radiation and chemotherapy, while also having my left kidney, and a large portion of my right lung removed. Miraculously, I did survive and beat the disease (all credit goes to the doctors as well as my parents, sisters, and family). I had been cancer free for the next 25 years.
It wasn’t until September 2017 that I was diagnosed again, with an unrelated stage III colorectal cancer. Since that time, I’ve been battling the disease, experiencing some amazing highs and soul crushing lows. I want to share my experience with cancer for several reasons. The first reason is because about a month ago, I had an enlightening experience. For the first time in about 18 months, I engaged in a physical activity- playing golf with two of my buddies. Upon arrival to the course, these guys were essentially in tears, marveling at “how good I looked”, my energy level, perspective and attitude. After a brutal round of me chasing that damn ball around, we had dinner and my two buds explained that they had been extremely hesitant to reach out to me, in fear they’d receive a message back from one of my family members explaining my departure. These guys legitimately thought I might have been dead. I understand because I’m not on any social media and you get how life goes- it’s busy, demanding, and draining. It can be difficult to stay in touch with others, and even more difficult to try and talk/stay up to date with a friend who has a horrid diagnosis such as myself. That experience really stuck with me, and upon further reflection, I decided to launch this blog. It is my hope that this platform provides answers to your questions regarding my disease, keeps you up to date with my health status, and ultimately, brings a smile to your face with the cannabis content and adventure stories.
And now for the title- The California Kid. So there is basically one person on this planet that calls me, “The California Kid”, my grandfather, Robert Gedles (aka Papa). Naturally, he dubbed me TCK when I moved to Oceanside, CA in August of 2014. Papa is an incredible human being, likely the most influential person that I’ve come across in my short 33 years on earth. He’s my best friend and number 1 drinking buddy- we love getting together to toss back a few and “solve the world’s problems”. Papa is 97 years old and sharp as a tack. He attributes his longevity to, “only drinking from the top shelf!”. When I moved to California in August 2014, Papa surprised me that Christmas with a custom made sweatshirt, titled “The California Kid” on the front, with simply, “Drew”, written on the back. Papa is the ultimate beauty and I try to model my life after his.
I believe the little things in life are what compound overtime to add up and make this life really meaningful. We have no idea how a simple smile or “hello” to an individual can impact their day, and I’ve found over the last few years that these little things are what motivates me to keep grinding. I’ve been fortunate to have an amazing family supporting me through my journey with cancer, along with my old hockey buddies, and incredible Grizzly Family (coworkers and school community in San Marcos). Without these people, there’s no chance I would have survived this long with my disease. And in the end, I want the same thing as what I believe we all strive for in this life- Happiness. With that, I’m proud to say that despite my current circumstances, I have achieved this state of mind. Naturally, we all have good days and bad, but I believe with eternal optimism, combined with my unique family, friends, coworkers, and students, I can say with confidence that I am genuinely happy. I hope this media provides a little bit of happiness to your life.
I look forward to sharing more about my cannabis cultivating and overall life experience.
Please email me with any specific questions or comments, and thank you for being a positive influence in my life.
Sending love and good vibes,
The California Kid, Drew.