Catching Up with Paul, Eight Years Post-Transplant
Paul Underhill first had the idea to create Rumble ten years ago, when he realized the natural (and tasty) kitchen shakes he made for himself to supplement his diet could help others. Since then, he’s balanced building a business with cycling, kiteboarding, onewheeling, silent retreating, and road-tripping across the United States in his VW van (twice!). We managed to catch-up with him for a few minutes to hear how life’s changed and what he loves most about the new Rumble.
Q: You initially created Rumble to provide natural, balanced nutrition to help your body cope with the demands of Cystic Fibrosis. It’s been eight years since your double-lung transplant - what role does Rumble play in your life now?A: Rumble continues to play a very similar role in my life as it did before. While it’s true that prior to transplant, it was essential for me to eat nutrient-dense foods and keep “nutritional stress” to an absolute minimum, this is also true post-transplant.
It’s also really important to maintain an anti-inflammatory diet before and after transplant. Post-transplant, I have to be very careful to avoid inflammation, as this can contribute to the immune system being over-stimulated, which can cause rejection. Rumble is my main source of anti-inflammatory, organic flaxseed oil (which provides critical omega 3 fatty acids).
I drink at least a Rumble a day, and I noticed I had more health challenges when we were out of stock (in transition to the new Rumble).
Q: What do you love most about the new Rumble?
A: If I am really honest, it’s the taste! We all worked very hard to improve the taste while simultaneously making it even better nutritionally. It took us longer than anticipated, but I am seriously addicted!
Q:You completed the 140km Tour de Victoria one year after your operation, and went on to finish the 1200km, Rumble-sponsored Gear Up for CF ride from Vancouver to Banff - are you still cycling?
A: I did so much riding as part of my recovery. Participating in the Gear Up for CF ride also helped me give back to the organizations - like CF Canada - whose research and advocacy helped me live long enough to even get a transplant. I might have taken it a bit too far with the amount of riding I did… but I loved every minute of it. These days I still enjoy riding, but not at the same level of intensity.
Where I used to do a lot more road cycling and racing cyclocross, these days my focus is more on casual mountain bike riding with friends, or a Sunday ‘coffee ride’ with my wife. But summer is coming, and I have a feeling I may well be ready to pick it up a notch, and try another Gran Fondo or maybe even the new format 2-day Gear Up for CF.
Q: What are your activities of choice now?
A: This last fall I started with some short trail runs - I’m not very quick but I love the simplicity. Running is more for fitness though, and not always possible depending on what’s happening with my health. What still gets me going is kiteboarding (Now starting my 20th year!) and OneWheeling, which isn't exactly a sport, but gives me my ‘board sport’ fix during the off-season from kiting, and allows me to get around town and have quite a bit fun at the same time. If I need a kick of adrenaline, I take it off road and get creative with some playful lines.
Q: On your tough days, what helps get you through?
A: Going to sound cheesy here for sure, but wIthout a doubt, reflecting on how blessed I am to have my wife, family and friends is my number one strategy. Maybe we all think this way, but I really do think I won the lottery to have the love of these people - it’s a greater resource of peace and healing to me more than anything else.
As well, I think it’s really important to both acknowledge that life can be tough sometimes, and allow feelings to come up and be noticed. For me, it’s important to do this without indulging in narratives about where the feelings come from. I find it also helps to be willing to question my thoughts… kind of like that classic bumper sticker, “don’t believe everything you think”! Daily meditation helps me in that regard.
Finally, I always try to notice the good things, the things that are going well, and the 'hidden' beauty in everything. From this simple ‘noticing’, gratitude can blossom. Granted, like everyone, I have ‘off days’ - I can feel frustrated, anxious or low - this is just a reminder to myself that I am indeed surrounded by beauty and a truly infinite number of wonderful things to notice!
Q: What gets you excited to get out of bed in the morning?
A: This may sound a little odd, but I derive a great sense of purpose by aspiring to be an emissary of joy. There’s enough negativity and cynicism in the world, so if I can bring a bit of positive energy to someone’s day (whether a friend, family member, or whoever’s scanning my groceries), it’s a day well lived. I also really like the idea of inspiring people to live well - to dig deep and find out what’s possible, so I feel compelled to do my best and lead by example.
Q: Any goals for the next year?
A: Goals were huge for me coming out of transplant, and I think quite helpful. Recently I have been taking things more day to day, seeing what’s possible. That said, I want to remain as active as possible and hopefully do the Gear up For CF ride this summer to help raise money and awareness for Cystic Fibrosis.
Q: Anything else you’d like to say?
A: Just that I feel a great debt of gratitude to my donor and his family, along with all the medical staff in BC and Toronto, to whom I truly owe my life for the last 8 years. I literally would not be here without them!
If anyone reading this hasn’t already, I encourage you to consider registering as an organ donor and telling your family of your wishes.
And to all the Rumble fans out there - thanks so much for giving us the opportunity to fuel your life, your adventures, and your health! I hope it’s made a difference for you, too.