I’ve come late to this blogging thing–after we’ve got maybe 30 countries under our feet. I’ll start from here, Spring 2014, and maybe add reviews of earlier trips later.
I originally set up this blog for family and close friends who of course know us. Because there are now readers from all over, I should probably add some more info about us.
Roger is 70. He has hiked all his life and takes his fitness for granted. I am 67. I sometimes need to pinch myself to believe that I can do the things I do now. I have had several opportunities to become an invalid, but I didn’t like the lifestyle. Instead, I am getting younger every year.
I tell my story here with one purpose. So often when people hear of our travels, they say, “I wish I could do that, but…” I want to shake them and say, “If you really seriously want to, it may be more possible than you think.”
I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus 40 years ago when I was 27. I was given steroids and told I had six months to two years to live. I had been trying to find a diagnosis for my symptoms for nearly 10 years. Severe muscle pain and fatigue, joint pain, chest pain. I had nightmares in which my legs wouldn’t work. I feared a wheelchair.
Then I met Roger. He lied from the beginning: “We are almost there.” “It’s just a little farther.” I believed him, and with every step I became stronger. He has been the wind beneath my wings.
In 1995, Roger helped me climb my first mountain while I was on chemotherapy for triple-negative breast cancer. There was no trail, so repeatedly he would find me a comfortable spot, scout a route, come back and help me to my next comfortable spot, then scout again.
Roger has the natural agility that comes with a lifetime of habit. I do not. On uneven ground, especially if it is loose, I need to think about where the next foot goes. Sometimes at a high step I still have to convince myself that my legs really can do it.
Until about 2 years ago, I could not balance on rocks, which made stream crossings and boulder hopping particularly tedious. Now it seems my leg muscles have strengthened so that I can balance more easily.
My knees were always weak and often hurt. Doctors said they were being destroyed by arthritis and would soon need to be replaced. Now that the muscles around them are strong, they almost never trouble me and I expect them to last me out.
I am still not fond of going steeply downhill because of the downward momentum, especially if I could slip. Sometimes I use Roger’s shoulder. As I am getting younger every year, maybe next year or the next I will overcome that obstacle, too.