Monday, January 31, 2011
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Saturday, January 08, 2011
There has been plenty to talk about, but not the usual material I post, as I’m still recovering from my big irritating surgery six months ago. I imagine the motivation to post will strengthen along with the number of days I get to spend playing outdoors since that’s what I usually write about.
As far as how I’ve been spending all this time; it’s been pretty varied. I guess I have to back up a couple months to catch up and hit the highlights.
November held a good event for me to live vicariously through the outdoor-strong crowd, with a chance to attend the Midwest Mountaineering Outdoor Adventure Expo, which included the Banff Mountain Film Festival, and a clinic put on by Dean Potter. I got a chance to take in countless accounts of outdoor epics, and had a very quick talk with Dean himself.
The same weekend, Alison and I headed down to Texas to visit with family. We have a new niece, Ellie Dakota, and it was great to see everyone. I’m still getting used to the “uncle” thing. We almost didn’t make it down, as the Cities had their first winter weather smack in the face- freezing rain that caused countless accidents. You can see how nice our roads were in St. Paul- this is my name scratched into the glare ice we drove over to get to the airport:
As for surgery updates, and getting in shape again:
I can’t sugar coat it; I’ve been feeling a major low point in my fitness level in this whole process, and it’s hard to deal with. I’m sure that’s had something to do with my silence on this blog. Before surgery, I was climbing pretty strong for a Midwesterner, cycling big miles and solo tours, backpacking strong, and progressing well into being a minimalist shoe runner, tackling my first couple “longer” (for me) trail runs in Yosemite Valley. I feel like I’m so far away from being there again after I chose to have my procedure. Thinking objectively, I knew ahead of time that I’d have a bad year, which I could expect to then see improvement afterward- hopefully progressing beyond my pre-surgery abilities. So I know this is part of it all. But saying that is one thing when decided to have a big surgery. Actually living through that terrible year is something else completely. It’s a lot of time for negativity and doubts to get in your head, while you are feeling weak, but accustomed to being strong. I may change my mind in the future, but I’m not yet very happy with the results of having this surgery. I guess it’s because I haven’t yet had a chance to see whether or not I will see an improvement in heart function. Cosmetically, there has been some improvement from pre-surgery days, but I’m not all that excited about it. At this stage of still-low exercise/fitness, that’s all I’m able to judge. I again have a large depression in my chest. It’s definitely not flat or “normal” looking, whatever normal is. I don’t know if this is because of my chest sinking in a bit again, or if it more an issue of severe muscle atrophy after months of non-use. Seems to me it is a combination, as my doctor has alluded to either case, giving different answers to the same questions over time, which is very frustrating. It would help to feel good about the procedure if I wasn’t so concerned that I will just end up watching my chest regress back to where it started, which does happen to some people. All I can do is wait and see what happens, and try not to let it drive me crazy in the process.
I have been getting out on snowshoes and riding my cycle trainer when I can to try to further limit my loss of fitness and keep myself sane. There have been some good walks as this year has seen record snow here. La Niña is what they’re saying.
Not a ton of snow yet in this shot. Walking Afton State Park, early winter:
Walking Fort Snelling State Park, Christmas morning:
Something that’s helped me in all my healing woes is reading/watching stories of other outdoor folks who’ve overcome after injury, even paralysis. I bought a Nook, from Barnes and Noble recently, and read climber Steph Davis’s book, High Infatuation. In one chapter, she wrote about her friend who became paralyzed below her upper abdominals in a climbing accident, but who just a year and a half later went on to climb El Cap in Yosemite by basically doing four thousand pull ups. Awesome. Perhaps I’m just a colossal whiner for feeling down about my own chest issues. It could be way worse, and people overcome a lot more.
I intend not to fall off my blog for another two months, I appreciate your continued reading. I hope to have good news of getting stronger and feeling better, and I hope to continue spending my time recovering alongside great family.