Welcome to my journey with Neurofibromatosis type 2, known as NF2, a genetic mutation which causes numerous tumors to grow within my brain and spine. Since 2004, I have undergone radiosurgery and 3 brain surgeries for 7 brain tumors. Life with NF2 is definitely a test of faith and a challenge to keep positive. Join me on my harrowing adventure to keep active and live life to the fullest!
Well hello! I may have been absent for awhile but that doesn't mean things have been going poorly. Just the opposite. I am stronger than ever.
The photo above is from my 2011 hike finale with Merrie and Pedro one week after I completed the marathon. It was my biggest hike of the year with almost 3800 feet of elevation gain. That is a little prelude to what I have been doing, where I've been, and where I am going.
Although mid-October was the close of hike season, in NO WAY did climbing stop. As a chapter closed, a new chapter re-opened. Can that happen?
Well anyway, last fall near the end of October and early December, I picked up 2 more tower climbing events bringing my tower climb events up to 3 from once yearly. So when the marathon training came to an end, I got right back to training but of a different nature - focusing on speed for fast ascents of 50+ floors in under12 or 12 minutes. Then, there was a brief pause for the holidays and snowshoe season in the mountains started in the new year. Very happily I got in 10 snowshoe outings this year!
Before that came to a close, it was time to start (or shall I say continue to maintain) my training for tower racing as our Grand Daddy climb of 69 floors was in March.
No sooner did I wrap up the climb, it was almost time for hiking season to start! In reality I could have started anytime in the cooler wet weather on closer and smaller mountains. But I really wanted to get the most out of the snowshoeing season which was what I was doing the last few weekends of March.
The first week of April we kicked off the start of hiking season with my group of cancer survivor friends. Since, I have been a hiking FIEND! Pretty much I have averaged almost 3 hikes a week consistently. I am unsure really what the exact number of hikes I have done over the last 3 months. I kind of cooled it this week by not hiking on Sunday and instead opting to dive for crab.
So amazingly I am stronger than ever! Of course I still have imbalance but my strength is better than it has ever been. If I did not have to contend as balance and vision challenged, I would be climbing mountains for sure!!!! Yet, with my obstacles to overcome, I have been making monumental strides! I am up to doing training hikes carrying a stunning 33 lb pack! I cannot fit anything else into it and need to upgrade to a bigger size!
What a sweet miracle! I am so overwhelmed with gratitude every time I am in the woods. I am now doing many hikes on my own and taking the dogs out on several adventures they have not been on before or that we missed out on for several years. It is joyous indeed.
Although I do still run short distances 1-3 times a week for maintenance, I opted not to run any marathons this year as it was too taxing to keep up with hiking which is what I really love. With my strength the absolute best it has been in 8 years, I wanted to put my full focus into my hiking potential.
As such, I have decided to finally go for camp Muir on Rainier which has been been my desire for YEARS. Yet before the NF2 tumor growth melt down in 2004, I never took the chance to seriously go for it. Now that I finally have the opportunity to give it a real shot, I am not going to let it pass me by!
So in August, Harley and I are planning for a push to the 10,080 foot climber's camp on Rainier! Of course I am not going to climb without a cause! This will be my "Hiking to Muir to bring cheer" event of our foundation's "Never Give Up!" campaign. I will elaborate with the next couple days.
So I am back! And I plan to document my training for the biggest hike of my life! Although I went to Kilimanjaro, our daily hikes were of a lesser elevation gain than we will be pushing for in one day to reach the camp.
Keep checking in! :) Have a happy 4th and stay safe! :)