Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Victory Over Radical Bunion Surgery—the Final Chapter

About a month after my radical bunion surgery on 20 Nov 2009 my foot was still painful and very swollen, and losing the crutches was in the distant future.  Yet I made a goal then to hike demanding Dog Mountain at the end of May, something we do most years during wildflower season.  It was an aggressive target yet I knew that having a reward to work towards would do wonders for the rate of my recovery.  At the same time my friend Carolyn and I began making plans to climb mighty Mt. St. Helens the end of August.  That was one trek I was aware might be too far a reach.

9 weeks after surgery I drove a car for the first time and a couple of weeks later put the crutches away.  And I quit using the wheelchairs at the grocery store.  Limping was part of my life for three or four more months and that gradually diminished.  I kept up some of the PT exercises and foot massage until mid-summer, and in May and June went to acupuncture to speed healing.  Even now the ball of my foot is still puffy and the second toe is still stiff.  It may always be that way.

On 4 June I achieved my first goal of climbing Dog Mountain!  Read about that here.

And la-di-dah, on 2 Sep I slaved my way up Mt. St. Helens as if I had not had bunion surgery 9 months earlier!!   That climb is tough for me even in the best circumstances and it was an even greater victory because of the hard months of work and care it represented! 

reaching the summit of Mt. St. Helens


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Separated at Birth?

I was recently asked to be a den leader to a group of Cub Scouts.  Anna, the co-den leader who was a new acquaintance, came over to my house to deliver some information.  She saw the antique family photos on our wall and was curious about them so I explained briefly who they were and where they were from.  When I got to Craig’s Texas clan and said some were Sellers, she said she had Sellers in her background too.  Hers were from the Waco area.  So are Craig’s.  She detailed her ancestry: she is descended from Emmeline Sellers who had brothers Marvel and Orrin, and a sister Bell Zora.  Yikes, my eyes popped out of my head.  Could there be 2 different Sellers families from central Texas with those peculiar names?  Not on your life!  Anna and my husband are fourth cousins!

Take a look.  Can you see the resemblance?

Friday, September 3, 2010

My Final MSH Climb

 We did it again, another Mt. St. Helens climb!  For me it was the usual tough exhausting ascent.   About 5 miles one-way,  it starts with a two mile upward hike through an enchanting forest.  After a short walk through an ash plain covered with stunted evergreens, the next couple of miles is an energy-sapping climb through a field of enormous boulders.  Last section is a long steep haul up the ash cone to the summit.   From Climber's Bivouac where we stayed the night before the climb, the ascent is something like 4500 feet.

The weather yesterday was clear and sunny, but not warm, and oh joy, the wind was whipping around us, sapping my will to go on.   Transitioning from the boulders to the cone I was blown to my knees several times but once I employed my trekking poles, no more falls.  But to make it up the cone I had to count 100 steps, then rest, 100 steps, rest.  Thanks to rain the day before the cone was easier to navigate than on previous climbs.

At the top we had a little birthday party for my friend Carolyn, complete w/ a candle in a muffin.  We couldn't keep the candle lit due to the gusts.  In fact, a milestone birthday was the reason for us climbing MSH again.  We both turned 55 in the past year, and we just wanted to see if we could still make the ascent--sort of a measuring stick of our energy and ability.  And we're still with it!

But yesterday's climb was the last one for me.   If I could make the ascent, then be plucked off the rim by a helicopter, that would be dandy.  The descent through the boulders is absolutely torturous and demoralizing.  Don't want to do that again.

So here is the summation of my experience on MSH
1995--climbed halfway with a group of Westview High students; turned back due to horrid weather
1998--camped overnight at Climber's Bivouac, then made the ascent w/ a group of 12 (Shirley, Daurie, Marsha, Larry, Katy, Tim, Craig, Blair, Bridget, Carolyn, Bob, me), 5.5. hours up
2006--camped overnight at CB, ascended with 12: Craig, Dave, Paul, Steven, Greg, Keegan, Katy, Tim, Carolyn, Bob, Robert, me.  5 hours up
2010--camped at CB, ascended w/ ??: Katy, Tim, Bridget, Jeremy, Emily, Craig, Carolyn, Bob, Matt, Betsy & Steve, Kevin, me; and some strangers who bought our extra permits; 5 1/4 hours up

Craig's post today with lots of photographs:
http://acraigwalker.blogspot.com/2010/09/mt-st-helens-climb.html
My previous post on MSH:

http://topomountain.blogspot.com/2009_11_17_archive.html
Bridget's post:
http://miriampalmer.blogspot.com/2010/09/mt-st-helens.html