Is 2015 Up in the Air?

It’s Not the Best News

Wow.  I haven’t written a post in some time because I’ve been waiting for the words to come. So, the wow isn’t for the fact that I got this update together. The wow is for the news we had this week from Adam’s doctor. He had an MRI on his hip and just got the results. It is mixed news, with a trend to the bad. He likely will need a new hip much earlier than most people who have hip replacements. It’s either a new hip or a surgery that sounds excruciatingly painful. (Something about breaking and setting the pelvis in a different position; recovery for a year or so. Another wow.)

The issue is bone on bone. The ball grinds into the socket with every step. This has created a bone spur and other issues. I know it is painful. I just never imagined that this would be the news. At best, I thought we’d be told, “It’s inflammation and a steroid shot will fix it.” Not in this case. It’s a bit overwhelming.

We’re Still Clear to Go

And yet, none of the doctors and therapists have said that he can’t do the AT. From their angle, it’s less about the wear and tear on the joint (because he’ll need a new or reset one anyway) than it is about his pain threshold. I don’t like thinking about pain thresholds. The AT comes with enough of these on its own. How do you add an extra threshold on top of these? Adam likes to run and play basketball. The most recent doc says that these activities are out and that he needs to head toward more low-impact sports like walking, bike riding and hiking. I don’t think the doctor has placed AT thru-hiking in this low-impact category.

We aren’t sure where this leaves our goal of a thru-hike. We haven’t processed it all. I am still leaving my job, because we are still going to take a break because we may not have many opportunities in our life together to just go and do. We still are going to do something epic–at least epic for us.

Alternate Plans

This won’t sit well with Adam, but we may have to alter our idea of what the next year holds for us. We may have to alter our expectations of what can be accomplished. I’ve thought a lot about this, so here are my ideas. Maybe we hike the whole damn AT. Maybe we tackle a part in each state. Maybe we hike 100 miles here and there. My thought, as I write this, is that if the full AT is out we spend next year hiking sections of the AT, PCT, John Muir Trail, Colorado Trail and whatever other long-distance trail we can think of. This alternate plan isn’t our ideal. It isn’t what we had set our minds to. But, it won’t be the worst way to spend next year, either.

What I think will sit well with him is that we start the AT no matter what. It’s trite to say, but if you don’t start, you can’t finish. So we start in March as planned. He has explained the AT to his doctors and they think that when most people take a zero, he may need a double zero. When most people hike 20-mile days, he may do 12 or 15. Due to this, we may start March 1 instead of March 15 to give us some extra time. (See, we’re still thinking about finishing.)

What I am left wondering is, “Why is this happening now?” We are committed to this. I have signed on. We are making plans to have a friend live in our home. We are packing up parts of the house and taking care of other items that we need for this trek.  What are we supposed to take from this news? There’s a lot still up in the air around here, but I guess we’ll figure it out and make it happen–whatever it is that is to happen.

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