Health is Wealth

Two words that I never paired together (cognitively, anyway)…health and wealth.  I guess I always took my active body and lifestyle for granted. I mean, I am strong; I lift; I workout regularly; I am still actively planning a SOBO PCT journey.


Yet, in June, I’ve had some health ‘setbacks.’  Setbacks that force you to get clear.  Setbacks that make you question whether you are healthy (or sane) enough, or not, to leave for 5 months to hike 2,600+ miles.


I’m a mixture of (relatively) healthy, with a blend of sane and insane.


I have been planning this PCT thru-hike for upwards of 3 years.  All was moving along perfectly; the “t” were crossed and “I”s were dotted.  I have my apartment subletted; someone is going to take over my car; money is where it needs to be to cover auto-drafts, etc.  Yet, in the beginning of June, I received a blow.   The results of some genetic testing came back, and I have a rare DNA-mutation that can likely lead to hearing loss, ataxic gait, peripheral neuropathy, dementia – some of which is already on my radar because my mom has been unwell for decades, and now I know, this is exactly what plagues her.


I’ll share, my mom is fully-disabled, physically and mentally.  She has steadily declined over the last couple decades, and unfortunately for her, she never was proactive with testing, or her care.  Her mom, my grandmother, had the exact same thing.


I was different, though.  I love knowing and understanding what’s going on in the body. I love science.  I believe my lifelong motivation for staying so fit was, in part, watching my mom’s decline.


But, to say that hearing the news that I, too, have what she has – it was scary.  I cried, a lot.  The doctor that shared the news – god bless his 3-D heart – when I told him about my hike, he was like, “yes, do it while you can.”


Ummmm, ok.  Yes, I think I will.


I’m not even mad with him.  It’s not his fault his bedside manner is less-than.


But, the news took its toll.


It’s impossible to say for certain that it was only the prognosis, but in the weeks that followed, I feel the stress led me to have chronic diarrhea.  I suppose I love doctors offices so much that I have been in-and-out of urgent care for the past 10 days, unable to hold onto food and losing weight (I call it baggage).  More tests, blood tests, x-rays, and nothing is wrong with me.


That’s the thing: nothing is wrong with me right now.


Therein lies my “WHY.”  Eckhart Tolle talks about being in the present, and I choose that.  I will be 100% ready in a couple weeks, and until then, a lot of TLC.


So, peace out, June.  It’s been very real.  Thanks for getting me to my ideal weight.  Thanks for showing me who my real friends are. Thanks for helping me get clarity.


Next stop: Seattle.

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Comments 12

  • pearwood : Jun 30th

    Wow. Go for it, J9!

    Steve / pearwood

    • Janine : Jun 30th

      Thanks, pearwood! I appreciate your support!

  • Lazyfish : Jul 1st

    I am excited for your journey and I hate to hear about your setback. Stay positive as you have always been, I know you will see it through!

    • Janine : Jul 1st

      Thank you for your optimism and kind words! I look forward to sharing my journey with you all.

  • Kristine Hamel : Jul 1st

    Janine, I just caught up with your posts…sorry to hear about your health issues. If I’ve learned anything it’s that all of us only have today, right now, and I’ve learned to live my life that way. I’m rooting for you!! (In case you have no idea who I am, we met at my nephews wedding in San Diego in May?).

    • Janine : Jul 1st

      Thank you, Kristine! Thanks for following along and the kind wishes! And yes, I remember. How is your niece doing?

  • the_aspiring_mailman : Jul 1st

    Just saw this, ??????

  • Rachelle Dixon : Jul 1st


    Hello, I don’t know if this is a public post or not but I wanted to tell you I have sent you a private message in facebook..


  • Jeanette Ninyo : Jul 2nd

    I LOVE YOU! This is YOUR TIME!

  • Susan Mc : Sep 28th

    Hi Janine, I am new to this platform so not sure if this email goes to you or is just a General comment. I admire your bravery and positive attitude. You ARE Out there on the trail! Are you familiar with the concept that genes can be “turned off”, that just because we have certain genetic factors they don’t have to take some inevitable control over us. I know a doctor in West Los Angeles who might be able to help you. She works with allergy clearance and she “talks to the genes.” She is also a chiropractor. I have worked with her it over 20 years and she can handles the most sensitive cases effectively. Let me know if you want more info!
    Susan Mc in Long Beach, CA


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