Saturday, January 30
Tanzanian law requires that you need an official "outfitter" (mountain guides, porters, etc) to get onto the mountain. Not only does it protect we the trekkers, but also, it gives jobs to Tanzanians. The porters carry the tents and cooking supplies (truly, the heaviest stuff). We carry everything we need between camps. Other than the food we carry during the day, the outfitter provides the food at camp. Typically this means high liquid and carbohydrate content meals. They try to offer fresh seasonal foods when possible (mango, banana, watermelon), and we always have our trusty freeze dried meals (just add water) if needed. Water is treated by boiling. I will also carry iodine and chlorine tablets... just in case. (a case of traveler's diarrhea could be expedition-ending).
In altitude, it is recommended that we drink 4-5 Liters of water per day, and eat lots of food for energy. However, a common symptom of altitude sickness is loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. ...and if you don't eat and drink, the altitude sickness gets worse, etc, etc...
Sadly, stimulants are not recommended at high altitude. So currently, I am in caffeine withdraw (better to deal with fatigue and headaches now than on the mountain). My beloved colleagues at work don't hesitate to tease and temp me with their aromatic mugs of caffeinated paradise... Yup, they're real special.
Friday, January 29
Today celebrated the adventure...just see the picture above (Kilimanjaro a la cupcake).
Today, we raised over $3000 for Path to a Cure, which translates to 6K with the match. Woo-hoo!
Many hospital staff generously created extravagant gift baskets and donated them to our Path To a Cure Gift Basket Raffle. People volunteered to staff the Raffle table, selling tickets all week. The Support Group drew the winners today. I am humbled by the benevolence and enthusiasum of my friends and colleagues.
Here's a crazy group of loony-tunes
The Support Group had many questions about the climb. I also got a few critical suggestions that I plan to use on the mountain. One gentleman's wife with PH recently passed. He is donating her miniature (lightweight) pulse ox to our cause--so that at the summit we can document the severity of our oxygen desaturation (we anticipate our O2 sats to be in the low 80s, and heart rates to be 120-140). There was enough generosity and inspiration in that room to move a mountain... or at least, to climb one.
My 2 year-old son and his friends at daycare made these adorable African safari artwork for the Unity Walk! (the lion's mane are paper cutouts of all their little hands!)
Tuesday, January 26
Wednesday, January 20
This video clip is a trailer for a documentary called Kilimanjaro: The Roof of Africa. It is very short, but gives you just a glimpse of some of the extraordinary sights, wilderness isolation, and varying terrains that we will encounter on the mountain.
"While seeking the freedom of the hills, we come face to face with ourselves." (Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills)
Tuesday, January 19
Monday, January 18
Saturday, January 16
Thursday, January 14
Wednesday, January 13
As I train for this climb, more so than my last, I continue to recognize how little the general public knows about this deadly disease. This one fact continues to fuel my enthusiasm to make this endevour a success. I truly appreciate all of those who have contributed thus far to our efforts. I hope that many more of our collegues and friends, as well as all those who stumble accross this site, will open up their hearts and wallets to help us combat this disease.
Many people ask me why I climb. My answer is simply, because I can. I know I can push my body and it will respond. This is not a luxury our patients have, so I am determined to climb for them. As we ascend this incredible mountain we will bring with us the determination, fortitude and plight of the thousands of patients with PH with us. We will make sure their call is heard.
Sunday, January 10
made a Kilimanjaro Facebook acct to keep everyone participating in the events up-to-date.
Dr. Benza and I were even interviewed by a few local newspapers. Here's one article: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_661214.html
I am humbled by the outpouring of excitement and support. It is both staggering and inspiring--to see so many people reach out with their precious time and generous effort, to rally around the common cause of Path To A Cure. It makes my eyes leak... I am so fortunate to be witness to the inherent good being exhibited.
Wednesday, January 6
Chestnuts roasting? Yule log? Not I this Christmas. I went to NYC to visit my sister. So after a day of exploring the typical Manhattan tourist sites, I went to Pound Ridge Reservation in NY (with less than 2 months left, I can't miss a single weekend of hiking...even over the holidays).