3 days till take off! Everest Here I come!
Reach out and open the door that no one thought could be opened. Life is behind it.
-Kelly Ann Rothaus
Ok so the last 60 days came and went and now I fly on Thursday night...crazy!! Am I ready...umm...I have A LOT to get done and still waiting on gear :) The ‘To Do’ List is growing exponentially!! I DO know when I get on that plane...it will be ALL GOOD! Prepping to leave for two whole months is no joke!
How do I feel you may ask? Well, I am still in denial mode, as that is my coping method...lol. I am excited, nervous, hopeful, grateful, CAN’T WAIT!! I always look forward to just spend time focusing on surviving and that is it. Some crazy things have happened in the past 60 days, like traveling to over 7 different states, doing a 180 hydroplane across the I-5 fwy in Oregon, having my car reverse down a San Francisco hill while I was in it and crashing slightly into a wall (long story but I ran out of gas going up a big hill on my way to give a talk and that was the outcome...luckily the car and I were ok and I still made it on-time to speak!)
Yet, I have also been able to focus on quality not quantity these last 60 days and really enjoying my time with loved ones, beautiful parts of the city, and doing things I enjoy-Living! I am now a little stressed though with trying to wrap up details at work, keeping the training up, fundraising, raising awareness, ordering last minute gear, trying to sublet my place, setting up bill payments, scrambling on funds to finalize payments for things, oh ya still need to do my taxes, umm shall I go on? Getting my down suit was an exciting moment...and even better yet... IT FIT!! :) Sleep...what sleep? Actually I have been craving more sleep lately cuz I am TIRED...but 5 hours is about the average per night. Once I am up, I am up, because my mind starts racing as to all the things I have to get done. I have made it a point to spend time with my friends and made a visit to say family farewells, as I will miss everyone for 2 months and I wanted to make sure I saw all of my loved ones before I headed out!!
It seems a bit unbelievable that the endless days of doing the Lyon steps with my backpack are coming to an end :)I will no longer be the freak on the stairs...lol....well, at least until the next climb. My body is doing funny things, like developing muscles I never knew I could have, my left eye seems to twitch to its own drum, I want to eat everything, and if my calves get any bigger...well that would just be weird...lol. Training the last few months has consisted of doing the Lyon Stairs with my pack anywhere from 40-55lbs for 1.5 hrs or so a few times a week, running 5-6 miles a few times a week, yoga at least once a week, hiking in between when possible, or gym time on the stair mill or elliptical. I am feeling strong physically and am ready to acclimate and get some time to get ready for the big push on the mountain. Mentally, I have gone in denial mode and down played this monster climb in my head. It will be about one step at a time and one day at a time...plain and simple. I have always said climbing is 80% mental and 20% physical....which was confirmed by this quote on Peak Freaks’ website, “On Everest, when your body is no longer working for you like it used to, it is your mind that will get you there and back down again safely.” Sooo true and I couldn’t agree more.
Other physical prep has included many doctor visits! The dentist visit was a fun 3 hr visit to make sure there were no possible issues before I leave. Luckily it was pretty painless, just replaced a couple cracked fillings. Oral care is extremely important on the mountain and an oral infection could be your ticket home on a climb, so this was a must do in every way! Next, there are times I wish I were a guy...well as a woman climber there are other health issues you have to consider. Mainly for me I suffer from endometriosis, so I have to make sure I do not get a menstrual cycle for the entire time I am on the mountain, otherwise this could be my ticket home as severe cramping and bleeding are key symptoms of endometriosis and at that altitude and with the physical requirements involved, it could just be too much to bear up there. Thus, I have become my doctor’s guinea pig in terms of finding the right combo of hormones to stop my cycle for two months. We finally found a solution and if that fails, she has given me these awesome new trial pills that stop bleeding of any kind. I just have to be careful as hormones in birth control pills-which are part of the medication prescribed, can lead to blood clots, which would be very bad at high altitude, especially since good circulation is key in order to prevent frostbite. So needless to say I love my doctor and she has been awesome the last 6 months in helping my body get ready for this endeavour. Sorry boys if this is TMI...but it’s true and been a big challenge and concern the last 6 months. Next, was getting all the meds I would need up there like diamox, antibiotics, digestive meds, pain relievers, etc. You don’t want to get sick up there or catch a stomach bug and have zero meds...again that could be your ticket home, so you have to be prepared for the worst.
Fundraising and awareness have been full on! I have had two speaking engagements with a third on t he way! I was fortunate enough to speak to a group of young women at my Alma Mater, Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles. What a rewarding experience!! My friend then hosted an intimate awareness event at her home. We had a little LA Reunion/Fundraiser on March 11th, followed by an awesome Fundraiser in San Francisco on March 18th at the Ambassador. We had a great turnout in San Francisco and collected over $700 at the door and still waiting for our bar tab donation totals :) I look forward to hosting more fundraisers upon my return! Tomorrow night Margaret Aguirre from International Medical Corps and I will be speaking after the showing of Ruined at Berkeley. As for awareness, be on the lookout for us on Women’s Health’s Website, on Ning,on the radio show Project Empowerment and more to come! Also, our website will have a new look by the end of the week, so stay tuned!! We are still looking for more corporate partners to join us on this cause and major donors. All donations are tax deductible and benefit International Medical Corps and VDAY’s programs in DRC. None of the proceeds go to my climbing costs.
Well, I need to go to bed, so more to come by the end of the week. I will be posting web and contact info later this week. We will have weekly eBlasts from the mountain, so if you would like to be on the distribution list, please email me!
Can’t wait to share this incredible journey with you all as much as possible each step of the way!
Special Thanks to:
McKinney Rogers (http://www.mckinneyrogers.com/)- Global Business Consultancy where I work for their endless support and half sponsorship of the climb and paid leave of absence! I could not be more grateful and blessed to work for such an amazing and extraordinary organization.
Our donors and supporters- you are all amazing and thank you for helping us make a difference for women and children of Democratic Republic of Congo.
International Medical Corps and VDAY- thank you for your amazing work and all of your support with my endeavour.
Trisha Haakonstad- you are my bff and you stepped in to help me when I needed it most. Love you and I am so grateful and proud to call you my friend. Thank you!
Chris Donohue- You to are my forever friend regardless of many situations and stepped in to help me when I needed it most. Thank you!
Pam Pappas- my friend and tent mate. Thank you for your friendship and support these last few years and I look forward to sharing this adventure of a lifetime with you.
To all of my friends and family- for your loving support and encouragement!
To the women of DRC- you are all an inspiration with your stories of survival and strength and this climb is for you!! My life would not be the same without you.
If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to the cause and support International Medical Corps and VDAY