Friday, September 28, 2012

Nepal 2012 Hogus Arrives in Saskatoon

Today Hogus completed his long airplane flight from London, England to Saskatoon, Canada. This was just the first of many long airplane flights that Hogus will make.




Paul met Hogus at the airport and they soon stopped to take the first of many pictures of this amazing Hogus journey








Hogus' face told his story...

Zonked with fatique by the long flight  ||  Shy at meeting his new friend Paul  ||  Happy his journey was actually happening
 






Then Hogus met Tyla, WebMaster for LivingBiggerWithColostomy. Hogus and Tyla quickly became good friends. They thoroughly admired Hogus' wardrobe and gear, looked at the website, then sat for a
photo-session. 




Over the next few days Hogus, Tyla, and Paul will have to work together on the Preparations for the Nepal2012 journey.
 
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Friday, September 21, 2012

Nepal 2012 Conditioning

In less than 3 weeks we will be in Nepal for the start of our 36-day trekk.  We will climb MILES of elevation and I need more power and endurance in my legs. 
It's a challenge for any of us to change our lifestyle, change our exercise level, and to significantly change our bodies. There are always many reasons to not make a change.

Hogus has not yet arrived (still enroute from England).  He will have to join me in this conditioning program when he arrives.




First challenge is to Discredit the Excuses.  Certainly it's harder to build strength and endurance at age 62 than it is for people half that age. I accept that I have to work harder and longer than the youth to get conditioned. Age is not a factor, and I will not be the weakest link on the team.
A colostomy may be less convenient than the original design, but my colostomy is my new normal. Three years ago I traded cancer for a colostomy, and it was a good trade. Without the colostomy, I would not be alive. Without the cancer I would still be just dreaming my bucket list, rather than living my bucket list. So I think of my cancer and colostomy as 'all good'. Colostomy is not a factor
A new and strenuous exercise program hurts as the body is forced to adjust to the changes. Yes it hurts, but the pain passes and is soon replaced by the encouraging progress of growing stronger.

Second challenge is to know what has to be done.
I know I need more power and stamina in my legs and a stronger core. I need to be able to climb thousands of feet in a day. I know the terrain is rugged and I need balance. I know I need increased lung capacity to function at 50% oxygen, which will fatigue my body and dull my brain.


So here is my weekly program:






Hockey - 2 games. Hockey is fun and it's the easiest way to get strength, balance and aerobic exercise. Hard skating is aerobic, helping to increase lung capacity and the ability to absorb oxygen. The battles in the corners and the scrums in front of the net build lateral strength in the knees. 





Stairs - more than 150 flights of stairs. This is a grinding, disciplined workout.  Up and down the same flight again and again. But it builds power in the legs and closely simulates much of the climbing required in Nepal. I do these stairs with a 60 pound (26kg) pack.
Hikes - 4 days a week, I hike for 2-3 hours doing hills, stairs, and flat-land.  I do this with a 60 pound (26kg) pack. This helps build the endurance needed to hike all day long in Nepal. It also toughens up the feet so I should not get blisters in Nepal.  Last year I saw a trekker agonize with blisters - a dozen blisters on each foot, feet taped to try to protect the skin, but walking was excruciating. For weeks she couldn't wear her hiking boots, so she borrowed camp-shoes from other trekkers - wearing different shoes every day to relieve pressure points from the prior day.  It was a very painful situation for her and one that I certainly want to avoid.

Gym - 4 days a week I workout at a gym. I work hard on my abs, and yes it's very difficult to build 6-pack abs when they have a 1-1/4 inch void. I do a lot of leg presses and calf-lifts. I always 'push to failure' - that means pushing the legs until the muscles scream, the brain turns black, and the total body sensation is exclusively that muscle. The brain demands more, the muscles retaliate and refuse to do more. After that mind-body stalemate the muscles relax and the brain clears, then the cycle begins again. Pushing to failure actually damages the muscles, which then repair themselves stronger than they were before. Progress hurts but is amazingly rewarding.
 
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Friday, September 14, 2012

Nepal 2012 Hogus to Join Paul




Hogus is from a family of dozens of Gastronaut puppets. These puppets were created to help children understand and become comfortable with ostomies. Nurses use the Gastronauts to explain to children about their own ostomies, or about their parent's or grandparent's ostomies. Over 4000 child ostomates around the world have received their own Gastronaut, to help them recover from surgery and to adjust to their new ostomy and lifestyle. Other Gastronauts, like Hogus, do adventure travel with an adult ostomate, and share what they learn with child ostomates around the world ... showing ostomates that they are not alone, and that they can live ordinary lives - even extraordinary lives.
More about Gastronauts by TheBowelMovement
and their UK Distributor StomaWise,
who generously collaborated to create Hogus.
 

Today Hogus, the Gastronaut adventurer, set out from England to join Paul Riome, fellow Ostomate in Canada, prior to the start of their 36 day adventure journey in Nepal. The big adventure officially starts on World Ostomy Awareness day which is the 8th of October 2012.


Hogus and Paul will fly from Saskatoon Canada to Seoul Korea and then another flight to Kathmandu Nepal, and from there it’s a very small aircraft deep into the mountains to Tumlingtar Nepal, where they will be greeted by the gentle, local people who are genuinely appreciative of their presence and support in this rarely touristed region.
The first ten days of the adventure is "the road less travelled" and takes them back into the home villages of their local guides and porters (whom Paul consider friends from his Nepal 2011 journey).

This route makes the journey longer, but they anticipate experiencing the cultural richness of Nepal that few others take the time to explore. This Salpa Pass trail was an ancient trade route, used predominately by local people to transport agricultural products to Namche and on to Tibet. The trail meanders through terraced farmlands, waterfalls, and mystical forests of pink rhododendrons.
After a day of acclimatization (to high altitude and low oxygen content) in Namche, they will trekk to the remote, pristine lakes of Gokyo, where they will explore one of the most beautiful and untouched regions of Nepal, then make the arduous climb of Gokyo Ri (5337m / 17,575ft) and the infamous and remote Cho La Pass (5370m / 17,778ft). Here the climbers and trekkers will part company. The climbers (including Hogus and Paul) descend the long journey to Loboche to prepare for the tough climb along moraine and boulders to summit Kala Patthar (5550m / 18,221ft).

Hogus and Paul will further challenge themselves by attempting the approach and summit of Island Peak (Imja Tse). The plan is to overnight at Island Peak BaseCamp (5087m / 16,689ft), then attempt to summit Island Peak (6189m / 20,305ft) and return safely to BaseCamp to sleep and to rest their exhausted bodies.

After 2 very long days on the mountain trails, Hogus and Paul will re-join their trekking companions in Lukla, then fly back to Kathmandu.



Hogus and Paul will spend the last 3 days of their journey at Chitwan National Park (a Unesco World Heritage Site) on a jungle safari. Riding a working elephant into the jungle, and hoping to see some of the protected or endangered species including Bengal tiger, Asiatic one-horned rhinoceros, wild elephant, striped hyena, barking deer, leopard, rhesus monkey, jungle cat, golden monitor lizard and python.

You will be able to follow the adventures of Paul and Hogus with maps, pictures, and stories which will be sent back by the boys wherever technically possible, and available at  this site LivingBiggerWithColostomy



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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Nepal 2012 444 Toothbrushes

Many Nepalese families share a single toothbrush. A toothbrush to every school child would have an impact (even if it's just for one village). So we chose the village of Gudel in Nepal, home of our guide Ganesh Kulung and most of our assistant guides and porters. With the generous donation of 300 toothbrushes by Sunstar we will deliver a toothbrush to every school child in Gudel.




A toothbrush seems like a small item to many of us, but to have your very own toothbrush will seem like a personal luxury to these school children. I will post again, with pictures and reactions from the children after we visit the school in Gudel.

Dr Perry Kurz added another 144 toothbrushes that we will give to children along our route.




Many trekkers take small gifts for children in Nepal. There are practical and sensitivity challenges to this.
On the practical side, we have to carry everything on our backs, so gifts must be small and lightweight. And gifts need to be reasonably inexpensive as there are many children who would appreciate gifts - last year I took 100 hair-bands but soon wished I had taken 300.


We also need to be sensitive to the differences in our cultures, and to not overlay their culture with ours. Pens, pencils and school supplies are good. Toy cars and trucks seem like a good idea, but children in the countryside may have never seen a road or a truck so can't relate to the toy. Action figures of hockey players seemed like a classic Canadian gift, but of course these children don't know about ice, large flat surfaces, or the game of hockey ... and they didn't relate well to these toys. A rubber ball was great entertainment for the Nepalese children, but caused us some concerns - of course there are no sidewalks or paved streets to play on, so the ball bounced erratically from rock-to-rock down the mountainside, following by enthusiastic and laughing children ... no-one was hurt, while we were there. Gifts should be useful and healthy. Most trekkers avoid giving money, thinking it could encourage begging.

So this year we chose toothbrushes. 444 toothbrushes.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Nepal 2012 The Plan

I will join 9 trekkers on "The Road Less Traveled" for a 36 day adventure journey in Nepal.
"Do not imagine that the journey is short.  One must have the heart of a lion to follow this unusual road, for it is very long.  One plods along in a state of amazement, sometimes smiling, sometimes grimacing”     Farid Attar
  
 I fly from Saskatoon Canada
-to- Seoul Korea
-to- Kathmandu Nepal

then take a very small aircraft deep into the mountains to Tumlingtar Nepal. We will be greeted by gentle, local people who are genuinely appreciative of our presence and support of this rarely touristed region.



 


The first ten days of this journey is “the road less traveled” and takes us back into the home villages of our local guides and porters (whom we consider friends from our Nepal2011 journey).  

 

This route makes the journey longer, but we anticipate experiencing the cultural richness of Nepal that few others take the time to explore. This Salpa Pass trail was an ancient trade route, used predominately by local people to transport agricultural products to Namche and on to Tibet. The trail meanders through terraced farmlands, waterfalls, and mystical forests of pink rhododendrons.




After a day of acclimatization (to high altitude and low oxygen content) in Namche, we continue on the road less traveled to the remote, pristine lakes of Gokyo and the Renjo Pass (5417m / 17,772ft), where we explore one of the most beautiful and untouched regions of Nepal, then make the arduous climb of Gokyo Ri (5337m / 17,575ft) and the infamous and remote Cho La Pass (5370m / 17,778ft).  Here we leave our trekking group, and the 3 climbers descend the long journey to Loboche to prepare for the tough climb along moraine and boulders to summit Kala Patthar (5550m / 18,221ft), then to Everest Base Camp (5364m / 17,598ft).
  

We (the 3 climbers) will further challenge ourselves by attempting the approach and summit of Imja Tse (Island Peak).  Our plan is to overnight at Imja Tse BaseCamp (5087m / 16,689ft), then climb and sleep overnight on the mountain at HighCamp (5700m / 18,700m).  Next day we will attempt to summit Imja Tse (6189m / 20,305ft) and return safely to BaseCamp to sleep and to rest our exhaused bodies.


After 2 very long trekking days, we will re-join our trekking companions in Lukla, then fly back to Kathmandu. 

We will spend the last 3 days of our journey at Chitwan National Park (a Unesco World Heritage Site) on a jungle safari.  Riding a working elephant into the jungle, we hope to see some of the protected or endangered species including Bengal tiger, Asiatic one-horned rhinoceros, wild elephant, striped hyena, barking deer, leopard, rhesus monkey, jungle cat, golden monitor lizard and python.

The flights back to home and family are Kathmandu Nepal -to- Seoul Korea -to- Saskatoon Canada.


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