Posts Tagged 'MS'

4,3,2,1 ….we have lift off!

Well gang here we go again-the first of what I hope will be many blogs on the road to the top of the world. I am commencing the journey from a Marriott in LA. I arrived this morning and have a ten-hour lay over and since I slept for a mere hour and a half last night I thought this might be a wise place to hang for the day. There is little suffering involved as I plan to order room service repeatedly, shower at least three times, sleep in a bed and just get all those little niceties in before they become fond memories. My count down to lift off really began several weeks ago as I counted out how many nights I had remaining in my own bed -but I am so looking forward with excitement and anticipation that even leaving the luxuries of my everyday world behind is okay by me.

I am ready!

The gummy bears are packed, the kids at the Donald McKay School have all signed “our” flag and made prayer flags for me to hang over my tent at base camp. My wonderful trainer Jeremee made me cry (no not from a punishing workout) but I found saying goodbye to him the hardest of all. Think Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz saying goodbye to the trusted Scarecrow. For the past seven months Jeremee has been the connection to everything that climbing Everest means. As has always been the case for me, it isn’t just about the mountain. Oh no, it is about so very much more.

To all of you who have taken my mission on as if it were your own I want to say thank you. Your constant encouragement, Sheryl joining me on Saturdays for painful long runs when she wasn’t even training for a marathon yet and really would have preferred to play tennis! To Antonella for running 13.9 miles when she was only planning on running 8, okay maybe a 9! And for stopping to do all those ridiculous push-ups, squats and v-ups every few miles in the dirt went way beyond. To Katie for listening to all the craziness fluttering through my brain, no filter there! To all the incredible women at the B+S power hour who kept me going more than they realize, the cake with buttercreme frosting was a pretty ‘sweet’ way to my heart too. You have my word I will be back to workout with you. And to the “Fish Chicks” you continue to lighten my life even though your year has been challenged and difficult’

I could go on and on since the people I have met along the way have made the road to the top of the mountain so much more. As I have always said, this mission belongs to everyone I’m just crazy enough to have to actually do it.

Yup, I’m ready so let’s get ‘er done!!!

Climb on!
Wendy

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What’s Your Mountain? Half Marathon with MS!

Wendy,

I saw you in Fort Lauderdale last October, and after hearing you, I signed up to train for a half marathon with our local National MS Society. We trained and ran/walked the Miami marathon this last Sunday. I never would have thought about training to walk a half marathon, but I had been in the hospital and unable to walk due to a complication with a flare-up a year ago, and I wanted to get stronger, and feel more like my old self.

One of my happiest moments on my journey was near the end of a 9 mile training walk becoming overwhelmed by emotion when I realized I felt tired and achy because of my exertion and effort, and not my MS and MS medications. Keep spreading your message, it’s so good to see someone who feels OK, and is accomplishing amazing physical achievements while having MS.

Rock On!

Jane

What’s your mountain? Education!

I’m a 67 yr old woman diagnosed almost 20 yrs. ago with chronic progressive MS.  I’ve traveled extensively and just completed college!  I was interviewed and on the front page of our local paper.  Quite an accomplishment.  I’m very active and am considering continuing for another degree.

Dianne

What’s your Mountain? Running.

Wendy immediately caught my attention by telling us that she was from Boston (as am I) and was a casual runner (me, too).  My grandmother, whom I lived with until I was 23, had MS. Therefore, I am very aware of the daily challenges of the disease.

All of this got me to thinking, “What is my problem?” In other words, I am healthy. What’s stopping me from doing “more”.  So, I bit the bullet and signed up for the Falmouth Road Race (7 miles) the day I came home from National Conference.

I did run it (in 1:01) this August, and thoughts of Wendy and, of course, my grandmother, got me through it strong.  I consider this just the beginning of big changes, big challenges, and big accomplishments!

Linda B.

What’s your Mountain? Exercising more.

Hi Wendy. I just wanted to say thank you. After hearing you speak on Saturday in South Florida, you motivated me to exercise more.  I am not gonna let my MS defeat me.  No more looking in the rear-view mirror.  If I just add 1 minute a day to my bike riding, its a start.  I did just that.  Both Sunday and Monday, I beat the MS.  When I wake up every day, I plan to listen to what you said, while I ride my bike.  Thank you so much, Wendy.  God Bless you.

Jay R.

What’s your Mountain? MS

Wendy,

I have had the spread from Women’s Running as an inspiration for months. When my mom told me someone with MS was climbing Mt. Everest I jumped on my computer to see who. I was amazed when it was the same person as in my magazine spread. I was diagnosed in 2008 and began walking 5ks shortly after. I want to enjoy my body while it’s working. I am so happy that you are overcoming MS. When I read what you said about summiting Denali I cried. Thank you for inspiring me. I plan to keep pushing myself to try new things. I see women running 5k’s and marathons and think I want to be them and now I know if I try I can be one of them. Please keep up the blog and keep climbing.

Selena

Thanks for sharing your story, Selena.  Run on!

No Summit for Wendy…

After a long and thoughtful decision-making process with Wendy and her guide team, it’s been decided that she cannot attempt the Everest summit again.  There are really two core factors at play: weather and health.

Rather than the usual 2 weeks of clear weather that allows teams a reasonable time frame to ascend to the summit, this year’s window was divided by a nasty storm.  Only very strong climbers can make it from base camp to the summit in a very short window.  Unfortunately between Wendy’s MS symptoms, a bout of the flu, long waits for acclimatization and weather, and fatigue… it was decided that Wendy’s expedition cannot safely continue the climb.  She is completely out of gas!  At the pace the team was moving up the mountain, they simply would not have been able to reach the summit before the next wave of storms closes Everest for the year.  In addition, a physician who examined Wendy on the mountain recommended that she not try again for the summit.  It’s a short window to find success on Everest, and the team just did not have the lucky breaks to get to the top this time.

Their highest point attained was the base of Lhotse Face and they are now down below base camp trekking out to Lukla.  Wendy hopes to be back in Kathmandu by the 25th.

When I spoke with Wendy this morning she was in good spirits.  While she would like to have succeeded, of course, not summiting was always a distinct possibility.  Only 20% of first-timers summit Everest on their first attempt.  This was a particularly difficult year to make it to the top due to the erratic weather patterns and crowding on the South Col (the north face of Everest was closed by China causing most climbers to switch to the South Col).

Wendy is proud of her team, pleased with her performance and is looking forward to coming home and working hard to use the Everest experience to promote her sponsors and advance the MS cause.  In spite of not summiting, the climb truly was successful in that Wendy has proved that people with MS can accomplish amazing things!

I’m expecting Wendy to be back in Boston around May 28th if the trek out goes smoothly.  Please feel free to forward specific questions via comments or email to trish@wendybooker.net.

Thanks, everyone, for watching Wendy’s progress and cheering her on.  She’ll have a personal blog update complete with stories coming soon.

Climb on!

Trish

* A note on Wendy’s ‘MS symptoms’… Above 20-22,000 feet her MS symptoms start flaring up. Numbness, dizziness, vision problems, etc. that she experiences from time to time seem to get worse above a certain altitude. The problem was pronounced on the Everest climb, and I think Wendy will talk to her neurologist about it when she gets home to see if there is some reason for the escalating symptoms that we can address.


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About Wendy Booker

In June of 1998, this 55 year old mother of three was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS after experiencing balance problems, blurred vision and numbness on her left side. When first diagnosed, Wendy was devastated. But it took very little time for her to transform anguish into inspiration. She immediately turned her hobby of casual running into a continuous pursuit and has now completed nine marathons.

Mountain climbing became the next conquest. Wendy learned about a team of mountain climbers with Multiple Sclerosis who were attempting to climb Mt. McKinley (Denali) in Alaska. With no previous climbing experience, she dedicated a year to hard training and set off with them in 2002. Although weather conditions prohibited the team from completing, Wendy attempted the summit again in 2004 on her own and she succeeded!

The feeling of accomplishment she experienced propelled her next aspiration: to climb the highest mountain on each continent. Just five years later, Wendy Booker has successfully reached the top of six of The Seven Summits – Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. McKinley, Mt. Elbrus, Mt. Aconcagua, Mt. Vinson Massif and Mt. Kosciuszko. Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on earth, still awaits for 2010.