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Topic: Backpacking for the Disabled< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2012, 11:17 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

A few years ago I began to find walking very difficult and, to make a long story short, I found out that I have a broken back and a degenerative spine disease.

I have always been active.  I have played a bunch of different sports and am a large man with lots of muscle and, after three years of Dr.'s Orders, I got FAT!!!!  The Dr.'s orders were to basically quit doing anything and give up after having my spine laminated!

There was no way I was going to do that and so I saw a Neurosurgeon.  He said there is no reason for surgery because the disease is unstoppable but no nerves were impacted and I could benefit from weightlifting.

I followed the Neurosurgeon's advice and am improving quickly.  I am still disabled, but nothing is keeping me from carrying a pack as heavy as I want and for as long as I want.

For those of us who hike with fitness issues and health issues lets band together and chit chat as well as come up with ideas as to conquer our "limitations."  Maybe we can design a few items that can help others.


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"Break On Through To The Other Side"--Jim Morrison
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2012, 12:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Not really comparable, but I have hiked and backpacked for many years. The last few years, the chemo treatment gives me neuropathy in my feet that is usually just a nuisance, but a long walk on a steep and/or rocky trail can be pretty painful. But the rewards of being afoot in the wilderness far outweigh any temporary discomfort. As my disease progresses, it will be harder and harder to get out there, but as long as I can put one foot in front of the other, I intend to be out there.
I also have a colostomy, but that actually makes life on the trail easier. No more squatting, just kneel and squeeze.
And while my son was autistic-a different kind of disability, to be sure, but he was non-verbal and pretty limited intellectually, he was a faithful hiking buddy.
We enjoyed many a trail day and bag night together. Dang, I miss that boy. Glad his sister still wants to get out there with her dad.


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Now shall I walk or shall I ride?
Ride, said pleasure,
Walk, Joy replied,
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2012, 12:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You have definitely set a great example for individuals living with pain everywhere!!!!

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2012, 12:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

4wheelbob was a stalwart trail hiker and back packer here up until this summer. On his list of accomplishments is a 14K peak as well!

Wheelchair confinement didn't stop him from hustling up many trails of the Sierra and in the San Francisco area.  We had discussed plans of him getting over Kearsarge Pass (with a little help).  High steps, large rocks and narrow trails  were a hazard, nuisance and at times a deal breaker.  If needed, he'd crawl ahead using his arms and drag the chair up to his location and continue on.

He was an avid contributor here as well.  Look him up!

http://forums.backpacker.com/cgi-bin....a0cd859

I've hiked with disabled many times including a crowd of diabetic teens on a 5 day trip.  I backpacked with a woman with a spinal problem  - for 5 years.  She couldn't carry a pack.  Best time was with two gents blind from birth.  We had a ball, albeit slow going with a few bumbed shins and a tumble or two. They would lead the way back.  Amazing what they got out of the experience of 'seeing' something completely out of their normal day to day activities.  Even did some cross country (on a short rope) and some third class climbing.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 17 2012, 2:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

That is super!

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 30 2012, 8:23 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I am now working out three days a week at the gym to build strength, power, stamina and aerobic condition.  I am planning on a short hike in a couple of weeks and will assess my condition at that time.

I can't let disability stop me from getting into the woods!!!!


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 02 2013, 7:12 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

One of the greatest powers that men and women possess is the power of the mind.  I am not talking about mystical or meditative thinking (although meditation can help), I am talking about being downright Bull Headed.  If you can get you drive, ambition and Bull headedness working at full strength you can do almost anything; even it the body is unwilling.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 03 2013, 12:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Unfortunately, when I have told my body in no uncertain terms to get rid of those pesky tumors, it has ignored me. But I can still pick em up and lay em down, and hope to be able to do so for some time to come.

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Now shall I walk or shall I ride?
Ride, said pleasure,
Walk, Joy replied,
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 06 2013, 2:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(LordTemplar @ Jan. 02 2013, 4:12 am)
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One of the greatest powers that men and women possess is the power of the mind.  I am not talking about mystical or meditative thinking (although meditation can help), I am talking about being downright Bull Headed.  If you can get you drive, ambition and Bull headedness working at full strength you can do almost anything; even it the body is unwilling.

Payback comes the next day! :laugh:

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 9:36 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have lost 40lbs and am repairing my equipment.  If anyone needs to know how to repair yours––you probably do know how––just ask and I will tell you.  I have been out on a hike twice this winter and have had a great time.  I am putting together information on a long hike but it will take me three times longer than anyone else.  Heck, who cares, I will be off and moseying.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 9:39 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Ever since I lived in Texas I do not walk anywhere; I mosey.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 20 2013, 8:40 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Damn!  Plans on hold due to an umbilical hernia.  Now I must get surgery to fix it, which causes more delays.  All this is after putting a great deal of work on my abs in the gym.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 21 2013, 5:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Doctors can be fools. An orthopedic surgeon told me I needed a shoulder replacement (I agreed), but he said that after the surgery he never wanted me to lift weights or kayak again. I thought, why would I get surgery and end up with less ability than I have now?

I didn't go back to that doctor. Instead, I used the power of the mind that you refer to to completely reframe my life. Instead of giving up activities, I found new ways to do them. I also added new activities that have brought me a lot of joy (kayak camping, for example). I developed a daily spiritual practice that helps me stay in a positive frame of mind and keeps me pursuing goals no matter what happens.

The biggest surprise for me was that medical problems sometimes just get better. Conditions that you believed were going to be permanent sometimes heal over time. When you decide you're going to do everything you can to live well, amazing things happen on all fronts (friendships, your finances, health, happiness). Paradoxically, I would say that my quality of life doubled during the period when I was struggling with my most serious medical problems.  The main key is to always be seeking to live an expanded life, and to be expanding as a person.

This forthcoming book has some inspiring stories for people with chronic medical conditions: http://www.amazon.com/Living-....7513439
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 15 2013, 9:12 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I recently developed drop foot, likely from degenerative nerve damage from sciatica. Basically, my left foot flops when I walk. There's some numbness, and I can barely lift my toes, and the muscles there are slow flex and relax. It doesn't affect hiking, so much, except on flat terrain. Seldom do I walk at a full stretch on the trail, and short steps, climbing, and descending aren't affected.

I was crossing the street the other day and the light changed on me unexpectedly. I planted my right foot to run, and when my left foot hit the ground I nearly collapsed. Freaky.

On a side note, my girlfriend is deaf in one ear and has profound hearing loss in the other. Even with a Cochlear implant and a hearing aid, her hearing is sketchy, particularly outdoors. She's susceptible to ear infections, especially when it's cold out. We've had to come up with different ways of addressing being lost or separated when on the trail. She's a trooper, though.

Templar, have you considered pool training? Low impact muscle training. You won't lose weight, (the water keeps you from sweating,) but you'll get a great workout.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 15 2013, 2:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for telling your story BigSilk!  You certainly are taking your disabilities head on and so is your girlfriend.  I am glad to hear that you can do what you like.  I hope that your foot does not fail you in traffic!

I have done pool training, but find that it does not do enough to work the muscles in my core.  I really need a strong ab. system to keep my back working at all.  The hernia is temporary and was well repaired.  Therefore I will continue lifting as much as I can.  Hopefully I will get my knees and elbows worked on soonish.

I certainly appreciate the advice and will try to get into the pool to stretch and do upper body work.  I do like to swim. . . .


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