It's 3:17 a.m. and my body thinks it's somewhere over the Pacific even though it's in Seattle. We just returned from Nepal where we trekked to the Annapurna Base Camp, truly one of the most beautiful spots on earth. The "trek" (as opposed to "climb" where one uses technical equipment) took 12 days, going up and down STEEP stone steps, over raging rivers on suspension bridges that took my breath away, anticipating the afternoon downpour, and looking at nearly every turn at the awe-inspiring Himalaya. Annapurna I was in front of us, even at 4:15a.m. when I would awaken with the first glimmer of light on her snowy face and peek out my window to see if I were still really there.
At 66 I was the oldest woman on the trek and the only person with a disease (read: "I was the last one to reach the teahouse most days."), but everyone cheered when my guide and I arrived. So many times I stopped on the trail and just wept, remembering my mom and brother and giving thanks for being in such a holy place. I took the HOPE banner that I made for the APDA auction and held it in the wind alongside the prayer flags at various places along the trail and at the base camp. Now I'll quilt it for the APDA auction winner.
One day, just after we arrived at our teahouse, there was a deluge that caught a French-Canadian couple on the trail. I invited them into my room to put on dry clothes and warm up. He told me he was going to hike a few minutes further up hill to try to find an accommodation but that it would be difficult because he has Parkinson's. I told him about Pedaling for Parkinson's and watched the elephant slide off his back. He is early onset, less than 50 I would guess, and two years into diagnosis. I have seldom seen a person so happy, especially in such strange circumstances. Francois, my new PD buddy.
Other than becoming very stooped with a tight back and more tired than most, I felt few of my PD symptoms. My back has straightened somewhat already as I'm back on my bike and doing exercises to pull my shoulders back. I was concerned about not cycling for three weeks, but all the exercise seems to have had a positive effect. I expect it will take just a few weeks to feel at my pre-Nepal fitness level.
Nepal was not on my bucket list, nor were any of these other things I have managed to do with PD. Once again, I believe that the message is that we can often do more than we think we can do, or more than others tell us we can do. I often feel like Indiana Jones stepping into the void, trusting support will be there. It is.
I'll be posting photos on Facebook, hopefully in the next couple of days. Thank you all for your support.