Celebrate Good Times!

It has been an amazing week of celebrations and anniversaries.  The American Cancer Society turned 100 this week (I am a long time volunteer for the ACS).  The 20th anniversary of the Graduation Episode of Saved by the Bell was also this week!

Most importantly, as I am looking a long weekend of camping and hiking in the White Mountains for Memorial Day Weekend, I am thankful for two critical events which have had a direct impact on my ability to do what I love most – getting outside and exploring the outdoors and on my way to hiking The Traverse.

First – my nine year wedding anniversary!

Me and Nor

Noreen and I have been together for 11 years, pretty much my entire adult life. This year we celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary which is pretty awesome! She has been by my side every step of the way and supported me through all of my adventures. She also encourages me to pursue the activities that I love and has pushed me into things like yoga and getting back into the outdoors.

And best of all, whenever I come home, exhausted, tired, sore, muddy, covered in sweat, blood and grime she is always there for a hug and a kiss welcoming me back home.

I once described the outdoors as the second great love of my life. Noreen is the first.  Happy anniversary to you Nor! Thanks for all of your love, support and encouragement!

The second celebration this week… the one year anniversary of my leg surgery!

My Legs

About the three years ago, I was training for the Mothers Day 5k in Portland. While I was running, all of a sudden, my right leg went numb. It felt like it had fallen asleep and was totally dead, barely able to stand on it.  I am not normally an alarmist when it comes to my body feeling funny, but this was weird.  After ruling a few things out (stretching, new sneakers, etc.) over the next couple of days the symptoms were still happening – I would start to run and could not make it a ¼ mile before my leg would go completely numb.  I decided that it was time to see the doctor.

This launched a two year odyssey of doctors, specialists, physical therapists, vascular surgeons (I had veins removed from my legs!) all to no avail. Finally I landed in the office of Dr. Asherman at Orthopedic Associates with a diagnosis of Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome.  The short of is that the muscles in my legs would expand in their compartments creating too much pressure so blood flow would be closed off to the muscle causing it to fatigue and go numb – just like if you sat on your leg and closed off the blood flow.  The solution:  cut open the leg muscles fascia to expand the compartments which would help reduce the pressure and increase blood flow. We did both legs at the same time, 2 out of 4 of the compartments on each leg.  The result:  5 months of rehab[1] and PT with Stephanie Holmes who was at Atlantic Physical Therapy.

The ultimate conclusion: one year later I am running, biking and most importantly hiking. I am going on long 10-12 mile hike[2]s with decent vertical; short runs of 2-3 miles; and bike rides all over Greater Portland. And I have been completely symptom free.

So here is to those people and events which enable us to do what we all love.  And I hope that you enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend!


[1] I have been working on a separate post about yoga and the role that it has played in getting me to where I am today.  But if it were not for the surgery and amazing rehab with Stephanie, I would not have gotten that far.

[2] Funny story – not even one week after I was finally medically cleared to resume full physical activity and PT was finished, I tried to climb Katahdin. I went with friends up Abol and made it to the Table Lands. It was the first real activity in 6 months after laying around all summer doing nothing but PT and I chose Katahdin as my “come back”.  Hint: don’t do that.


About Pathway To The Presidentials

My name is Chris and I am planning on hiking the White Mountains' Presidential Traverse in September 2013. I live in Maine. I am an early-30 something dude of sasquatchian proportions who loves the outdoors, loves hiking, and pushing myself mentally, spiritually and occasionally physically through various pursuits in an effort to learn about myself, others and the world around me.
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