Opening a door which you've previously closed, stepping away from a part of your life you've previously loved and lived for so that it can't be taken away from you again scares me. There's a feeling of vulnerability, uncertainty but at the same time it's exciting, there's that familiar feeling you know and love, a focus, that burning sensation as a project comes to life.
It may seem strange to folk to make that type of decision back then, to step away, but at the time it was my way of coping with the uncertainty and frustration of MS. Having to relearn to walk, to be able to be in the mountains, to climb was one of the hardest things to do but at the time something I wasn't willing to let go of. In my head this was just a blip and everything would be the same, the reality of living with something that you have no control over hadn't sunk in. Roll on 5 years and she's made her mark and the body won't play ball the way its known, you get tired. There's a sense of loss, that person you were has gone.
So opening that door again, just a wee bit - getting involved in paraclimbing has had its challenges but hasn’t felt too scary has actually felt relatively safe.. Finding new ways of climbing, letting go off the past - the climber I was, even having your butt kicked at a coaching session when you think you can't do something because of the disability and not that you just think you can't do it - is good. As I say this all seems relatively safe and controlled compared to our Eiger challenge.
If you asked me back in January how I felt, how the training was going, a positive Al would have responded. The possibility of climbing such an iconic mountain with friends, sharing the experience knowing the impact this would have on us and possibly others was exciting. We had a plan, I was going to focus on core strength and stamina so that the fatigue didn't build or impact too much. But this last month feels as though the whole door has been thrown open and I’m teetering on the edge. I've been struggling with the MS fatigue for the past three weeks. Just going up and down stairs feels as though I'm summiting a mountain with uneven lead weights strapped to my arms and legs. I know I love a challenge but from where I’m sitting it seems a monumental task and the clock is ticking…