Wednesday, 4 March 2015

The Hard Stuff - Multiple Sclerosis on the Eiger... My Friend.

Multiple Sclerosis

I am getting into looking at the harder stuff now, with all the other stuff in place and the wheels turning, it's now about the reality of bringing this together with care and increasing my depth of my knowledge in my friends condition: Multiple Sclerosis.

Researching the effects of altitude on MS has been a tearful day, because knowing Alex as a friend and coach, has brought me closer to her challenges both for the Eiger, but also her life and the life of others with the same condition. This is what this is about for me, I know this... Loss...

Smiler Taylor :)

Alex's bravery to engage in this project when I know how much she has to suffer in her daily life right now as her coach, when her body begins to fail her and the dark wave of fear of not knowing wither this wave of MS is taking her further away from who she feels she is today breaks my heart. 

But her nick name is 'smiler' and that's who she is to me and all her friends. Her courage to even consider the Eiger with MS is to me, inexplicable. But I know this, as a man who has carried broken friends off mountains in the past, I have never felt so compelled as a human being to really get to know every detail of all this to make sure that Alex is understood,supported and driven hard when we need to drive hard but also cared for with the support she will need to both climb the Eiger and more importantly recover from the experience once down.

When we train together in Wales, she pretends that everything is cool with her fatigue as she leaves our training session and takes the long drive back into England, but I know she probably drops a tear on her lap whilst at the steering wheel wishing her body would help her a little more.

It's Colin & I's job to make sure we fully understand Alex's condition but I promise you smiler, I will not let you down up there.

Coach Bastardo

"There are potential impacts of high altitude exposure on persons with preexisting neurological conditions who normally reside at low altitude. These conditions include permanent and transient lack of oxygen to (portions of) the brain (e.g., stroke, transient ischemic attack [TIA, or stroke "warning"]), occlusive cerebral artery disease (e.g., atherosclerosis of the cerebral arteries), central venous thrombosis (clotted large veins in the brain), abnormal blood vessels within the skull (e.g., aneurysms), multiple sclerosis, space-occupying lesions within the skull (e.g., benign and malignant tumors), dementia, movement disorders, migraine and other headaches, and epilepsy (seizures)."

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