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  1. #1
    Senior Member T-BACK's Avatar
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    There and Back Again, A Hikers Holiday

    Hi everyone,

    I have been back at home now for some time, having not completed the ECT. Counting the Southern part of the trail that I sectioned on the AT earlier, I have walked just under 3000 miles of its 5500. The hardware in my back, as I lost weight, started to place a lot of direct pressure on my lumbar muscles due to my pack pressing on them and in turn caused severe spasms over the large screw heads. These were responsible for sciatica and loss of some dexterity in my legs (my feet didn't always land exactly where I had intended to plant them). As you might imagine, I have fallen many, many times during the course of this hike. As the pain and spasms got worse so did the frequency, and ultimately the severity, of the falls. There were even days that I would have to take NEROs because it hurt too much to walk. The last tumble was due more to the rain saturated soil than my back but injured me to the point that I could not continue. I am slowly recovering and generally doing OK physically. Mentally, it has been a severe blow and I am finding it hard to cope with living in my pre-hike environment. I wish to thank you all for your support and encouragement during the year that I was on the trail! It's funny how all I could think about was finishing so that I could go home, now I think only of what I can do to get myself back out there. My values and perspectives have changed. Some things I once tolerated out of ignorance I now find unethical. This makes it very difficult for me to return to my job as a surgical assistant or to work in the health care arena in general. I am hoping to be able to find work in an industry dealing with the outdoors or maybe to start a home-based business but, at present, I am not sure in which direction I need to travel. I apologize to all those that I was supposed to contact before now. As I said, I am having trouble adapting and, to be truthful, this is one of the first contacts I have made outside my home since I have returned. Maybe this is the first of the 12steps! I have missed you all and look forward to conversing with you again. Please feel free to contact me here on the forum or by PM. Again thanks for all you have done for me!
    Brian
    ...and there came to be a day, all too soon, that I became aware that I could travel no more on my long journey. Though I did not arrive where I had planned, I believe that here is exactly where I am supposed to be...

  2. #2
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    Welcome back to the forum, T-Back. I hope your back heals enough to at least let you car camp while you're figuring out where you want to go. Looking forward to hearing any hammock gear issues you had or new ideas you came up with on the trail.
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

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  3. #3
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Brian, what a hike and what a struggle it must have been. And yet, rewarding. Good to hear from you, hope you can get back to hiking soon.
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

  4. #4
    New Member Half Step's Avatar
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    T-Back,

    You've done more in your "failed" ECT hike than most completely healthy folk ever manage. You haven't failed at anything.

    I can relate somewhat to your back problems, with several collapsed disks in my lumbar section, and the nerve damage that goes with it. I've occasionally lost leg function, and it is scary as hell. Not to mention painful, as if you didn't already know that.

    So hang in there, eh? And maybe I'll meet you again at one of the Florida gatherings.

    Best,
    Mal/Half Step
    Half Step, aka Mal the Elder
    "In one ear and out the other,
    Don't you get criss-crossed.
    I recommend you try a little
    Mental floss. . .
    "

  5. #5
    Senior Member Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    My leg malfunctions are not caused by hardware. Rather my software is corrupted. I have nerve damage but I know very well the feeling that my foot just landed somewhere other than where it was supposed to be. More than once I have done a fabulous Irish hornpipe trying to stay upright, only to land on the ground. It's not fun. But the way I figure it, with what I have going on, I don't have to prove anything to anyone including myself. 5 years ago I could barely walk across the room in my house. Now I figure I got three miles in me before my circuits start to get fried. I'll take it. It gets me out.

    My point is, do the best you can with what you got and if someone wants to look down their nose, they only see their own warts. That includes ourselves. Sometimes we can beat ourselves up worse than anybody else because we didn't meet our own expectations. You done great.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
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  6. #6
    Senior Member NCPatrick's Avatar
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    Glad to see you back T-Back. I hope things begin to go smoother for you soon. Hang in there!


    "Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities."
    - Mark Twain
    “I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”
    - John Burroughs

  7. #7
    peanuts's Avatar
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    welcome back t-back!!! keep your chin up.....
    and wish you a strong recovery... you'll be back before you know it!
    Peanuts

    "A womans place is on the trail"

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-BACK View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I have been back at home now for some time, having not completed the ECT. Counting the Southern part of the trail that I sectioned on the AT earlier, I have walked just under 3000 miles of its 5500. The hardware in my back, as I lost weight, started to place a lot of direct pressure on my lumbar muscles due to my pack pressing on them and in turn caused severe spasms over the large screw heads. These were responsible for sciatica and loss of some dexterity in my legs (my feet didn't always land exactly where I had intended to plant them). As you might imagine, I have fallen many, many times during the course of this hike. As the pain and spasms got worse so did the frequency, and ultimately the severity, of the falls. There were even days that I would have to take NEROs because it hurt too much to walk. The last tumble was due more to the rain saturated soil than my back but injured me to the point that I could not continue. I am slowly recovering and generally doing OK physically. Mentally, it has been a severe blow and I am finding it hard to cope with living in my pre-hike environment. I wish to thank you all for your support and encouragement during the year that I was on the trail! It's funny how all I could think about was finishing so that I could go home, now I think only of what I can do to get myself back out there. My values and perspectives have changed. Some things I once tolerated out of ignorance I now find unethical. This makes it very difficult for me to return to my job as a surgical assistant or to work in the health care arena in general. I am hoping to be able to find work in an industry dealing with the outdoors or maybe to start a home-based business but, at present, I am not sure in which direction I need to travel. I apologize to all those that I was supposed to contact before now. As I said, I am having trouble adapting and, to be truthful, this is one of the first contacts I have made outside my home since I have returned. Maybe this is the first of the 12steps! I have missed you all and look forward to conversing with you again. Please feel free to contact me here on the forum or by PM. Again thanks for all you have done for me!
    That's a long way you walked pilgrim, a helluva long way... glad you survived.

    Transitions are not always easy or what we expect. The civilized world has been in a tail spin economically since you left, I wish you had warned me how much we depended on you. How long will it take you to straighten it out?
    Youngblood AT2000

  9. #9
    Peter_pan's Avatar
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    Welcome back T-BACK, Well done....Good luck in any future venture.

    Pan
    Ounces to Grams.

    www.jacksrbetter.com ... Largest supplier of camping quilts and under quilts...Home of the Original Nest Under Quilt, and Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock. 800 595 0413

  10. #10
    Senior Member headchange4u's Avatar
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    I hope you have a speedy recovery. Don't feel so down. You have accomplished a tremendous amount. Best wishes.
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it." -Terry Pratchett



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