I woke up in the middle of the night with gut-wrenching heartburn, I could only think, "this can't be good." I have always struggled with heartburn but there is a very distinct different between the heartburn that sucks to have, and the heartburn that leads to many hours hovering the bathroom. I knew that the next day was going to be another long day to get to Tyanboche (5-6 hours), ugh. Between having had a rest day the day before and being only four days into the trek I was not keen on getting held up for a day because of health. I kept convincing myself that it would go away soon.
I woke up continuously for the remainder of the night and by the morning the heartburn had evolved to include a wider range of gastro-intestinal issues. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly a stomach problem can knock you entirely on your feet. Still though I remained optimistic that if I had an extra hour before we left that it would get better. I was determined to not let this get the better of me, despite the fact that movement hurt and I couldn't eat anything.
By the time we left the stomach pains had only worsened and my bowels were sufficiently drained. Call it optimism, or stoicism, or stupidity but I opted to keep going and not quite share the full range of difficulty I was having. So within the first ten minutes of climbing out of Namche death was written all over my face, I didn't think I would make it through the first hour, much less six. I so desperately wanted to stay strong and prevail, especially since I was surrounded by men, but this was quickly turning into an epic failure.
Sensing that I could hardly hold myself up Deven gave Dil my bag to carry then gave me 4 more Peptos and force fed me what was essentially a banana bag. My prayers and mental pep talks were useless and about 30 minutes into the trek while I sat to rest and prevent myself from getting sick on the trail, I felt like a total failure. I reminded myself that maybe this was part of my little journey in learning to receive: allowing the boys to take care of me and not feeling lesser because of it.
I gathered myself and we trudged on. For about three hours walked, speaking to no one just silently repeating mantras like "just one foot in front of the other." Finally, my stomach relaxed and I was able to slowly come back to life. I became very aware that while from the waste up was completely useless, my legs were strong and full of energy, able to carry my way up the valley. We eventually stopped for lunch and I managed to slurp up some garlicky chicken broth. We also met up with a group that had left over an hour before us that morning, it made me feel better about my situation that I was able to move fast enough to catch them. So we enjoyed lunch and prepared for the last half of the trek, which was straight up. After getting to Namche I knew what I was in for and I was more comfortable with it, but I still was functioning at about 50%.
Then came the dehydration... when combined with altitude this created a pounding headache. Pounding. I did quite well on the first half of this climb, knowing that we were nearing the end made me somewhat determined to be done. I kept thinking: If I were at home and had a stomach bug I would not opt to do Mt. Washington two times over. I knew that every minute spent resting was a minute taken away from the bed that awaited me. The second half of the climb wasn't as pleasant. My head hurt so bad, my body was getting very tired and my patience had just run out for this whole ordeal. I didn't say much but I really just wanted it all to be over.
When we reached the village at the top I fought very hard to keep tears back, I was so overwhelmed with exhaustion and gratitude. There was a similar feeling to being a child screaming and crying because they are long overdue for a nap, minus the screaming (at least out loud). Once I got into the lodge I drank several cups of hot water to rehydrate, I could feel my vitality coming back, as well as my positive attitude.
Again, I felt pride in what I had done, another long day under challenging conditions and I made it in almost perfect condition. As previously mentioned, I came into this trip knowing that there was a reason for it, but not sure exactly what that reason was. Because of this mystery I became more aware of all the little things going on around me but also within me. I realized that today, just as two days prior, I had proved to be more capable than I had originally given myself credit for. Maybe one of the lessons to be learned on this trip was in acknowledging my strength and perseverance, lose some of the self- doubt and criticism I continuously harbor and achieve all that I am capable of. We are capable of nothing when we don't believe in ourselves.
There was something really beautiful about this day, I was experiencing adversity yet I knew stopping wasn't an option. It's amazing what can be done when there is no other option. I knew where I was, I knew where I had to go and though I didn't know how I would do it, I knew that if I just put one foot in front of another I would eventually get there. Sometimes you don't know how to get where you need to go, but if you take one step at a time and have a little faith I promise you'll be amazed by what happens.
Chelsea M Latham
When I was a kid my mom would occasionally refer to me as a Reverend, because I had the need to speak so passionately about just about everything. Little did she know that some day I would build a business upon sharing the wisdom that I am so passionate about. So here you go, here are some bits and bobs of thoughts strung together for your enjoyment.