“The scariest thing for me through this whole ordeal has been the rapid weight loss over the past two weeks. My muscles are gone and when I squat down to the floor to pick something up, I can barely get back up. I feel like I am doing the hardest move on a rock climb just to do some simple movement. I try to do a couple walking laps in the hall everyday to stay strong and keep my legs moving. I just want to be healthy and well again.”
Around this time last fall, I emailed the above update to a couple of good friends while I was in the hospital with my UC flare. I was so weak that it was difficult to do even the most basic things, like stand in the shower or walk up the stairs. I seriously wondered if I would ever be strong enough to rock climb again.
Last night, thanks to the health I regained through surgery, I made my first trip to the rock climbing gym in over a year. At first it felt foreign to put my harness on and tie my figure-8 knot, but once I placed my hands and feet on the holds and began ascending the wall, the movement felt natural to me.
To prevent any injury, I wore my Nu Hope hernia prevention belt under my harness and stuck to very easy routes. I quickly realized that the lines with the “kid-friendly route” label at the base were the best for me. These climbs were slabby to vertical and had huge holds. I doubt I would have even noticed these routes in years past when I was climbing a lot and was in much better shape. However, being away from climbing so long, the joy I now felt on these simple lines was immense.
Though my arms are sore today, everything muscle-wise near my stoma and incision line feels great. I hope to go to the climbing gym once a week and slowly work up my strength and endurance. At this point, I don’t have any big goals and plan to stick to easy routes for a while and see how it goes. I am just so happy to be climbing again.