|Ellesmere Island, 1987
My father, Brother, Blair and myself (note hiking in Acid-Wash jeans; wow, cool !)
I believe in Integrative Medicine. I have to. It has taken a combined effort to get me where I am today.
From as young as I can remember, my father traveled to the Arctic and brought home pictures of the tiny Inuit villages and the amazing people that created art from the limestone and lived and thrived in this harsh region. I had to go.
On my first hiking trip at age 13 to Auyuituq National Park on Baffin Island, my brother, father and myself hiked for 7 days. Not only did I fall in love with the people of the region, but the landscape ignited a passion for the Arctic that continued to draw me back.
At age 17 we were planning another back-packing trip to the high Arctic, Ellesmere Island. The last piece of land before the Arctic Ocean and north pole. My father, my brother Blair and myself would be alone hiking, dropped off by Twin Otter from point A to point B. It would take 2 weeks to hike out. Less than a dozen people have the privilege of visiting this region per year so the likelihood of seeing anyone was remote.
We were able to see the campsite of Franklin and the British explorers who had perished in a winter on Ellesmere. Their campsite untouched due to the remoteness of the area, and preserved by the cold, as if they had just left. The evidence of the lead solder cans which likely killed them lay strewn about. When you read the history of the British explorers determined to find the northwest passage and visit this harsh region, you realize just how tough these men were in their felt jackets.
I had been very sick before we left and had spent several months that winter in the hospital treated for Ulcerative Colitis. My doctor was not too excited about the remoteness of the area. He decided I could go if we carried a 6 lb radio (the size and weight was a huge hardship) to contact the RCMP in the case of emergency, IV solumedrol for the RCMP to administer and steroid enemas (which froze anyways). We agreed to the terms and the RCMP confirmed they would have a helicopter at the DEW line station in Alert during the period we would be traveling. Fortunately, I did not suffer any medical complications. But my doctor’s willingness to work with me set a high precedent for my future care-givers on what could be accomplished.
My doctors have continue to work with me to create unique strategies so I can participate in outdoor adventures that others may not try or may not have the co-operation to try.
This season, I have had good health for the entire training season. Last week, my pulmonary function crashed. Dr.Paul Pottinger sent a prescription from 8000 feet on Dragontail Peak in WA over his Memorial Day climb. When I inquired about his whereabouts he said “Whatever it takes”. Dr. Josh Benditt and Dr.Pottinger have been contacting me from 8 am-10 pm by email and text to make daily changes. My entire climb hangs in the balance of them finding the right combination. Finally, through their extraordinary efforts, I see my peak flow start to rise. We are packed, we are ready to go…..it all rests on my doctors for the last steps.
My nutrition is calculated, all the food for 3 days, packed (see photo). My fitness and training complete. This week, Jimmy from Stone Gardens worked with me on emergency techniques and special knots. Medicines are packed and constantly being repacked and recalculated. It’s an Integrative approach indeed.
|Photo: 3 days of food packed for the wall|
Thank you to Dr.Paul Pottinger, Dr.Josh Benditt and Dr.James Lord for this extraordinary effort.
Thank you to my family, friends and patients and to Stone Gardens for their sponsorship, training and support.
The plan is to fly out Saturday, have a training climb Sunday, rest day Monday and weather-dependent, climb the Leaning Tower Tuesday/Wednesday and Thursday. Wifi is sketchy in the valley, but if Craig is able to get an update, he will post on facebook.
To make a donation to support research for Crohn’s & Colitis see www.c4now.org
Never, Never, Never Give Up,
Sincerely, Trina Seligman
Thank you Stone Gardens for your sponsorship, training and support: