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Help!! Climbing Snowdon in 2 weeks and need some advice! :-)

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by alicats1977, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. alicats1977

    alicats1977

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    Hi there everyone, this is my first post on this forum. :)

    I have (rather insanely!) agreed to accompany my best friend up Mount Snowdon in Wales in just 2 weeks' time and I am nothing short of petrified. I have mild CFS and it only really flares up when I over-exert myself. I have been going to the gym recently and practising some hill walking in the Peak District at the weekend. Today I am in a lot of pain and struggling to move, mainly my hips and knees. I couldn't even walk down the stairs in my house this morning! My partner had to help me down.

    Does anyone have any advice as to how I can build up a bit more stamina and strength before the massive task I have set myself? We are going to walk up the Llanberis Path, which is the easiest route (apparently). Trip Advisor suggests it is a 6 hour round trip and it climbs to over 1000 metres above sea level :-S

    Thank you all in advance. Ali xxx
     
  2. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

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    If you have ME, you can't really build up stamina - pathological response to exertion is the very definition of the disease, after all. And lengthy aerobic exercise (a long walk/hike) is pretty much the worst sort of exercise for us.

    If you go through with it, you should probably make preparations to be bed-bound and dependent on others for at least a couple weeks afterward. The better choice is to cancel and tell your friend that symptoms are flaring up and you can't handle as much as you thought you could. Perhaps arrange to meet her at the end and go for some lunch or dinner afterward.

    I seriously doubt she wants you to harm yourself.
     
  3. Effi

    Effi Senior Member

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    hi @alicats1977 welcome :)
    I'm gonna be honest... It sounds like a bad idea. One of the hallmark symptoms of ME is exercise intolerance. Patients are generally incapable of building up stamina. Even if you bring the right snacks and elektrolytes or whatever with you, this trip will most probably bring you more damage than pleasure. I like @Valentijn 's idea of meeting up afterwards for dinner, that way your friend can tell you all about it, so it kinda feels like you were there too. Sorry to rain a your parade. It sound like a cool trip. Keep us posted.
     
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  4. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    You will have a better sense of what you can do than anyone here, so I would advise doing what you think will be best for yourself. It could be that this is a bad idea though, and that maybe you're hoping that things will be different to how you really think it is most likely that they are? Good luck working things out for yourself.

    PS: If I knew how to steadily increase the amount I could do, I wouldn't be here!
     
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  5. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    If I had to do something like this I would have complete bed rest before the ordeal in order to conserve my very poor strength and stamina. I'd order food online and have my home stocked up. I'd make sure I had enough supplements and pain killing drugs to survive for a month afterwards. Then on the day I would take steroids and other drugs that give me a little more temporary energy.

    If I was to attempt to "build stamina" by adding extra (even small) exercise before the big event it's likely I would be very sick, weak and bedbound without getting there.

    Any activity is a sacrifice and the regime above is what I would plan for something important like a family or special occasion or a conference or a benefits tribunal or a trip to see a useful doctor. I'd not waste it on a n activity that has the potential to make me much worse off for a year or so without it being of huge importance to me.

    It doesn't sound as if your best friend really understands or respects your medical condition and how this could harm even a "mild" person with ME
     
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  6. alicats1977

    alicats1977

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    Thank you Valentijn - I really do understand how hard it is going to be, especially after how I feel from this weekend, just walking up about 200 metres! I am going to think very hard about it before I do go through with it. I would love the challenge but I fear you are right and I will be in a very bad way afterwards (assuming I even make it to the top!) xx
     
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  7. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    It's possible to make yourself permanently worse, @alicats1977, by a single episode of serious over-exertion. Many of us here have done it (I've done it myself). You may not be able to rest yourself out of any damage that you do to yourself.

    I think you should seriously ask yourself whether it's worth the risk.
     
  8. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards "Gibberish"

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    I have only climbed Snowdon once, forty years ago. My memory is that it was a doddle in fact. My wife and I walked from a car park to the top and neither of us has ever done any other hill climbing although we were reasonably fit. It was just an afternoon walk - I think you start quite high. The real problem was that fog came down when we got to the summit and we lost our way and came back down what is said to be a dangerous route. It seemed a bit rugged but not too bad. My suggestion would be to check the weather carefully. If visibility is suspect do not go - it would be terrifying if you got worn out. If visibility is guaranteed then I think you could pace yourself up as far as you feel comfortable. The main easy path up is definitely easy as I remember it. I cannot believe we took 6 hours even going the wrong way. It may be that the plan is to start lower. I think I would avoid that. And I am sure you know that walking downhill can be harder work than up so that needs factoring in.
     
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  9. Scarecrow

    Scarecrow Revolting Peasant

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    @alicats1977, I would dearly love to see 3000 feet again. Other than the very modest Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, I haven't been up any kind of hill let alone a mountain for a very long time.

    With only two weeks to go, it's too late now to even think about building stamina. In my experience from about 10 years ago (when I was on the right side of mild), I found that it was possible to exercise but there was a stamina ceiling that I couldn't force and had to be content with.

    If you do go ahead (and I'm not advising you to) I think that your best strategy is to rest up between now and the walk rather than exercising.
    If this is anything more than DOMS, please don't do it!!!! But if you're sure it's just DOMS then proceed at your own risk. I think that it should be clear to you over the next few days whether you could cope but remember to factor in the longer walking time.
    How true! My hill walking years were between 15 and 20 when I was sub clinical. I always wondered why I used to fall down mountains rather than walking down them like everyone else. Jelly legs.
     
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  10. Revel

    Revel Senior Member

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    I'm afraid that I would also advise against such a climb, especially as you are currently in such poor physical shape and only have 2 weeks to prepare - we are not known for our ability to build strength and stamina at the best of times :cautious:.

    If you do decide to proceed, I would recommend taking a shooting stick (for the uninitiated, it's a walking stick with a top handle that can be opened out into a sling seat). They are lightweight (some fold away and can be carried in a bag), and then at least you can sit down and take the strain off your joints and catch your breath whenever needed.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2015
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  11. geraldt52

    geraldt52 Senior Member

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    I think you should write that quote on a piece of paper and hang it on your refrigerator where you see it every day, alicats 1977...it will maybe change your priorities.

    You didn't tell us any of your history, so we can't be sure that you truly understand the possible consequences of what you're contemplating.
     
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  12. alicats1977

    alicats1977

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    Thank you all for your replies so far. I really didn't expect such an overwhelming response and I am very grateful for all your words of caution. I have been lucky so far in that I am able to live a reasonably normal life, but the more I read, the more I am realising that I may be putting that "normal" life in jeopardy for one day out.

    I will definitely think seriously about this before I go ahead, and possibly consult with my doctor if I can get an appointment before I go to Wales. xx
     
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  13. Kate_UK

    Kate_UK Senior Member

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    If you do this, you could be still regretting it in five years time.
     
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  14. justy

    justy Donate Advocate Demonstrate

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    My advice, as I live in Wales would be to check the weather and then book yourself on the train which goes up and down. :)

    To be more serious - I have been very mildly affected in the past and I COULD manage day hikes etc at times. However, if you push yourself too hard AND happen to catch a virus or cold at the same time that could be you done for on a more permanent basis.

    My main concern is that you say

    This doesn't sound like someone VERY mildly affected.

    The last time I undertook a physical challenge was a year before my serious relapse. I walked 20 miles, from my house to the sea, up some big welsh hills and could barely walk by the time I got there - the pain was unbearable. Then the next day I actually couldn't get out of bed at all!

    What about the train up and then meet your friend at the top to walk back down? or vice versa.
     
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  15. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    It's unlikely that any UK doctor has a clue about how the aerobic system is broken in people with ME. Many UK doctors believe the misleading guff of the PACE trial and think that aerobic exercise will actually help us.

    My doctor is the last person I'd ask for advice about managing my ME and I suspect that's a pretty common view on the forum.

    Sorry to be discouraging but I really do think you'd be taking a very big risk and for no very good reason.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2015
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  16. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl But I Look So Good.

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    I'll say what other's are probably thinking, and I say this with love, This is insanity. If you can't even get up the stairs right now, that should be a big red flag to you. Can you imagine crashing mid climb? How will you get back down?

    And will that friend who got you into this be around to help you if the worst case happens and you become completely bed bound?

    There are years of experience here, listen to them.
     
  17. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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  18. L'engle

    L'engle moogle

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    Going to have to agree with everyone else here. A useful concept is that of the 'energy envelope' which is the amount of activity you can do without harming yourself. It sounds like even the less strenuous outing you had is not within your 'envelope' so doing something that is even more strenuous could very well do harm. If anything, after you heal from the last exertion you did, attempt a walk that is much less strenuous than that one, not more. There are some of us that can take walks on good days, but increasing the duration or elevation gain over what you know you can safely do can be very unsafe.

    The thing I find with exercise is that it still seems like something you can do when you are just thinking about it at home but when you actually start to do it you realize your ill body has very strict limits! It sounds like you do not have to give up physical activity altogether at your level, but you do need to be really careful.

    An epsom salt bath might help the pain you have now? It's easy to get depleted in minerals like magnesium.

    I think the idea of meeting your friend at the top after you take the train is a great one!
     
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  19. Chrisb

    Chrisb Senior Member

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    The fact that you are asking for advice is probably an indicator that you should not do this. I climbed Snowden a number of times and would dearly love to be on Crib Goch again. The danger is that you set yourself a target which you are determined to accomplish. It is an easy mountain. You might get to the top. But you might spend the rest of your life wishing you had not. I suppose that if you get to the top you could always opt to take the train down.

    If you are determined to go it should only be with people more concerned with your welfare than getting to the top, who are warned in advance that you may need to abandon the walk at any stage, and who would themselves have sufficient experience and spare capacity to render assistance and get you off the mountain, in any conditions, should you get into difficulty.

    Come the day you will probably know for yourself what to do. It certainly does not sound as if you are in a condition to attempt this. Be warned. You cannot force your body through pain barriers in the way you might formerly have been able to. When the body now says it has had enough, it has had enough. I tried climbing bigger mountains to try and force the issue. It did not work. I regard that as my point of no return. Before that I thought recovery a possibility in a way which has never seemed likely since.

    I suspect that there is no way that you could improve your stamina in readiness for the walk. Your best bet would be to rest and hope for a better period of health. Should such a period of health come along , be cautious about sacrificing it for a mountain.
     
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  20. snowathlete

    snowathlete

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    Cheat and get the train!

    If you are sure you want to risk it then perhaps get people to sponsor you to raise money for research?
     
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