The Pembrokeshire Walkies || Part 1

On the 17th June 2017 over 15 days, Jamie and I walked 186 miles of rough coastal path. This blog ended up being the result. I’ll feed it to you in four parts because, as you can imagine, it ended up being very long! So, in part one we look at who Jamie and I are in a bit more detail, why we did this in the first place and our entire kit list. Thanks for checking in!

The Pembrokeshire Walkies Pt.1

Me (Hannah) 

Hi. I’m Hannah. I’m 24 years old and I’ve spent the majority of my adult life running, climbing, paragliding and hiking the Brecon Beacons. I was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at 18 months old. My parents worked relentlessly to raise me into a happy, healthy, determined young human being.

Unfortunately, at the age of 16 my determination for my own health withered as exams, boys and hair straighteners became more important. My health took a big hit and I spent the next 3 years in and out of hospital every 6 months.

When I was about 20, I had just gone into hospital for about the 4th or 5th time, I had grown a drug resistant micro bacteria on my lungs after just recovering from 6 hectic weeks of fighting off an MRSA infection (the tablets for which turned all of my body fluids orange – even my sweat and tears). So once again, I was hooked up to an IV machine. These drugs made everything taste metallic and made me smell like cat wee (I wish I was joking). Do you know how easy this life became? The ‘sickie’ life? To lie in bed and have all of my meals and meds brought to me? Very. I don’t know when or why but I remember crying about it all night somewhere in the middle of those two weeks. How did I allow this to happen to my own body? Was this really it from now on? Had I dug myself in too deep?

When I left hospital that time around I told my doctor that he’d never see me in that bed again – he chuckled. That was 4 years ago and I haven’t looked back. I’ve taught myself to be grateful and humble every day. I train hard, I swim wild and I meditate on the regular. I force my lungs to work and then take time to thank them.

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Jamie

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 24 after a stressful year of travelling backwards and forwards to university and a few other life changing events that happened, I booked a few appointments with doctors to try and figure out what was going on. I was having lots of symptoms that linked to diabetes but it was actually only 6 months later, after various appointments that I was actually tested and diagnosed.

I went into a career path of tree surgery (on top of being a drummer for a couple of different bands and projects in my spare time). In both situations, I found it very difficult to closely monitor my blood sugar levels due to my constantly fluctuating adrenaline levels (I also never found appropriate times to test my blood sugars as I was always in trees). I was really stubborn and was more concerned about not letting diabetes affect my life. I am much more disciplined now and I do always have to make sure my blood sugar levels are stable. I try to avoid hypers (sugar levels too high) and hypos (sugar levels too low) as much as possible – both affect my ability to concentrate and stay alert; which is imperative when you’re 20 feet off the ground.

In the next couple of weeks, I am due to be fitted with an insulin pump, which will dramatically decrease the amount of times I have to inject a day (at the moment I am injecting 8-10 times a day, yet the pump only has to be changed every three days). It will also decrease the amount of medical supplies I will have to carry with me.

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So why on earth are we doing this?

Good question. We are doing this in support of two charities; The Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Diabetes UK For very similar reasons, these two charities are incredibly close to our hearts.

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Pre-Walk Jitters

So here’s a list of things I have freaked out over:

  • All my joints will give up on me at the same time
  • Jellyfish
  • We will forget to buy food, get stuck miles from anywhere and I’ll have to eat Jamie.
  • We will forget to pack something totally obvious… like sun cream.
  • What if Jamie and I run out of things to talk about?
  • Gigantic Atlantic storms
  • Weaver Fish – Seriously.
  • I will be ‘that guy’ and fall down a cliff
  • What if we enjoy it too much and just decide to keep walking forever?

Training

So how do you get better at walking? Yoga, hill walking with lots of weight (surprise?) and patience. Walking 12-17 miles a day isn’t too intense so we are focusing equally on our mental training too – (This means choosing to train on days when the weather is particularly nasty and lots of slow yin yoga). A lot of our trip will be having to deal with situations that our out of our control so we need to up our patience game quite substantially.

We also need to suss out what food can keep us sustained for a decent amount of time – this means lots of carbs (particularly for Jamie) and also food that doesn’t weigh too much; everything has to be able to be cooked in a 2.8L pot coupled with an Optimus Crux stove.

Due to my lungs being rubbish, I have to do about an hour of airway clearance a day – I found that climbing, running and burpees are the best way of doing that. On the particularly hilly long days, the walk alone should be enough physio for me. On the shorter days however, I will have to do a little bit more clearance on top of the walking. Jamie’s by Advertise” href=”#43736146″> blood sugars can also be unstable at best. However, he was recently fitted with an insulin pump. This takes away the need for him to take half a tonne of needles with him. It’s too soon to tell if he’ll get on with the pump in the long run, but hopefully we’ll figure that out within the next month.

 

The General Kit

  • Wild Country Hoolie 2 tent
  • Exped Ultra-Light air beds x 2 (+ Pump)
  • Mountain Equipment Helium 250 sleeping bags x 2
  • Osprey Kestrel 48
  • Osprey Kyte 36
  • Sea To Summit X-Pot set 31 (inc. 2.8L Pot, 2 x bowls, 2 x cups)
  • Sea To Summit X-Pan
  • Optimus Crux stove
  • Medium gas canisters x 3
  • Trek ‘n ‘Eat Meals x 6
  • Cutlery sets x 2
  • XS Microfiber towel
  • Trailblazers Guide
  • OS Maps
  • Petzl head torches x 2
  • Poop shovel and loo-roll
  • First aid kit
  • Insect repellent
  • Powertraveller Discovery
  • Microfiber towels x 2
  • Platypus 1L Soft-Bottle x 2
  • Source water bladder 2L
  • Trekitt Bottles x 2
  • Lifeventure Biodegradable Soap x 2
  • Lighter
  • Rab group shelter (2 person)
  • Dry Bag set (4) x 2
  • Sunglasses
  • Phones and Cables

 

The Clothes

  • Water Proof Sets
  • Pants x 3
  • Socks x 2
  • Sports Bra x 1
  • Swimmie things
  • Base layer set x 1
  • Light Insulated Jacket x 1
  • Shorts x 1
  • Vests / Short sleeved by Advertise” href=”#81872215″> t-shirt x 3
  • Non waterproof trousers x 1
  • Gloves
  • Cap

 

The Shoes

  • Zamberlan Trail Lite
  • Aku Alterra

 

The Meds

Hannah:

  • Ivacaftor x 40
  • Salt Tablets x 80
  • Multivitamins x 20
  • Vitamin E x 20

Jamie:

  • 1 vile Novarapid
  • 1 vile Novarapid (pen form)
  • 1 Humulin
  • 1 Glucagon shot
  • 3 Gluco gels
  • 75 lacets
  • 200 test strips
  • Novarapid Pen
  • Humulin Pen
  • Injection cup
  • 25 4mm Needles
  • 6 Catheters
  • 6 syringes

See you next week for part 2, where we actually get down to some walking!

H

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