Thoughts as the Countdown to Everest ticks toward “go”

The trek to Everest base camp is a once in a lifetime experience. I should be bouncing with excitement but that is not what I feel. I feel unease. I feel unsettled. I read about the side effects of high altitude trekking: weakness, confusion, headaches, insomnia, nausea. This makes me nervous.

I look at the weather and see temperatures in the low teens. And that is at Lukla, elevation 9,300 feet, only half as high as Kalapatthar, our ultimate goal. I think of the previous times that I have been to high altitude. The top of Breckenridge at a hair under 13,000 feet, the top of Mount Democrat at 14,154. When you are on these peaks it is cold and windy and the plan is always to quick snap some pictures and get down. In a couple of weeks, we’ll be at those altitudes and the plan will be to go further up the mountain. We will go nearly a mile higher than anything in the continental United States. This is unsettling.

But this nervousness is in the name of something much greater. Something bigger than my personal discomfort. This trek is not an adrenaline fix. It is not about putting a dent in the bucket list. This is more important than my uneasiness and general anxiety. This trek is about rewriting the medical textbooks. It is about changing the narrative of a disease that just a few years ago had a dismal and short disease course. Multiple myeloma has a new narrative, one that is filled with words like remission, and hope, and dare we say…cure.

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation is a new type of disease charity. One that is focused on real advances. The MMRF is bringing treatments to patients and lighting lanterns of hope for patients everywhere, because if the story of multiple myeloma can be rewritten, so can any disease.

And so we climb. We trek. We hike to altitudes found few places in the world. We do it to call attention to this disease and the patients that are beating it. We are a symbol of a better future and for that I will suppress my anxiety and ignore some discomfort. This is big.


Help me get to the bottom of Everest. Please use this link to donate to the MMRF through Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma

Other posts on my trip to Everest Base Camp


A mile squared, a love letter to RunKeeper

Ten years after starting to use RunKeeper I just crossed 5,280 miles.

5,280 feet in a mile.

5,280 miles.

A mile squared.

My adult running career began with this post by Mac Developer and personal hero, Cabel Sasser.

I was inspired and the following year I bought a pair of Nikes and the Nike+ system and started slogging miles. I ultimately logged over 1,000 miles with the Nike+ system. I loved the Nike+ system. The Nike+ system was tied to the iPod and so it was a late innovation for a technology that was an evolutionary dead-end.

In 2008, I bought my first iPhone, an iPhone 3g, and downloaded one of the first running apps, RunKeeper. It used GPS to log your distance. The early iPhones had lots of holes. RunKeeper couldn’t play music, burned the battery, and crashed my phone. But the program kept getting better. Features came. Features left. The scrappy Boston start-up behind RunKeeper was bought by Big Shoe (Asics). But the program kept getting better.

For awhile I was alternating between Nike+ and RunKeeper. That was until September 19th, 2009. It was my 40th birthday and I went out for my first 20 mile training run. At mile 8, Nike+ crashed my iPod Nano and stopped recording my run. That was the last time I used it. Since that run, RunKeeper has tracked every run. Here is my review of RunKeeper after 1,000 miles. And my review of RunKeeper 2.0. And my review of the first RunKeeper Pro.

Since then I ran a Marathon (a better post), a number of half marathons, I spent a year where I averaged 3 miles/day everyday. And though my running has decreased, as is clear from the nomogram, there are very few months where I failed to get out there and run. I have successfully kept fitness high on the priority list.

Miles per month

Items at the bottom of the to-do-list never get done. And because you never get to the bottom, things that are important can’t be put there. If you only exercise when everything else is complete you will never exercise. You need to take care of yourself before everything else is done. Not before anything else is done, but before everything else is done.

Run on.


Piss and Pus

Piss and Pus (unfinished handout on Hep B and Hep C associated kidney disease, ultimatly I want to add HIV and possibly a bit on post infectious GN)