We’re sitting in the car, waiting for the hail to stop falling from a sky that turns from blue to grey, dark, black within minutes time. For the second time this week I’m heading into the hospital of my hometown in Belgium. Daniel came all the way from our place in Germany to be with me. I’m happy he’s coming with me because I’m too scared to go alone. When the hails stops and the sun starts shining again, we walk towards the big ugly building. It’s new but it’s ugly, all hospitals are ugly. I hate them. I’ve seen enough of them when I was a kid, and when I get into the entry hall, when I smell that smell of disinfectant and illness, it makes my stomac turn.
I don’t have to wait long. The doctor lets me in and looks at the Xrays. Last friday I had them taken, and after a long day of waiting, on friday evening I was told things aren’t okay, they are not okay at all. I spend the weekend trying to distract my mind but it keeps wandering. The PCT, the pct, the pct… o my god, the pct. Is this gonna shatter my dream, keep me from making it come true? The specialist doctor I go to see today is nice and friendly, she asks me about my plans and I tell her about the PCT. Then she looks at the Xrays, and she looks back at me. “You have hip dysplasia.” I fight back my tears. “Let me talk to another doctor,” she says. When she puts down the phone, she tells me there is no way around surgery. And this ain’t an ini mini thing. We’re talking about major surgery, a hip reconstruction, which is gonna take me down for weeks, no months! How come no one has seen this when I was born, ’cause yes a person is born with hip dysplasia and they can treat it when you’re small, how come I only find this out now? 50 frikking days before I leave for my thruhike of the PCT?
“I’m not sure if you’re gonna be able to walk 4000km, ” she says to me. “You are gonna have to be very very careful and you will have to stop as soon as you start limping.” So this is gonna shatter my dream after all?
I tell her there is no way that I’m gonna give up my dream that easily. I can’t give up. I don’t want to. I won’t! I will have the surgery afterwards. These next 6 months are mine. After that they can cut me open and break my bones and do a reconstruction. But not untill I come back from the US.
Daniel and I start thinking of emergency plans. It’s crazy to hike more than 4000km with this defect. O PCT I’ve been dreaming of you for so so long. Why does this happen to me now? I know that is a stupid question to ask ’cause it won’t take me any further. Instead I need to think positive. How are we gonna deal with this? I’m inbetween breaking down and trying to keep my hopes up.
Slowly I start making peace with the thought that I might not become a PCT thruhiker. I struggle with the feeling that I will disappoint everyone, everyone who has been supporting me, sponsoring me, everyone who believes in me. It’s a ridiculous thing to think but I still think it. I’m gonna hike, o yes, but will I thruhike? I hope with all of my heart that I can, but there is a big chance that my body won’t be able to, not with hip dysplasia.
The emergency plan is the only thing that still puts a smile on my face. If I can’t continue hiking, we will buy a special bike, a tandem bike, where I will be able to lay in front (and in that way take the load from my hips) and Daniel will sit in the back. IF we have to get off the PCT due to my hip problem we will ride north along the Sierra Cascades Bicycle Route, which roughly follows the same route as the PCT. We would’t be only riding bike but combine it with shorter hikes on the PCT, like the JMT,… No way that I’m gonna miss the Sierra, Crater Lake, the Cascades… Even with hip dysplasia, I should be able to tackle that. How we are gonna pay for that bike? I don’t know ’cause it’s frikking expensive, but we will find a way. We always find a way.
I’m sitting on my parents couch now; I haven’t got many tears left after all the crying I’ve been doing in the last couple days. The sun is shining, the sky is clear blue, a strong wind is blowing. Like as if no storm ever passed by. But unfortunately it did, and it caused a lot of damage,
but I’m not gonna let it shatter my dream!!!