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Long distance backpacking

User
Posted 02 June 2015 11:19:42(UTC)

I was operated in April 2015 (I'm 70 years) and elected to have my Prostate removed by a Da Vinci robot. Operation went well but I was not happy at first, had an incontinence problem, but a few weeks later I'm almost back to normal.

I also run off road (but not at the moment) and made sure that when I arrived for my operation I was pretty fit. The surgeon was pleased anyway!

My hobby for the past few years has been long distance camping and backpacking, Pennine Way, Coast to Coast, Tour du Mont Blanc, Robert Louis Stevenson Way etc.

It is now June 2015 so I have decided to resume backpacking again and plan to hike Offas Dyke Path, from this Thursday or Friday, it should take me about 10 to 12 days I think. If it proves to be too much I can always dip out at Hay, we shall see.

If all goes well I then plan to hike about 600 miles across the Pyranees from Hendaye (Atlantic Coast) to Banyuls Sur Mere (Med coast) starting from the end of July and finishing in September on the French long distance path the GR10. I have not yet decided on an actual set off date yet.

Are there any other members who enjoy this activity? If so, I'd be happy to hike with others, especially on the GR10.

 

User
Posted 04 June 2017 19:05:26(UTC)

Since having my Prostate removed in 2015 one of the 'side effects' I've noticed is that as I get older I feel more and more restless! I've recently returned from a 12 day hike and camp on the GR4 long distance hiking route in France and came back and told my wife I'll not worry about another journey until later in the year.

I had to confess to her yesterday I just can't keep my word and urgently feel the need to go hiking again. Luckily she's very understanding and encourages me to 'keep at it' so I made the decision that I would walk off again from the 13th June.

I plan to hike the 'Pennine Journey', a 247 mile trek from Settle, up the eastern side of the Pennies to Hexham, about 20 miles along Hadrians Wall and then turn south down the western side of the Pennines. It should take me up to 18 days I think. I'm going to camp all the way which Is what I like most and to visit as many pubs and coffee shops as I can en route.

I can't decide if my restlessness is a consequence of my cancer diagnosis and subsequent operation, or is just part of a normal growing older attitude to life. After all I have less time in front of me now! I am a regular at a local pub and younger people in particular have a habit of criticising me for 'doing my thing' saying things like, your too old, (I'm 72) and you like camping? you walk alone? don't you ever get frightened? I always invite them to join me but they just cannot bear to leave their telly, armchairs and lifestyle for anything over a fortnight a year. After they finish their critisism of me as two youngsters (in their 40s) did the other night, they always but always say something like, "when I go on holiday I just want to relax". Fair enough I say, but if I want to relax I stay at home!

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User
Posted 02 June 2015 12:47:16(UTC)

Um...wow. I feel quite tired just reading your post Gunwharfman.

There are many active members on here, though I think it's mainly running.

Anyway, just wanted to say welcome and hope that you can continue to enjoy your running and walking hobbies.

Personally, and I probably don't know what I'm talking about!!, if the surgery was only on April this year then such a strenuous return to your hobby seems a bit soon?
Obviously only you know how fit you are feeling though.
No wonder you turned up for the operation as a fit man!
Best Wishes
Sandra

We can't control the winds - but we can adjust our sails
User
Posted 03 June 2015 08:41:33(UTC)

I run but will not be resuming that yet, maybe later in the year.

I will soon find out if I have misjudged my health, I set off to Chepstown tomorrow morning. My hiking routine prior to my operation was to hike between 15-20 miles a day, less when in mountains. My yardstick is knowing that 3 years ago I hiked the Pennine Way in 17 days so if all goes well Offas Dyke in 10-12 days should be fine.

I'm going to spend most of today getting my equipment organised. The trick is to take what you need but no more!

I needed to start my life again so from June 1st seemed a good as time as any to begin Since my op I have tried to maintain my fitness, even before the catheter was out I resolved that I would walk around one of my running routes, across a field, into a circular hike of about 2 miles through the woods and then back to the car and home every day.

I started (driving with a catheter in was a 'laugh!) the trees were then bare, but as I walked daily, often gritting my teeth in the early days, (when the catheter came out it was heaven!)) the leaves then began to come out, the bluebells were next and then about an acre of smelly wild garlic. Its has all been very pleasent and I only missed thee days over nearly two months. I found it was a really good way to measure my progress and I noticed hike by hike thatimprovment was a daily thing.

Mind you I have really surprised myself as to how easily I have adapted to my new life, both physically and mentally. I have always been lucky, that throughout my life I have always looked forward to the coming day and this attitude of mind did not change when I was first diagnosed and when and after I had my op. Thank goodness!

User
Posted 03 June 2015 09:05:05(UTC)

.... all I can say is I hope I'm as fit as you are when I'm 70! Enjoy your travels.

dl

 

User
Posted 03 June 2015 09:10:27(UTC)

Good luck on your walk. Your recovery is faster than most, you are very fortunate.

atb

dave

Be content with your choice of treatment at the time you make it. Then make the best of every minute, every hour, every day.
User
Posted 03 June 2015 09:52:42(UTC)
Sounds terrific
I love walking and do quite a bit but cannot manage climbs anymore so I tend to stick to the relative flat of the lincolnshire contryside! the distances you are talking about are way beyond my ability and are amazing not just for a 70 year old but for anyone post RP surgery. Dont push yourself too hard too quickly though.
There was a post a while back from a couple who walked for about 15 days I think staying in little B&Bs along their route. They are avid ramblers but did it this time to raise money for PCUK because their best friend died of PCa, they have written a book about their experiences. I will try and remember where I read it and post the link if I can.

Best wishes for your travels
xx
Mo
User
Posted 03 June 2015 10:05:06(UTC)

Well good luck as you set off today GWM. Hope the sun shines for you.

We can't control the winds - but we can adjust our sails
User
Posted 03 June 2015 10:53:58(UTC)

Thanks everyone. Yes, when I look back over my life I have been fortunate to enjoy pretty good health. I've had a few problems, 6 hernia ops, now all OK and one hiatus hernia difficulty which is ongoing but nothing more than a now and again irritation. I just avoid curries, yoghurts and the like and I'm in control. Human beings are odd, for example my sister and brother are twins. She suffers from severe arthritus whilst he suffers from diabetus (which he tends to ignore!) his problem is his weight and eating too many burgers! One area where I do count myself as very lucky is that I have always been slimish and also have no arthritus whatsoever.

I grew up in the country and at a very early age our mother refused for us 3 kids us to eat meat. She used to watch from the garden in the 50s, cows, pigs and sheep getting injections, pellets and being immersed in all sorts of colourful chemical dips. It freaked her out, so ever since Ive never touched meat, the rest of my family do however.

I used to smoke from about 14 yrs to when I was 30ish. I remember well that at that time No. 6 went up to 20p a packet! I could not cope with that so I gave it up. I still drink wine and beer most days of the week.

Actually, eating and drinking for me that is one of the great pleasures of hiking. I never cook en route, I always aim to find a good coffee and cake shop in the day (cake, my downfall!) and a pub or restaurant in the evening. As I hike alone most of the time its good because it forces me to talk to people and I get the pleasure of regional differences in food as well. I live in the South and at the end of last year on the Coast to Coast, I had a meal with cabbage and swede. Wonderful! To my knowledge cabbage and swede is never served to people in the South?

I have also learned from experience that if I walk for about ten days, even though I eat, eat and drink, I will always come home with at least a half stone weight loss. Cheers!

User
Posted 06 June 2015 06:26:32(UTC)

I'm new to this forum and this post is very encouraging. I had the Da Vinci op followed by 32 RT 'cookings' in 2013. Throughout that time I used to walk every morning and go to bed in the afternoon. I now have a regime of minimum 20 miles per week and have averaged 28 so far this year. - I have a spreadsheet which is a bit anal I know! I'm gradually walking the 600+ mile south west coast path over a few years and have completed about 80%. Last year I walked in Albania (terrific) and in May I trekked to Annapurna Base Camp. This week I started HT so am hoping to keep this up. I think the spreadsheet approach might help me to focus on fitness.

User
Posted 10 June 2015 07:58:17(UTC)

Honestly, I got tired just reading your two posts Ceedee and GWM.
IF it works for you, well done, cake and all. Love a bit of cake I do!!
Just come back from a few days camping and made a huge fruit cake to take with us. I pack it with everything, the normal fruits plus seeds and this time included dried Montmorency cherries. I'm taking the juice for my arthritis so when the other half saw a big bag of dried cherries he treated me.
However, he appears to have developed a real taste for them himself!!
Keep well, keep walking.
I can manage 5 miles if I'm lucky and that's an improvement on last year when I could barely walk and certainly couldn't manage stairs.
All the best
Sandra

We can't control the winds - but we can adjust our sails
User
Posted 13 June 2015 15:55:17(UTC)

I hiked most of Offas Dyke over 9 hiking days but in the end ran out of time and needed to get home. I had had my op in April and had told myself that from 1st June I was going to resume normal life. I was a bit nervous when I got to Chepstow but soon realised that even with my rucksack on my back I felt good. My first night in my tent went well, as in fact did all the others. I experienced a bit of rain, the worst day was on top of Black Mountain. The wind was so strong I had real trouble trying to stay upright!

A really good hike, it had all of the ingreadients I look for, mountains, rivers, valleys, woods, fields, etc, etc plus of course pubs, beer and pretty good food.

My physical strength was really tested between Kington to Knighton, the ups and downs in that area were very hard at times.

The only time my prostate problem bothered me was always on the downhill bits. It was so easy to jar my body as I stood on rocks, or had to make a real effort to steady myself from falling headlong. These clumsy body movements showed me that my bladder control could still be a bit wooley to say the least! I often felt that I had either just wet myself a little, or just thought I had wet myself, but on checking I hadn't. Very irritating to say the least and I seemed to spend a lot of time going, or trying to go to the toilet.

I had taken some pads with me 'just in case' (I bought and cut some cheap saitary towels into 3 pieces) but I did run out at one point. I then popped into a small shop and bought some more. When I go hiking again I have to re-think how best to manage this problem. Hopefully, even this difficulty may pass soon?

I now know what to plan for post op, it was so easy pre-op!

User
Posted 13 June 2015 19:01:18(UTC)
Hi GWM
Wow you did amazingly well, such an encouraging post for others. It's funny but I have always found going down a rocky slope much harder than going up it my engine must be better than my brakes I think!!
The wind here was frightful on a couple of days last week so out on those remote hills it must have been extremely hard work.

Reading your post has given me the kick up the backside I need to motivate myself for my cycling trip in the Vendee in just over a weeks time.
If you can do all you have at 70 just 2 months after RP then as a sub 60 woman blessed with reasonably good health I really must try harder.
Thanks for sharing and best wishes for your next big adventure.

Xx
Mo
User
Posted 21 June 2015 17:21:20(UTC)

I made a big decision the other day! I actually booked a flight to Bordeaux and I plan to start hiking the GR10 in France on the 24th July. Its now done so no longer just a thought in my head, its now become a reality! As my wife is away for a few days I decided to bring out ALL of my backpacking gear and its now strewn all over our lounge floor! I've had great fun these last two days and have even practiced erecting and then taking down my tent with a blindfold on. Nothing worse than trying to erect a tent in the dark and even more so if its raining as well.

My plan is to try to streamline the packing of all of my equipment, to learn new and better ways to pack my rucksack and I have been carrying out 'dummy' runs on how I best use, rotate, wash and dry my clothing en-route. I've always been surprised as to how 'difficult' it is to pack a rucksack properly. It looks easy but when it becomes your home, even for a week or two weeks, it suddenly becomes difficult! I've also designed myself a small 'prostate help kit' to help me if I experience any urine leakage and to ensure that I can instantly keep my self 'fresh' at all times as they say on the adverts.

During the next couple of weeks I will hike a few long day routes just to ensure I minimise the problem of blisters and that my boots are fully run in. I do not have to worry about the rest of my kit, its well proven and I know it works in all weathers.

Since I made the decision, that as from 1st June I would stop being a patient and start living my 'normal' life again I find my hiking hobby is like a new therapeutic experience for me. I've always wanted to canoe as well but never learned to swim. Maybe next year?

User
Posted 14 November 2015 18:26:31(UTC)

It seems a long while ago since I hiked the GR10 in France. After some pressure from my son he persuaded me to write a blog about my prostate difficulty, the events leading up to my hike and about my hike as well.

If anyone fancies a look please go to 'gunwharfman.wordpress.com'.

Its not finished yet and I still haven't downloaded all of my photos but I've had a go.

On Monday I plan to hike and camp for a few days in the Lake District. If the weather is really bad I'll go into the YHA for a few days.

I ended up with a hernia on my hike but have now seen the surgeon and I hope to have the repair done in December.

At this moment I feel really well, touch wood!

User
Posted 14 November 2015 21:47:58(UTC)
Hi my friend. If you find yourself in Borrow dale check in to the yha my nephew Chris is the manager there. They do great food a good pint and have amazing grounds.
Xx
Mo

By the way he looks after the Keswick one too
User
Posted 18 December 2015 12:22:13(UTC)

From the 90s I've been plagued by right inguinal hernia difficulties. Up until 2015 I had been repaired 4 times. In April 2015 I had my prostate removed and of course the surgeon had to cut through the last hernia repair to do the prostate operation. When finished he had to do anther hernia repair as he came out of my abdomen. I then did a 500 miles hike over 40 plus days and whilst on route found that his repair had failed and I ended up with yet another inguinal hernia.

My hospital was great, they offered me a repair within a month of getting back to the UK, which I had to cancel, so they offered me another date soon after. I went in as a Day Patient last Saturday 12th December. I was in at 12.00 noon and home at 5.30pm. When I had my very first hernia op, years ago I was an in-patient for 10 days! How things change! Crossing my fingers now that this operation has worked and that I will never be bothered with the problem again.

During the past few days I have reflected on the past few months and for me one thing is certain, I do not regret having my prostate removed at all. OK, I can't get an erection any more but I am not bothered about this, I am fit, I can still run and hike so I feel content with my lot and am so pleased that I am not on any medication whatsoever. I have met a few people like me, who like me are fine, but for those who chose or had to have non-surgical treatment, I haven't met a happy one yet.

I watched the Robert Redford film 'Walk in the Woods' yesterday, it was only just OK, a disappointment really but there were one or two telling moments where I thought, I've done that, I certainly wouldn't do that and so on.

All I want to do now is to get past Christmas and New Years Eve and I can then start planning holidays and activity again. I have in mind to hike the GR5, 25 days from Lake Geneva to Nice! Not totally sure yet. A Happy Christmas and New Year to everyone.

User
Posted 18 December 2015 16:00:35(UTC)

Glad you got that sorted GWM and so quickly too.

Hope this repair is now permanent.

I feel tired just reading what you've already achieved let alone your future plans.

We can't control the winds - but we can adjust our sails
User
Posted 18 December 2015 17:03:49(UTC)

Hi gunwharfman,pleased you happy with your operation decision etc but not very encouraging for those undergoing radiotherapy etc when you say haven't met one happy one yet,depressing!

User
Posted 18 December 2015 19:52:46(UTC)

Let's hope no further repairs become necessary so please don't push too hard too soon!!

As regards men not being happy following treatment other than surgery in your experience, this may be partly a coincidence and partly due to your lifestyle and the people you meet. In general, younger men tend to have surgery as they are fitter and stronger and often diagnosed earlier. Surgeons tend to want to operate on these men whose chance of success is greatest. Those who are older, maybe not so fit, possibly have other problems and/or whose cancers are diagnosed later with cancers that more advanced and success is less likely, tend to have RT and/or other treatment. This is not so much a measure of the success of treatments but the suitability and staging of patients.

I have a friend who had surgery but needed follow up HT/RT. His PSA has been stable and negligible for many years now and he is happy but wishes he had just had the RT and not had the surgery which caused him some severe problems.

All small scale anecdotal so please don't set any great store by this.

Barry
User
Posted 18 December 2015 19:55:05(UTC)

Yep, John would be in that camp too

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard


User
Posted 14 April 2016 17:37:40(UTC)

A year has passed since my Prostate was surgically removed. I was 71 a few days ago. At the moment I feel so lucky, no medication to worry about and I have about 95% control over my bladder. Its only the odd sneeze that makes me scamper to the bathroom. The only downside that I am aware of is, that I can no longer get an erection. I decided months ago to just get on with my life and to now worry about it. As a result of my prostate operation I also managed to get a hernia in August 2015 but this was repaired in December 2015. In at 12.00 noon, home at 17.30hrs.

To celebrate my year I met up with a few blokes in Glenridding in the Lake District a short while ago. I drank and ate with them for two nights and hiked with them for one whole day. We climbed Hellvellyn on a gloriously sunny day. We planned to come down from Hellvellyn via Striding Edge but due to lots of snow (it also snowed in the night) we took the long route back. About 12 miles, it was great!

I then left them as planned and hiked and wild camped the Dales Way (about 85miles) from Windermere to Leeds by myself over five days and nights, chilly at times, but for me, worth doing. I ate and drank in some really good quality pubs, I especially liked the Dalesman in Sedburgh.

After a winter of resting and convalescing to ensure my hernia was fully repaired I was feeling rather down but my climb and hike has really lifted my spirits once again. I hope my present good mood continuous.

User
Posted 14 April 2016 18:07:47(UTC)

Happy belated birthday gwm!

Good to hear you're chugging about the countryside, and benefiting from the Spring weather.

User
Posted 08 June 2016 12:38:47(UTC)

I began to realise that I experienced a psychological setback recently. Although my last hernia repair has been successful I started to feel a bit negative about myself, my wife thinks it was the accumalative effects of how, in reality, my life has changed somewhat. From enjoying good health all of my life to getting diagnosed with prostate cancer and the continuation of my hernia problems dragged me down, more than I wanted to admit. My last op in Jan 2016 was my 6th hernia repair or was it my 7th? I got into a frame of mind where I lacked confidence to hike or run in because of the fear that I could develop the problems all over again.

I have worked through this down-mood now, the lighter evenings and better weather have really lifted my spirits. I recently, in a mad moment, decided to hike the Pennine Way again, my 3rd time. My first day was dreadful, from Kirk Yetholme to Byness, (about 26 miles) it rained hard all day, its was foggy for most of the day and I was blasted by high winds as well. To top it all, my 'new' (6 months old) WATERPROOF hiking boots leaked like a sieve after the first mile! Walking this distance, on rocks, across moorland and having to wade through stream,s and soggy peat areas with wet feet was such a depressing experience! It took me nearly three days to get my brain into optomistic mode again. In the past I would have just bounced back in a few hours but not this time!

I eat and drink in pubs as I hike and the variety of beers and food on offer was great with the bonus of chatting to the locals and tourists was great fun. I'm off again in a few days to hike the Cotswold Way so I'm hoping that my mood does not change for the worse again?

User
Posted 08 June 2016 17:03:59(UTC)
Originating from the South Cotswolds myself I would say that you would be hard pressed to feel down among such lovely countryside, food, drink and people. Soak in the views from Selsley Common looking towards the Severn and it is guaranteed to lift anyone's spirits.
All power to your elbow (and feet). Enjoy.
All the very best.
Kevan
User
Posted 08 June 2016 17:56:01(UTC)

Way to go - Gunwharfman!

 

 

User
Posted 19 May 2017 10:47:04(UTC)

Well things are looking up! In December, whilst off road running in the woods I pulled a ham string muscle. Boy did that hurt! It stopped me doing most things I like to do, for example in January and February I could only hobble! Gradually it started to feel better and in May i flew to Nice, caught a bus to Grasse and then hiked and camped 12 days on the GR4 route, finally ending my walk at Manosque. I then caught a coach to Marseille airport and flew back home.

I was surprised in some ways, my leg hurt for the first 3 days, especially when walking downhill, due I think to the very rocky foot paths! Four days from the end and from then on, no problems or pain at all! Yippee! I also lost 3kilos, which is normal when I'm 'on the trail'!

I had a scary moment or two with wild boar, but that's another story!

As for my Prostate, well nothing really to report. I feel well, I'm active, my mood is good and I now feel like another hike in June. I'd love to hike the GR20 in Corsica but just can't make up my mind if I should make the effort and take on the risks? Its reputed to be the hardest hike in Europe, 16 days of madness evidently.

So two years later what has my op left me with. I can't get an erection any more (which doesn't bother me) I'm 72 now, why worry about it! The problem that's more of a bother, is that since my operation I tend to get constipated quickly, this can make me feel a bit gruesome until I sort it out. Is this a normal side effect do you think, or is it just me?

User
Posted 19 May 2017 12:15:52(UTC)

Welcome home X

We can't control the winds - but we can adjust our sails
User
Posted 04 June 2017 19:05:26(UTC)

Since having my Prostate removed in 2015 one of the 'side effects' I've noticed is that as I get older I feel more and more restless! I've recently returned from a 12 day hike and camp on the GR4 long distance hiking route in France and came back and told my wife I'll not worry about another journey until later in the year.

I had to confess to her yesterday I just can't keep my word and urgently feel the need to go hiking again. Luckily she's very understanding and encourages me to 'keep at it' so I made the decision that I would walk off again from the 13th June.

I plan to hike the 'Pennine Journey', a 247 mile trek from Settle, up the eastern side of the Pennies to Hexham, about 20 miles along Hadrians Wall and then turn south down the western side of the Pennines. It should take me up to 18 days I think. I'm going to camp all the way which Is what I like most and to visit as many pubs and coffee shops as I can en route.

I can't decide if my restlessness is a consequence of my cancer diagnosis and subsequent operation, or is just part of a normal growing older attitude to life. After all I have less time in front of me now! I am a regular at a local pub and younger people in particular have a habit of criticising me for 'doing my thing' saying things like, your too old, (I'm 72) and you like camping? you walk alone? don't you ever get frightened? I always invite them to join me but they just cannot bear to leave their telly, armchairs and lifestyle for anything over a fortnight a year. After they finish their critisism of me as two youngsters (in their 40s) did the other night, they always but always say something like, "when I go on holiday I just want to relax". Fair enough I say, but if I want to relax I stay at home!

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User
Posted 05 June 2017 07:55:10(UTC)

Well, whatever is causing it - keep at it and good luck!

We can't control the winds - but we can adjust our sails
User
Posted 07 July 2017 13:34:03(UTC)

I've just finished a 12 day, around 200 mile hike, in my one man tent on a walk called the Pennine Journey. Weather was not so good at times, cold and windy on the moors and one continuous period of rain, with dense mist on the mountain tops, which lasted for three days. Eventually I was wet from head to toe! Anyway, my spirits were lifted, I still get a warm glow at knowing I can still do this. The hardest part of my hike was on two mornings, due to the rain, I had to pack everything into my rucksack whilst inside my tent! Now that I'm 72 my body isn't as flexible as it used to be, so I did a lot of cursing and grunting as I tried to move around the available floor space.

En route I met three separate men who were having urinary flow problems, two had already been diagnosed. All three were being 'manly' about it but once in conversation I could tell that they were so nervous about treatment. One was in a real dilemma about radio therapy and/or surgery. I hope that after telling them of my experience each would go home, make their decision like I had to and move on in life.

I'm still restless and am already planning my next hike but cannot depart until 24th July. Not sure where I want to go yet?

 
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