“The Spirit Carries On”

During my 30-day journey, I experienced a few health scares. The worst one happened when I was in Vang Vieng, Laos. After a 30-minute bike ride, I arrived at a very steep, unpaved road and had to push my bicycle up to get to the very top. Minutes later, I felt like fainting. Though I was able to recover after taking a 2-hour nap, I still questioned my physical condition.

The truth is, I always question my condition. Most of the time, I feel that I’m not healthy or fit enough to conquer a physical challenge. I am a hypochondriac, and my present heart problem is not helping at all.

So when my good college friend, whom I haven’t seen for years, contacted me earlier this year to accompany her on a trip to Mt. Pinatubo, one of the famous active volcanoes in the country, I hesitated for a moment because I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to conquer it.

But I remembered the greatest lines in movie history for the backpacking nomad:

…never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar…Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience. And if it hurts, you know what? It’s probably worth it...

So I didn’t say no.

On January 26, I, along with 2 of my good friends conquered Mt. Pinatubo with less than 2 hours of sleep:

Total km covered = 14
# of hiking hours= 4.5

With my condition, I really thought I wouldn’t make it but I did. And when I reached the crater, I just felt SO ALIVE.

The spirit is always stronger. And I know that I have to constantly remind myself of this.

Till the next trek!

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To Mt. Pinatubo

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At the crater site with our new friends!

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Mt. Pinatubo Crater: Absolutely gorgeous!

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Mt. Pinatubo Crater Lake

PS: I would like to give a shout-out to TRIPINAS for an awesome, well-organized trek. You may check their website for details.

All content and photos are property of Rica’s Rucksack unless indicated. They are not for reproduction, be it for personal or commercial use, without the permission of the author.

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2 thoughts on ““The Spirit Carries On”

  1. Hi! May I know what stage of mitral valve regurgitation do you have? I’m also a hypochondriac and I suppose I faint most of the time due to anxiety than any serious health issues. My recent 2D Echo showed that I have anterior mitral valve prolapse and trivial mitral valve regurgitation. Also, if you wouldn’t mind, may I know the name of your doctor as well as her clinic? I’m not really good with doctors because I’m scared of them and some won’t take me seriously when I complain about chest pains seeing that I am still young (25 here but started seeing cardiologists at age 21), but yours seems to really care about you. If I feel anything, instead of going to a doctor, I’d schedule myself with any diagnostic tests google tells me to.

    • Hi Marie,

      I’m sorry to hear about your situation. We have the same condition basically – trivial regurgitation. A cardiologist once told my family, “Heart attack will not kill you. Anxiety will.” Please keep this in mind. I cannot recommend my doctor because her style may not work for you. My suggestion is for you to have yourself checked by any cardiologist from your trusted hospital instead of relying on Google. Don’t worry, I understand you because I do this as well as a hypochondriac but it’s going to ruin our lives if we keep on relying on the internet for medical advice. So again, go to a hospital, have yourself checked by a cardiologist, and stick with him or her if you feel comfortable. Otherwise, get a 2nd or even a 3rd opinion until you find the right doctor for you. All the best!

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