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9 Days till Kili: I heart Corn Pops


September, 2016


Kelloggs Corn Pops
I’m on a pre-Kili conference call with all of the amazing women who are taking this trip with me, and our world-renowned mountain guide, Jeff Evans. We’re a large group and we’re such an eclectic bunch it makes me smile. Veterans of war. Veterans of life-threatening illness. Veterans of irrevocable loss. We are all, in our own ways, coping with quiet desperation, and hoping that special bond among women will propel us to climb the damned mountain and come out of it on the other side. So we’re on the call. The details are a little overwhelming. But Jeff tells us confidently that when we look back on this trip, “60 to 70% of the pleasure you will have experienced will be in the preparation for it.” And I almost did a spit take. The run up to Kili has been many things for me, but not what I would call pleasurable. Friends who think I’m crazy. The struggle for cardio stamina that I didn’t give a crap about for years. Getting out of my own head. Talking about it in blogs to the world! It’s a thing, as they used to say on West Wing. But pleasurable? Hardly. We talked about gear, and about tips for the porters, and about meds. About bringing too little and bringing too much. Then the subject turned to high altitude, which can cause many things including an upset stomach. Jeff advised us to have food we really like to eat, so we’ll get something in our system. Like Snickers. He brings Snickers up the mountains, because they’re his favorites. I love Snickers too. So they’ll be going in my bag. And just like that, a tiny bit of pleasurable anticipation crept in. Everybody’s got a guilty pleasure. Mine is absolutely Snickers. My sister Eleanor loved Corn Pops. After she died one of her BFFs shared a note she’d written which said, I Heart Corn Pops. It twisted my heart to read it, because I could hear her voice in those words. I don’t know how anyone who so loved Corn Pops, and dogs, and nephews and nieces, and Pin the Tail on the Turkey at Thanksgiving, could take her own life over drugs. But she did. The note by the bed was devastatingly simple: I don’t want to live. Not like this. I’m an addict. I will think of Corn Pops and my beloved baby sis while I’m snacking on Snickers on Kilimanjaro. And with any luck, I will come out of it on the other side. And climb the mountain too.

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