Training for Alaska

Still using the traditional underarm aluminum crutches, I’ve been anxious to find something better.  To learn more about crutches and prosthetics, Thursday morning I had an appointment with Robb Brown of Strong Orthotics and Prosthetics.  Up to this point I had been told that there really isn’t a very good prosthetic for people with a hip disarticulation because there is no stump with mobility to attach it to. Not the case, I was very impressed to see that they have a prosthetic that combines the Helix Hip Joint and C-Leg Knee that restores an incredible amount of functionality using a microprocessor control.  However, it also comes at a cost of approximately $80,000.  Although my insurance would cover a majority of the expense, I’m just not ready to spend the time or money not knowing what my prognosis is at this time.  For now, I think I would still be happiest with a pair of SideStix forearm crutches.

In the afternoon Ryan came back to our house for some lunch.  It was great to have someone to pick on me as I ate my organic chicken salad sandwich, carrots, almonds, and green tea.  And even better, we had someone to help polish off our leftover unhealthy food.  I felt good about what I was eating, but craved Ryan’s lunch the entire time.

After having eaten such a healthy lunch and feeling good, it seemed like a great time to get out of the house and go for a short hike.  Earlier in the Spring, we had driven to Chimney Bluffs on the east side of Sodus Bay and turned around from the freezing winds coming off the lake, so we went back for another attempt. It was a great opportunity to get off the pavement, start climbing around on some cliffs, and learn to navigate more rugged terrain like sand and small stone.  Our short hike exhausted me, but it was great to be back outside hiking and exploring.


About bhoefen

Going on a road trip.
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12 Responses to Training for Alaska

  1. Aaron says:

    VERY impressive Bret! I’m jealous of your day of hiking and being outside! Are you gearing up for Mt. Marcy?

  2. Makiko says:

    Bret, I’m having a hard time imagining climbing that incline with just one leg. The need for a high degree of balance, coordination and strength is evident. I’m amazed that you did that!

  3. Peggy says:

    You scared me to death climbing up that rocky hill- i’m gonna tell yo momma!!!
    no really, you are truly amazing and with your incredible inner strength,,, i think you may just beat this thing!!!! keep on keeping on…

  4. John VanDelinder says:


    No shame in eating healthy! Almonds and organic chicken should be staples of everyone’s diet…almonds happen to be just about my favorite food. Keep it up! You actually reminded me of a documentary film I haven’t yet seen but sounds intriguing and which may be of interest to you…called “The Beautiful Truth”. It deals with the premise that diet can cure cancer and other diseases. It’s available for streaming if you have netflix. Keep up the good work…you look great and you truly are inspiring. Thanks for sharing your journey.


  5. Dad says:

    Unbelievable, Bret – less than 2 weeks after major surgery. You have amazing perseverance – always have had it.

  6. Judy Lynd says:

    Bret…you are amazing…keep climbing!

  7. Marsha DeNee says:

    Bret, I actually held my breath and then cheered outloud when you reached the top of that rough hill! My dogs jumped up barking over the ruckus:)….I taught in W. Elementary and retired about same time as your mom. Your blog and a cup of coffee start my day. Your zest for life and optomistic approach to each hurdle you have before you testify to what heights one can reach. Thank you for sharing your amazing journey.

    • Bob Cownie says:

      My favorite photo is the last one…you and Shannon, arms supporting each other as you gaze out at the beauty of the lake… A beautiful partnership grounded in commitment and love. How blessed you are to be together during your ride.
      You both continue to amaze and inspire me….Carry on.

  8. Kristen says:

    You are awesome. I am following your posts and am so happy to see you out enjoying the world. You are a huge inspiration.
    Also, try Tazo Zen green tea, it’s my favorite.

  9. Uncle Lee and Aunt Sharon says:

    You’re something else, Bret! Approx. two weeks post-op and you’re climbing up cliffs and navigating like a pro! Truly AMAZING!!!! The picture of you at the top of the cliff with your crutches raised high in the air reminds me of Rocky Balboa in the first Rocky movie. Your incredible determination and perseverance will not only lead you in the right direction but you will soar to new heights! Make up your mind to do it and you can do anything! We knew your mind was made up back on that picnic table! Maybe we should nickname you “The Conqueror”! 🙂

  10. Marianne Borrelli says:

    Wow! You gave me the kick in the pants I needed to go out and join the gym! Seriously. Living a healthier life sounds real good at this point!! You are so awe-inspiring.
    We are looking forward to seeing you, Shannon and the family this week at Mary’s. Keep up the great work and eating Healthy . I’m counting on you!!!!

  11. schmobin says:

    Hey Bret, I was just doing some googling on the helix hip and came across your post. I’ve been a HD for about 14 years now–if you have any questions about doing stuff on crutches, or prosthetics or anything at all feel free to ask. schmobin at gmail.

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