WARNING: Skip this post if you don’t like hearing about medical issues (or if you’re just tired of hearing me blab about my collar bone).

This post is a little late in coming, but I thought I’d share that I’ve finally received some good news on the collar bone front. I am now mostly “healed.” In this case, “healed” means there is “definitely a connection” between the two pieces of bone. I was hoping for something a bit stronger, but it’s good news even if it doesn’t mean 100 percent. Given that I’m a year out of surgery (and 17 months from the first break), I’ll take anything I can get.

Good times!

Good times!

The important question now is whether my bionic collar bone is ready to hike. Can it handle a backpack strap for 12-14 hours a day? Will the effort slow the healing process even more? Am I mentally ready to put it to the test?

That last one is huge. Even though I have a green light from the doc, I just don’t trust my collar bone. I keep having visions of the plate popping through when I’m on the trail. Which would definitely add a degree of difficulty.

I know that those thoughts are all part of the process. Another step on the journey of learning to trust your body after an major injury. Though I’ve gone through the recovery process several times in the past, this one is different. My prior injuries all involved … let’s say … more organic healing processes. For some weird reason, a bone lined and perforated with chunks of metal is especially intimidating.

Despite those fears, all the evidence I have says that the bone is good enough to go. From the way it feels to my doctor’s opinion and a bunch of 20+ mile training hikes at weight, everything suggests that it’s ready for what the trail has to offer.

As a precaution, I’ve rigged extra padding on my pack strap. The padding leaves my collar bone mostly untouched. It’s performed well on training hikes and I’m relatively confident it’ll do the job. Time to get out on the trail.

Alpamayo Bound!
"100 Percent Covered," or Why I'm No Longer Hiking the JMT in May