|2004-07-26 - A big shock have hit the Exped
It’s with great disappointment and anger that we now have to face this fact:
I can’t continue with the expedition!
The problem is my heart. It just can’t handle 6 months of extreme cold which is expected during this Expedition. Kolyma is the coldest inhabited place on earth.
When I was 7 years of age I went through a difficult heart surgery and even though I a couple of years later was declared medically fit, we have always had to have this in mind during preparations for this and former expeditions. Therefore, we always go through thorough medical tests before leaving on any Expedition, and this one was no exception. This time, to our great shock, it was discovered that I had a leaking heart and due to this, that the blood circulation in my right lower leg wasn’t good. This wouldn’t be any cause of great concern if I wouldn’t have this odd job, therefore my doctors showed grave concern and said that I would seriously put my life in danger if I headed off to this place of extreme cold. But after some time of deep thinking and calculating we decided to go ahead with all plans. Throughout our exploring lives we’ve been able to find solutions most people wouldn’t think about. We realized that the best option would be to go to the gate of Kolyma, Magadan, and try to find a solution there. Through a contact we found out that one of the most renowned scientist in the world, regarding polar research and human adaptation to cold, lived there. Dr Arkady Maximov, at the Artic Institute. We also wanted to investigate the possibilities to organize a rescue operation and how effective it would be, if Titti realized she couldn’t make it. We were sure to find a positive solution.
We’re now staying as honored guests at the Institute. We’ve been here almost a week and we’ve gone through every little detail meticulously. The answers are all negative. According to Dr Maximov, a major part of all the far too early deaths amongst people who’s living in extremely cold climates is due to the fact that their hearts are not up to it. A winter along the Kolyma would therefore kill me. No doubt about that. On top of that we realized that a rescue operation would take days and would cost us at least 50 000 dollars. This is reality. I am deeply disappointed!
What to do?
First of all, I cannot explain the sadness I feel not only for myself, but also for Mikael and Johan who’s just lost a partner in work, that means 30% more work and they’re stuck with a lot of unnecessary equipment and weight. And I feel extremely sad for all our sponsors and everybody else who’s looked forward to our expedition. But, I hope, and think, that I not being there won’t change the possibilities of a successful Expedition. I have to say that the possibilities look better than ever and I am sure the two of them will return back to the modern world with a unique material.
I am not giving up on the expedition, though, I will as fast as possible return back home and take the seat as a project leader, trying to help the two as much as I can. A major part for me on the Expedition was supposed to be me giving everything a female perspective and try to understand the ways of the women we would come across, but maybe I can do a lot of that by satellite phone and email. This scientific work of ours feels incredibly important and necessary. Of course, I wish that reality would be different, but one has to take a positive attitude even though I know that I will probably face one of the hardest times of my life know. You see, I love this life so much, it is so rich and rewarding, and I’ve spent 2½ years preparing for it, for example sleeping outdoors throughout this last winter, and now…it feels so…I don’t know….unnecessary.