Pause Update No. 5: Big Announcement

Posted from Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico.

One of my new favorite quotes:  “Don’t judge my path if you haven’t walked my journey.” (Anonymous)

If you’ve been following our website, you already know that I have been having considerable issues with my ankle (stemming from previous surgeries) since this past spring.  If not, you can get caught up on my situation by reading this previous post and then this one.  After leaving Pepe in Mexico in June and heading back to the U.S. for medical treatment during the summer, my original plan was to arrive in Oaxaca city in late October and stay with Pepe until early January, when we would then head to the coast for a few weeks.  But sometimes life interferes with plans and alterations need to be made.

During my time in Minnesota this summer, I spent countless hours listening to the professional opinions from medical specialists and obtaining alternate professional opinions.  After spending time talking with close friends and family and spending unending quiet hours with myself, I have made an epic and very personal decision:  I am choosing to have my left leg amputated below the knee.  Although it is the most drastic of all options, the universal consensus is that it will be by far the most beneficial.  Sometime during the first half of 2013, Apollo will be returning north to deliver me into the safe hands of my award-winning orthopedic surgeon in Minneapolis.  After surgery I will remain in the U.S. for a long recuperation time and be propelled forward by my inspiring team of professional amputation rehabilitation specialists.

Yes, this decision is huge.  I have taken the past five months – practically every waking minute without exaggeration – to make this decision.  And now that the decision has been made, I am moving forward and attempting to prepare myself for life after amputation.

To help in this process, Pepe and I have made a decision to alter our November and December plans.  Pepe will remain in Oaxaca and I will spend the next two months living quietly on my own at a charming ocean beach campground directly on the Gulf of Mexico, just a few hours down the mountain from the city of Oaxaca.  Well, although the beach isn’t that far away in miles, it does take a full day to drive to as you wind down the beautiful mountain switchbacks from Oaxaca.  I will be camping in Apollo and Maggi for the entire time, staying in one location, and finding a daily routine of working on strengthening my soul energy in order to prepare for life after surgery.

I will be doing plenty of relaxing and reading, since in my brief time in Oaxaca city it has become more and more uncomfortable to walk long distances, even with my brace and cane.  But I am VERY excited to have the opportunity to not only quietly meditate on my situation, but also to continue practicing Reiki on myself; I have taken three all-day classes while here in Oaxaca, and it has proven to be quite helpful to myself and my ankle.

The next two months are a change of plans from what our original plans for November and December were, but I am extremely excited to do this and am grateful that I have the free time and resources to perform this soul energy strengthening plan.

After discussing this with Pepe, he too is of the belief that my time on my own will be beneficial for my mental health prior to undergoing surgery.  And to be honest, this is something I’ve always wanted to do – although when I envisioned this scenario in my fantasies, it was always in Tibet on a mountain top, not on a Mexican coast, and not because I was facing a surgery that would irreversibly alter my life forever.  Two months is a long time, but I’m confident that this is the right path for me right now.  I will have very limited connection to family and friends, but I will certainly be able to reassure everyone that I am doing fine.

In early January, as we had originally planned, I will pick up Pepe in Oaxaca and together we will head to the Oaxacan coast for a few weeks before making our way back to the United States.

I’m sure there are questions, confusion, concerns, and/or comments.  Please trust me when I say that I’ve been through all of them already on my own and that I am ready for this.

But Pepe and I would both really appreciate your sending any positive energy you can spare to both of us as we attempt to find our way through this ordeal.

Thank you all for your past support as well as your continued support.  Where this leaves “Apollo’s Journey,” as we’ve been calling our drive through Americas, is unknown at this time.  But this change of plans will certainly be its own adventure.

Love and positive energy to you all!


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18 Responses to Pause Update No. 5: Big Announcement

  1. Gail O says:

    Dear Erik and Joe,
    It never ceases to amaze how real life can interfere with our best-laid plans! Although Erik’s solution is really drastic, I’m sure that’s the right decision for him. I haven’t a clue what I would do in such a situation, but it seems you’re at peace. You will surely go on “the road not taken”, which, to further quote Robert Frost, “makes all the difference”. I send you both positive warm thoughts and hope to cross paths with you in the near future.

  2. Anna Dennis says:

    Dear Erik and Pepe,

    I can’t know what you feel at this crossroad. However, as you wish, we send oceans of healing and warm positive energy to both of you. With each day….especially as you meditate, travel, and approach surgery…we’ll be thinking of you.

    Love & blessings to you both!

    Anna & Karen

  3. Randy H says:

    A well thought out and rational decision is never wrong, although certainly doesn’t mean it’s not stressful! Oscar Pistorius’s running in the 2012 Olympics with two prosthesis did wonders in challenging society’s perceptions of what amputees can do this past year. I hope you can draw inspiration from him, or Aron Lee Ralston, whose book “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” was adapted into the movie “127 Hours,” and shows how heroic an amputation decision can be. Here’s a link that discusses his ordeal and life lessons learned:

    I strongly suspect you’ll have zero regrets with this decision–quality of life is more important than society’s superficial hangups about prosthesis. Best wishes, and thanks for keeping us updated!

  4. Peg Sutherland says:

    What a horrible decision to be faced with. I am sorry you have been suffering so much, and that it has to come to this. I know, however, that you will make the best of it, and continue to live a great life. Prayers for your comfort and peace through this process. Love to Joe, too, of course.


  5. Alice Williams says:

    Dear Erik & Joe,
    I’m so sorry to hear your news. I, too, am sending you all the positive energy I can as you take this detour in your journey. I hope the next couple of months bring you peace and strength. Please take care of each other.


  6. BethAnne says:

    Peace. Positive Engery. Healing. Grace. And above all things, love.

  7. JoAnn says:

    After reading your post, I can hear the courage and calmness in your decisions. Your path is amazing in so many ways and so are you. Much love. JoAnn

  8. Cathy from Canmore says:

    Erik, grace under pressure helped you make a courageous decision. Now you’re being held in and helped by the hearts of many. Take very gentle care of yourself. Pepe, you as well.

  9. Merie says:

    We’re all sending you lots of positive energy from ND! We think of you both often and your amazing journey – in all its dimensions.

  10. Mark says:

    Erik… Just because it is me….. what you gonna do with all the extra shoes??? Congrats on the decision.. the hard part is over… get rehabbed and get down here…

  11. Jennie says:

    Eric and Joe,

    We are indeed sending all of our positive energy towards both of you as you take this unexpected left turn on your journey. Take care of yourselves, know that you have and will continue to inspire many with your courage and strength of character.

    Jennie & Andy

  12. Erik…I just got done reading you latest note to all of us….With tears in my eyes, I know with all the love and support you have with your friends and family you will make it thru this challenge in your life…remember “God doesn’t guarantee us a smooth journey through life, but does promise us a safe landing” So this new Anut and Uncle of yours, is sending lots of love your way, I know you will be just fine…So until next time when we talk…take care… keeping you in our prayers…Love Aunt Mary & Uncle Bill

  13. Patrice says:

    Dearest Joe and Erik,

    I can’t add anything to what Ford has said. May your souls be nourished as you have nourished ours. Blessings on you both!


  14. Mary & Bill says:

    Erik….Just read your update…. It did bring tears to my eyes, but in my heart I KNOW you will be okay….You have the love and support of so many friends, and family, even a new Aunt Mary & Uncle Bill…..we love you and will keep you in our prayers all the time….”God doesn’t promise us a smooth journey through life, but he does promise us a safe landing” So until we talk again…hang in there, remember you have lots of love around you…… You will get thru this!!!!! Love Aunt Mary & Uncle Bill

  15. Tom says:

    Wow. I’m a 60-year-old guy who found a link to your blog on, a website I’ve visited often while dreaming of my own road trip down the Pan American highway (which isn’t going to happen since my wife says I’ll come home to an empty house if I take it). I’ve enjoyed your adventures and, as a professional writer, appreciated the work you put into it. I’m so sorry to hear this news and wish you both well. Godspeed, and please keep writing so those of us who’ve followed you will know how you’re doing.

  16. Sue says:

    My Dear Friend,
    I have been praying for you and will continue to do so. I have purposefully kept quiet as I knew this is has been a HUGE decision that only you could make. I am sure that since you have now chosen the path with which to take, you have found a sense of peace.
    You have always been an inspiration to me and my children. I am thankful the Lord has blessed me with the honor of having you in my life. You have seen me through some great challenges. We have shared laughter and tears. You have taught me how to dream. For all of these I am very thankful.
    Please know even though you are seeking solitude, you will be in our hearts and thoughts.
    Love you!

  17. Leslie says:

    Wow. What a monster decision. While it must have been heart-wrenching to make, I wonder if it must feel good to finally have it settled after so many months of uncertainty – to finally have a path forward. You asked for positive thoughts and energy and you shall have them. I’m good at positive thoughts and energy! Wishing you both peace in the months ahead.


  18. Ford says:

    Sweet boys,
    Through tears I write my most heartfelt wishes for you both. You might realize that your adventure has meant an awful lot to those of us here at home, going on with our safer, more predictable journeys. It’s been like having this little part of us out living life to its fullest measure. Your bravery and joy at what you’ve found along the way have touched me many times. So this turn in the road likewise touches deeply. You have my love and the offer of help if there is anything I can do. Please continue to keep us informed.


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