Because it’s really easily to accidentally include ‘walking’ puns in writing like this (e.g. ‘the road less traveled,’ ‘one step at a time’) I’m going to go ahead and say no pun in the following entry was intended.

 Today I walked through East Lansing via Grand River, on the edge of MSU's campus. I've made a lot of progress on the last week or so; I feel like I've found a good rhythm. Also, there are some people I specifically wanted to thank for taking my weary old self in. So, a big thanks to Kathy & Rick Johnston, Molly & Moses Johnston, the Grimas, Paul and Jeanne, and now, the Adams family.

I want to apologize for not updating very frequently. If I were to, I fear most entries would start with 'Today I walked from x to y.' However, walking does give one time to think, and I do have a lot of thoughts. Writing in this blog has been hard, because I have to tailor my writing to my audience and the broader goal of my campaign – I want to inform you about ME/CFS and make you feel like donating. However, I’m a person, and I have thoughts that aren’t in the voice of ‘the organizer of the Walk Across Michigan for CFS.’ Keeping a separate journal has been helpful. You’ll be able to read some more personal reflections in the next few days.

Being effectively half way done with the walk - I'm passing through Lansing - there are a few things I want to reflect on.

When I was first thinking about this walk, to an extent, I was bluffing (mostly to myself). The whole idea of walking across a state seemed like an abstract, herculean task. I can remember testing the idea out, framing it out loud to friends as a ‘what if.’ It felt distant (or rather, impossible) from that vantage point. Basically, I didn’t think I could do it. Eighty miles in, I’m struck by this. I would be lying if I said it has not been enormously difficult; it really has. At the same time, it’s simply been composed of a number of days, and those days have been composed of walking, eating and sleeping. Nothing impossible about the task when it is deconstructed. It’s just hard to see how the parts find their way into the whole. In this matter, you just need to have a kind of faith; a belief in yourself. As I said, I didn’t think I could do it . . . but I did it anyway. I don’t know why exactly. You’ve got to move with your instincts, listen, and take whatever next step you feel pulled toward. You have to trust that you’ll be able to take care of yourself (and that the majority of people are good). Bravery or stupidity, however the old line goes.

If there’s any knowledge to be gained from this that I might share, it’s simply to call your bluff more often. Something like that.

Overall I’m feeling good about the campaign in general. I appreciate deeply all the support I’ve received, the people who do not know me but’ve seen something in me, enough to give me a few bucks towards the fund. I also want to thank all the people – strangers to me – who’ve expressed their support for the walk (especially in the last 24 hours). It’s personally very meaningful to feel that I’m connecting with the really sick.

I hope to finish before I die of frost bite (I’m guessing early November), but am well aware that I can’t push myself very far without just crashing and messing everything up. More posts soon, I promise.  

New Arrival
10/12/2012 12:31am

I just came across this website. The pages are loading on my computer with a background of alternating, horizontal gray and green stripes. The small white text is very difficult to read against the green background. To read it, I highlight the text which produces a consistent blue background for the text. If this is not a problem with my computer, please consider a new background.

Elsie Owings
10/12/2012 2:22am

"New Arrival," I'm not a computer or website expert, so I can't venture a guess as to why your image is so strange, but I can say that I am not seeing the same thing you are. I am seeing a solid black or dark gray background with white print (and, in some places, orange print) that is clearly visible. The photos are also clearly visible. My computer is just a plain-Jane desktop that is six years old, but I do keep my viewing programs up to date. I hope the site's webmaster will be able to help you figure out what to do so you can fully enjoy this website. :-)

10/12/2012 7:34pm

Hi! It looks like the trouble is on your end, as others seem to be seeing it clearly. I would recommend updating your browser. What browser and version are you currently using? Unfortunately there is no 'webmaster,' only me. If the problem persists, hitting Ctrl+a will select everything on the page, hopefully making it easier to read.

Elsie Owings
10/12/2012 2:34am

Koerner, congratulations and thank you for the amazing effort that you are putting forth to accomplish this task! I commend you for having the guts to attempt it.
I am a 59-year-old CFS patient living with my husband in Shelbville, MI, which is about halfway between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. Perhaps your walk will take you near this area? If so, I would love to see you and cheer for you as you pass by, and perhaps buy you dinner if you are ready for some chow at that time.
I am active in a CFS group in Grand Rapids and went to Washington DC in 2004 to present a petition for better use of our research funds. Today, others in our group have picked up the torch of national advocacy, and I am comfortable with attending the monthly group meetings to visit with old friends and to advise newcomers who need help coping or getting through the paperwork of this frustrating illness.
Whether or not I get to see you on your travels, I will be rooting for you and thanking you for your efforts. Have fun with this unique experience, and try not to overdo it.
Best wishes always, Elsie

10/12/2012 6:07am

You are so brave to take on this accomplishment! I am positive that you will make it all the way. People don't realize how difficult this will be. My hat goes off for you. Keep going no matter how many miles you go each day. Piece by piece brings the picture into focus.

Elsie Owings
10/12/2012 6:27am

Oops! I accidentally unsubscribed, so I'm posting again to get back on the subscription list. (Couldn't figure out any other way to do it.)
Good luck to you on your travels, Koerner! It's cold this morning, but the Fall colors are beautiful! Hope you have a camera with you.

10/12/2012 7:40pm

Thank you everyone for your comments and expressions of support! Elsie - I'm not sure if I'll be near Shelbyville, I think I might be going south of it.

Elsie Owings
10/13/2012 5:26am

Koerner, we are accustomed to traveling anywhere between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, so we'd still love to greet and support you at whatever point you approach the Division Avenue or US-131 corridor. That is, of course, if you WISH to be greeted. We also completely understand if you want your solitude on your walk. In any case, we appreciate it.

Elsie Owings
10/13/2012 5:27am

Koerner, we are accustomed to traveling anywhere between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, so we'd still love to greet and support you at whatever point you approach the Division Avenue or US-131 corridor. That is, of course, if you WISH to be greeted. We also completely understand if you want your solitude on your walk. In any case, we appreciate it. Thanks very much!

Elsie Owings
10/13/2012 5:30am

Sorry about the duplicate posting. The website told me there had been an error posting and to try again, so I did.

Jared DeMeester
10/14/2012 3:40pm

I am beaming because I just look at what you have done and your spirit of optimism. You are incredible brother. Love ya and can't wait to see ya on the other side.

10/19/2012 7:13pm


You walked right into a plume.



I'm walking across the state of Michigan-- from Detroit to Holland--to raise public awareness of ME/CFS and to raise money for the CFIDS Association of America. My name is Koerner Gray Buchta, and I’m 20 years old.

After that half hour of walking, I began to notice my sweat was starting to sting and irritate my skin, and that I was developing a migraine headache. For me, these symptoms signal the potential onset of an episode of PEM, so I just stopped. I woke up at my host's (the wonderful Gladys Stebbins!) house, evaluated my energy level, and decided it would be best to rest for several more days.

Elsie Owings
10/19/2012 10:10pm

Yes, by all means rest and take care of yourself. Your mission is admirable, but don't damage your health with it. One of the purposes of your mission is to help the world understand that we do not recover normally from exertion. Take your time, and thank you for even attempting this project.

10/20/2012 9:01am

If a CFSer were to identify an "exposure" or circumstance
(such as a "plume" of a particular substance) which induced and exacerbates PEM, and successfully devised a strategy to evade that exacerbation... even if no one else wanted to employ such a strategy, it would still be "a Helluva clue" to what is happening in CFS, wouldn't it?

I'm sure Dr Vernon would agree.

Dana Mitteer
10/23/2012 3:03pm

Sure hope that you have recovered and feel a little better. Still following your amazing journey! Keep your chin up and go slowly.


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