High Four - Enthusiasm Returning

High Four - Enthusiasm Returning

On January 4th, 2016 I had my left pinky finger removed due to serious complications from my Canadian Rockies Climbing Accident. The finger was evaluated by 4 hand specialist who said my finger was way beyond saving and had multiple nearly impossible issues that locked my finger. Arthritis was already forming which would only get worse over time. Amputation was my best option. One could say I was dealt a bad hand. ;-) I had some spells of depression and often pondered whether I regretted mountain climbing. On some days when the pain was intense and the head aches/head pounding got bad I would lean on the side of wishing I never had. After three weeks I was released from my arm sling, stitches removed, and had to do more months of therapy (still have many more sessions to go). The great news is that I am no longer dealing with these regrets. Going to Canada was a mistake (due to preexisting conditions), but climbing was not. I'm aware that I will always suffer for what happened back then. Some days I feel almost normal, on others I have bad head aches, back pain, hand scar tissue issues, and memory loss. My enthusiasm for the alpine is returning and I am working on getting back in shape. I lost 20 pounds since December of 2014. The best ascents are still yet to come. :-D Photo taken on March 22, 2016.

Josh Lewis
on Mar 22, 2016 5:28 pm
Image ID: 967619


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Viewing: 1-20 of 30
Puma concolor

Puma concolor - Mar 22, 2016 6:08 pm - Voted 10/10

Go Josh!

Great to see your love of the mountains remains in tact.

Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis - Mar 22, 2016 7:33 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Go Josh!

Thanks Puma, as Gary Paulsen once said: "You can take the man out of the woods, but you can't take the woods out of the man".

Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis - Apr 3, 2016 11:46 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Go Josh!

It's absolutely not too soon. My land lord called me Avatar the other day. ;-)

Antonio Giani

Antonio Giani - Mar 23, 2016 3:16 pm - Voted 10/10

Best wishes!!!

And go Josh, you'll see that everything will be fine... (0:

Ciao Antonio

Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis - Mar 24, 2016 8:17 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Best wishes!!!

Thanks Antonio. I wouldn't quite say that everything will be fine, however I think there is a good chance that things will work out and that my hand should mostly be functional. :-)

Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis - Mar 24, 2016 8:20 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Awwww, man....

I lost about 20% of my hand strength permanently, supposedly this is normal. Eventually I'll have to hit it hard to get my left hand up to a normal strength, my right hand will always be stronger as a result.

And yes I will carry on.


reboyles - Mar 24, 2016 6:17 am - Voted 10/10


I had the same feelings after they whacked off my toe due to frostbite. Some of my depression was due to the pain drugs and once I ditched them and got active things got better. I think it took a year before I quit thinking about it all the time and that was when I knew I was over it. When Hubert Humphrey was going through cancer he said it's not what the doctors take that's important, it's what you are left with that is.


Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis - Mar 24, 2016 8:29 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Recovery

The biggest issue is the head injury. Over time I started discovering that I had many career opportunities that were never going to happen. I'm still working on relearning to spell, although I'm tempted to say I'm most of the way. I now remember the alphabet (seriously, I had to relearn this too). ;-) I can still do math, but my response time is slower and I find myself more timid at answering questions that I know the answers to. The other big issue is the head aches/head pounding. When that comes in, I lose between 20-60% of my mental powers. It's not because of giving up or not wanting to deal with the pain. It has to do with focus.

The good news is that hard mountains only lightly give me a head ache. Running is still too much, ironically mountain climbing is now pretty much the only way to stay in shape (biking is good too). Lifting weights is also hard on my head as well as other exercises. I'm trying to be healthier than I've ever been, so far it's working. :-D


lcarreau - Mar 24, 2016 10:16 am - Voted 10/10

Positive attitudes prevail !

OK, it CAN always be worse.

If you lost a thumb, you couldn't give two thumbs up.

"Two thumbs up" for your attitude and unending ambition to blend humor with adversity.

Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis - Mar 24, 2016 8:35 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Positive attitudes prevail !

During the accident it was actually likely to be a lot worse which I'm thankful it wasn't to this day. I came close to becoming paralyzed, I could have easily shattered more than one finger, getting stabbed in my kidney was incredibly close to being very serious, I almost fell off a lethal cliff, most of my memory is still in tact, and my collar bone is mostly repaired.

I appreciate your comment ending a lot. You can call me Jovial Josh. :-)


lcarreau - Mar 25, 2016 10:47 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Positive attitudes prevail !

Can I call you 'J.J.' for short ?

Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis - Mar 25, 2016 11:06 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Positive attitudes prevail !

Absolutely! When the flames are hot, my heart is chill. Just don't look back.


chicagotransplant - Mar 24, 2016 12:07 pm - Voted 10/10

Best Wishes

Good to hear about your recovery Josh, keep smiling and keep climbing!

Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis - Mar 24, 2016 8:44 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Best Wishes

Thanks CT, it's been a long haul but I'm nearing the end of the recovery phase. I do both at the same time. :-)


Nader1 - Mar 24, 2016 12:40 pm - Voted 10/10

Get well!

courage and smile

La vie continue!!!


Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis - Mar 24, 2016 8:45 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Get well!

Thanks Nader.


Tonka - Mar 24, 2016 1:18 pm - Hasn't voted

Nice job staying positive!

At least putting gloves on will be a little easier and you have a good excuse for not doing that silly pink square thing.

Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis - Mar 24, 2016 8:46 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Nice job staying positive!

Putting gloves on is harder due to sensitivity (which might go away), however it's easier than with the messed up finger. What is the silly pink square thing?

Mark Doiron

Mark Doiron - Mar 24, 2016 3:54 pm - Voted 10/10

It's Been Pretty Amazing ...

... watching you grow up through the eyes of SP. Your help in recent years with SP's website redesign, and your skills as a photographer, are definitely appreciated by me (and many others I'm sure). Keep the attitude positive and climb on!

--mark d.

Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis - Mar 24, 2016 8:49 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: It's Been Pretty Amazing ...

Thanks Mark, I've actually wanted to do what I've done now back in 2007 before you know what happened. ;-) Hopefully I start posting more photos/adventures soon.

Will do on the attitude front and have much climbing ahead.

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