Nexus Expedition Journal - 2009
Dimitri sustained a tragic accident at home while working on his roof, unsecured.. Fell 15 feet on a concrete floor. Back surgery: split L1 lombar vertebrae and relate joint were successfully fused with T12 and L2 vertebrae with the help of 6 titanium screws and wire, therefore avoiding potential paralysis. Consequently, Dimitri was forced to take a year of convalescence, wearing a "turtle shell" for the first three months,and reflecting on Kafka's "The Metamorphosis"

Followed intense physical therapy, travelled in europe, hiked the GR20 in Corsica, rode a motorcycle through the continent and met Gulnara Miftakhova while visiting friends in Morocco.

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Chukotka in Feb 2010!
Tuesday October 13, 2009 - 55.7517° N, 37.6178° E
Yes! I am currently planning my return on the trail in Chukotka in 2010.

The physical recovery from my back injury has moved along fantastically well since I came out of my "turtle shell" cast on April 20th 2009.

During the last few months of “physical therapy”, I have been able to enjoy a few great treks in Europe such as being able to complete solo the classic GR20 through Corsica in early July in 7 days, while carrying a minimum weight as the picture on the left can attest!

This of course, felt a far cry from what I am preparing to endure once again this winter in the frozen tundra of Chukotka… In deed these European summer treks were more like very enjoyable and beautiful entertaining hikes, allowing me to hop along from one “refuge” to the next while enjoying incredible scenery!

For now, I am in Moscow where I am planning and organizing the logistics for my return in Chukotka in February 2010, meeting with representatives of different Russian outdoor companies , gear manufacturers and food suppliers.

Of course, I also plan to continue to enhance my well established relationship with my current American, Canadian, Japanese and French sponsors.

However, it is important for me to clearly understand what is available within the Russian domestic market, which in some case might be my only option for resupply in order to circumnavigate restrictive customs regulations in some parts of the Russian Federation such as while completing my last trekking section in the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug.

While in Moscow, I also had the great pleasure to meet with the explorers Dmitry & Matvey Shparo to share experience on our mutual Bering Strait crossings and learn from both of them important tips on how to proceed forward safely through Russia as well as gain additional valuable contacts.

In the last few months, I also have had the pleasure to become a member of the illustrious The Explorers Club and presented at their Northwest "Compass" symposium on San Juan Island in Washington State in April 2009.

Finally, I also had a pleasure to make a French presentation on Nexus expedition to a group of enthused students at Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma, Washington State, USA in March 2009.

For now, привет из Москвы!
Dimitri
On the road to recovery!
Tuesday February 3, 2009 - 47.6097° N, 122.3331° W
A quick update...

I went yesterday to the back surgeon office to get the stitches taken out of my brand new spankin' 20 cms zipper... and found out that statistically, if anyone falls from a height any greater than 1.5 times his/her height, the chances of the survival are only 50%.

That would have been 9 feet for me and in fact I fell 15....
It feels good to know that someone somewhere is obviously watching out for me... ;-)

I still have to wear my turtle shell for the next 2 to 2.5 months and should be able to start physical therapy in March to regain muscle mass as well as adapt my body differently so that the discs in my back can support efficiently the additional weight of the screws and wire.

I am still counting on full recovery and therefore will follow the required precautions accordingly during this recovery phase.

Til later...
I am very sorry to announce that on Sunday January 18th 2009, while cleaning up the moss on the roof of my house in Seattle (in order to comply with my house insurance agent requests) and while taking the regrettable risk of working without a safety harness, I made one quick wrong move, and fell 15 vertical feet.

As a result, I landed hard on my posterior on a slab of concrete.

I spent thereafter a tense week in the trauma dept at the Harborview hospital in Seattle, where my split L1 vertebrae and relate joint were successfully fused with my T12 and L2 vertebras with the help of 6 titanium screws and wire, therefore avoiding potential paralysis.

While in the hospital, I especially did not care to have for three days non-stop a flexible tube going through my nose and into my stomach keeping my digestive tract empty and therefore helping it to restart faster. Surgeons believe that the practice reduces the likelihood of vomiting and related aspiration pneumonia.

Now, I am out of the hospital and in convalescence.

Indeed, I am definitely "grounded", having to spend the next 3 month wearing a “turtle shell” which reminds me a bit of the short story “the metamorphosis” by Kafka.

It does indeed feel like I just woke up from a bad dream stuck inside some funky animal shell…

However, I feel incredibly lucky and blessed to be here today, safe and able to write.

I definitely regain a better appreciation for life over the last week in the hospital and especially after having spent part of my last day there trying to learn to walk again down the hallway of the trauma dept hall...

I will specifically remember the sign written by a nurse on another patient's room which read "I have been hit by a drunk driver, please be kind to me”…

Now, looking ahead, this accident is obviously impacting my immediate future plans and even potentially more distant future plans.

I was originally due to travel in Pakse, Laos in the next few weeks to support logistically the Aloha Medical Mission medical team providing help to Burmese IDPs (internally displaced persons) minorities.

After having being involved over the last year locally in Seattle with the support of relocated Burmese refugees, where I taught basic computer classes and helped move donated furniture for newly arrived refugees, I was very excited about having being invited to participate in this project as well as two other ones in the South East Asian region in the consequential weeks and prior to returning to Russia.

While going through Alaska and Far Eastern Russia, I have often received a tremendous amount of help from the local population and this is in part what is driving the most to want to return the favor and help other populations in the most efficient way I can.

However, taking into consideration my current medical condition (an open wound, a turtle shell and not being allowed to carry more than 10 lbs for the next few months...), I have decided that the smartest thing for me to do at this stage was to focus on healing my body, therefore potentially allowing full recovery.

This should allow me, I hope, to actively participate in similar medical missions in the future.

Finally, I now need to wait to regain strength in my back before I can ever consider being able to pull again a 250+ pounds sled in the Russian tundra.

Therefore, after having talked with the surgeons, I cannot foresee that I will be able to return to Vayegi in Chukotka and continue the latest trek/ski section until late March 2010!

In the meantime, I plan to post over the next few months numerous pictures, videos and diaries which will reflect the progress made over the last few years by Nexus expedition between Anchorage, Alaska and Vayegi, Chukotka.

Flying mossman signing out...
Currently back in Seattle
Sunday January 18, 2009 - 47.6097° N, 122.3331° W
A quick update!
I was able to leave Markova on December 25th, and flew the long way around with my gear back to Seattle... via Magadan, Moscow, Paris and Seattle!
I arrived in Seattle on December 27th.

Since then, I have had to address personal matters that have come recently into my life and that have also tremendously impacted the life of close friends, dear to my heart.

As far as the expedition is concerned, I plan to update the site with pictures,diaries and videos within the next 2-3 weeks.
I will also share within that time frame what the future of the expedition entails.

Best regards!
Dimitri
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