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Bertrand's 100 days


 

He arrived at our house quite by chance. A text message around 2 p.m. asked me if there was a bed left to sleep in, stating, “otherwise I have my tent.” The two pilgrims who preceded him had just unloaded their bags. They asked me directly: “Is it Bertrand? »



The day before, in the dormitory, Bertrand had woken up the whole room with his snoring. When it rang, I saw a strong guy, decked out in a cart with big wheels, carrying an impressive kit. Magnanimously, I installed him on the floor above, alone. His strange outfit was intriguing. Surely complicated to pull on steep terrain?


“No choice” Bertrand told me, pointing to a seemingly square back that had been heavily damaged. At 37, the verdict falls. Fibromyalgia, a neurodegenerative disease that leaves him bedridden for 21 months. He is a computer engineer, divorced, three children, in love again, more sedentary than average because of his job, slightly more anxious, but nothing prepares him for what is to come. Pain crushes his life, chases away the woman he loves. Add fatigue, hypersensitivity to light, cognitive disorders which will prevent him from working “normally” again.


The years go by. The winters, especially, are terrible. He suffers more, having to take heavy medication. His head sinks. He eats to forget. But being overweight doesn't help.


In 2017 he moved from Lyon to Aix-les-Bains. The mountain air, the call of the summits. During his first treatment in Saint-Laurent-les-Bains, he told himself that walking again was the solution. 500 m further, he makes a half-turn. Too hard. His doctors, nurses, companions and treatment companions encourage him. In 2019, he acquired Willy , his cart, which he took on his way to Stevenson. A crash test, as he says. The path is not a walk in the park. And Willy weighs his weight, 20 kg, when he has to be lifted in passages where the wheels refuse to move. On one section, he will carry it for 3 km. Miracle. It goes. And it's happening. Bertrand forgets the pain or it is the pain that forgets him.


“When I walk, I live again.”

Two years later, he is in Galicia, at the Finisterre tip of Spain. He walked 88 days. Lost 30 kg.

“I gave up my medication.”

On the way back, they will catch up with him.

“This treatment is for life.”

At EDF, his colleagues support him. His department head is a human guy. This year, he was able to take 66 days off. He gives himself 100 days to travel 2,500 km to Compostela in Spain and Fatima in Portugal. Bertrand has just turned 57. It has been 20 years since illness stole his life. In his own way, he gave her an appointment on this path. As he made an appointment with all his companions in life today, those in treatment who will never be able to walk again but follow him via an app. Bertrand takes photos. And shares his story. Like here. When he passed through Lodève, he had only been walking for 7 days.


When he's finished, I'll tell you the rest. Bertrand, Willy, be strong!

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