Well dear readers, the new year is almost upon us! It’s that time of year where we look back on our year and reflect on everything that has happened, good or bad, and decide from here on out how we would like to proceed further.
A fresh start.
That’s what a new year really symbolizes right? A fresh start to something. A new beginning or maybe carrying on with something. No one ever really gets a compete fresh start, but I think the idea gives people hope. Hope that there’s still time and still a chance. People need something to hold onto.
As I was reflecting back on my year, I realized that a lot can happen in a year. Jesus. It’s hard to believe it’s only been a year. But despite my medical problems, it’s been a good year.
I always ring in the year with my close friends and family and I am so fortunate to have these people in my life. They are my life line. The people I lean to when I am not strong enough and need a shoulder to cry on. The people who make day to day living a little easier. They make me smile, laugh, and love so hard.
I also began the year undiagnosed but would get my answers in the few shorts weeks into January. Thus began my very long and continuous battle with myself, physically and mentally. I thought this would be a walk in the park. I thought life wouldn’t change that much, so I wasn’t willing to make changes. I convinced myself that changing my life style was somehow giving the disease more control over me, which was rather naive and dumb as I look back on it now-I could have spared a lot of pain to myself.
But we began treatments and I remained optimistic. Even as I began failing treatments, I still remained optimistic, telling myself it wasn’t that bad. I still had options and felt okay.
Then came Disney World. The closer we got to that trip, the more sick I felt. This is when my optimism started to waiver. I realized that perhaps this was a little more serious than I was willing to accept. My body was physically turning on me. I would get sick from medications and from my bowels just revolting at life. I lost quite a bit of weight and could barely keep anything in at the time. This is also where my routine of shower crying came in. Side note: I thought shower crying was smart because no one could really hear you and you could be a blubbery snotty mess and it would all wash away. While it did all wash away, it did not silence the cries and everyone could hear me cry….. Don’t try it if you are trying to conceal your tears!
Disney was a great experience but a learning lesson too. For the first time, I really felt how sick I was. Reality was slowly sinking in and as this sunk in further and further, so did the beginning of my depression. By this point I had rejected 3 treatments so it was time to introduced Prednisone.
This was a devastating blow for me. This meant I was more sick than even my doctors had anticipated. My relationship with Prednisone is still on going and is still love and hate. While it makes me feel physically fine, it brings on a whole other world of pain somedays. But it has allowed me to be able to still do a lot. I was able to go to Canmore and see the mountains with friends, I was able to go to Vancouver and attend a concert with my best friend, and overall just able to do some day to day things instead of being bed ridden/ spend all my time in a washroom.
I had also started biologics just before the summer began. Humira was the first one. It was a lot easier than I had anticipated but unfortunately was not the answer for me. At this time I had lost a tremendous amount of weight and had completed a second colonoscopy, where my diagnosis was changed from mild to moderate distal colitis to severe pancolitis. I quickly hopped back on prednisone and then tried out Entyvio, which is where we are now.
As I look back, medically it feels like I went through a lot and really we aren’t quite close to remission yet, but hopefully things get better.
But this year has been a lot of growth for me. I have learned how to advocate for myself, I have learned what my limits are and when to say no because I can’t do it all, I am still still learning how to love myself better, and I have learned how to try and overcome my own battles with mild depression and anxiety- two things I didn’t imagine I would ever have to face.
This year has also shaped my own perspectives and how I view life. I have become more aware of the importance of being ready and willing to accept change, and this has even translated into my work and studies. I have come to understand that it doesn’t matter how much support another person can give someone, if you are not ready to change, then change won’t come. A huge part of it has to come within yourself. But it takes time and grieving is normal and a process.
I still grieve from time to time for my former life, which that life really was only a year and a half ago. Not that long ago, but it feels so far away now.
I will never be the person I once was and I’m starting to realize that, that’s okay. I’m starting to be okay with the person I am becoming.
- I have cried more than I possibly thought I was capable of
- I have pooped myself more than I thought I was capable of
- I have mastered 30 minute naps during lunch time to be able to get through a day of work
- I got accepted into my Masters program and completed my first semester, ending with an A
- I got offered a new position at my job during the worst flare up of my illness, resulting in my having to talk a short leave of absence- but hey I still got the position
- I have completely eliminated coffee, which is a miracle on its own considering I used to drink 4-6 cups a day and developed a dependency
- My boyfriend is still with me for some reason, and has actually been a rock through it all. This journey has made us stronger but still continues to challenge us
- I still got to travel- only had to cancel one trip!
- I have been able to connect and speak to so many beautiful souls who are gong through their own battles. Their words of encouragement and advice has helped me through some of my toughest days and sharing my story and hearing theirs reminded me that I am not alone.
- I have attended so many concerts because they were not as big of a commitment and made me happy
- I am learning how to relax better and not stress out-still a work in progress
- I attended a support group and found so much comfort in this
- I continually overcome myself. Every day I wake up and try my best at doing what needs to be done. Despite my body’s many attempts to slow me down and my many self attempts of just caving into my depression and fatigue, I have somehow been able to bounce back up and keep pushing. And I am pretty darn proud of myself.
This has been an emotional roller coaster of a year, but I got through it. It may not be the worst of it, but it got tough. And if I can get through that, I can get through whatever lies ahead. Even though I have fallen so many times flat on my face this year, I have gotten back up. It may have not been right away, but eventually I found my way. It definitely helped having the people around me that I did. My journey with this illness is far from over, but I am ready.
I say that now, but I know during my next poop attack I will be crying that I can’t do this anymore because it hurts to much. But we will complain, we will cry, we will get angry, we will pout, we will mourn, but we will continue on!
Do I have any resolutions? Yes, but right now I just want to continue trying to be the best version of myself that I can and getting through to remission with at least a shred of my sanity left.
Happy new years my lovely readers, see you on the other side!