Two years have come and gone colon. Two whole years since you have graced me with your presence ulcerative colitis. Two years since you decided my life needed a little bit more excitement and shaking up. And guess what? You freaking did it. My life got MUCH more exciting and very shaken up.
I try to think back to the beginning, but it’s beginning to get all muddled up. It feels like we have been at this for a lot longer than 2 years.
I remember in the beginning feeling like things were not that bad. That whatever was happening to my body was going to go away with time. Because isn’t that how most ailments go away? Time and rest? And really, I didn’t feel all that much different in the beginning. I was tired, easily winded, no appetite, and bleeding from my ass, but I still managed to tell myself that this was normal. It wasn’t a big deal and I would be fine.
Of course my google search told me cancer, but I laughed and thought “no way, not me”. And when doctors told me they couldn’t feel any lumps I thought, “see, not a big deal.”
But I look back and see there were a lot of signs there. I just ignored them or told myself because I wasn’t heaving over in pain and agony it was all going to be okay. People bleed. It’s totally cool.
On Oct. 22nd two years ago I literally chalked up my symptoms to too much rum. I felt pretty sick that day and I am not sure if it was a hangover, my UC, or a combination of both. But it was the firs time I had gone to the washroom an obscene amount of times. At this point there was no blood, but a lot of mucus.
I remember texting my nurse best friend asking her if it was normal, to which she of course being sensible said no and to monitor it. It wasn’t the first time I had rum shits, so instead of watching it I ignored it. The mucus would go on for another couple of days. My body would get very irritated that I was not listening to it and decide one day that it needed to turn it up a notch, and on this day I would see blood for the first time. And this is when I would mildly start to panic.
Fast forward and read through all my other adventures and I’m sure you’ll come to find that it has been a very up and down journey where nothing has been as it seems and we are still not in remission.
But last night I was thinking about everything I have been able to slowly start doing again. Although I am not in remission, I am getting my life back and maybe that’s a better way of looking at it. It will never completely be my old life, but it’s still my life. I have been able to go out more and not run to the washroom as often, I’ve had better energy to juggle school, working full time, and having a social life, I was able to take care of myself when I went to Calgary for school, I moved out, and guys I actually started working out. It’s been two years (or more) since I have even stepped foot in a gym. I had always been so worried about running to the washroom and honestly used my illness as an excuse.
It was easier to hide behind my illness and give in than to try. I would say that I was too tired, would inconvenience everyone by running to the washroom, my joint pain was too bad, etc. I mean it could have been true, but I wouldn’t know unless I tried. I used to be so physically active when I competitively danced and now I could barely get through an hour preschooler play group or climb a flight of stairs. But I finally had enough. The disease had already taken a lot away from me and I was letting it take more. So when two amazing co-workers invited to work out with them, I tried. And I felt great surprisingly. Initially I was so tired and tried to talk myself out of it, but after I felt more energized, my joints did not hurt, I only went to the washroom once, and I felt proud that I actually did it and survived. And every time I go back I feel a little more proud. I got up to running on a treadmill! Which FYI is a huge deal because even in my somewhat peak shape I would avoid the treadmill at all costs or ONLY walk on it.
I have spent so much time getting frustrated in my body for not being in remission. I have made remission the only goal I wanted to achieve and the more I think about it the more I think it really contributed to my mental health problems. And misery does like company. When you are in a bad state of mind, it is so easy to bring down the people you care about with you.
So I think this year I will shift my focus. Of course one goal is to one day get into remission. But maybe for now it’s learning more about how to still be able to live a life I enjoy and love. To learn how to better adapt to my circumstances and be okay with my odd bad day here and there. To remember that one or three days does not mean I am forever incapable of doing things, it just means I need time and then I can get back into it. But to live, try new things and if it goes to complete shit (figuratively or literally) I can at least say I tried. And right now, that is enough for me.
It’s a start.
So happy two years colon, you little bastard. Now let’s get back on track. Thank god Remicade is tomorrow.