You guys, January 10th was my 3 year diagnosis anniversary and I can’t believe how much time has flown by as well as how slow it feels. I don’t know, time is such an odd feeling. When I think back to the beginning of my journey, it feels like such a lifetime ago, but there are things that feel like they only happened months ago, when it reality it was YEARS ago.
But here we are. 3 years later after venturing one of the biggest curve balls life decided to throw me. I mean I am no stranger to illness guys. I endured A LOT with my ears, including 3 surgeries. And you would think that would be my toughest journey, but I was born with it. It’s all I knew. I have no idea what my hearing should have been. Everything I have now, even though it’s not “normal” is still better than what I had. I think that particular health journey was much harder on my parents than it was for me. And then when I was loosely diagnosed with endometriosis, I was still left in this grey area. You can’t officially be diagnosed unless you do a laparoscopy, which is considered to be too invasive unless absolutely necessary. Because my case was considered mild and I am not at this time planning on having kids, it was more about managing my symptoms. And I was fortunate to find something pretty quickly that has really helped. It will be interesting to see how this journey changes once I do go down the road of wanting kids. I know there is a part of me that worries I never will be able to and my boyfriend and I have already discussed this.
But UC. Shit (pun not intended), it really shook me. I had an entire healthy part of life before this disease. I had experienced myself at my peak. And then it changed and I realized how much we take health for granted.
I really struggled with this journey, and still do some days. It was never just a “poop disease”. It took so much from me at my worst, including my mental health. I couldn’t even tell you how many times I cried myself to sleep. How many nights I lost sleep due to medications, pain, and urgency. How many hours of my days were spent in a washroom, hunched over a toilet, in an emergency room, in a doctors office, in a lab, or in bed. How many nights I would just hope that this time it would work. That this treatment would be the one. Disappointment and I were really closely acquainted in the beginning. It would start off so well and I would have this tiny taste of feeling better and then bam, within weeks or months I would be back to square one or often worse.
And in between all of this I still tried to push myself to live life. I still went ahead and attended my Masters program. I had gotten 2 new jobs in the 3 years. I still travelled (but quickly learnt to pull that back). I just tried to push myself to be “normal” because let’s be honest- I’m stubborn. I wasn’t ready to admit that this was it. That life had to pause. Because if I have learnt anything from watching my own best friend and her cancer journey, it’s that life doesn’t stop. That’s not really a luxury we get. It continues to go.
I think looking back I would tell myself to take things a little slower. Not necessarily pause life, but accept that I have to give myself a different pace. It took a long time for me to clue into this one. But other than that I don’t have too much I regret. I think being so open and vulnerable about my journey has really allowed me a chance to truly reflect on what I am going through. I think my toughest moments have ultimately made my small victories feel even more magical. I feel like these growing pains have ultimately contributed to me being a better person overall. I mean I still have a lot to work on and am faaaar from perfect, but I think I’m finally starting to like the person I am becoming. And this has been one of the biggest gifts I’ve gotten from this disease. Because even before I got sick, I really struggled to love the person I am. I struggled with my identity and confidence. I spent too much time comparing myself. And I still do from time to time, because social media is a thing. But I am learning that everyone has their own battles and their own insecurities. We are all at the end of the day struggling in our own ways. We are all going through our own set of ups and downs. And if I was anyone else, I’m not sure I would have gotten through my own journey the same way. And I like where I am headed. Still got roads to go, but it’s a good path to go down.