Marathon #44 – 26.2 for Carey
In high school I started to have symptoms. The diarrhea, bloody stools, unexplained weight loss, chronic fatigue. Every time we went in for tests, I would start feeling better and nothing would show. So we passed it off as stress from being a highs-school teenager.
Throughout college I went undiagnosed. The disease plagued me for years, ignorant of the cause. On May 21st 2013, everything came to a breaking point – literally. My small bowel perforated sending me into the worst pain I’ve ever felt. I was rushed to the hospital by my then fiancé (now wife, Kate). I waited around in pain all night until the CT scan results showed me leaking stool. I was rushed into the OR and put under. I asked the nurse “will I wake up?” She patted my hand and said “You’re in good hands.”
I was under for 8 hours, and was told that I was almost lost on the table. It took multiple liters of saline to clean out the mess that had leaked in my insides.
When I woke up the pain had subsided but the reality soon set in. I had dozens of staples running up my abdomen, an ileostomy bag, and a fresh diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease.
I was hospitalized for 2 weeks undergoing a myriad of tests and procedures to sort out the aftermath of emergency surgery. When I entered the hospital I weighed 175, when I came out I weighed around 125.
I had the ileostomy for 8 months to let my gut heal. I worked hard to gain my strength, was put on Remicade and had largely zero issues aside from not being able to gain much weight. In February of 2014 I had the ileostomy reversed. I used this as my life’s wake-up call, as fire for a new beginning.
So I enrolled in graduate school and started running. Each day my milage stacked up. From 1 mile to 2 miles to 4 miles. In November of 2014 I ran my first 10 miler. In 2015 my first half-marathon. But while in school I wrote an article about my story. That story was published in the local paper. As the story was passed around online, some runners from Pittsburgh’s local Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation chapter reached out to me to invite me for a run. Those people have become my new family and brought me to Team Challenge.
Since the article I’ve run numerous half-marathons and 2 full marathons and both I ran under 4 hours.
I have also been working on using my skills as a filmmaker to help raise awareness for Crohn’s and UC. Over the past few years I have been producing a documentary titled The Stool, in the hopes to share more stories about those who suffer from these diseases. Through this, volunteering at camp oasis, and running for Team Challenge my goal is to inspire others to connect, find strength, and fight for a cure. While we may have a diagnosis, it doesn’t define who we are and what we’re able to accomplish.
Running 26.2 for Carey!
Marathon 44 – Recap