Marathon #10 – 26.2 for Catie
Hi my name is Catie and Crohn’s disease was not a diagnosis that came easily to me when I was 11 years old. I couldn’t even understand what it meant. All I knew was that I was in pain, I had to take medicine every day, and my peers bullied me and were afraid to be my friend in case I was contagious. I had to face a flare up severe enough for a hospitalization about every other year. For a long time, life became characterized by what I was missing instead of experiencing. Missed sports games, days of school, exams, field trips, and adventures with friends, I even had to quit playing the flute because my body was incapable of exerting that much breathing effort. Feeling like you have to give up on things you love can tear a person apart, and it did. I was struggling physically, socially, and mentally.
Then I was blessed with a new experience. Through The Foundation I was able to attend Camp Oasis as a camper. For the first time I met people with IBD who had a life. They completed college, they had a full time job, they played sports, they found love, and were able to do their best every single day. That’s when I realized I didn’t have to give up on things that I loved.
I started to build my own life for myself and create new milestones and crush them. Despite three hospitalizations, a major surgery, and a blood transfusion in the past year, I somehow received a BS in Biology, I completed two half marathons with Team Challenge, traveled to Iceland, Hawaii, New Orleans, and across the country to California where I am now working in the National Parks Service. I started my own garden, learned to keep bees, and am learning the saxophone. I have a career, a social life, and hobbies. Instead of waking up defeated, sad, and broken every single day, I can now wake up proud knowing that I am doing my best and that I can conquer setbacks.
For the past five years I have been a counselor at Camp Oasis and I hope to be the same role model to my campers as my counselors were to me. I no longer shy away from my diagnosis. I proudly talk about my experience in hopes that I can raise awareness and hopefully inspire others with IBD to reach their goals. Every day I am learning that a diagnosis is not a prognosis, and that I am not, nor will ever be, my disease.
Running 26.2 for Catie!
Marathon 10 – Recap