Marathon #9 – 26.2 for Jordyn
This summer marks nine years since I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. I was seventeen, about to begin my senior year of high school. I took my pills, and kept on keeping on (things were mild back then). By far the majority of these nine years I’ve spent in denial of my new normal, ignoring clear connections between things like drinking, worrying, and lack of sleep and feeling unwell (all typical things for a college student to experience).
Recently, I’ve become more aware of the connection between my flares and my mental health and happiness. People often forget that though IBD is physically taxing, full of frequent bathroom trips and abdominal pain, it has a huge toll on your sense of self.
For years I was quiet about my illness, worried that people would look at me differently, judge me for my poop disease (and infinite poop jokes as my coping mechanism), and some did. I quickly learned the best of people would come watch TV at my house with me when I couldn’t be far from a toilet. Two years ago, I joined the Team Challenge family – the first time I met others who lived everyday like I did. I saw people with happy families, successful careers – clearly, they weren’t letting their disease hold them back, and they showed me how important it is to keep your head up, how your mindset is pivotal in how you will physically feel.
I’m not perfect; I never want to be, but I am determined. I won’t let my UC call all the shots. I’ve run two half marathons – this body may have its low moments, but it’s had those victories, and it has a victory every day when I wake up for the next adventure.
I am incredibly thankful for my Team Challenge family. They continue to raise funds so others won’t have to always plan outings around bathrooms, or choose to not kayak because they don’t want to poop their pants in the middle of a boat in the Charles, or decide to return to America because the (really really broken) healthcare system is easier to navigate than you thought.
Coach Marc is one of my IBD heroes. He’s an advocate, a champion both near and far. He’s helped so many of us cross the finish, and keep going beyond. Watching him commit to these marathons is amazing, and I can’t wait to run with him again soon :). Thank you for all you do for me, for us, for everyone in your life! You are the definition of an inspiration (I checked, your photo’s in the dictionary).
Running 26.2 for Jordyn!
Marathon 9 – Recap