Marathon #58 – 26.2 for Karla
My IBD journey started a little tangentially when I was 10 years old and diagnosed with arthritis. After 10 years of on-and-off joint symptoms along with GI symptoms that I just thought were a normal part of life for everyone, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when I was 20 after being hospitalized for anemia. When I was diagnosed my doctor told me she thought I had a 95% chance of having surgery in the next 5 years, and a couple years later things were moving in that direction. Before finalizing surgery as the next step, we decided to try a biologic. This medication really changed my life. Since I had been sick since I was young, I never realized what a “normal” life felt like. After starting that drug, I could do things I never thought I would be able to do – like exercise regularly – and symptoms I thought were a normal part of life, like waking up in the night with abdominal pain or daily nausea and fatigue, disappeared. It was such an amazing feeling to discover what living a healthy life felt like!
While I have never run with Marc or for the Foundation, exercise became a big part of my life in these years. For the first time I was well enough to exercise regularly, and I was so thrilled to see what my body could do and determined to do what I could to keep myself as healthy as possible. This indirectly led to my involvement in the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation – New England Chapter when I was introduced to the Young Professional’s Committee in a chance encounter at the gym. I was wearing a Take Steps shirt and the guy at the machine next to me, who I had never met before, asked me if I had IBD, told me he had Crohn’s, and told me he would connect me with the YP group. He did, and I am so glad! I’ve loved being part of the committee and having a community of other people with IBD, who are all focused on the same goals of increasing knowledge of and funding for these diseases.
I was very fortunate to stay on that medication, doing really well, for over 10 years. Unfortunately, I lost response in early 2020 (just in time for a global pandemic!) and we have been trying to get my disease under control for the past two years. I was again in a position where my doctor and I were discussing surgery as the next step, but thankfully, we have found a medication combination that is improving my disease. This is one of the many reasons I am thankful for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. When I was diagnosed with Crohn’s, there were far fewer medication options. Now, over 15 years later, there are significant improvements in how well available medications treat IBD as well as the number of drugs available. This wouldn’t be possible without support from groups like the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and people like Marc who are so vital in bringing awareness and funds to these diseases and the Foundation!
Marathon #58 – Recap