Marathon #8 – 26.2 for Marisa
My journey with ulcerative colitis began in 2014 as a sophomore in college. I had just completed a successful fall semester as a student and varsity athlete in women’s golf. Things were really going my way until during the winter of my second semester that year. I began experiencing abdominal discomfort, excessive bleeding, and severe pain in both of my legs. To combat the pain, I was in and out of doctors’ offices and diagnostic laboratories, screened by a variety of tests, and given new medications to try. To ease the pain in my calves, I was told to use crutches to get around campus with the hope that the pain and swelling would lessen. Between the demands of studying, classes, workouts, golf practice, and everyday college life, I was experiencing both physical and mental tolls…….pain, discomfort, and weight loss, fear, sadness, and loneliness.
After about a month, my health worsened. My physician at home made arrangements for me to seek medical help from a gastrointestinal specialist at the nearby hospital. I explained my symptoms and was told that I would have to undergo an exploratory colonoscopy and was immediately sent for a vascular ultrasound to try and determine why my calves were swollen and sore. After several minutes in to the exam, the radiologist suddenly left the room and came back shortly afterward with one of his colleagues at which time I was diagnosed with bilateral deep vein thrombosis (blood clots) up to each thigh. Tears started streaming down my face, as I feared what was ahead. I was immediately placed on blood thinners, which consisted of self- administered injections in to my abdomen every 12 hours for the next 6 months. The following day, I awoke in the hospital, frightened of what was ahead. After multiple ultrasounds, and a magnetic resonance enterography (MRE), I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Along with my injections for the blood clots, I was placed on a variety of medications that would improve my IBD.
Flash forward to 2018: I received my undergraduate degree with cum laude distinction as a math and pre-engineering major, went on to pursue a Master’s Degree in business and entrepreneurship, and now work for AbbVie, an innovative biopharma company paving the way for the next generation of treatment in Immunology, specifically inflammatory bowel diseases. With new treatment options, I receive IV infusions every 8 weeks that have proven to be very beneficial.
Although there have been many ups and downs over the past four years, I feel very fortunate to have been under the care of such incredible doctors, to be surrounded by supportive family and friends, and to have met amazing people like Marc through the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. I was fortunate enough to run my first Team Challenge half marathon with Marc as my coach, and now feel so lucky to consider him a close friend. His incredible dedication, modesty, and kindness bring enormous optimism and opportunity to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.
Running 26.2 for Marisa!
Marathon 8 – Recap