Marathon #57 – 26.2 for Pamela
It was December 2011, when the most profound moment of impact of my life thus far came crashing in… I was twenty-six years old and I had just been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.
I spent four years prior to that with misdiagnosed joint pain and varying medications, none working all that well for any length of time. I had spent years icing my knee under my desk at work, struggling to fit my jeans over my swollen joints and hobbling to meet friends out for drinks. I was extremely exhausted and very frustrated.
I would continue going to more doctors’ appointments, paying more medical bills and gaining more medical knowledge than I could have ever imagined in my late twenties and early thirties.
I have had medications work, then stop working. I have tried different diets and even a Naturopath for a while. I would flare, and then start new medication. It’s a cycle, a chronic cycle, that I didn’t know I was signing up for.
It was in 2019 that it took a toll on my mental health for not the first time, but this time in a very big way. It was affecting others around me. I was sitting here waiting for the next problem and not appreciating everything I did have in my life.
Which brings me to one of my favorite quotes from the movie, The Vow:
“My theory is about moments, moments of impact. My theory is that these moments of impact, these flashes of high intensity that completely turn our lives upside down actually end up defining who we are.”
It was another moment of impact.
I’ve shifted my state of mind to think of rest days as just that, a day when I need to rest – not that I’m being lazy. I’ve embraced good days and acknowledged that bad days won’t be every day. I’ve realized that I can’t do it all alone, sometimes we need help – from humans, from dogs or even from medications.
I prefer to say that Crohn’s disease hasn’t defined me, but the community I have found within IBD has helped define the woman I am today.
I found the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation four months after being diagnosed. Funny story, thanks to the world or social media a friend in my second-grade class led me right there without her knowing it.
I have gained self-confidence, perspective, and a passion for advocating. Advocating not only for myself but others. This community of people who can laugh about poop and understand that hard days can be really hard is invaluable.
I have run half marathons with this community (and my Mom has too), I have biked 40 miles with this community (along with Mom & Dad), I did a spin event with this community (with Mom, Dad, and Steven, my brother). We have walked with this community and dined with this community and fundraised with this community (with many friends and family).
While I have put away my running shoes, this past fall my brother ran a full marathon in London for the Foundation. I am honored that the Foundation which is so close to my heart has also touched the hearts of those around me.
Every year on my Crohniversary (December 8), I remember where I have come from, what obstacles I have overcome and the victories I have achieved.
So, I wait for the next impact. Not because I’m afraid of it but because I know I will continue growing and learning. My husband and I just had our first child in September. I know this will be a big impact, but I hope to teach him that the bumps in the road make us stronger, and wiser, and prouder.
It is an honor to be a part of this community. Together we will find a cure, and together we can get through anything. To all of the people I have met along the way, and to Marc for continuing to share not only my story but so many stories, thank you for making your impacts in this community.
Marathon #57 – Recap