There is no nice way to say that Crohn's Disease is a giant pain in the tail. Literally. It's been 14 years since I first became sick, and it has gotten more difficult to pretend like I'm feeling well like I did when I was 19. I think I put on a pretty good face most of the time, and people are generally surprised that I have Crohn's and run as much as I do. That doesn't mean that some days aren't harder than others.
I am so thankful for all of the blessings in my life. While Crohn's is a nuisance, it's a lot easier to deal with when you've got a supportive and loving husband, fantastic family and friends, a great work environment and good health insurance.
Last fall I blogged that I run to feel normal - that when I'm running I'm not a lady with Crohn's. I'm just a normal person with sore knees and achy joints. Sometimes Crohn's does sideline me. A few weeks ago I skipped a long run (marathon training sacrilege) because I was having a rough week with my Crohn's. I missed a 13 mile run but did manage to get in a 10k later that weekend. Did I feel great? Not particularly. But I felt way better after pushing myself through than I would have lying around my house.
I've always pushed myself even at my sickest. The photo below was taken in July of 2000, merely two weeks before I had my colon removed in an emergency surgery. I was hiking, and I had a temperature that day of 102 degrees. I also had a delightfully puffy face from Prednisone, but reaching the top of the hiking trail was totally worth it.
|This is my face on Prednisone. Any questions?|
At the end of the day, however, I am grateful that this is all I've got to deal with. There are so many people with cancer and heart problems and on dialysis for kidney failure. I am so blessed to know that I can deal with this. When I was at my sickest, from 1998-2002, I knew it would get better. And it did. Now when I'm not feeling well, I think back to that time and thank God that at least I'm not as sick as I was then.
|In the hospital in Pittsburgh in December 2000 after my bowel reconstruction surgery - still smiling.|
I've learned as I get older to take a break every now and then and to realize that it's acceptable to not live my life at full speed 100% of the time. And there have been days when Crohn's has won the battle, but I am winning the war. I think I'll run in the inaugural Lansing Half Marathon in a few weeks to celebrate.