Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Normal is Overrated

I've gotten an IV infusion of medicine for my Crohn's every six weeks for the last 13 years. It's become totally routine, and I don't even think about it other than its inconvenience of setting aside half a day. In the age of smart phones and WiFi everywhere I can still get a lot of work done, and I don't miss a beat. Sometimes I'll tell people that I'm away from the office for an IV infusion, and I get this shocked/worried look. I have to quickly reassure them that it's a normal thing and no big deal.

My mobile office every six weeks

I realize that for most people getting an IV isn't a routine part of life. Having lab work done regularly, invasive tests, CT scans...most people don't have these on a regular basis. I've had so many CT scans that my doctor won't order them anymore because of the large amount of radiation I've been exposed to. This is my normal.

A few years ago I wrote one of my favorite blogs ever that running makes me feel normal. For the miles that I'm running I feel like everybody else. My legs hurt like every other runner's. I love being in that zone where I don't feel sick. I feel strong. When I shattered my half marathon PR a few weeks ago I felt so strong. What I didn't blog about was how I was sick the rest of the day. Long runs have started to really wreak havoc on my stomach. For the rest of the day (sometimes for a few days) after a long run everything makes me sick. This makes marathon training very challenging. The actual act of running makes me feel normal. The aftermath makes me feel like a Crohn's patient. It's a tough dichotomy, but not running is not an option.

There are certain things I can't eat, but that's the case with lots of people. And when I say "can't" eat I mean I know it will make me sick and sometimes I eat it anyway consequences be damned. That generally doesn't go well (sort of like the apple I ate this morning...that's gonna leave a mark.)  

My life feels normal, and every now and then I realize Crohn's has given me a skewed view of normalcy. I know last summer's hospital stay was not normal, and it probably wasn't normal to go back to work right away.  It's not normal to push myself constantly because I don't ever want my illness to be an excuse. I refuse to let Crohn's be in charge (although I realize how naive that statement really is). 

Normal is boring. If I didn't have Crohn's I wouldn't appreciate my life in the same way. I wouldn't appreciate how hard I have to work to push through the bad days. I wouldn't appreciate the easy days. Whatever it is that makes you abnormal welcome it. Celebrate it. It is part of what makes you fabulous.    

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