Last summer I was in the best shape of my adult life. I completed my first triathlon. I felt strong, I felt healthy, and all I needed was to fix a pesky little painful abdominal mass and I'd be back at full speed. Life had other plans and a bowel obstruction, second abdominal surgery and blood clot later I could barely walk out of the hospital on my own. It derailed my plans to run the New York Marathon last year, and it took me months to get back to feeling like myself.
|I was not as happy about the blood clot as I looked.|
Of course we know this story has a happy ending. I got out of the hospital, ate a ton of food, regained the weight I'd lost and my strength, and in just a few months I felt mostly back to my healthy(ish) self. In just three months I was back to running races and feeling like a rockstar again.
The problem with Crohn's, however, is that healthy is a relative concept. My healthy is a lot of people's sick, and I'm generally used to it. It's part of the deal. The last few months, however, my body has taken a beating. I'm severely anemic, and it's not the first time that's happened. It IS the first time my doctor has threatened me with iron infusions. I really thought he was just being dramatic. We settled on my taking liquid iron (the iron pill supplements I've been taking apparently haven't been cutting it). You know how it tastes to have blood in your mouth? That's how it tastes to drink liquid iron: disgusting.
I've been very lightheaded to the point of barely being able to run. I'm so frustrated with my body. Just. Keep. Up. Is that so much to ask? I expect a lot from my body, but I don't understand why it can't just hang with me.
When I get frustrated I think back to last year when I could barely walk to the door of my hospital room. In the last year my life has been filled with immeasurable joy, love, family, friends, travel, my fastest running times and a challenging new career move. My frustration with my health is trumped by the last 525,600 minutes of beautiful. A year ago I didn't know the remarkable love I'd feel for my son. I didn't know how strong and amazing my husband would be when I was at my worst. I didn't know that my friends would flood my hospital room with flowers, visits, cards, and bring me meals for weeks once I got home. I knew I was strong, but what I didn't know is that last summer would make me stronger.
|Feeling super strong at the Deckers Creek Half Marathon last month|
Much like the cast of one of my favorite musicals, the incomparable RENT, I have largely measured the last 525,600 minutes in love. When I reflect on how hard it can be to be sick, I am reminded of how much extraordinary love I have in my life.
The last year has been exceptional, and I'm a different person than I was 525,600 minutes ago. And by different I mean stronger, happier and more grateful.
And now this gem: