Monday, July 25, 2016

Alien Invaders

Having an autoimmune disease is weird. It's weird for all the reasons you'd expect, but it's really weird because it feels like aliens have invaded your body. Granted I've never had aliens invade my body nor do I really believe in aliens, but I imagine if aliens do exist and they did invade your body it wouldn't feel dissimilar from Crohn's Disease (or Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis or any of the other atrocious autoimmune diseases with which people struggle). 

After my wake-up call hospital stay in May I've really cut back on running and exercising. It's been hard for me, but the steroids necessitated it. In those first few weeks when I was taking the maximum dose of Prednisone it hurt to walk much less run. My skin hurt to the touch for weeks. It hurt to do random things like weeding my flower beds (it hurt to bend my knees). But I knew the steroids would help with my flare. I knew they'd kick whatever infection I'd been dealt. They're pretty much like Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black taking on my body's alien invaders. They're the first, last and only line of defense against the worst scum of the universe.

Last Saturday was my last day of Prednisone. As I tapered off the medication I noticed my joints gradually feeling less puffy. I noticed it hurt less to run and I began logging more miles and cross training. And I noticed my every day Crohn's symptoms imperceptibly coming back. My stomach has been more upset. Foods I've been able to eat over the last few months started bothering me again. I'm waking up at night with fevers and chills. As much as I hated the steroids they kept the aliens at bay (my galaxy defenders if you will). It's really a challenge to hate the steroids and hate the side effects but feel better at the same time. It's hard to appreciate that in the moment when all I want to do is go back to running and feeling "normal" even if normal is my crummy Crohn's normal. 

This week my goal is to get back into my intense running and cross training schedule. I started with a crazy core cardio workout this morning that I'm pretty sure I'll feel for several days. It feels good to get back into my workout routine. I registered for a 5k last weekend but decided to go out drinking and dancing with my girlfriends the night before. It didn't exactly bode well for getting up early and running a race. But this week is a new week. This week my focus is back. Even though the aliens have decided to return, they don't get to win. We will co-exist nicely. 


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