March 22, 2017
BENEFITING: Crohn's & Colitis Foundation
ORGANIZER: Crohns Colitis
EVENT: Pittsburgh Marathon 2017
EVENT DATE: May 07, 2017
And my story doesn't end with Chapter 1 ...
Like any story begins, I start with: It was a chilly day in May 2009 and I had been 8 months removed of my father's passing and trying my damndest to make the best of a new, and quite stressful, job. I had known for some time that something wasn't right, but who wants to admit the fact that they are sick. Not "Hey, I have a runny nose and chills" sick, but ill. I knew deep down inside it was ulcerative colitis. But, if I didn't go to the doctor then I couldn't be diagnosed. It's what my father had. He's gone. Will I have the same fate?
But, the disease was winning the battle.
My diagnosis came a day later after being admitted to the hospital and having an emergency colonoscopy. I had never felt so alone. Who would I talk to? The older lady in the bed beside me wasn't going to, after all, she had quite a story of her own ... Why did my father leave me here to deal with this disease without him to talk to? I was angry.
The doctor wrote me a prescription and sent me on my way, to deal. Nine pills a day! NINE GOD-LOVING PILLS A DAY! My medication came in three large containers. I was like a walking pharmacy. This cannot be right! But, it was.
In 2010, I had told myself no matter what, I had to just move forward and deal with this disease. There is no cure, so dwelling on the inevitable was doing nothing but making the hamster in my brain spin circles on that squeeky wheel of chaos. Wait ... that's it ... I'll register to run a marathon. (Treadmill, hamster wheel ... it makes sense, right?)
And I did. And after that, another. And another. Then an ultra. Throw in half marathons and 5Ks and 10Ks, and I was, well, crazy.
I trained. I still train. At times hiding the pain that lived inside my lower intestine. No one knew the pain, not even my training partner, the woman who knew EVERYTHING about me, but never the pain. That was until my color started to fade and my trips into the woods on small runs became more frequent. She pleaded for me to get a second opinion.
I opened my browser to Google and typed in "Ulcerative Colitis AND doctors AND Pittsburgh, PA" and called the first one that appeared. I honestly had no hope in ever finding the right combination of medication and a doctor who didn't rotate patients in and out on a daily basis. But I did. And she is amazing! (My best friend, too!)
I was placed through a battery of tests. Poked, proded, questioned, and placed on a slew of medications. Oh, heck no! Not me! I was resistent. Prednisone made me wash windows at 3 a.m., Remicade made me develop cute little spots all over my torso (I look cute in polka dots, just not the kind I was hoping for), and the tears had finally run dry. I told my doctor as a last ditch effort, I'd try Humira. AND IT WORKED! For some time ... until the dose was doubled and my body started hating foods ...
Today, I am still writing that book. It's an infinitive book. My journey will live on through my children, even when I am gone, as this disease is hereditery.
This year, I am running the Pittsburgh Marathon with CCFA because I can. Yeah, that may sound arrogant, but many individuals with crohn's and colitis have a longer book than I do. And, they cannot. Granted, I may map out every port-o-potty along the course and check a bag with extra close "just in case," but I refuse to give up the fight. Not now. Never. My father would not want me to. I don't want to. For, some day, my sons may suffer from UC, and, I want to show them that no matter the struggle, no matter the pain, you CAN succeed.
... and so the story goes.