I want to start off by saying that today I accomplished a goal.
This may not seem like a big deal but for me it is. I finally ran 5k! I set out, two and a half months ago to train for a 5k run. Today is the day I ran 5.16k in 35 minutes. My first race is the CIBC Run for the Cure here in Calgary on Oct 5th 2014.
For any other person, any other healthy person, this accomplishment holds little to no significance by comparison. People run everyday, people exercise everyday. I used to be fairly active, riding bikes, hiking, walking, playing sports, it was part of everyday life. Until I was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 15.
Along with all the other changes that teenagers go through, I had to do things that none of my friends, none of my family members, or anyone I knew for that matter, had to do. Checking blood sugar, taking medication, counting carbs, injecting insulin. It was literally and metaphorically a pain in my ass. My activity levels dropped.
I didn’t play sports anymore, anything I did do I had to watch my sugars, I take to bring snacks and insulin and all the supplies that go with it. At the same time, however, I wanted to be like everyone else. I wanted to do what everyone else was doing and I couldn’t.
After I graduated high school I decided to move away from home for school. Freedom! While most of my friends stayed in-state for school I moved from Louisville Colorado to Vancouver BC. It was a big change, and it would be a big change for anyone.
I was active again! Walking everywhere, taking the bus to get groceries, playing with friends outdoors, riding my bike. A week into school my bike was stolen. One of many events that may seem like excuses for not being active but they all add up. For someone who is unhealthy exercise and activity are very different stories.
After my first semester I was way over my head. I overcommitted to student clubs and extracurriculars. I felt like I didn’t really learn anything that semester and I was stressed about the second semester. I endured, and I signed up for an overnight camp with one of my student clubs.
I’ll elaborate more on the camp story in another blog post but for now lets just say I had to go home early.
I started feeling sick to my stomach in the weeks that followed. (WARNING THIS BLOG POST CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED)
Diarrhea, cramps, abdominal pain, headaches, nausea, vomiting, trouble sleeping, trouble waking up… all the warning signs you hear on a pharmaceutical commercial.
Again I’ll elaborate more in another blog post but by the end of my second semester I had to take a medical leave from school and was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. For those that don’t know, Colitis is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease in which your colon is inflamed, you lose the ability to digest certain foods and the symptoms include frequent uncontrollable bloody painful liquid bowel movements. (sorry to be so graphic) To those of you who do know about Colitis, who have it, or who know someone with it, perhaps you can attest to the discomfort it brings.
To keep this story from getting any longer I just want to say that since being diagnosed almost 7.5 years ago I spent most of my time trying to find ways to cope with the pain, anxiety, social stigma, depression, suicidal thoughts etc. while also trying to maintain a social face. Most of you never knew about my health problems, the rest thought everything was under control. Few of you knew, maybe not in so much detail, but I did open up to some people.
My activity level dropped, and while I wasn’t out in the world trying to show everyone that I was normal, I was at home, alone, filled with stress, in pain, and most likely sitting on the toilet. This is why today is an important day for me. In my recent journey to change my life around I had set a goal of running 5k. I thought my goal was impossible. I pushed through. And today I accomplished that goal. I’m still in pain, I still have anxiety, I still fear the uncertainty of colitis. For the first time in 7 years I have real, genuine, powerful hope for my future. Even writing this blog was stressful for me. I don’t like seeming vulnerable. I don’t like opening up to the world. I have problems trusting people to begin with. I feel like everytime I open up to someone they judge me, they look down upon me and worst of all they see me how I used to see myself, as useless, hopeless, and pitiful…
I wish myself a happy & healthy life, and I hope to set and accomplish more goals, one step at a time, doing them, not for other people, but for myself.
Thanks for reading!