2012 Retrospect

Confession: I don’t really want to look back on this year. I mean, I DO because it’s over and I’m happy about that but I DON’T because whenever I think about it, I cry.

And not pretty cry. I ugly cry about it.

It seems like a far-off nightmare that I have only just recently woken from to realize that I have my life back and can do the things I like/want to do instead of planning my day around bathrooms and getting shot up with poison.

I much prefer to be out running that doing most any other thing. (Image courtesy of MK Photography)

I much prefer to be out running that doing most any other thing. (Image courtesy of MK Photography)

Instead, I prefer to say I learned a lot of stuff in 2012.

  • I learned that my husband is THE BEST.
  • I learned that sickness can bring people together & make relationships stronger.
  • I learned who my friends are, cliché but true.
  • I learned that father-daughter bonding happens over the strangest conversations.
  • I learned where every single bathroom in Central Park is located & which I prefer.
  • I learned that videos of my niece make me smile even while drugged up post-op.
  • I learned that I am smarter than I give myself credit for.
  • I learned that a mother’s instinct extends well beyond childhood.
  • I learned that flowers & cards make me happy when I’m blue.
  • I learned that I am only limited by myself.
  • I learned that scars don’t matter so much as the story behind them.
  • I learned that Twitter & Facebook can be places of great support.
  • I learned that there is life both in & after sickness.
  • I learned that my brothers & sisters are seriously awesome.
  • I learned that I love running more than I thought I did.

I learned that change is a part of life but it’s what I do with the opportunities I’m given that will define me.

Catch you on the road in 2013!

Catch you on the road in 2013! (Image courtesy of MK Photography)

I’m ready for 2013 and all the adventures it holds, including: no fewer than 2 new babies, 4 weddings (& counting…), my first clinical rotation, several half-marathons, a 200 mile relay, and maybe another 26.2 to round out my total to 10.

I’m ready.

Looking ahead, never behind. When I look back for too long, I tend to trip & fall. (Image courtesy of MK Photography)

Looking ahead, never behind. When I look back for too long, I tend to trip & fall. (Image courtesy of MK Photography)

What did YOU learn in 2012? What are your goals for 2013? 

Happy New Year!

Now go out and run.

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In Pieces

THIS POST CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES OF MEDICAL SITUATIONS.

VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

ME!

ME!

This is a special Saturday post in honor of today being the start of Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week. Congress made December 1-7 of every year a week to bring awareness to Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (sexy, right?) and the people who live with these diseases.

If you’d like to participate in this week’s events, please reach out to your local Congressperson to invite them to become part of the Crohn’s and Colitis Caucus. Tell them my story. I won’t mind. 

This is my (abbreviated) story from the past two and a half years. 

________________________________________________________________________________

It’s weird to think about things in terms of “a year ago, I was…”

So much has happened in the past six months, I still can’t even get my mind around it all. The enormity of it overwhelms me sometimes so I just put my head down and plod forward.

Like a mule.

I got baggage.

I feel like I’ve lost little pieces of myself along the way, literally and figuratively. Maybe they were pieces I didn’t need because I don’t feel as bogged down as I did a year ago, but it hasn’t been an easy road.

Ulcerative colitis took my health and my running for almost two years.

Poison in my body for a year.

One year spent almost entirely on a treadmill because I was so sick.

Married to the treadmill.

And then came the big one. My colectomy. My colostomy bag. The end of being a whole person (in body, not in spirit). No turning back.

Little, innocuous purple spot.

Post-op surgery #1. That purple spot seems A WHOLE LOT bigger now.

4 drains coming out of my body. A stoma I couldn’t look at for days. Barely able to walk. My life changed forever.

Mom took me for a walk every day until I could walk far enough to see the beautiful mural on my floor.

I felt like a freak. I didn’t want anyone to see me, see my stoma. But then my loved ones asked and I suddenly didn’t seem to mind. They marveled at my new “gear” and how fast I was recovering and I started to find my strength again, without my colon and with my new bag.

Ladies and gentlemen, this was Rosebud. She gave me my life back.

I ran outside again. I started my doctorate program. I got back to the business of living. The love of my life gave me the confidence and support I so desperately needed to push forward.

10 mile race? Piece of cake!

And I finally showed the world what colon-free and kicking ass looks like!

Catch me (& Rosebud) if you can.

I felt brave and strong. Until I was in the ER. Until they didn’t know why. Until I was faced with surgery #2 before I was ready.

The ER is not the place to be with a stoma, I promise you.

And then I was back on 14 North. And my Mom was here again, holding my hand, brushing my hair, protecting me. It was like a nightmare.

And she walked me again. And she and my Dad and JB talked me down from the ledge day after day. No matter what anyone said or did, I felt broken.

In pieces.

Back to the drugs.

Here I am. Two months post-op from my second surgery. Five weeks from my last procedure. Feeling like myself again.

No bag. Just scars. Getting healthier every day.

No bag. Just scars. Getting healthier every day.

I feel like I’ve been to Hell and back. Back for all the world to see. To tell other patients that there’s life after surgery. That this disease DOESN’T have to hold you back. That only YOU hold you back.

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I would have never gotten through it alone. I tell everyone about my disease, my surgery, my journey because I refuse to hide.

I will NOTbe silenced. I will NOT be ashamed of my disease. I will NOT be the reason someone else suffers.

I have colitis. I had a colostomy bag. I have a J-pouch now. And I have am a BADASS.

Thank you, Run Stronger community, for your unwavering support. Thank you for sharing your stories with me. Thank you for sharing mine with others. Keep up the good work.

Now go out and run!

What Are You Waiting For?

I won’t be so bold as to say, “I’m back!” because I am most definitely not back. Not by any stretch. But I am inching my way, day by day, towards some semblance of being “back”, whatever that will come to mean for me.

I’m not running. I don’t know when I will be and I’m trying (totally failing, btw) not to think about it. I miss being able to release stress with physical activity. Because this surgery wasn’t as invasive and the recovery is shorter, I feel ready to go out and run…

…if only it weren’t for that silly hole in my belly that just won’t close fast enough.

*sigh*

I was in the hospital for 4 days and it was about 2 days longer than I really needed to be there. Luckily, my awesome sister-in-law sent tons of pictures and videos of my sweet baby niece.

Being back on 14N gave me some time to think. I read everyone’s tweets about their long runs, marathons, and fabulous spin/bootcamp classes and wished with all my might that I could be with them.

Hospitals aren’t as glamorous as they look. For example, I had to get my own blowout the night before because they don’t have a salon on site. Hello? This is New York City.

Mostly, though, I wished I could just go home. And then I wished I could run.

When I hear young people say things like, “I’m not a runner” or “I could never run that far” in response to my favorite activity, I want to strangle them.

Yeah, yeah, to each his own and all that but really? You could never? Have you tried?! I want to shake them and tell them to try everything. Every. Single. Thing. Because they have the luxury of being both young and healthy and not taking advantage of that is a crime.

“Youth is wasted on the young.”-George Bernard Shaw

And health is wasted on the healthy.

Let me be your wakeup call. I seem healthy, right? Even after surgery and four days in the hospital.

This was in celebration of peeing, a prerequisite to going home. It’s the little things.

No one in the world would guess that I’m sick, that I can’t do every little thing I want to, that I am missing an entire organ. But I am, and I can’t, and oh boy am I ever.

Don’t waste time being scared that you might fail or not be the best at something. Try. Fight. Fall. RUN. If you don’t crack 4 hours in this year’s marathon, so what? You still RAN A MARATHON. You ran the same number of miles as Meb and Kara, not matter how long it took you.

And you can try again.

Get out there and see the sunrise from a running trail, not a hospital bed.

It’s a nice view and all but I prefer sunrise in my sneakers on the East River running path.

And take me with you. Hear me in your head. You can do this.

Now go out and run.

Happy 1st Blogiversary!

Life is crazy.

It’s cliche to say it, but I never NOT IN A MILLION YEARS would have predicted the events of this past year. That’s right. I started this blog exactly one year ago today. And today is the day that I start my first day of my doctoral program at NYU.

Nah, we don’t wear scrubs every day. These are for lab. But they look cool. You’re gettin that whole “Doctor” vibe from me now, right?

My first blog was kind of a mess. It took me a while to get the hang of this whole blogging thing and find my voice. There are so many bloggers out there who write 2-3 times a day, photograph their food and dog and husband and family, report their workouts and generally share their days with their readers. I am amazed by their commitment.

I am not that blogger. I am far too lazy to blog more than once a day. I prefer to use that hour to sleep, honestly.

I am a championship sleeper. You didn’t know this about me, did you?

I wanted to write about running, training, and my journey. I didn’t see many blogs out there that were written to help the average runner. I wanted a place where people could find new workouts, get inspired to run and maybe find a community where they could belong. That’s where my Life With UC page came from. Having Ulcerative Colitis has changed my world. Strike that. It’s turned my world upside down and sideways. Who knew?

Blogging at Dr. Boz’s office became a weekly event.

This year I:

Yaaaaay! I finished! And had some of the bestest cheerleaders along the way 🙂

Ambassador Buddies forever!

  • Led my very first BRick workout (Next stop: a triathlon!)

Such a badass group of BRick-ers.

  • And became an aunt for the very first time

   

It’s been a great year with all of you. Apparently, you all are most interested in having stronger hips, weight loss/gain during marathon training and reading words of wisdom from Obi-wan.  Thank you for reading, sharing and commenting. I have loved getting to know all of you and even meeting some of you!

I’m really looking forward to the next year and all of the adventures it holds for me. I hope you are, too, and that you have taken something of value from our time together. Hope to see you next year for my 2nd Blogiversary!

Another 1st for me this weekend: 1st ride on the Roosevelt Island Tram!

Now go out and run!

PS. For one night only this summer, I will be coaching the lululemon Run Club THIS WEDNESDAY NIGHT in Central Park. We leave from the E. 66th St. store at 6:45pm and meet on the 72nd St. Transverse at 7pm. We’re doing a Cat Hill workout. Hope to see you there!

My little rock star (I couldn’t help myself)