I am not quite feeling myself. On Saturday night I couldn’t stand up without throwing up. I know, too many details. And no, there was not a single sip of alcohol involved. It was ugly, not fun and I don’t think I moved from the couch for an entire 36 hours.
Listening to our bodies is something others might not understand as well as Crohn’s patients. This is potentially because as a Crohn’s patient, sometimes our bodies scream a little louder than others. Perhaps this is simply because we are more sensitive to what our bodies are saying.
It made me think about what I’m putting into my body and how it’s making my body feel. Nearly four years ago when I was first diagnosed and in an great amount of discomfort I didn’t think about what I put into my body. I just thought about how quickly it would make me feel better.
This doesn’t just apply to medications, it’s foods and supplements and beverages.
While it may seem that my rambling makes no sense so far… I promise I’m getting to the point.
I was a shy girl, always. Growing up I never raised my hand in class. I had boys tease me in school for being mute. I was incredibly self conscious of my surroundings, what I wore and how I acted. It didn’t seem unnatural, it was just who I thought I was.
There are things I would never change. I am the young woman I am today because of the heartbreaks, the aches and pains and the multitude of doctors appointments.
And on Saturday, I actually felt the change.
I stood on a stage in front of a microphone. I spoke as the Master of Ceremony for the Take Steps Rhode Island walk.
Hands down I would have NEVER agreed to such a title four years ago. Hands down four years ago I would have NEVER predicted I would ever accept such a title.
I walked up to the microphone, thinking I hadn’t even been nervous, and my knees started to shake immediately. As I spoke I looked into a crowd of people from those who were newly diagnosed to those that have been living with the disease for decades. I saw friends and family who were there to support these patients. I saw volunteers who were there just for the day to help. A united group gathered for one purpose. To raise awareness for a cause that was so close to all of our hearts. Although I would be remiss to mention that we were also there to fundraise to fuel research to find this cure that someday we will find.
This was my second year attending the Take Steps walk in Rhode Island. I was a volunteer last year and just like this year I woke up at a very early 5:30am for a Saturday morning and drove to Rhode Island. Last year, I was introduced to Beth. A quick hello and Facebook friend request later, we have been connected ever since.
It was my privilege to introduce Beth on stage at this year’s walk as the Adult Honored Hero. And it reminded me why I love this community so much.
One small introduction becomes a lifelong friend.
A friend that understands things that no one else does. Not that we aren’t surrounded by loved ones who care unconditionally for our well-being, but these friends are fellow patients and we understand without words. And that connection is something that is instant.
I came home from this high, and my body crashed. A sign you should never take a moment for granted. Never assume a new drug will work better than an old one. Never assume that since you are feeling great, you will never not feel great again.
That is the reason I volunteer. That is the reason ever since I sat in my first Team Challenge meeting back in August of 2012, and I agreed without hesitation to run a half marathon having never run more than a 5K. I knew instantly I had found my community.
In those three years I have found myself. I found this woman who no longer accepts the answer “this will help with your symptoms”. I found the person who no longer accepts that 36 hours on the couch is an acceptable way to spend the weekend.
I fight because we all deserve to feel good. We all have the right to follow the dreams we want to follow. And I won’t give up fighting until we all have the opportunity to feel good.
I am running with Team Challenge Lite (to clarify I am running a 5K, not quite ready to jump back into half marathons) in three weeks. Even if I don’t run fast and even if I have to walk, there is a patient out there that sits in a hospital. I walk with Take Steps because there is a patient out there that needs to meet other patients who feel just like they do.
I am again hosting a fundraiser this Fall on November 8 (details to follow), because I believe there is a cure out there and we need the research to find it. I believe that at thirty years old I shouldn’t be asked if I’m a nurse because I have so much medical knowledge, I shouldn’t have to explain to a date why my doctor visits shouldn’t be a concern to our future dates, and I shouldn’t have to take so much time off because I have so many appointments. It’s just not the way life should be.
This year is extra special because not only am I raising money for a cause I believe in, but one lady that I believe in more than anymore… my mom… will be running her first half marathon with Team Challenge in February and I am beyond thrilled to see her take on this challenge!
I know we all have causes that are close to our hearts, this is mine.
Oh, and one more thing… we all have the potential to be anything we want to be. There is the potential to find anything, anyone sets their mind to. NEVER think it’s NEVER going to happen.