“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates

Monday, September 27, 2010

Someone Read My Journal

My wife loves to journal. Me, well, I like the idea of journaling. During my time as an outdoor educator, teaching for Outward Bound among others, I never left civilization without my journal. The nature musings of John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and Emerson would pale in comparison to what I would write in my journal on THIS TRIP. 
In reality, I had no chance of competing with Emerson (for myriad reasons), largely because he actually wrote. Over the course of a thirty-day wilderness course, I would log an astounding two, maybe three, journal entries. But remember, I love the idea of journaling.
This is precisely why, as I browse my symptom "journal", affectionately known as the UC Tracker, I find lots of data and very few personal notes--with the exception of this one, dated April 13, 2009.
It was early afternoon, and I had already been to the bathroom nine times. I was on Imuran, Colazol, and my second round of prednisone. The note simply reads, Kill me. If I have to live like this forever, I'd rather not.
I wasn't suicidal, not at all; however, I had reached the point, after six months of terrible, constant flare-up and failed treatments, that I just would have rather it killed me. At least that way we would be progressing to some conclusion, some definable end to what I was suffering. 
It's me! Almost finished with the half-marathon.
It was just about a month after that entry that I found the SCD. It's as if God had read my journal--or my mind--and had given me a chance.
Fast forward.
It's been 16 months on the SCD, and I can't even imagine that world of April, 2009. I still have some symptoms that haven't cleared, and I still have a bad day here or there (if I eat something that doesn't agree with me), but a bad day has gone from 24 BM/day, to maybe, maybe three loose stools in a day. If things get really crazy, I might go four times. I have energy. I'm training again, and two weeks ago, I finished my first long-ish event in almost two years. 
The International Peace Half-Marathon was held, September 11th, in Georgetown on the C&O Towpath. The weather was beautiful, 60 degrees and sunny, at the start. I finished with a consistent 7:30 mile, which is slow if you're a runner, but for me and all I've been through, it was nothing short of a miracle... and I didn't have to poo the entire race. That's almost as good as my mile time.
Post Script:
Yesterday's hard run clued me in to just how emotional I am about my journey with colitis. 
What do you mean the post-race food isn't SCD-friendly?
It was about eight o'clock in the morning, and I was running through the woods at a good clip listening to vintage Pearl Jam, when I began to visualize myself crossing the finish line at my first marathon (this coming December), something I never thought would be possible after my diagnosis. As the visualization became more and more vivid, I began to run faster, harder, and then I began to cry. I thought, I'm a mess, crying, nearly sprinting, listening to Pearl Jam. What non-teenager cries to Pearl Jam? At least I don't have to poop. 
But that was just it: I didn't have to poop. I was crying from joy that I didn't have to poop. I was crying from joy that I had energy to run through the woods, to play with my kids, and to actively engage in life. I was crying because I felt full of life, and I never thought I would have that feeling again.
I'm grateful for the SCD, and the changes it has affected in my life, and I would say to those thinking about it, to those who may feel the way I did in 2009, give the SCD a month of your time. If it changes your symptoms, maybe you'll be able to see it too--your marathon.
Now it's September, 27th 2010, and I'd erase that note from April 2009 if I could, but I need it as a reminder that someone read my journal.

Onward to Health.

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