November 2019 State of Running – Illness, Grief, & Running
In December 2017 after a long and courageous battle with ovarian cancer, my mom passed away. Although grieving, I felt lucky to lace up my sneakers and let the cold air not only re-invigorate me but numb some of the pain and loss I felt.
Running allowed me to grieve in my own way and on my on time. It helped me work through the various “stages of grief” everyone talked about and even some that I came up with myself. Running was my therapy and allowed me not only to work through my feelings but also talk to Mom and find ways to “see” her during my morning miles.
Throughout the Winter and Spring, I continued to work my way along that winding path of grief. Come Summer, though, my health took a turn for the worse as I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis.
Some might have “quit” running but I continued to train telling myself that if my mom could battle Ovarian cancer then the least I could do was churn out the miles and workouts. I felt blessed that I was finally able to get my symptoms under control before running the Marine Corps Marathon.
Over the winter, my doctor and I discussed the words Ulcerative Colitis “remission”. I started to believe that I was one of the lucky ones that had “beaten” this horrible disease.
BUT 2019 has been anything but quiet.
I’m not going to lie – 2019 has been rough.
I am sick (again) and I am grieving (again) as I lost my dad this past July.
Even after three Entivyo infusions, I continue to be in an Ulcerative Colitis flare.
Once again the intersection of grief, illness, and running is impacting my life.
What makes harder is that this time last year I was “flare-free”.
And the grief for both my mom and dad – although silent most times – still rears its head at the weirdest times. Grief does not pass just because time does. Grief has its own timeline.
BUT even after a post-marathon run layoff, I have continued to lace up my sneakers and head out the door. To be honest – it’s getting “less fun” as the weather has gotten colder.
Research has shown that it takes at least 4 Entivyo infusions before some see relief, but I sincerely believe that I should have had at least some relief at this point.
Fed up – I called my GI doctor last week who ordered more blood work. The results showed that my CRP (or inflammation score) has increased since June. In laymen’s terms – I am back to square one and slightly worse off than before I started Entyvio.
So, today I am having a flex sigostomey (slightly less invasive than a colonoscopy) so my GI doctor can get a better idea of whether or not the disease has progressed or stayed the same.
AND one thing I can do to try and relieve my frustration and anger at what I am going through, might be the one thing that I might need to stop in the foreseeable future.
I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.
I know some might tell me that I need to give my body time to heal – and I have – but when the one thing that keeps you sane might be the one thing that you have to stop – it puts a damper on one’s mood.
It’s frustrating but I hope after the GI procedure, it will not only give me some answers but a plan to start feeling better…soon.
And I’m sorry that this blog has turned into a bit of a Debbie Downer but this is the direction life is taking me at the moment.
However – onward we go where ever the road takes me – I just wish I knew the path it was leading me down.