Monday, November 7, 2011

Running for dear life...

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1

For those of you that don't really know me, I have a slight obsession with running. I am one of those crazy people that like sits down and watches things on tv like the NYC marathon and track and field college meets and loves anything about running and learning about it and doing it. I used to run all the time to get rid of my stress. I haven't been able to run to the caliber that I would love to for a long time because I have been so ill, but I would still get out and jog on good days 3-5 miles. I also coached track at the middle school I worked at. At first I thought it would be something that hindered me because practices and meets were after school and because of my disease it was all I could do most days to make it through the school (work) day, let alone another 4-5 hours for a track meet. But coaching track was the highlight of my teaching career in all honesty. I felt like I was teaching these kids so much more than they could learn in a classroom; perseverance, strength, healthy habits, jumping, etc. I loved it. But it is because running is one of my passions. And it just so happens that it is a passion that, right now, I can't pursue because of my health. But I will again one day. But seeing my kids, my team running always made me happy. I would love to be that happy again, running, releasing endorphin's, etc. I was actually in the process, right before I got really sick, training for a half marathon to raise money for Crohn's and Colitis research through the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) Team Challenge. Basically you raise a ton of money (several thousand dollars) for Crohns and Colitis research and they fly you to the site of the marathon, pay for your registration, feed you and put you up for 3 days, and you run the marathon in honor of somebody or for yourself as an honored member. But that idea came crashing down for sure. Right now though I need to take a break from running to get my health back because I know running will probably way reverse any progress I have made so far, and one day I will get to run the race as a survivor and someone in remission from this horrible disease hopefully.

One kind of funny story is the second hospital I was in on my 12 day hospital stint was a teaching hospital and every day I had a different student nurse. They basically had to figure everything out about me each different day so I had to tell my whole medical history all over again. And they would always ask me things about my social history like what do you do for fun, etc. I would always say I love to fun, that is my stress reducer (which it is). And then because of how loopy I was and how much I just wanted to be out of bed I would always tell them--pretty persistently--that I wanted to get out of the hospital and go run a couple of miles right then. This was pretty hilarious because during most of this time because of my potassium crash which kills your muscles basically I was barely able to stand up, let alone walk far, let alone run anywhere...but that is what I wanted to do because the hospital was stressing me out and I wanted out of that room and I just wanted to run. Then the nurses would calm me down and convince me I didn't need to run right then and then I would tell them ok, I'll start next week. Well it's been next week plus several more and there still has definitely been no running. I have been completely devoid of energy all the time, and I am still very weak in terms of my muscles and coordination and stuff (although I am much better in that respect).

My colitis has been really really acting up and I have felt pretty lethargic and the inflammation I could tell was getting pretty bad. I haven't gotten into my new GI doctor yet so I knew I needed to do something. So this weekend after some research and advice from good friends I started taking flaxseed oil pills (which are super high in omega 3's-which naturally reduce inflammation and are just good for you in general and your body doesn't produce on it's own) and some probiotics. The GI doctor I used to go to kept telling me the reason I kept going to the hospital is because I wasn't taking my probiotics. But I don't know if any of you have ever bought probiotics but they are freaking expensive and after all the different meds and pills and treatments and on and on that are literally thousands of dollars a month I couldn't stand to shell out another 45 dollars a month for another pill that may or may not work. I am paying gobs of money for medicine that someone worked hard to invent and it's not working why would this work? Well people let me tell you. I have been on these supplements for 2 days now...and I feel awesome! Like OMG I could run a marathon right now if I wanted to. I am happy and energetic, but still tired, like that makes sense at all. I can tell that I am tired but I have enough motivation to get me to be successful at what I need to do.

Today I found a general practitioner, found somewhere to get my medication administered, called my old doctor, got my prescriptions transferred, checked out a new grocery store, found gluten free tortillas, got excited, transferred my medical records, cooked lunch for me and mom, washed dishes, went to the store for mom, came home, made gluten free cheez-its, called the insurance company, cooked me and mom dinner-quesidillas (yum), cleaned the kitchen, took the dogs out, cleaned my room, folded 2 loads of laundry, and now I'm doing this. There were breaks in there but I have been up since 7:45 and it is now 11:15 and I still have so much energy. I love how I feel, I feel healthy and I feel happy, I feel like I am winning the race. Granted I am still sick, trust me, my colon is not better yet and you don't want to know how I know that. But I feel so much better and I can tell that this may work, or at least help out a lot. I am excited that I might be able to do something that may get me off the meds mostly. That would be awesome!!!

I also realized while pondering on the Hebrews verse above that even though I gave up physical running I really haven't given up the running that is the most important. I haven't given up running towards God, and running the race He had set out for me. I have complained, I have cried, I have asked why, but I have never given up. I moved, I take my meds, I do what I am supposed to do, and I have a (mostly) positive attitude about it. I strive to honor Him in all I do in this journey and I have to have perseverance to win. The verse says to throw off EVERYTHING that hinders, not some things, everything. Just because my entire life was changed and turned upside down does not mean that God is hindering me, it means that He is giving me a new route to run, perhaps a longer route, perhaps a rougher route, but He is still letting me run this race towards Him, and for that I am thankful. Because let's face it the alternative of not running the race of perseverance is quite daunting, right? So I'm going to embrace the spiritual race of running for right now and focus on getting that right and then hopefully get back to physical running at some point soon. Maybe I'll get to be part of team challenge next year as one of the honored members, that would be awesome, to be a survivor of the dreaded disease and get to run to raise money for research so more people wouldn't have to suffer as much as I and many others have :)

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