A life free from daily pain
The space to enjoy topics other than my chronic illness/my next health crisis with family and friends
Ice cream (et al.)
The ability to run without pain (without the pain of Ulcerative Colitis anyways)
A life free from medication, infusions and side effects
Way more energy
The freedom to leave my house before noon
A new perspective (lots to say about this - more on this later)
More smiles and real smiles
The ability to gain weight
Since surgery I have gained 17 pounds.
1.7 pounds of weight gained per week for 10 weeks.
Recently a friend pointed out to me that is 17 pounds of butter (in a good way)!
When I tell people about my weight gain, I get one of three responses,
They are happy for/with me
A look of confusion because many people have a hard time understanding that weight gain can be a positive (even people that knew how sick I was. I try to be sensitive to this, understanding that the topic of weight gain can be extremely triggering)
They look me up and down and say "Really? Where?". This one is surprisingly common (and I get it, at my 17lbs heavier size, I am still a relatively small human, but can you imagine if the tables were turned, if you told someone you lost 17lbs, and that's how they responded?)
Today I am proud to share a few before and afters.
10 pounds got me back into my jeans.
17 pounds puts me where I want to be - healthy and strong.
Over the past year I had given up racing altogether - instead I volunteered at many of the races I used to run. Volunteering was a nice way to continue to feel connected to my running community, but it always carried a little bit of sadness mixed in. Sadness at watching my friends do what I so badly wanted to be doing and sadness over my rapid health decline.
When I signed up for the Island Lake Classic, I wasn't sure if it was too ambitious, but it gave me an important goal to work towards after surgery. I told myself I would do everything in my power to run, but if I ended up having to walk it, that would be great too. With guidance from Coach Hannah I worked up my stamina to be able to run most of the 5k race on Saturday.
It was nowhere near my fastest time (13 whole minutes slower than the last time I ran this race) but to be able to race that day had me feeling more proud than any personal best could have. And technically speaking, this race was a personal best - it's officially my fastest 5k without a colon.
To make the day even more special my A team was there by my side - Mom, Dad, bro, Jason and Kody. The icing on the cake was having coach Hannah there cheering me on along with many friends, some of whom surprised me by being there. The cherry on top was seeing my mom place at the top of the podium in her age group. This woman is in her 64th year people. And a total badass.
Nothing could have taken the smile off my face that day - except for in the final 50m of the race when I did have a full on cry. It was an emotional and joyful day.
One of my best days for sure.
Next goal - a 9k on my 38th birthday in 6 weeks.