This is the time of year when most people list off their New Year’s Resolutions and proclaim to live a better life. Well, I’m not going to do this…
As you most likely know, December was a very rough month for me. In fact this entire cyclo-cross season, which ended early after the Koksijde World Cup has been very rough. I didn’t race to my potential. My body couldn’t benefit from the hard training I put it through during the spring and summer. I couldn’t benefit from my improved technical skills. I kept at it but it just didn’t come together like I had planned. And then to top things off, my ulcerative colitis returned three days after the Koksijde World Cup.
What I thought was “just a flare” turned out to be the worst ulcerative colitis flare I’ve ever experienced. I’ll be honest here with you (as I always promise to be on this site) – my ulcerative colitis has gone from being mild to severe. It has now consumed my entire colon. By the time I finally let Marc take me to the hospital on Dec. 24, I was on the verge of rupturing my colon. I was sick. I am so sick. But I’ve now been out of the hospital for four days and I’m starting to feel better. I’m not symptom-free but I do have more energy and I’m definitely better than I was two weeks ago. I’m on a new type of medicine (immune supressant drugs) that will hopefully balance my blood cell counts and allow my body to fight this disease. There is no cure for ulcerative colitis so all I can do is learn how with the advice of my doctors how to best manage my disease.
As for racing and riding? Well I can’t start real training until I’m 100 per cent symptom-free. I trained and raced through-out a flare last spring – fall. I thought I did a good of managing my training and flare but by the time the cyclo-cross season came, my body had been pushed to its limit and I couldn’t do what I’d been preparing for. I’m not going to make this mistake again. This last month of being sick has made me realize how much I love racing and riding my bike. I’m hoping that next week I’ll be able to get out for some light and short rides – really light as in small ring only and short as in 30 minutes long.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading about nutrition and the inflammatory effects that food can have on the body. I don’t have any food allergies but I do feel better with less gluten and dairy in my diet. I’ve also been paying attention to how my body feels on a diet of mostly fruits and vegetables compared to a more meat-based diet. This combined with reading the Thrive Diet and poking around on various food and cooking websites, I’ve decided that once I’m healthy again and can eat fruits and vegetables again (for now I’m stuck eating chicken broth, white bread, eggs, and some meat and fish) I’m going to move to a gluten-free/dairy-free vegan diet for 85% of the time – this gives me the flexibility to eat meat, fish and eggs when I want/need them (partly because I struggle with very low iron so I do feel I need some natural heme iron sources). I’m hoping that this dietary change will help me a healthier person and keep my ulcerative colitis in remission.
So this is where I’m at…. There is lots of subtle change going on but no big New Year’s Resolutions on my plate. I do have one mantra for 2011: live everyday to the maximum, smile more, stress less and appreciate it all.