I realized earlier this week that my life was very different just one year ago. One year ago I was in the hospital eating jello.
(I struggle to write about what last summer was like – I guess it was a harder time than I realized. Hard for me and equally hard for Marc and my family.)
Today, I’m doing great. The early spring and summer were rough again with another ulcerative colitis flare – but this is behind me now. I’m feeling better than I ever have.
The cumulative experiences I’ve had since I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2009 have gifted me with something very powerful – perspective. I have learned the hard way not to take anything for granted – health, long life, bike rides, good meals, sitting in a coffee shop, going to work, etc. In an instant your life can change and the parts of it which you took for granted, all of a sudden seem much more vital than you realized.
Last summer I was in a hospital bed for 12 days and for the first week I really didn’t want to look out the window. I didn’t want to see the blue sky. I didn’t want to think about my friends out riding their bikes. I didn’t want to know what I was missing. This is not the best way to cope with a challenging situation – denial never works.
On one of his daily visits, Marc came into my room and insisted on pulling back the curtain and made me look out the window. He saw what was happening – I was losing hope. I was trying very hard to parcel away the things that I loved and was becoming resigned to never getting back to living my life. This guy of mine just wouldn’t put up with my attempts to lie around in that damn hospital bed.
On days when I’m not really feeling like riding, running or getting out of the house to do a bunch of errands – I think of those 12 days in August. My arms bruised and battered from the I.V., the damn jello I couldn’t even digest, the feeling of hopelessness, and the sadness that I felt. These memories are powerful motivators to get me out and doing – reminding me that you just never really know what is going to happen.
These days I’m trying to squeeze as much in as possible – I’m following my whims and focusing on “just doing”. I’m riding my bike with friends – not stressing over wattage and training plans. I’m going out for awesome trail runs with friends and an awesome community of like-minded people. I’m thinking ahead to the winter of skiing and snowshoeing. I’m reading more books and taking time to sit and take it all in. I’m trying to be a more patient and understanding person. I’m living life and not letting it get away from me.
I don’t ever want to eat another bowl of jello again. But if I have to, I’ll have this summer to remind me of how good life really can be. I’m building memories now that will get me through the next rough patch.
Today I’ll celebrate “the difference a year makes” with good food, a solid day of work at the office, a nice trail run at Kanata Lakes, and a relaxing evening at home with my favourite guy and our fat grey cat. I hope you make the most of today. Store up some memories – you never know when you’ll need them.