It Is What It Is

I’ve been wanting to write something here for a while now, but honestly I just didn’t know what to write. This website started as a way for me to get you involved in my cyclo-cross racing journey. Along the way I’ve shared with you the ups and downs that come with setting big goals and chasing them. You’ve been with me every pedal stroke, encouraging me, cheering me on and giving me that push when I needed it. For this I’m very grateful. But at times, especially now, I feel like I’m not doing a very good job of paying you back – of letting you know how much this support and encouragement means to me. Particularly now when I’m in this strange limbo land space.

I’m asking myself if this website is still relevant? Do I have anything to say? Why would anyone want to read about what is going on with me? After all, I don’t really feel like there is much going on now. Compared to the years when I was off racing my cyclo-cross bike in Belgium and beyond – I had some good stories to tell you from falling into the canal in Surhusiterveen, to racing at the World Cyclo-Cross Championships in 2010, to just getting out for a ride and discovering some awesome new roads – there always seemed to be something to share with you.

Now, I’m just not sure… so I guess the best thing to do today is just tell you what is going on…

Well, healthwise things are on the upward trajectory (fingers crossed). The crazy prednisone is working its twisted magic – making me feel like I’m healthy and normal and fooling me into believing I’m in a remission. (In other words – right now this wicked steroid has eliminated my ulcerative colitis symptoms but this is really just a cover-up and I’ve been down this road before. I’m not getting sucked in this time.) I’m slowly tapering off prednisone and we’ll really know what is going on with my cranky colon in a few weeks when I’m down to just 5mg of prednisone a day (this is when the trouble started up again this past August…). The good news is that I feel really good on this darn drug, I look good (apart from my puffy face), I have lots of energy, I can eat what I want, and I feel more like myself again.

The even better news is that I finally started a new medical treatment. I’m now taking Remicade – this is a big drug that you only get to once all other medications have failed. Delivered by IV infusion, this drug works its magic by blocking the protein in my body that stimulates the inflammatory response (ulcerative colitis is an auto-immune disease that cause inflammation in my colon and really nasty things happen). So far I’ve had two infusions and I’ll have my next one on Dec. 12 – we should know around then if this medication is working (by then I’ll have been off prednisone for eight days). So this is the medical low-down.

Oh and November is Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Month… So feel free to ask me anything you want to know about ulcerative colitis – no question is too personal – 1 in 160 Canadians have either Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis (some have both) – so we need to talk about these diseases.

Thanks to this renewed energy I’m ramping up my physical activity. Back at doing yoga at home thanks to MyYogaOnline and trying to rebuild my muscles with my handy TRX system. I also just started riding my bike on the trainer. Nothing major – just an easy 30 minutes but I hope to slowly build this up to an hour or so. Cross-country ski season appears to be around the corner and when it comes I’ll be ready thanks to the dry land training sessions I’ve been attending. Of course, along the way I did manage to find myself visiting my local physiotherapy clinic… turns out that the small amount of walking/hiking I’ve been doing was too much strain for my old body – combine being ill for the spring, summer, fall with prednisone with having to stop doing any activity at all with not getting the nutrients I need – and well this ends up causing annoying things like muscle wasting. So now I’m working hard to rebuild and strengthen my calf muscles, hamstrings, quads and the pesky glute mede. Ah well, better now than in January when I want to be out skiing and snowshoe running.

Other than this – well life is rolling along. I started a reading project… I decided to challenge myself to read all of the books on the Canada Reads Top 40 list. Yes, 40 books. Marc asked me yesterday how long it would take to read all 40 – I estimate two years… Sigh. Ah well, at least I get to read some pretty awesome Canadian novels. And in typical fashion, I’ve created a website to track my progress and to post reviews of each book.

Hmm, what else? Well today is the last race in the Eastern Ontario Cyclo-Cross Series. I have to say it has been hard to not be out there racing but I’ve still really enjoyed coming out to the races. I particularly enjoy watching the women’s race and seeing so many women out there racing their bikes and having fun. It is a real treat to have women ask me about tire pressure, how to ride a certain section, and to chat with them after the races and hear about the race from their perspective. Next year I’ll definitely be holding more ‘cross clinics and I’ve got some ideas for some specific skill-based clinics (if you have ideas or suggestions – shoot me an email or post in the comments).

Alright, for someone who thought she didn’t have much to say, it seems like I’ve managed to write quite a bit! Thanks for sticking around. It means a lot.

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