A Second Diagnosis

“When something works, you wonder how it ever breaks. When something breaks, you wonder how it ever worked.”

This post is not an add-on to my IT band injury.

In fact, an alternative title could have been, “How to ensure you rapidly fix your running injury and simultaneously not care that you have one at all!”

Sounds like a revolution, right? Well, that alternative “title” was actually my attempt at humor, in an otherwise humor-less post.

The truth is: my IT band is getting much better, and while I’m definitely glad for it—running is really the last thing on my mind right now.

It took a while for me to decide whether or not I would write this post. I wavered between thinking it was over-sharing and thinking it was therapeutic. I’ve landed somewhere in the middle, and while I’m going to hold onto some privacy and not provide too many details, the truth is that I’m a writer. When I’m at a complete loss, which unfortunately I am right now, writing is one of the few elixirs I can count on to cleanse my mind. At least for a little bit.

You may or may not have heard on here before that I’ve dealt with ulcertive colitis for nearly 5 years now. It’s mostly been in remission, and with the exception of a bad flare up right around the Eugene Marathon (great timing, I know), I haven’t been too radically affected by it.

Somehow, in the course of just two weeks, that all changed.

I’ve yet to come up with any reason why (and perhaps there is none), but over the past 14 days my health has completely deteriorated. I currently feel like a shell of myself, and while my mind is still trying to get used to the shock of it all—my attention is primarily focused on the physical side of things.

Essentially, what started as a stomach ache turned into intolerable intestinal pain, coupled by absolutely zero energy, innumerable bathroom trips, and an aversion to nearly all food. My doctor had an emergency procedure done last Friday after checking me out on Thursday night, and somehow my remissed colitis has advanced, taken over my gut, and is now classified as Crohn’s disease.

It was not, let’s just say, a great way to start the weekend or holiday season.

I went in for a blood and biopsy follow-up yesterday afternoon, and I’m currently popping more pills than anyone my age ever should. My charts “look terrible” and indicate all of the concerns my doctor had initially. We have a plan in place, and I can only hope that by some luck it’s the right formula to get this under control. I’ve been able to garner some energy during the days, but every night/morning has been an incessant battle of fatigue, bathroom trips, and complete discomfort.

I’m feeling both very checked in and checked out at this point. In one regard, I’m acutely tuned into every little change and signal in my body. But in the other regard, nearly every other thing that typically builds me up and brings me joy has been shoved to the back of my mind. It makes me feel like a complete stranger to myself, and that may be one of the toughest things of all.

I’m someone who thrives on living fully, on to-do lists, on making the most of everything, and in my current state, I consider doing a dish or getting dressed a success. In a matter of a few days, my survival instincts have completely taken over my every-day instincts, and it’s really throwing me off. I haven’t even considered exercise recently, and this is easily the longest I’ve gone in years without even caring about missing it. There’s about 5 different foods that I can tolerate the thought of, and that list is getting whittled down by the day.

So that’s where I’m at. Two of my most treasured attributes, my running and my health, have both jetted off to some unknown future destination. While I know they’ll both return, I’m feeling a little blind ambling back toward them without a schedule or a timeline.

Please know that I am not writing this in an attempt to solicit pity or sympathy. I have many blessings for which I’m especially thankful for right now, and I fully know that things could certainly be much worse. I just felt it was fair to my readers to notify you of where I’ve been, and I needed someplace to unload a bit.

Your health is an incredibly important and often times taken-for-granted part of life. It’s so easy to forget how lucky we are to have normal, functioning bodies when they are working properly. As said in the beginning of this post, you wonder how it ever breaks. But when it is broken, as mine unfortunately is, you long for those days of unconsciously living your life.

Please, remember to live consciously, and be thankful for your health. 

11 thoughts on “A Second Diagnosis

  1. Lauren

    So much love for you! I’m sorry you’re going through this. No pity here, just wishing I could do something to help. If you need me to bring you any of those five foods or take care of baby J or WHATEVER please don’t hesitate to call.

  2. Bethany

    I have thought a lot of you in the past few days, as my marathon training will start on Monday. I hope you get well soon. I don’t know if you follow @CarrotsNCake she has Crohn’s and has recipes that has helped her. Please take it from someone who has been there, it will get better.

  3. Sybil

    So sorry to read this. I have two family members with Crohn’s and have seen how, well, downright awful it can be. So glad you have good medical care and are taking the time to take care of yourself. Wishing you well!

  4. Lauren

    OH BOO Robyn, I can’t imagine how you must be feeling right now but I’m very certain you will find the best way to fight this and return to your healthy/running glory…you are seriously one of the strongest runners/people I know.

  5. Becky @ RunFunDone

    Ugh. Crohns. I’m sorry, Robyn. Do they have you on horrible steroids now? Hopefully you’ll be able to identify foods that contribute to the problems quickly. Let me know if there’s anything that I can help with. Stress/anxiety can contribute to flare-ups, so try to do things (hot showers, yoga, mindfulness, etc) that help your mind and body calm down! 😦 Feel better soon!

  6. Pingback: The Boston plan, for now | Run Birdie Run

  7. FitnessFatale

    I am so sorry to hear this! I can relate a bit to what you are saying as I had a skin cancer scare last year ( they said it was the kind that can spread) and i know what you mean about going back to survival instincts – nothing else matters. Based on the post I just read it sounds like things are getting better and training for Boston will be therapeutic for you! Ill be keeping you in my thoughts!


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