See that girl? That's me. Running on a giant water slide. This was at the beginning of June. It was a 5k mud run/obstacle course. 5 kilometers might not seem like a big deal to some people, but it was to me. For one thing, I'm not much of a runner. And for another thing, just a couple years ago I could barely walk around my neighborhood block.
In January, I was feeling great. Better than I had in years. More energy too. At that point, I had been in remission from my UC around 14 months. I had been making changes in my life to improve my health even more. I guess once you have been sick, you value health a little bit more. I had been eating better--more fruits and veggies and beans, less junk food. I had also bought a treadmill at a yard sale. Then, one day, a friend on Facebook had posted that she was going to be running this race in June. I thought it looked like fun and I thought, "Why not?" My ulcerative colitis had kept me from doing things for a long time, but it didn't need to continue to keep me from doing things. I enlisted my sisters and my husband and we signed up.
I started training for the race using the Couch to 5k running plan, which was perfect for me. One day while training together, my sister and I went for a run. It was on a trail that two years previous my sister had tried to get me to walk on. The path was one mile long, so two miles total. Back then, I hadn't even reached the 1/2 mile mark before I was in too much pain and to exhausted to continue. My sister had to help me walk back to our car. When we did the trail for our training, I was able to run the whole distance twice and I felt great. I almost cried realizing I had come full circle. UC no longer controls me.
I finished the race June 4th and though I didn't finish in any competitive placing, it was a huge accomplishment for me. On June 30th, I celebrated another milestone: exactly one year without any medication for my UC.
I didn't really think that it was possible to go without medication for so long and to feel so good. I know that a flare-up could happen again...but maybe it won't. I'm continuing to exercise and pay more attention to my body, making sure I get the proper foods and rest that I need. I also do journaling now and regular stress reduction techniques. I don't know if these things are helping my UC or not, but they are helping me in my life anyway so I will continue to do them.
To those of you who may be reading my blog and struggling with UC, don't give up hope! I was so sick but now I am better. And, there is new research being done on UC and new discoveries being made. I recently participated in a research study (maybe I will post about that later). My best wishes for you!