I’m happy to report that these days I’m operating at something like an 87% “normal health” rate.
I wake up in the morning and my stomach says, “I’m going to make this rough on you.”
But eventually, usually after two hours or so, that mostly passes and I can function pretty normally during the day, save for a few emergency runs to the bathroom usually around meal time, meeting times or anything else that causes the slightest bit of anxiety for me.
So naturally, my reappearance at the office, at social functions and here on the internet has prompted inquiring minds to ask, “What’s working? Do you think the Humira is finally kicking in?”
It’s a fair question, and it’s one I don’t seem to have the answer to. My answer usually goes something like this:
“I don’t know, honestly! I’m still doing the Humira injections every week, but I think it could be the combination of the Humira and the 6 MP, since we upped my dose of the 6 MP and the doctors said it would take around three months to kick in anyway. So it could be that. I’m also on a steroid, Budesonide, which supposedly targets the colon, so it could also be that. And I just wrapped up my time on Xifaxan, which was supposed to help with the bloating and the fact that anytime I ate my stomach became so distended that I looked like a pregnant lady about to pop. So I don’t know…it could be any of those things. Oh, and I’m trying to be less stressed. I don’t make lists anymore. That probably helps, too.”
Translation: “I have no F-ing clue. But I’m pretty psyched about it.”
There’s a lot of trial and error happening right now, and I’m certainly making my fair share of errors along the way.
Like with the peanuts.
The dang, stupid peanuts.
I keep eating them and I keep getting really sick soon after.
But then I keep eating them, thinking “maybe it wasn’t the peanuts.”
Turns out, it is the peanuts. It has to be the peanuts.
So I need to stop eating peanuts. That’s an easily avoidable error. I don’t even like peanuts that much, except when they’re tucked neatly inside some chocolate and a hard-shelled casing. M&Ms, they’re called. I like peanut M&Ms.
Also that chopped salad I had for lunch the other day.
I’m trying to figure the food stuff out, which is an annoying process.
I’m happily working my way through the things that are helping, too, though. So it’s not all bad and frustrating.
Some other things that are working for me…
Family time. As much of it as possible.
I’m talking parents, brother, sister-in-law, BFF Tyler, aunts, uncles, cousins, the whole tree. I was able to escape the city a few weeks ago to spend some time in Ocean City, NJ, where my aunt lives in a gorgeous home with tons of windows overlooking the bay.
It’s one of the most relaxing places I can imagine and I love going there when I really need to chill out.
Friend time. Whether it’s in real life or on GChat, I’m always realizing how important it is to surround myself with only the very best, most understanding, least stressful people. I’m lucky to have just enough wonderful friends to make me feel fulfilled.
Selena Gomez. She makes me smile every single time I walk through the door.
Riding my bike. I’ve gone on a few great rides recently and I’m glad I overcame my fear of hopping back on my Lexa after I crashed it last December. Riding is easy on the stomach, gentle on the joints and it’s fun!
Being near the water. Oceans, lakes, rivers, ponds, streams, puddles…any body of water I can find seems to bring a sense of calm to my world.
The new couch. Thank god.
Not recording my workouts. As I work my way back into a regular exercise regime, it’s so nice just doing whatever I want. I’m not on a marathon training plan, I’m not trying to hit pace or mileage goals and I’m not writing anything down.
I used to keep an obsessive log listing every workout I did. Having a huge notebook filled with daily mileage totals made it hard for me to take a day off because I liked seeing every single day listed in the notebook. I even had a spreadsheet that I printed every two weeks where I’d tally up my daily number of crunches, butt lifts, planks and push-ups (the push-up column was usually left empty…). At the time, I didn’t see a problem with this. Now I can recognize about a billion problems with that little system. And I’m so much happier without it, even if I can’t even come close to holding a five-minute plank these days.
In conclusion to this section: It appears as though I’m happier and healthier when I’m able to avoid stress and obsess less over life’s silly details.
Good to know.
The meds are probably helping, too.
So what’s not working?
Running. I had a few amazing, magical, life-changing runs when I finally got back at it and then boom, everything started to hurt. Namely my right Achilles tendon.
I was out for a run one day in New Jersey, going over the new bridge from Somers Point to Ocean City. Running over the bridge was amazing. It has these seemingly-monstrous hills that are short but challenging, and the views are to-die-for. But a few miles into the run, I developed this weird pain in my lower calf. I stopped to stretch it out, thinking it was just a little ache, but when I tried to start running again the pain got worse.
I cut the run short, sort of limped back to the house, jumped in the pool and haven’t run since.
I’d rather not aggravate this into a full-blown injury, and since I’m not putting pressure on myself to run any races this year, I’m just staying off it, stretching my calves, foam rolling, icing and hoping eventually I’ll be back up and running again…maybe with a more gradual mileage increase this time.
Going to work. I’m still technically on medical leave, but I’m going in whenever I’m able. And the transition has been really difficult for me. I’m worried I rushed back to the office too soon, before I was mentally ready, but I had to. There was work to be done.
So now I’m in at least a few days a week (three on average) and it’s tough. I’m trying to readjust to the working girl lifestyle, and I’m trying to get my team back to where we were before I got sick.
Work is stressful. That’s a given. I tend not to sleep well the nights before I go in, and once I’m there things are crazy and I’m trying to get caught up and that stress immediately triggers my stomach into overdrive-mode.
To conclude this section: Anything that is even remotely anxiety-inducing is bad. Also peanuts and chopped up roughage covered in dressing.
I’m hoping that as I move forward, I will keep doing just that: moving forward. And hopefully, eventually, I’ll be able to move forward in running shoes, at a sub-9-minute-mile pace, perhaps even across a finish line. I hope there will be fewer errors throughout my trials.
Even on the great days, I tend to tell myself that it’s OK to make mistakes, to have an off day or to completely lose my head. I’ve accepted that 2013 just won’t be my year — but that 2014 really is right around the corner.
And maybe the fall has something magical in store for me.
Maybe 2013 won’t be a total wash.
It’s a work in progress.
But I think it’s working.