It was the first time I had to fill so many prescriptions at once. It was the first time, I had to take anything more than a birth control pill (30 plus pills to be exact). It was my first pharmaceutical cocktail and you know what? That shit worked like a CHAMP!
*Prednisone – made me feel UNSTOPPABLE
*Ambien – put me right to bed after endless hours of UNSTOPPABLE
*Lialda – something or another for Ulcerative Colitis, who knows, cause I didn’t bother to look it up or check it out. I took it because Doc said so, and he’s the Doc, right?
And for a LITTLE while, I was a-okay. No symptoms. No urgent bathroom pit stops. I felt STRONG like BULL (LOL).
Months passed. Life continued. I began getting deep into long distance triathlon training in addition to working full time as a Media Planner for a Honolulu advertising agency as well as teaching 5 spin classes per week at a nearby 24 Hour Fitness. I was doing all the things I LOVED. I finished all of my meds and didn’t bother to refill them or go back to follow up with that GI. My mindset was that Doc had it wrong. I didn’t have a disease. I’m not sick. I’m just fine!
And just as the proverb goes: All good things must come to an end…slowly, my Ulcerative Colitis symptoms resumed. About 6 months after my initial diagnosis, I found myself back in my GI’s office where he firmly explained that I needed to keep tabs on this; that I needed to take it seriously; that it was a real condition that could be a real BITCH (my words not his) if I didn’t take my meds.
Ok, ok, Doc, got it got it I replied. Soon I was sent on my merry way with with another pharmaceutical cocktail in tow – more of the same. AND THAT was fine by me, because well, Prednisone was my SAVIOR. In this moment, I truly BELIEVED that Prednisone would ALWAYS whip me back into remission whenever I was in a flare, no matter what. I strolled out of that office that day singing Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t worry, be happy…”
Ah, all of the advice I would tell my younger, less wiser self who was newly diagnosed, with fucking BIG ambition and even BIGGER goals.
A chick who felt that her mind could OUT BATTLE and OUT WILL ANYTHING.
A women who believed that she was stronger than this condition; a condition that was not going to take her out or make her weak or have her live her life around this, this THING.
Who the fuck was Ulcerative Colitis to tell me to rest, to take it easy, to lay off long duration exercise, to give up what I loved to do, to stop running, to modify.
I was 100% DEAD SET on doing the Disease MY WAY.
That person seems so many moons ago. I guess you could say I had to learn the hard way and boy did I learn the HARD way, for at least 10 more years after that.
I would never have thought or predicted that in this moment that I now write about; a mere 6 months newly diagnosed; that THIS TIME would be the LAST time I would ever experience any sort of long duration remission where I was 100% symptom free.
Nope, the universe had something else in mind for me. I would go on for at least 10 more years, NEVER in remission; NEVER symptom free. And eventually, my savior – Prednisone – well, it did a pretty good job at keeping me at 75% for a real long time. Gosh, I recall when 10mg Prednisone was amazing. And by the end, 80-100mg of daily Prednisone didn’t do jack shit.
It sounds weird to me, hard to fathom to me, that back then, I never even thought for a second that Prednisone would stop working, like completely, like 100% never work again kind of not working. Because I know that DUH, you build tolerance to medicine. But back then, I couldn’t see it. I wasn’t ready to accept it. I wasn’t in the right mindset to work through it. And so my decline, my personal hell, my beginning of the end journey started because I could no longe fake it till I made it. I no longer could control my Ulcerative Colitis. Instead, UC replied, “Bitch, now, we’ll show you whose boss.”