I had lunch with a friend and we were discussing our #autoimmune conditions.
It was like I went back in time. Speaking to my past self when newly diagnosed with #ulcerativecolitis (side note: ulcerative colitis is an irritable bowel disease that is vastly different and much more complicated than IBS).
When I spent 10 grueling days bouncing from specialist to specialist feeling like I was knocking on death’s door, the furthest thing in my mind back then was that I would have a DISEASE.
I spent 10 days barfing and shitting blood convincing my “strong mind” that I had a bad case of the stomach flu which I rationalized as food poisoning to which I blamed some shellfish eaten over the holiday.
When they broke the news, I remember clear as day – what I wore, where I was, what Doc told me my diagnosis, his ideas about “our next steps” ALL OF IT. And I remember just the same, I immediately went into the 5 stages of Grief EXCEPT – I GOT STUCK AT STAGE 1 FOR OVER 10 YEARS!
Stage 1 – DENIAL. I was definitely in complete and total denial. Hyping myself up with all the affirmations – Lee-Ann, you are stronger than this. Lee-Ann, you will beat this. Lee-Ann you will kick this thing in the ASS and be right back in the game. (At that time, the GAME was my fierce obsession and addiction with long distance triathlon racing). I was the new kid on the block. Had a lot of ego and even more shit to prove (of course this is all in my own head). But I HAD ZERO TIME FOR this medical condition and I vowed that I would NOT let it stop me AT ALL COSTS.
Talk about a time warp! Fuck, I’m glad I’m not there any more.
And my dear friend sits across from me and I feel so fucking grateful – to be able to share my mistakes and successes in navigating my own medical journey that I know 100% will have a positive impact on her personal journey.
I vowed after #ostomy surgery that I would do this very thing – to reach out to others to share my story to hopefully help spread the message that you can’t put a time line on anything because most of everything is out of our control. So instead of thinking of an end date, take a closer look at the path you are creating to get there. I would definitely do a lot of things differently if I could Marty McFly to 2005.