Pushing Myself Beyond Medical Advice

You’re bound to have a different opinion than some of the care providers you may have on your healthcare team.

There will be times your doctor gives you limitations and you know they are exactly what your body needs.

Then there will be times you feel like certain restrictions are absolutely outrageous and you find yourself feeling defeated and also a little bit offended.

I once walked into my GI’s office after spending a week in-patient and having rectal surgery, wearing my medal I had gotten 6 weeks post-op. I remember being SO excited to show him, only to show up and his half-under his breath/half-mumbling “Well, let’s SEE it!” I was shocked. He had clearly read something I wrote online and obviously had certain feelings towards me accomplishing something he had thought I couldn’t do.

My restrictions were not straight to the point when I had been released, but I began walking a mile or two about a week after I got out. For weeks, walking 4-5 miles a day was the most exhausting thing in the world and I was devastated that the first half-marathon I had signed up for was no longer in my future. I knew I wasn’t strong enough yet. I was discouraged and I felt like I would wake up every day, just to beat myself down about not being able to participate in my first big race.

The next few weeks, I began to tolerate food a little better and after starting a new biologic, my symptoms began to lessen, though my Crohn’s was very active. It was a last minute decision when I packed my bag full of running clothes – I still had an option to “just” do the 5k portion of the race. That would mean missing the team experience for me. I had a few infusions that week, and I set out to see a surgeon before driving down to meet my team where they were already gathered for our race.

That night I found myself in a special MRE machine in which I had an anaphylactic reaction to IV dye.

The next day, a surgeon went over the results with me, which were good. I didn’t have to have a resection. I took that as a sign that I wouldn’t let a big setback like that alter my course of even attempting to walk the 13 miles.

But I did. That weekend, when the shotgun went off, I ran nearly the first 6 miles without stopping. The last half was hard, and there were a few people who were pretty concerned and wanted me to stop, but they knew me and they knew I wouldn’t quit. When I got to mile 10, my coach was running next to me and told me I could continue only if I did the last 3 miles with him, and only if we ran into the medical tent as soon as I crossed the finish line. I knew he wasn’t joking, but I smirked anyway. Mile 10 meant mile 11 was in sight, and that meant only 1 more mile & then I would have finished my first half marathon. I crossed that finish line and admittedly was pretty delirious. It took me 3 hours and 30 minutes to accomplish my first half-marathon and considering the odds, I think it was pretty darn good.

The next part, friends is why I will never stop fighting.

At some point along my journey that spring, my GI lost interest in me as a patient. He was increasingly rude, short and I truly felt like I didn’t matter. But still, I couldn’t wait to show him the heavy medal I had earned walking across the finish line of my 1st half-marathon. I walked in, more excited than ever and what I heard next shocked me. “WELL”, sarcastically, he said – “are you going to show me and get it over with?” I was appalled. You would think he, of all people, would be excited and encouraging and proud of what I was able to overcome and do that weekend.

But I took away something else that week – something less physical that I wouldn’t wear around my neck. I learned that sometimes you have to listen to your heart and push your limits to see what you’re capable of, despite what others think you can’t do. Usually, I’m all for following rules and mostly restrictions, but this takes the cake in a great way. I wore that medal for days after my race. It was so much more symbolic than running or walking any amount of miles. That medal was only a symbol of my tenacity, bullheadedness and determination to prove to others, but mostly to myself, that anything is possible.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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