Over the last ten and a half years I have struggled with my disease both physically and emotionally. When doctors heard that I was "only" having 3-6 bouts of diarrhea, they got so excited about how "well" I was. In my teens, was I already doomed to always being worried about where the closest bathroom was? For the rest of my life, would I need to carry around a spare change of clothes for those unavoidable accidents?
In October of 2012, I entered in a clinical study. At first, I was a non-responder and I was getting rashes after some injections. It seemed as though once again, a drug was unable to bring me into a complete remission.
In 2013, I began to run. The beginning was excruciating and I wanted to give up so many times. But I stuck with it. Several months later, I was able to run more than a few miles. Normally I'd go to the bathroom a few times per run, but I was doing it - I was fighting my disease.
As it got colder, I realized I needed to start running inside. I dreaded that first run - I love being able to take different paths and being outside. Running on a treadmill has allowed me to hold myself to the speed I want to be running. In the last two weeks, I have taken about two and a half minutes off my mile time. It seems as though I will be able to reach my next goal.
This next summer, I want to run a marathon. But I don't just want to run a marathon; I want it to really mean something - I want to be able to run it in under four hours. This seemed like an impossible feat. However, I have been pushing myself to achieve this goal.
I look at how far I have come in this last year. Through diet and exercise, I am making and achieving goals I once only dreamed about.
For the first time, I would consider myself in a real remission, not just a I'm-doing-better remission, but an I-got-my-life-back kind of remission. I'm planning on taking my spare clothes out of my backpack and no longer needing to scope out the bathroom situation.
The clinical study and my new lifestyle have given me a second chance at having a real life. Not everyone is given this opportunity and I don't plan on wasting it.