Good morning everyone, and happy at least it’s not Monday day! Also known as Tuesday. I’m linking up with Sara from Lake Shore Runner for her Tried it Tuesday! Now it’s about to get real in here. I know I’ve alluded to the fact that I’m a picky eater, and have mentioned I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease last summer. However, it’s definitely not a topic that is fun to talk about, or something that I’ve felt the need to explore on this blog. But if I’m going to have a blog about running and exploring my picky eating habits, I might as well get right to it. I’m currently experiencing the beginning of a Crohn’s flare.
Unfortunately, this is not the post I planned on publishing today. I had a very excited re-cap of the Paleo-ish (read: anti-carb) challenge my boyfriend and I were experimenting this week. But as of right now, I’m not eating Paleo, I’m definitely not eating carbs, and to be honest, I’m not really “eating” much. I spent the majority of my evening awake, and therefore this post is the result of that. As a fair warning, this post is relatively long and somewhat wordy, and 100% fueled by my lack of sleep at 3am. But I think that it’s important for me to share this part of my life.
After our delicious, and beyond fabulous if I do say so myself, homemade pizza Sunday night – Carbo loading for a carb free week, makes sense right? – I started to feel not so hot. Now if you’ve read my weekly workout recaps from last week, you’d know that I’ve been feeling quite fatigued. At first I thought it was due to my sinus infection. Then I thought maybe the reason I wasn’t feeling so hot, specifically on my runs, was because of the humidity. But last night, I’m pretty positive I started to have a full blown flare.
I’m still new at this whole “Crohn’sing” thing so only time will tell. But if I’ve learned one thing, the constant fatigue, intense stomach/digestive cramping, and the nausea I get when I even do so much as think about eating, I’m pretty sure I’m experiencing a flare. Oh. And the night sweats. Because that’s cute and fun for everyone to enjoy.
I’m hoping this will pass quickly. I’m due to see my doctor in two weeks, but have a strong feeling that I will need to get in before my regular appointment. This disease has been extremely difficult for me to deal with. What frustrates me more than anything else, is I never know when I am going to have a flare. I also don’t know how long it will last. For someone who likes to plan, this disease is far too unpredictable, and in turn, extremely frustrating.
I have had signs and symptoms for most my life, however that is what I perceived as my “normal“. For whatever reason, and I’m pretty sure I’ll never know, last summer I experienced my first full blown “flare”. I’m still trying to adapt and figure out a diet that works best for me. I tend to track what I eat, at least mentally, and have written down most of my “pre-flare” meals.
I don’t eat meat. I prefer organic foods. And try to consume whole foods rather than pre-made or pre-packaged ones. I’m almost completely dairy free, with the exception of limited amounts of cheese.I also try to limit my sugar intake, as I find sugary foods sit longer in my stomach and lead to more digestive pain. I limit the amount of wheat and heavy carbohydrates as those too are difficult for my body to digest and process.
I try my very best to plug on and see the positive in each day, but it is hard. A lot of people may see this and think it is an “extreme” way to eat, but to me it is pain free. Whenever I start to feel sick, I tend to wonder what I could’ve done to initiate the flare. Sometimes, it’s absolutely nothing. But I think this time, part of the reason is the lack of regimen I’ve had with my eating since Boston.
I’ve indulged more than ever, and have been less aware with my diet. That fear of needing to stop mid-run, not being able to train due to a flare, and not being able to finish a race because of my GI issues is gone. I’ve been more relaxed, and while I’ve been enjoying it, I think it has unfortunately caught up with me.
In the past year, I’ve learned that as someone who suffers from Crohn’s disease, I have to find a balance between enjoying foods, and what my digestion can handle. While the occasional frozen yogurt or pizza can result in slight bloating or digestive discomfort, eating those items on a regular basis is not okay for me. I think this may be one of the most frustrating aspects of the disease.
Many people who do not know or have experienced the discomfort have a very difficult time understanding why I opt out of eating certain things, or why I no longer enjoy day drinking all day long any more. In college, heck yes. But looking back, maybe that’s why I was unable to leave my sorority house for 24 hours after a day long drinking binge.
It’s a tough lesson to learn and I’d be lying if it doesn’t make me feel sad/jealous/left out sometimes. Not being able to eat or drink foods I love is not something that I enjoy. But when I am doubled over in pain as a result, it’s just no longer worth it for me. Please do not judge me for that.
So if you do know someone who has Crohn’s or an illness which limits them in certain ways – please be understanding. Understanding in the sense that you probably don’t totally understand. My average day includes GI discomfort. Every. Day. My normal is not normal. And I think that’s very difficult for anyone who does not have Crohn’s to understand.
Now here’s the part that I’m sure I will get not so positive responses to. Will I still work out? Yes. Will I still run? Yes. I’m not looking to do intervals or track repeats, and I’m certainly not looking to run a 100 miles a week. But I will be running. Consistently. Now maybe some people will argue that I should be resting and relaxing. I will. But for my mental health and sanity, I need to be active. I am very aware of what my body can and cannot handle. And I plan on running relatively “watch-less”, not focusing on pace or distance, but just on the fresh air. Honestly.
While some may not understand it, it is an extremely difficult thing for me to deal with. I try my very best to continue on with normal life and see the positive in each day. I like to run and I love to hang out with my friends. I do not want to feel like this disease holds me back in any way, and I do not want to be treated any differently because of it. I appreciate the respect that my friends and family give me.
There is no perfect answer to living with Crohn’s disease, and there is no cure. This disease is difficult. Difficult for me to deal with, and difficult for those who love me to see. I wish this was a bit cheerier of a post, but again, I want to keep it honest. Right now, I’m doing my best to get better and heal the best way I know how. I hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday and smile because tomorrow is Hump Day and who doesn’t like camels?
What is something that has made you smile this week?
Have you ever felt frustrated by others telling you what is best for your body?
And on a totally different note…Chips A’hoy or Oreos.. because when I can’t eat them, I just think about them : ) I’m a total Chips A’hoy girl… I mean let’s be honest I’ll eat both, but nothing beats a soft chocolate chip cookie !