I’m Still Here

I’m still here. I’m still bopping around navigating this life after illness, piecing back together what fell apart 4 years ago (WOW) and writing a new narrative that does not involve the sick protagonist. I’m here.

And for those few readers that may still be interested, I thought I would update on the past happenings of the last few months which involved a whole lot of gratitude, a whole lot of self-reflection and a continued pain in my ass.

Mental Health : When it came time to launch my 2019 Gutsy Walk fundraising it felt like my knees were collapsing underneath me in the darkness of winter and loneliness of writing an individual profile rather than my team and suddenly my anxiety and sadness creeped right back up. It was a blur of unrecognizable days only pulled through with the help of my select few people reminding me I am not alone this year.

The debilitation of my mental state did lead me to seek help, help that I had promised myself 4 years ago but put on a back burner. Although I’m not convinced therapy (or at least this particular therapist) is for me, it was relieving to hear I am not crazy for mourning the years of my life lost because of illness. I am not crazy for fearing getting sick again. I am not crazy for living in my bubble and avoiding dating.  I am not crazy for being triggered by grief and loss.  Words like “adjustment disorder” and “trauma” were thrown around that at least validated these emotions and when I was told to check [these] boxes I could confidently say, “I already do.” So maybe this brief stint of professionalism is what I needed ….at least until summer arrived.

Gutsy Walk: And did it arrive with a kick off. When I say those select few individuals reminded me that I was not alone, they did one hell of a job. My personal fundraising in past years was most successful around $3000. However the generosity and support poured in in overwhelming buckets this years and tipped my goal to $5150. Can you believe that?

I had a speech honouring Lindsay nailed down pat in my memory but as soon as I started speaking, my throat tightened and my eyes welled that the only thing I could do was read. Just read the words on the page. Just read what I wrote. Just read enough to get through. Was it delivered in a way that met my expectations? No. But did I read it with a little bit of composure? Sure.

The day itself was an absolute blur and I am quite certain I did not thank everyone who showed up in a way that was sufficient enough. There weren’t enough words or hugs that I could offer that actually showed my gratitude. I knew if I slowed down enough to soak it all in, there would have been a break down. If I slowed down enough to think about the day and what it meant, I would have fallen to my knees. If I was present enough to realize that I was walking alone, yet with dozens of people, I would not have stopped crying. If I remembered the joy that was 2018, I would have been overcome with sadness that was 2019. I knew that I was on the brink of an entirely different state so I stayed on autopilot. Autopilot of smiles and thank yous, that really didn’t have enough meaning.

So here are the words that I could not say. To an aunt who flew up from Florida. To my person who held my hand. To my Mom who reminded me over and over I wasn’t alone. To my Dad who pushed to get those donations and was my biggest fan. To my agent who shared my story with pride to bring in more money. To my sister who saw the dark days. To anyone who drove in from Guelph, Kitchener, Whitby, or Barrie. To my girl gang who brought their devoted husbands and babies, finding time in their busy weekend schedules. To new friends and old friends there to capture moments in beautiful photos. To every single text sent that morning saying they are proud. To anyone who donated, from close to home or around the world. To a foundation who was supportive and trusting of me. To a grieving family who let me speak on your behalf.  I see you. I see every single one of you with overwhelming gratitude and love. I see you with admiration and crippling appreciation. I see you with tearful eyes and a bursting heart. Thank you for being you.  I certainly was not alone.

Physical Health: On that note it was time to check on that little relentless immune system of mine wreaking havoc on my last little piece of rectum. And sure enough the inflammation is still there. Still bothered and painful and bleeding. BUT the good news is there are no funny looking cells this time so all I’m dealing with is chronic pain. My GI is going to consult some expert in Chicago to see how to target that but in the mean time I’ll keep drinking my anti-inflammatory smoothies and green powder. (Does all that even help? Good question)

Celebration: It’s officially #2019part2 !!  Happy Canada Day.

Linds and I made a plan to celebrate good health. And although she won’t be joining me, I am going for both of us. With a handful of girls who can read my mind and take the words right out of my mouth…I’m coming for you. I’m coming to share in the joy of this big beautiful world and to celebrate the most special soul who brought us together. It’s been 4 years since my world was turned upside down and now I’m ready to see the other side. Colitis does not have to be forever and I’m just going to pack up my bags and take that pain in the ass with me.

We all come with a little extra baggage. And I’m bringing mine to Spain.

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