For the past eight years it never really sunk in that I’m chronically ill! Yes, I’ve had the terrible flare ups associated with Ulcerative Colitis. The frequent bowel movements, intense pain, and weight loss are just a few of the symptoms I was dealing with. Since my mind had been laser focused on battling the disease, I never thought about how my life had completely changed. I mean, really taken the time to process these thoughts and emotions.
I was recently in Squamish, BC on a broad two week long adventure of rock climbing, hiking, and mountain scrambling. A couple days after coming down from the mountains I was completely overwhelmed with emotions. This wasn’t triggered from anything that happened during this trip. It was simply the realization that my guts are healing! Past urges are no longer there, and I could finally relax without fear of prior symptoms returning at a moments notice.
This all seems trivial, but allow me to rewind a bit and explain the situation further. A few years ago I made a deal with myself. UC had stopped me from being able to do many of the larger adventurous objectives I’ve always dreamt of doing; I decided when I become healthy enough, I would travel to Bugaboos Provincial Park, BC to climb the world class granite spires in the rugged glaciated alpine terrain. Being away from the ground, and tethered to my partner for the length of time that is needed would have been a nightmare even just a year ago. Having urges to run to the bathroom at the drop of a dime would just not work in that type of terrain. With my new medication plan, these limitations are no longer a concern.
Flash back to my time in Squamish, I broke into tears over this revelation. The trip I’ve always dreamt of is now on my radar! For me it’s more than just a trip to the mountains (which by the way, is reason enough to travel). It represents healing, growth, and an end to a chapter in my life where chronic pain, bleeding, and uncertainty were the norm. My life has once again been changed, but this time I’m excited for the prospects of what’s to come.