I have struggled with what to write on here since getting diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. It's not that I don't have anything to say, but more that I don't know how to focus my thoughts. I'm a bit all over the place these days, so the blog may a bit all over the place as well. I haven't been sure of how much I should share about my condition, but let's be real, I've never been one to hold much back on the blog, so I'll probably be chronicling a lot of this new normal that I am still adjusting to.
The good news is, I am feeling much better. Though all of my symptoms have not resolved (and by symptoms I basically mean diarrhea), I have a healthy appetite, and I have more energy. I also have been sleeping a lot better (except for last night) thanks to a new sleeping pill, which is a blessing (the steroid I am taking comes with some delightful side effects, one of which seems to be insomnia). I still feel physically weak and have occasional bouts of dizziness, but I have come a long way from the days where I felt as though I couldn't even get out of the bed. I am hoping to start getting in some light forms of exercise soon, maybe this week if I can find the time. I certainly don't think I'll be running any races any time soon, but I am longing to get back to running. I miss it so much.
Speaking of running, my GI doctor told me at my last appointment that he would advise against me running any more half marathons because it could aggravate my condition. I was very disappointed when he told me this because I had planned to try and run two half marathons, but I can still try and run shorter distances, so that is what I will do. After all, I still have to chase after my goal of getting a sub-30:00 5k time!
Thursday of this week is a big day for me. Since I have a fairly severe case of ulcerative colitis and have not responded to the steroids as well as the doctor would have liked (I should have been off them by now), I am going to be on some medication for the long term. There are two main drugs that my doctor recommended--Remicade and Humira. Remicade is administered through an IV once every 8 weeks, and Humira is a shot that I would give myself every 2 weeks. After researching and praying and talking with the doctor, I've decided to go with Humira. I don't love the idea of giving myself shots, but I do like that I can do it at home and not have to go anywhere. The side effects and risks of both drugs are very similar, and if I do not respond well to the Humira, I imagine the doctor will put me on Remicade next. On Thursday I will go to the doctor and be trained on how to give the injections. The first round is 4 shots, so I am glad that the nurse will be helping me with those because it's kind of daunting to think of doing so many at one time. After 15 days, I will give myself 2 injections, and then every 15 days after that I will only give myself 1 injection. After about a month of this, I should be a pro, right?! The goal of the medication is to put me in remission, and I pray that it happens sooner rather than later, but at this point I don't really know what to expect.
At times I have been overwhelmed when I think about the fact that I will have this condition for the rest of my life, but I have had to stop myself from thinking that way. The truth is, all I am given is today, and that is a gift. I don't have to worry about tomorrow or the next day, or the day after that. God has my life in His ever capable, trustworthy hands, and none of this has come as a surprise to Him. He is using this whole experience to draw me closer to Him, and I can honestly say that the past several weeks have left me feeling more in love with Jesus than ever before. I am so, so grateful for my life.