This pic was taken at the height of one of my Ulcerative Colitis flairs in 2010, while I was still working as a FF/Medic 🚒🚑. Up to that point, I was sitting on the toilet up to 100x/daily, bleeding ulcers and all 🙁. I was squeezing a medicine bottle up my ass every night before bed, hoping it wouldn’t leak too much overnight. Every time I ate, I was in immediate intense pain and bled. I was smoking a cigarette every morning and every night to ease symptoms (look it up). UC is a funny disease if it isn’t happening to you. I don’t blame you for laughing 🤷🏻♂️.
I’m absolutely positive that I was very hard to be around 👺. Luckily, I had a VERY patient and understanding girlfriend at the time 🙏🏽😔. I was grateful for that. But I also do remember that I kept fighting. I was sick of being sick. I barely took any time off of work, maybe a shift here, a shift there.
I secured 29 days of leave and decided to do a trek in Nepal 🏔. Everest Base Camp was too long and probably too arduous for me. So I chose one of the smaller treks and started training 💪🏽. I decided that I wouldn’t use a porter and that I would lug 60lbs of equipment the entire 10 days (for the trek). That was stupid. Let’s just say that I lasted 3 days, didn’t see shit because my head was down the entire time 😬.
What led me to do that, I have no idea. Looking back, I was pissed. I was pissed that this damn disease was controlling my life. My entire existence was based on where clean, plentiful bathrooms were. Ya’ll don’t understand- it happens in an instant. Of course I shit my pants many a times. The embarrassment, pain and fear DICTATED my life. I had enough.
I noticed my symptoms decreased while in Nepal 👏🏽. My stress levels were down. Up to that point, I was at the height of working 100-120 hrs/week, still (over)training and running 2 careers. Of course, I still shit all over the Himalayas 💩. But I felt better. My old life was on pause.
My default is to fight. No matter how long I’ve been knocked down, I eventually will myself back up, get pissed, and battle. Sometimes it’s graceful, sometimes an epic fail. But I still fight. I love that about myself. You win some, you lose some, but you live- you live to fight another day (movie anyone?).
It’s not a special talent by any means. Everyone has access to it. It just takes practice. You don’t have to fight huge battles to get started. Willing yourself to get up when all you want to do is curl up and hide is a FIGHT. But you can start right there. Change DOESN’T have to be dramatic and world changing right away. Throw that garbage out. Small steps work too. If you’re going through something, know that someone else in your EXACT circumstances has BATTLED and WON. I want that for you too. Fight on my friends. You’re stronger than you think. If you don’t believe it, lean on me until you do 🙏🏽. I want you to win 👊🏽.
By the way, I BEAT this “incurable” disease 👊🏽😎.