Imagine your child, just 9 years old, suddenly realizing something was amiss, yet unable to pinpoint it. The beloved pizza now brings stomachaches instead of joy. That's precisely how old I was when I received a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis. The image on the left captures me two years after that life-altering diagnosis. I won't dwell on the years between 1991 and 1999, but it was an arduous journey. I became intimately familiar with the location of every bathroom, a knowledge that was a constant companion.
From 1999 to 2009, things improved somewhat as I went into remission. However, my journey took a detour when I became pregnant with my children, and I found myself back at square one, only worse as the prescribed medication no longer worked. It was around 2014, during a conversation with my gastroenterologist, that my perspective began to shift. I embraced a Specific Carbohydrate Diet and altered my eating habits to nurture my body from within. From 2014 to the present day, I openly acknowledge that I've transformed into a healthier version of myself. The healthier I become, the stronger my desire for even better health.
Fast forward to this week, when I had a follow-up with my new gastroenterologist after a four-year gap due to the pandemic (#covid). With an ulcerative colitis diagnosis, I'm naturally at a higher risk for colon cancer, making frequent colonoscopies crucial for me. During our conversation, she removed her glasses and inquired about the trauma associated with being diagnosed with IBS at such a young age. I was momentarily stunned because I had never viewed it that way. As our discussion continued, it dawned on me – this is why I'm committed to eating healthily, staying active, and striving to 'outlive.' My childhood experience of severe illness left me traumatized, and I've come to believe that the key to staying healthy is living healthily.
This newfound perspective is my driving force when it comes to supporting other women. While everyone may desire to shed those last 5-10 pounds, we must ask ourselves, is that truly what matters in the grand scheme of our lives? When we're on the floor playing with our grandchildren, they won't care about our weight, but they will cherish our presence and our ability to spend quality time with them."