Little did I know just 365 days ago how big of a year 2012 would be. When I think back over the past year, I seriously cannot believe how far I’ve come.
Last year at this time, I was in the middle of a series of hospitalizations that occurred every few weeks for about 6 months. I was so used to the daily symptoms from Crohn’s disease that I didn’t even realize how sick I was. And I didn’t know how good I could feel.
In just the past year, I moved on from a career in news to focus more on my health. Once that was under control, I’ve had the chance to focus on the career I’ve always wanted to have. And while I haven’t gotten there yet, I’m hopeful for the future and the opportunities that lie ahead.
I made the decision to pursue a graduate degree and have started taking the necessary steps to get there.
I exhausted my list of treatment options for Crohn’s, including new (hardly past experimental) drugs, intense and restrictive diets and basically no medication at all. I got to the point where I missed a couple weeks of work because my joints were so swollen I couldn’t get off the couch. Finally, I made the hardest (but ultimately best) decision of my life to go through with surgery to remove my colon and be given a permanent ileostomy.
I went from hardly being able to get off the couch to training for and competing in my first triathlon and half-marathon. I also took part in a great event to the support Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis research.
I had a list of goals for myself at the beginning of last year, most of which I did not accomplish. I did start living a healthier lifestyle, as I had wanted, but I did not learn to sew, nor did I put in a lot of work on the book I’ve wanted to write. But like I said, this year has brought a lot of things that I couldn’t have imagined at this time last year, and while I didn’t do the sort of writing I had planned, I started The Stolen Colon, which has turned out to be one of the most rewarding projects I’ve ever started. It has allowed me to meet so many amazing people. It has also given me the opportunity to use some of the difficult experiences I have had to hopefully help others.
This has been a trying year, but a great year, too. I fell to some of the lowest points that I’ve ever been, but it only made getting out of their that much better. When I see how different this year turned out from how I had planned, I wonder what could possibly be in store over the coming months. I’m looking forward to finding out!