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Will run for ostomy awareness

In just a few short weeks, World Ostomy Day 2016 will be here. And yes, it’s a day for raising awareness, but I think I have found a better way to celebrate the day… And that’s by doing things that I wouldn’t have been able to do prior to getting an ostomy. For me, that has been running.

will run for ostomy awareness 5k resilience

For the past 2 years, I have taken part in the WannaWearOne Ostomy 5K. The first year I did it from out of town as a part of the virtual race and last year I was able to compete in a local race in Durham, NC. (But that isn’t the only local race! Keep reading for more info!) ostomy run race resilience wannawearone This year, the race is taking on a different name: Run for Resilience Ostomy 5K. And I think that’s a very fitting title, because it’s about showing that having an ostomy does not have to stop you from doing whatever you want to do.

Last year’s race was not an easy one for me. I was about 3 months postpartum and I hadn’t been running in a very long time. But it was important to me to take part in this race and to do what I could to show myself and others that having an ostomy was not going to hold me back. I figured I was probably the last person in the race, but amazingly I was not, and I actually ended up winning 3rd place among ostomates in the race! (Check out my LIVE IN ACTION video below!)

So I encourage you this World Ostomy Day to get involved. The Run for Resilience is a great opportunity to do so. (And here’s a Where’s Waldo? opportunity for you: Can you spot me on the Registration page??) The run features races in 5 physical locations–in both the US & the UK–and a virtual race available for everybody to take part. Basically, the virtual race allows you to run wherever you are, while still being a part of the event and the awareness raised. Just be sure to post pictures using #IAmResilient! The races take place on different days during October, so check out the website for what’s happening near you.

Even if running isn’t your thing, find a way to do something. Think about things you couldn’t have done before your surgery. Maybe it is eating a certain food or sitting through a whole movie or going hiking. Find whatever it is and do it! Show yourself and the world that you are resilient and an ostomy is not going to hold you back!

ostomy run race resilience wannawearone

 

My son does not nap…

And that’s a big reason that I have not been around for a while. I apologize that I sort of fell off the face of the world for a while there. If I’m being totally honest… I think I was kind of hiding.

w no napIt started in October, when my son decided he no longer liked sleeping. (The 4-month sleep regression is real!) I was exhausted in every way possible. Thankfully, he has started sleeping through the night, but he still refuses to nap more than 30 minutes at a time and usually only twice, maybe three times a day. I left my full-time job to stay home with him, but I do have a part-time, work-from-home job, so any time I got him to go down for a nap, I’ve felt like I have to spend that time working. And even if I wasn’t working, there were a million things around the house to do. And then I sometimes just needed a little time for myself. I don’t like that it happened, but my blog kept getting pushed further down the list.
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Run for ostomies, raise awareness at WannaWearOne Ostomy 5K

We are less than a month away from World Ostomy Day and with that comes the 2nd Annual WannaWearOne Ostomy AWEARness 5K! And the original race started right here in my backyard in Durham, NC, but this year there are 2 more events in Kingsport, TN, and Portland, OR.

wwo2015

This is truly a one-of-a-kind event that is meant to raise awareness for ostomies. It started as a joint event between two of the hospitals in the area where people tried wearing an ostomy bag to learn a little more about what it is like to have one. It has since morphed into a race that raises money that goes towards the UOAA and ostomy awareness and support.

Keeping with that theme, one of the unique parts of this race is that all race gear bags come with an ostomy bag. Those without ostomies are encouraged to wear the bag during the race and even have the option of filling the bag with items like applesauce and pudding to give participants a small glimpse into what it feels like to wear an ostomy bag.

wannawearone ostomy awearness 5k run race ileostomy colostomy urostomy stolen colon ibd World Ostomy Day and the race take place on Saturday, October 3. If you are in one of these areas or able to make the trip, you should definitely check it out! But even if you aren’t close or able to travel, you can still be a part of the event by doing the virtual race. I actually did this last year since I happened to be traveling on World Ostomy Day. You simply run on your own, but can still raise awareness, fundraise and support the cause.

Here is all the information you need to register. Whether you are able to attend or do the virtual race, you can still be a part of the event. Even if you are unable to run, please consider donating towards the goal of spreading awareness and providing help for those living with an ostomy.

I will be out at the Durham event this year and little Waylon will be supporting the cause, too! We’d love to get to see you. If you have any questions, you can reach out to the coordinators through the website, or feel free to email me and I’ll help however I can. Or you can email me to simply let me know if you’re coming! I hope I get the chance to meet some of you.

2015 WannaWearOne Ostomy AWEARness 5K

If I never had Crohn’s disease…

if i never had crohn's disease

If I never had Crohn’s disease, I would never have known how much pain one internal organ can cause.

If I never had Crohn’s disease, I wouldn’t have missed out on so many nights out with friends.

If I never had Crohn’s disease, I wouldn’t know so well the awful sounds and smells that fill a hospital ward.

If I never had Crohn’s disease, I may never have known how far my family would be willing to go and all that they would be willing to do for me.

If I never had Crohn’s disease, I would never have filled my body with medical-grade poison, because it was the lesser of two evils.

If I never had Crohn’s disease, I wouldn’t have spent so many nights crying when I was in middle school because I felt so alone.

If I never had Crohn’s disease, I may never have learned to have true compassion and empathy for what others might be going through that you don’t see.

If I never had Crohn’s disease, I may have spent a good deal of my life wrapped up in petty arguments because I never understood that there are more important things in life.

If I never had Crohn’s disease, I wouldn’t have sped home so many times hoping I could make it to the bathroom.

If I never had Crohn’s disease, I definitely would have had far fewer times where I didn’t make it to the bathroom.

If I never had Crohn’s disease, I may never have realized what a blessing each and every day is.

If I never had Crohn’s disease, I never would have gone through two separate surgeries to remove my colon and my rectum.

If I never had Crohn’s disease, I never would have met so many amazing people who inspire me every day.

If I never had Crohn’s disease, I never would have found my voice in a world where people don’t want to talk about pooping into a bag.

If I never had Crohn’s disease, I wouldn’t have spent a month of my 13th year in the hospital, where I never would have met a wonderful nurse who told me all about China and I never would have become fascinated with that country and its language. Which means I likely never would have attended the University of North Carolina (since I only applied for their Asian studies program… which I didn’t end up doing, but that’s another story for another day) where I never would have met so many awesome people or had such incredible experiences. And I never would have gone out dancing with one of those friends one night and met a guy named Jarrod, who I never would have married and I would not be carrying this incredible gift of a child right now. And only God knows what’s in store for this child and all of the things that will happen because of this new life.

So you see, even if I had the choice to go back and live a life free of Crohn’s disease, I couldn’t do it. This disease has played such an intricate part in the creation of who I am over the past three decades that I do not know who I would be without it. Would I be happier? Maybe, but I doubt it. I have a family and friends who love me and have stood by me through some very difficult times, so I know that they will always be there for me. I have found an incredible community of people who have lived through so much and come out stronger on the other side, and I find them to be the most beautiful people in the world. I have learned that you never know what someone is dealing with behind the scenes, and that has given me patience and taught me to not always take everything at face-value. I have learned to be thankful for everything that you have been given, because you never know what tomorrow will bring. I have learned that sometimes shit happens and life sucks, but it’s what you do in those moments that matters most because that’s what makes you who you are

I realize that what I am saying may be controversial, so if you don’t feel the same way, I completely understand and I can’t blame you one bit. There’s nothing wrong with that. I realize that my story is not everyone’s story. I’m not belittling anyone else’s experience. This is just one girl’s opinion and is by no means a commentary on what anyone else should or shouldn’t do or feel. In fact, not feeling the way I do is probably a much more normal reaction than mine. But this disease has taught me so many things… about myself, about other people and just about life in general.

This disease takes a lot away from you: your energy, your ability to go to the bathroom on your own schedule, your dignity, your immune system, your blood, your feeling of safety, your desires, your goals, some friends, your health, your freedom. But it has also brought me to where I am today and I am so thankful for that. Yes, this disease takes a lot, but I have found that it has given me many things, too. And the things it has given me I would not give up for anything. Not even a healthy colon.