Saturday, February 28, 2015

One Year in Colorado

I have always enjoyed holidays. Anniversaries. Birthdays. There are so many reasons for this but at the core is the fact that these days stand out. They provide marks in the book of time that we can hold up and look back to. We can see where we are, and where we have come from.

I moved to Colorado a year ago today. At times it seems like yesterday, but often it seems like significantly longer. A year is a long time. Long enough to build fitness and lose it all over again. Long enough for a relationship to fall apart and slowly begin to repair. For a job to be amazing, boring and return to amazing once more.  Long enough for new passions to be kindled and old hobbies to be laid to rest. For distance to seem smaller and for the world to seem not so scary a place. It is long enough for the doors to open and for you to realize that you are not as young as you once felt. It is long enough for health to fail and old wounds to heal. Long enough for a strange new place to become home and a new group of people to become family.

Looking back at the year, there is so much that stands out. Much of it I have written about here, or posted about on twitter and facebook, but much of it has been little moments. Things like recieving an email saying thank you or a phone call from an old mentor now asking your opinion on something. Finding yourself standing on top of a mountain looking out at a world that once seemed to be an immeasurable place. Watching an old dog become young at the sight of snow, or drinking hot chocolate on a winter's day. Walking on a sidewalk and watching someone come towards you in the snow, just knowing that something great was about to happen. These little moments that take your breath away and that seem to happen so much more in Colorado.

I can not wait to see what another year brings.

Standing on top of mountains.

The little moments. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Last Post on RCD

I have sat down to write this post many times over the last couple weeks. Scribbles to sentences to pages but inevitably they have all ended up in my (now overflowing) trashcan. Considering that there is no recycling in our complex, you can see why this bothers me.

Since August I have been dealing with the ramifications and complications stemming from what is known as refractory (unresponsive) celiac disease, or RCD. Odd blood work numbers in May led to the diagnosis, which led to the discovery of abnormal tissue growth in the lining of my digestive system. I went on a slew of medications this past fall to try and bring down the inflammation in the tissue and to limit any further abnormal tissue growth. For a while it seemed to be working, then it wasn't, then it was again. The unknown seesaw known as the human body. 

Early last week I took my last round of immunosuppressants and steroids – designed to do everything mentioned earlier and push the RCD into a dormant state by essentially resetting my immune system. However, during the appointments that followed a new mass was discovered during a series of routine scans. I went in for an endoscopic mucosal resection on Friday and on Monday I sat down with the doctors to go over what was found and what my options would be moving forward.

They had not been able to remove all of the abnormal tissue growth and although they wanted to try another round of medications, or another surgery I chose to take a step back and see what happens. RCD can go into dormancy just as quickly as it flares up and my hope is that it has been beaten into submission for the time being. I will be undergoing periodic tests to ensure it has truly been mitigated but for now I am done tearing my body apart – physically and chemically.

This is not without some concern, but I have my reasons. Ever since we began decreasing the doses of medications I have been feeling better. Running, cycling, pilates, the list of things that I can enjoy once more goes on. My mood is better; I’m happier and significantly less depressed. Right now, being able to enjoy getting up every morning is amazing. I have a new found appreciation for sleeping through the night. 

I struggled with this post for the longest time because I did not want to sugar coat it, but neither did I want to paint an unrealistically dark picture. In the end this is something I will always have to be mindful of with my health, but it does not and will not affect my every day life. Long term it just means adjusting to a new normal.

Thanks to everyone for your kinds words, prayers, thoughts, lucky pigs and support. Being so far away from home made for more time alone in a hospital than I could ever keep track of but I hope you know that you all made a world of difference. I hope you never find yourself needing that same support, but if you do know that I will be there.

Here is to never speaking of RCD on this blog again.