Favorite Quote

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."
-Randy Pausch

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Body Soul

Four months, two weeks. 

It's a beautiful thing.

Words cannot express how lucky, thankful, and happy I am.  After almost three years of relapse after relapse, I have finally stabilized.  I have been in remission, with no bleeding, for four months and two weeks.  I've been on Remicade for over a year now, but it wasn't until my previous doc doubled my Remicade dosage last July that I started slowly stabilizing.  I am getting 550mg per kg of Remicade, and for somebody my size, that's A LOT.  

But, it's working!  I have finally stopped bleeding when pooing.  I have gotten healthy, have been able to ride my bike consistently, and have been loving life.  It's weird to feel "normal."  I feel as though I am fully healed and will never relapse again.  If I didn't know any better I would stop taking my medicine.  But I know better.  Because the medicine, as toxic as it may be, is keeping me healthy.  

I have a new Gastro doc in Seattle and he is phenomenal.  I feel incredibly lucky to have a doctor who is a specialist not only in Gastroenterology, but also Hepatology and Internal Medicine.  He's also board certified and a CCFA Physician Member.  I hit the jackpot with this one!  I've seen him twice and have also had my first Remicade Infusion in Seattle experience.  The Infusion center is WAY different from my Infusion Center in Virginia.  The first thing I noticed was the fact that the chairs didn't look nearly as comfy.  I can deal with uncomfy chairs, but am saddened that we also have the ultimate privacy, which means I can't really talk with other patients receiving their infusions.  Everybody has a story, and I like listening.  Reflecting.  Appreciating.  

The nursing staff is also awesome.  My nurse for the day asked me how long I've been stable.  I said four months.  Since November 26th.  She then asked about my Crohn's history, so I went into the fact that I used to be an Intelligence Officer, couldn't achieve remission, and was sadly medically retired from my profession last April.  I then went on to tell her that I have never been in full remission without the use of steroids until November 26th.  I told her I sleep 8-10 hours a night.  I try to minimize stress in my life.  And I ride my bike.  I told her I've teamed up with Vanderkitten to develop a worldwide club team, which has been extremely successful.  

And that's when she told me she believes in "The Body Soul."  She believes that our bodies often times try to let us know when we are doing something that isn't right for us.  This can be a profession, lifestyle, life situation, etc.  Our bodies will continue to act out until we decide to listen and start doing something that is right for us, and puts us at peace.  And I believe her.  

Had I never gotten sick I would have thought she was a crazy nut.  But almost three years of severe illness will definitely change your view on life.  Her theory, in my opinion, is 100% right.  Cycling feeds my body soul.  If I don't ride, I turn into an extremely unpleasant person.  I can't tell you why, that's just how it goes.

My new doc has also put me on Lialda to help keep my large intestine in check.  He feels that the Remicade alone is not strong enough to keep the sleepy giant known as my large intestine dormant.  My large intestine is a volcano; and he felt that the Lialda, which is an anti-inflammatory for the large intestine, will help keep my large intestine dormant so it won't awaken and erupt me into a flare.  It can only help, so I've been taking it!  It is also the mildest form of medicine for my illness that one can get!  So, I'm on really really toxic, and really really mild.  Getting the best of both worlds I guess!

Now to catch up on my blog since Christmas (yes I have been the biggest blog slacker).  Matt and I have finally settled into our home and absolutely LOVE Washington State.  I never, EVER want to move.  The picture at the top of my blog was taken from my new neighborhood.  That pic is a pic of the Olympic Mountains.  We are surrounded by the Olympic Mountains, Cascade Mountains, and can even see Mt Rainier on a clear day.  Absolutely awesome!

The first day Matt and I moved into our new house we drove down the driveway and were greeted by three deer.  Below are pics of the deer we found in our backyard:

The deer were a nice house warming present, but we knew we wouldn't see much of them as soon as Caesar came home.  Well, a day later, Caesar came home.  And we haven't seen the deer since.  Go figure.  

Lastly, the pic below is a pic of me and the pup on the trail in our neighborhood.  

I seriously can't get over how gorgeous it is out here!  Apparently we have black bears, bobcats, owls, and cougars in our neighborhood.  My neighbor said he saw a black bear on the trail a few weeks ago (aren't bears supposed to be hibernating?)...I totally freaked but he calmly said, "Ah, just raise your hands and start singing, they'll run away."  Not being one to put my life in a wild animals hands and just *hoping* that they'll run away, I bought bear spray.  It shoots 35 feet away and will knock a bear on his ass (at least make the bear feel like it's choking).  Hopefully I'll never have to use it, but if I do, at least I'll be ready!  I mean, people have guns in their homes to protect them from intruders, why not carry freakin' bear spray in bear country (duh).  I am convinced my neighbors think I'm crazy for carrying bear spray, but I think it's preventative mauling...My neighbor also told me that at night a bobcat chills on the porch a few houses up from ours.  Sweet...maybe?  I guess I just have to get used to wildlife.  Wildlife or not, I love it here!

And for my riding buddies...the cycling out here is epic.  And I'm not joking.  I am one to get extremely bored on rides.  I was NOT designed for the flats and get extremely bored when riding in flat terrain.  I'm a climber, and out here, there is nothing but hills.  And nasty ones.  And you never really get a chance to recover because after you climb up one and roll down, you're instantly climbing up another.  We also live up a hill, and it is a mile climb just to get home.  So, after getting completely destroyed during my rides, I still have to climb a beast of a hill just to get home.  I love it.  It will make me stronger and hopefully I'll kick some ass this season.  

Due to moving cross county, a medical problem, and traveling non stop the month of December I haven't been able to ride consistently since November 2nd.  I finally have been consistent for the past three weeks or so, and am getting into shape.  I'm getting excited for the upcoming season and to check out the WA State racing scene.  I know most gals have been training since November...but whatever...it's a LONG season.  The racing season starts the first wknd in March and ends late August. 

 I've got plenty of time to show what I'm made of.  And I can't wait!  At least I know I'll DEFINITELY be racing in the HOTTEST kit in women's cycling today.  Most of the races out here are road races and crits, which is what I love.  Hands down, I hate TT's and won't be doing any this season (unless the TT is climbing up the side of a mountain).  And there ya have it.  

I know this has been a ridiculously long blog posting.  I will definitely update my blog much more frequently in the (near) future.  I'm going for bi-weekly.  Once a week at the least!  =)

To make a long blog entry even longer, I will leave you with the below pic.  It is me on New Years Eve on the Vegas strip (which I DO NOT recommend to anybody and will never do again).  Homeboy definitely looked authentic dressed as The Joker from Batman, but when he(a complete stranger) put his hands on my neck...well...freaky.  

Headin' out to Tour of California next weekend.  Totally stoked!  Until next time...