A Year in Pictures (and some thoughts)

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Last year started out feeling like this. I woke up on my 32nd birthday and literally could not get out of bed. I had been having digestive symptoms for weeks that told me I was in another IBD flare, but I was trying SO HARD to avoid taking steroids, having another colonoscopy. I was trying so hard to heal myself with a healthy diet, acupuncture, meditation, prayer, positive thinking, gentle exercise. You name it, I tried it (other than ritual animal sacrifice).

Things came to a head a few weeks after that when I couldn’t get out of bed again, was shivering uncontrollably, and just generally feeling like I couldn’t imagine living like this for much longer. In the end, I took the steroids, had the colonoscopy, was re-diagnosed with Crohn’s, and went on new meds that involve an infusion every two months and daily immunosuppressants. This is not what I thought my year (and years to come) would necessarily look like. But if I have learned anything this year, it’s that bad things happen to us all. It may not seem like a profound statement, but once I truly digested this (no pun intended, though very fitting for someone for whom the act of digestion is not always easy), I felt a sort of peace. These defining “bad” moments focus and refocus our lives. A lot of the other crap we put up with loses its importance: if you are operating at 5 or 20 or 70%, you want that effort to go into the things you love, towards the people you love. I do not wish the experience of Crohn’s on anyone, and it would be totally awesome if I didn’t have to deal with it. But over the course of the year, I have learned to negotiate it, to be thankful for the parts of my body that are functioning properly. It’s truly amazing how a disease you never even knew existed until a few years ago can totally change your life. Being ill for the first time in my life has humbled me; healing from the flare has allowed me to forgive myself for numerous physical and mental imperfections and to focus on how this body and this mind is capable of reviving.

But enough of that. PICTURES!

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Man, I love these guys.

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