5:30am. Alarm goes off.
7:37am. After four trips to the bathroom, stomach cramps and a round of Pepto I'm finally heading out on my morning run. Some people drink coffee or mimosas in the morning. I shoot shots of Pepto.
Just another day of exercising with colitis.
"It might come as a surprise, but if you have colitis, exercise can help you feel better."--WebMD
Screw you WebMD. I sit on the couch googling for the umpteenth time what to do to stop the alien that's inside my stomach whose sole purpose right now is to twist my stomach into painful knots and THIS is the first thing that shows up?
All I want to do is to run! Be done with my workout by 7:30, not STARTING my run at 7:30.
It's defeating. Morning are rough. Somedays it's not just the morning and you try hard to exercise any break your stomach gives you but it's crushing when your body is literally attacking itself, you're running to the bathroom all day and you're told to exercise. Because it will help.
"Some people drink coffee or sip mimosas in the morning. I take shots of Pepto Bismol." --Traci, BurntApple.com
There are several types of colitis (and similar diseases like Crohn's and IBS) that seem to affect many of us with similar symptoms:
- Stomach Pain
- Vomiting (Not as common)
- Bloating and Gas
What's interesting is one of the things I read as I was researching my own illness and trying to figure out what was going on with me was that a lot of people with any type of colitis, IBS or Crohn's state mornings tend to be the roughest for them. So while everyone else gets to drink their morning cup of coffee or sip a mimosa, I take a shot of Pepto Bismol and other fun stomach cocktails to start the day.
"Try surviving in a body that wants to destroy you. It ain't easy trying to survive when you're physically destructing from the inside out." --Author Unknown
Exercise is important but I also need to be realistic. Eight? years into this, (and much, much longer if you count I was off and on sick since I was a teen), I've learned to lump exercise into four categories:
These are the mornings I wake up and am able to get out and go. I feel pretty good and I'm going to work out. If I can't get out in the morning and I'm still doing okay I can squeeze in a workout where able during the day or in the evening.
I wake up and my stomach is a little irritated or it's a little rougher start to the morning. Indulge in some morning stomach cocktails and give it a little bit of time. If I feel okay, I'll tell someone at home to be on standby in case I call or I'll opt for the next option below. If it takes a little longer to get going in the morning but I feel okay by afternoon or evening, I'll throw in my workout then.
It's going to be a rougher day. I've cocktailed up and I'm still feeling ick. I'll opt for a lighter workout, opt for a free YouTube workout or hop on my elliptical bike. Anything that I can hit 'stop' and run to the nearby bathroom when needed. I need to be close to the bed or the bathroom today but I'm still going to do my darndest to push through the pain. If able. Otherwise, roll out the red carpet on my way to the bathroom.
It's not going to happen today. I'm out of commission. Dragging myself to the medicine cabinet is going to be noted as the biggest accomplishment of the day. And if I have to drag myself to work, no one with food better roll past me.
"Your illness does not define you. Your strength and courage does." --Author Unknown
At the end of the day, I do my best to squeeze in exercise when and where I can. And I've been able to stay pretty physically fit and healthy. While long hikes out in the middle of the wilderness may not always in the cards, I've made it work through the years. Whether it's yoga, breathing exercises or meditation, walking, hiking, running or popping in a free YouTube video on your phone, do what you can do! Your illness doesn't define you. It helps explain you, but it doesn't define you or who you are. (Even it has days it tries to!) Your strength and courage does. If it's only a 15 minute walk today, celebrate that!
Colitis Sucks! So Tell me. What ways do you exercise when your chronic illness symptoms hit?
If you need some more help, I've also got some great articles to help you along on your colitis journey! Just click on one of the article links below!
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