Another successful fundraiser done! This year saw a grand total of $1600 raised for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. Even more astounding, it saw countless shirts being sold to countless people, some of whom have no connection to me. And I’m so grateful to the people that support me, for the first time or for the fourth time. My heart goes out to everyone that donated, shared my posts and took the time to hear what I was saying. The fundraiser performance at Fall Classic turned out quite well in retrospect, I finished 2nd place with a solid clean and jerk and tough lessons in the snatch. After the meet is where things got complicated…
Poetic in a way that I should fall into a major colitis relapse during the fundraiser this year. All the classic and severe symptoms of colitis that I had not seen in 3 years flared up. Among all the challenges of trying to live a life during a flare-up, I was concerned about the last couple weeks of the fundraiser, since I still had donation challenges to do but not a body that could be doing them. But then something special started developing. A friend from Alberta saw that I was in no shape to continue doing challenges, and perhaps knew that I was hard headed enough to keep trying. She offered to do her challenge herself. After posting the video on my social media outlets this set a trend and others starting stepping up to their challenges or asking if they could do one on my behalf. She had in a sense saved the fundraiser and perhaps even made it better. It’s hard for me to put my thanks into words to everyone that stepped up to do a challenge, because it runs so much deeper than that, for the first in a long time I did not feel alone during a relapse. Kilos4Colitis 2017 does not belong to me.
As for my experience with the flare-up, there were many lessons to take forward and things to think about. After 3 years of not having any severe flare-ups or symptoms I started to believe I had progressed past all of this. Managing the symptoms is not the hardest part this time around, accepting the fact that I’m not past severe flare-ups is, and that I may never be. It started to set in that this will be the rest of my life, and although there may be long streaks of good health again, that concern in the back of my mind of it all falling apart will never go away. But the major thing I want to take forward is being more honest about the disease. The way I have brushed off that having colitis as fine and the image that I carry it without a doubt is not fair to myself and even more so, not fair to others with colitis. The truth is, it is harder than I’ll ever admit and so much harder than any lie I’ve told. Both physically and mentally. I should also be more honest about the toll a flare-up takes on my body rather than hiding out until it passes. Listening to my stories is one thing, but seeing the transformation of my body from strong and healthy into frail and exhausted really drives home the severity of the disease.
In terms of lifting, I don’t know what happens next. I had a plan for the rest of the year but that will need to be adjusted. I will continue to take it day by day with no rush or pressure behind me. But my mind still struggles with whether the mental challenges of the rebuilding process are worth it. What exactly am I holding onto? But what I’m holding onto is a hobby that builds character, a place to make friends and share laughs, and a perfect platform to build awareness and hold a fundraiser. Weightlifting is not my livelihood, it never will be. But that doesn’t mean it’s not meaningful regardless of how bad or good I am at the time. However I can’t say this whole process isn’t a bitter pill to swallow, particularly after my lifting looked promising for the season. But I have been on this side of disappointment many times, in one form or another, so I will not shy away from it, I will assess it, and I will be back. Hopefully a new training cycle begins soon, and I’ve surrounded myself with good, honest, and constructive training partners. All the pieces are in place for a good rebuild that will be filled with emotional moments, as an expression of my frustration or conquering of colitis.