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Starting from zero

I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis last year. At the time, and whilst I was hospitalised, the doctors explained that I developed a chronic disease which caused inflammation and ulcers in the large intestine. It was the first time that I had heard of this medical problem. I felt lost and had so many questions without answers. The more they explained about the chronic illness, I understood even less. “How is it possible that medicine is able to carry out organ transplants and it can’t cure an inflamed colon?”, I questioned this various times to both myself and all the doctors which treated me in the following weeks.

Nobody had answers, but I was certain of one thing; that I was going to be cured. I had lost more than 10 kilos, I walked with a lot of difficulty and I was living on the other side of the Atlantic, far away from my family. My muscular strength was weak, but my resilience increased considerably each day that passed. One of the things which I learnt very quickly was that hospitals are not there to cure their patients, but they are there to cure their symptoms and this wasn’t my objective.

I consulted a nutritionsit and I started following a strict diet which kept away from any foods which were harmful to my new medical condition. It excluded lactose, gluten, artificial sugar, red meats, among many others. I changed my life drastically and I felt like I was born again. I was willing to do anything to see and feel myself get better, even if this meant starting my life from zero.

There were extremely difficult times. I not only had to practically fight by myself, but I also  lost my house, my fiancée, because it reached a certain point whereby he could not deal with so much pressure, and my job. Even so, considering everything, knowing that my illness was in remission I had more strength to fight against whatever happened. The most extraordinary factor, wasn’t my body’s rehabilitation and the complete remission of the illness, which until today continues the same, but it was how my life gained another dimension and that I learnt a valuable lesson.

I learnt to value the little things. One of my most happiest moments which I can remember, as I left the hospital, was feeling the sun on my face whilst I saw how the passers-by moved in between the cars on the street. I felt alive, after having been between life and death in intensive care and it was at this moment that I knew that my life would never go back to what it was. I learnt to love and respect my own body, to be selfish with my time and not insist upon dragging out relationships or people which did not at all contribute to my welfare. I learnt how to say no, not to be scared of losing everything and how start from zero. I understood what it truly means to be happy.

My life turned 180 degrees, but today I know that it doesnt matter where I am, or how I am, because I know that by being with myself, I am in good hands. I believe that I am very close to curing myself for good, because for me, chronic illnesses do not exist. What exists are patients who do not have the adequate treatment for their condition. Like a popular brand expresses: “Impossible is nothing”.

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