Sunday, January 22, 2012

Making the Most of It

There are days I think about all the things I have lost after getting sick. As you can imagine, thinking about it makes me madder than a dog on the wrong side of the door. It doesn’t matter what door, they just want to go through all closed door and well, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that I do my best to think about what I still have to avoid getting upset, and work around the obstacles in my life to make the most out of everything. Like a lot of you I have more problems than my gastrointestinal tract’s fickleness and it adds to my limitations. One of them is muscle weakness that waxes and wanes a bit. Because of that one of the things I have lost was my favorite hobby, running. I love walking, but it gets boring and there is only so much time I can spend in the gym on an elliptical trainer. If I don’t like doing something I won’t do it, and using the excuse of having to pay for parking at the gym allows me to rationalize not going.

I bet you know exactly what I’m talking about. DTP can change your life dramatically. Dealing with the daily nausea, vomiting, bloating, pain and the weakness that goes along with malnutrition is tiring. It is easy to sit back and start to blend in with the couch. But, sitting around doing nothing is the easiest way to get weaker, and to just plain feel horrible all the time. The best thing we can do is find a way around our limitations and stay active. Even if it is just mentally active by doing things like reading, doing volunteer work out of your home, making crafts, etc. You’d be surprised what you can do, and how much help you can be to others even if you are homebound. You just have to figure out the best way to go about it so you can make the most out of your life by enriching it.

I found the best way to get myself out of the house this winter to try and get some exercise (which, by the way helps GI motility quite a bit not to mention helps fight the winter blues). Snowshoeing. I dawned my running tights (but wore jeans over them) for the first time in three years and gave snowshoeing a whirl. I gained several things from it—it was a new activity so it stimulated my mind, it helped me work on my leg strength, and helped get my gut moving. I might have been walking very slowly, a far cry from running, but I got to enjoy the fresh snow and -2 degree weather. Okay, enjoy isn’t the word for it. Survive is more like it.

I’ll leave you with a quote from a recent episode of the Biggest Loser.

“You get to feel sorry for yourself for about 30 more seconds. You are not that girl you used to be. This is who you are right now, and that’s what we have to work with.” –Bob Harper

Just because your life has changed dramatically doesn’t mean you can’t learn to make the most of it.

*About the author: Brittney Riley is G-PACT's public relations director, a patient, and a 4th year veterinary student at Iowa State University. To reach her please email her at rileyb(at)

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