I can’t ever recall making a new year’s resolution, because I feel as though human beings are constantly under construction, and there are plenty of moments over the course of our lives when we can and should realize that there is a need for change. Those moments don’t always come soon after buying a vintage poster calendar from Calendar Club. Still, the initial days of January are probably as good a time as any to take stock in our lives, and think about what needs fixing.
With all the turmoil that 2013 brought, and considering the far from ideal state I find myself in today, I gave some thought to what I’d like to work on in the year ahead. These aren’t resolutions, per se, but rather areas of my body and personality that I recognize need some work.
I want to run again.
The last time I went for a proper run was sometime in February 2013. It was soon after that seemingly normal day that my Remicade gave out, my ulcerative colitis flared up again, and I decided to press on with surgery. Over the last year or so, I’ve sighed at the sight of every runner pacing through my neighbourhood. I used to run on these streets, I used to wave at other runners when we passed each other, I used to wear long tights and shorts and a parka and a toque and run in the winter, I used to show off my football shirts when I ran in the spring, I used to run at midnight in the summer when it was too hot during the day. I want to be able to do all of that again.
I want to have pain-free days.
I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a pain-free day. On rare occasions I have a little less pain to deal with over the course of a day, or I’ll manage to get through the morning and afternoon without pain before it strike as usual in the evening, but there’s pain every day. Every. Fucking. Day. I want my ostomy reversed and get my J-pouch working so I won’t feel so much goddamned pain every time some stool leaves my body. I want to be able to lie down in bed and feel comfortable, and wake up without worrying about when the pain will inevitably return.
I want to be less of a pushover.
For years now, I’ve had a hard time saying “no.” I don’t like letting people down, even if it means I have to do things I don’t want to do, or push myself to lengths that are detrimental to my body. I have to get over this, and I will have to say “no” more often this year. If someone feels disappointed with my refusal to do something, I’ll let them deal with it; I have problems of my own that need attention.
Also, I recognize the need to be more assertive when it comes to my healthcare. I haven’t done a good enough job explaining the depths of my suffering to my doctors and nurses, and I’ve accepted painfully long waiting periods rather than push for faster action. At the urging of some relatives, I’ve subjected myself to pseudo-scientific “medicine” which to this day has proven utterly ineffectual. I want to end the charade.
I want to be an IBD awareness-spreading machine.
Too few people know about inflammatory bowel diseases, and those who know some modicum about them don’t seem to take them seriously as medical afflictions. I’ve never shyed away from telling people about my ulcerative colitis or my ostomy, but I think there’s plenty of room for additional publicizing. I will bring up my disease at parties, I’ll tell strangers, and I’ll work the topics into any conversation if I see an opening: “Yeah it was cold yesterday, but I just wore a bunch of layers on top of my ostomy appliance because I don’t have a colon.”
All of my targets center around one big picture for the year: In 2014, I want to spend less time surviving my life, and more time actually living it.
Image via social-brain