*le sigh*…..how do I start this post?
So many people have asked me over the last year….”Have you lost weight?”, or “Girlfriend, you look great! What are you doing?”. And the answer is, Yes, I have lost weight, which is an amazing thing. I was definitely packing an extra 20lbs for quite a few years and I am super happy to be able to fit into old clothes and have a reason to buy new clothes. I love my thinner self.
What I am not so happy about is the reason why I have lost 35 lbs over the past 18 months.
Many who know me and that I have spent time with over the years know about my ‘gut issues’ and know that I have to always be close to a bathroom. It has been something that as plagued me since I can remember. Probably since I was 6th grade? I participated in Miss Teen Canada in 1988 (insert big smiles here. Yes, I know it is funny, and I am outing myself). If I remember right, there were 42 girls that participated from across Canada. While we were in Toronto, gearing up for the pageant, about 20 of the 42 girls were plagued with food poisoning from the hotel food (or maybe it was something else, who knows, because this is now 25 years ago). I was the first person in the group to start throwing up and……well, I probably don’t have to describe what happened.
But looking back, I do feel like it happened to me sooner than all of the others because of my gut issues. Within an hour of lunch I was a sick as a dog. But other girls slowly started getting sick, 6 hours, 8 hours later. So it looked like my sickness was nerves. Maybe that was part of it but I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that it has been something that has continued to plague me throughout my adult life.
I call it ‘the wave’. Some people call it anxiety attacks, nervous stomach blah blah, and that is definitely part of it (and a completely different post) but that is not entirely it. I feel it start in my gut and it starts going through my body like a huge wave. And literally I have to find a bathroom or I might pass out or something much worse. And this is probably one of the most inconvenient things in the world. I try to do a mind over matter thing and not let it happen to me when I am in an airport or in a long line up or something like that. And throughout my adult life I have done various types of presenting, training, facilitating and social kinds of work which forces me to be in front of people, which has not always been an easy thing for me. I have struggled many times with feeling sick, looking for bathrooms getting dehydrated and not being able to think straight. Plen-Ty of times. And I have cried many tears worrying about it in advance.
What I do know is that stress, perceived stress or even just discontent can trigger a bad bout. And I have had a bad bout happening for about 2 years. And it’s that bout that has fueled my weight loss. Not absorbing enough nutrients and also sometimes blood loss too. I’m not completely certain of what has triggered it this time for me but I have felt more anxiety than ever which seems to contribute to this phenomena.
I am hesitant to say the words colitis, or irritable bowel syndrome or uc because its a complicated combination. My diagnosis isn’t firm, even with a colonoscopy. However I just want to start talking about it – I am really putting it all out there. I consider myself privileged in my life in so many ways. And I am so happy with the successes I have had in my career and the support and love I get from my husband and kids. Not many people can say that when they were a teen, they watched a TV Show and idolized the presenters and then got to be ON that show (Cityline), which is something that I was able to do.
Not many people have found their dream job and got to study and research the things they love the most in the world (which I did with colour and Benjamin Moore). And I certainly had a decent level of success as a Stella & Dot Stylist. But it has been a real struggle for me at times. Like a crippling, crying, I-can’t-get-out-of-bed, depressing, isolating struggle.
But I still did it. And I am Still doing it. Everyday. And I am proud of myself.
So next time you see me, you know that I am pushing through sometimes pain, sometimes soreness and sometimes I cannot even function. And that’s my reality.
Trust me, this past week away in Mexico was no cakewalk for me. And it is so hard to respond when people say ‘You are so skinny! What are you doing?’ But I made it through. And I want to thank all of my Stella sisters and all of the people that support me and recognize my struggle and love me anyway.
A few wonderful resources for those that are interested: