There is a reality that one must accept when living with a chronic illness, you will miss out on life events. In no way can this reality be avoided, which is a sad truth we can’t be in denial about. This past weekend I had a stark reminder about how this feels and the fear of missing out (FOMO) that comes with it.
For 6 months now I have been training for IRONMAN Maine 70.3, a triathlon that combines a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride, and 13.1-mile run. One of the more exciting parts of triathlon season was reuniting with Team Challenge, a fundraising program for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Combining fundraising and racing is something I haven’t done in a few years, and while it added a tiny bit more stress, I knew I would be helping others with my chronic illness.
Sadly the 6 months of training leading up to me getting sick only 4 days before the race. On top of being sick with an infection in my throat, my body reacted to the disease and couldn’t keep up with my hydration needs due to my ostomy. Now I have been through a lot, but being sick and dehydrated is one of the worst feelings I have ever experienced. The only way I can describe it would be a sensation of your body shutting down. This is not how you want to be feeling just days before a race.
It did make my decision very easy. While there are times I push myself through my chronic illness, pushing myself through 70.3 miles would NOT have been smart. Racing in IRONMAN Maine 70.3 was taken away from me. For 3 days, I would be in the hospital for IV antibiotics, pain management, and hydration. Slowly bringing my body back to life. So I got out on Saturday, woohoo! On top of this, Sunday was a beautiful day, so when I should have been racing, I was couching.
This is why I can easily say I suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). It is inevitable that I will have a flare or get sick, leading to me missing out on something that was on my calendar for a reason. It’s a gut punch which I have never gotten used to. I can’t explain the feeling of thinking that life is going in one direction, and then it quickly goes in another direction, all because I drew the short straw and living with a chronic illness.
This is also why, when I feel well enough, I want to enjoy life. I have been told that I can’t stay still. That I am always pushing myself to do more. This isn’t because I want to all the time. There are many days that I would like to site on my couch and relax, but I know there will be a time when I HAVE to sit on my couch, and WANT to be off it. So my FOMO pushes me to live life to the fullest while I can.
Now while a 70.3-mile race isn’t a form of fun to a lot of people, I realized while I was sitting on my couch this weekend why I love it. It’s motion, constant motion. Something which I know can be ripped away in a moments notice, even if I make all the right decisions. We always say “health is wealth” and it couldn’t ring more accurate when you are laying in bed, not being able to move.
Luckily, I am feeling better now. I dare to say even back to “normal.” Which leads me to something I will talk about in another post, having a backup plan if you miss out on a life event. I have a second race planned as a backup race on Sunday, September 8th. I’ll still get to complete my 70.3 miles race this year, just a little delayed.