Advocacy, Chronic Illness, General, Triathlon

Why The Spoonie Ironman?

If you’ve followed my new blog this year, you might have noticed that I recently changed the name of it to The Spoonie Ironman. And now that I have been asked more than a few times what it means, I figured I would write a short blog to answer the question on here officially.

What I would like The Spoonie Ironman to be…

First, I’d like to share what I hope The Spoonie Ironman can be to those living with a chronic illness. My goal is for this blog to be a resource of inspiration for Spoonies. What is a Spoonie? I’ll explain that later. I also want this to be a place of truth for the challenges so many of us face.

While sharing a real observation of what life is like with a chronic illness, I want to lend what I believe is a unique voice within the community. What is that unique voice? A male one. Over the many years of advocacy for various illnesses, I’ve noticed a rise in awareness, which is excellent. But most of this advocacy is driven by women. I’d like to enter another male voice into the family.

Did you know that most chronic illness pages on various social media channels have an average audience that is 80% female?

This not only shows that many men aren’t sharing their stories, but they also aren’t even part of their online communities. While I know guys, in general, are supposed to be healthy and rarely sick, I want to show that it’s okay to open up. It’s okay to be vulnerable. And it’s okay to share the challenges we face.

So what does The Spoonie Ironman mean?

Spoonie is a term I referenced earlier in this post. In its purest form, it’s a term those within the chronic illness community use to identify they know the challenges others face, because they lived through many of them too. If you’re a spoonie and begin talking to another spoonie, there is an immediate bond. One that doesn’t even have to be talked about.

When I think of myself as a spoonie, I think of the challenges I’ve faced, the lessons I’ve learned, and while it wasn’t easy. Being a spoonie has made me stronger than I could have ever imagined. It’s given me a unique view on life, and a perspective that I believe is priceless. Living with a chronic illness shows you the importance of a balanced life, both mentally and physically. I want to share my thoughts on living as a Spoonie and some of the lessons I’ve learned along this journey too.

If you want to take a deeper dive into what the actual meaning of a Spoonie is or the theory behind the term, check out the video below.

Ironman is my way of showing the world that my chronic illness didn’t define me or my life. I was able to complete a 2.4 miles swim, 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run while living with multiple chronic illnesses, and an ostomy. And while that is a tiny bit excessive, I hope to show others that they can overcome their own challenges to reach their personal goals.

I was able to push my body to the limit to finish Ironman Mont Tremblant. And during along the journey to do this, I learned a lot both mentally and physically. I would easily say the education I got while going from bedridden to Ironman is the most valuable asset I’ll ever have.

So that is the origin of The Spoonie Ironman and the name for my blog. I personally want it to show that I love the chronic illness community I work with, that it’s okay to share your story, and it’s okay to be sick. At the same time, I want it to show that we can still accomplish so much with our illnesses. It gives us a unique strength to take on whatever challenge is in front of us, and come out on top.

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