I’ve always had a hard life and I’m sure many of you can relate. Challenges in life are essential and often inevitable, but let’s face it.. Some of us face more than others. About a week ago, a few friends and I decided to a hike a mountain. – The pinnacle trail to be specific. We hiked the highest, most steep portion of the mountain.

Hiking with Chronic Illness, Chronic Conditions

I wasn’t aware of the challenges I would face

Going into this, I didn’t know what to expect. I’d been hiking in the past, but it was a smooth waterfall hike and took no time at all. It honestly was disappointing when I’d finished. – This hike was in many ways different. Soon after we began, the trail became more and more challenging. – Becoming steeper with every step we took. What was once a clear and defined path soon became questions of “which way should we go?” or “is this rock sturdy enough to hold my weight?” This all stemmed from a simple suggestion. A simple morning text to get a group of girls up and active from a very dear friend became one of the most challenging things I’d ever done in my life. This in many ways reminded me of My Journey Getting Diagnosed. I had no idea of what was happening to my body. What stemmed from a “tummy ache,” quickly became something much more serious. A threat to my body. Facing obstacle after obstacle, just trying to get a clear diagnosis proved to be more challenging than living with symptoms. I didn’t know what to expect. I’d been sick before, but never like this. Even after being diagnosed, I was still confused and left to wonder, “what’s next” or “how can I overcome ..”

I tried to give up…

Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's living

The higher we climbed, the more it hurt. I knew we were getting closer to where we needed to be, but I just didn’t want to be there anymore. The air was cold, but I could feel my body overheating. I started with two sweaters and ended in a cami. I was tired and wanted nothing more than to just give up and turn around. – My diagnosis was no different. The closer I came to answers, the worse off I was. By the time I met a doctor who could help I was exhausted, mentally and physically. My blood levels were half of what they should’ve been. – I was given two transfusions. I was basically on my death bed.

I was defeated…

The goal was to reach the top before sunset. – A while before sunset. We wanted time to enjoy the top and head down during daylight, but we’d gotten started so late. To reach the top before sunset was pushing it, we had to move fast. Even with the few breaks I took, I still felt defeated. I couldn’t go any further, but my friends stood by me. I asked them to finish without me… Many times. I didn’t want to hold them back, but they refused. They refused to see the top without me and stood by me the entire time. Because of them I pushed myself, unfortunately my body pushed back. To this day, I’m still not sure if I fell or passed out. I remember how steep the rocks were. I remember taking a deep breath. I remember seeing the last bit of the walk and I remember my friends and strangers hovering around me, asking if I was okay. I remember being defeated, but not feeling defeated.

Instead I felt like I’d tried. I felt like I’d given it everything and simply had nothing more to give. I felt like I did good, just not good enough. Once again, I begged my friends to leave me.

Crohn's, Colitis and hiking

This was the same type of defeat I’d faced being diagnosed. I felt like I tried. I felt like I’d fought, but I was tired. I didn’t want to fight anymore. – But my family was determined to let me see the top.

… and I did.

Hate the climb, but LOVE the view

The climb was hard. It challenged me. It made me question myself and my abilities. It made me question if the fight was even worth it at all. – It is. Don’t let your climb stop you. Fight to see the other side. There is an entire world out there for you to experience. There is a life meant for you to live. Never allow your pits to prevent you from experiencing your peaks. Your failures are lessons. Use them as such.

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