Today was a big day in terms of getting back on track with running. Today was the first day since surgery that I felt comfortable enough to head out to a race to photograph my club along with other runners. Whilst still feeling some discomfort, I felt strong enough to stand around photographing the runners enjoying, and perhaps not enjoying, the race.

How It Used to Be

I’ve been photographing our club, and other clubs, at races for sometime but when the Crohn’s flareup started in March/April last year I became more of a full time race photographer. It was enjoyable, really enjoyable, and I was gradually becoming a bit better at taking race photos and was getting to know runners from other clubs. But there was a downside.

Being outside for a couple of hours can pose problems when you are in the middle of a flareup. When you know that the chances of you having an accident are pretty high, you are constantly anxious. And when you do have an accident it could vary from a little coupy down on the side of the road to full-on out of control pooping that just keeps on coming whilst you’re still taking photographs. Ahh, bad times!

And each accident didn’t just end there. Due to the Crohn’s an accident would trigger all the symptoms of having a fever so you’d finish taking photos and could then be bed-ridden for the rest of the day.

How It Is Now

All of a sudden everything has changed. The wet wipes and change of underwear have been left at home and the threat of pooping oneself whilst out has been eliminated. I was no longer anxious about what would happen if I strayed too far away from the car or was caught amongst people when I desperately needed to go to the toilet.

A photo from today’s race – the muddy, hilly Sorbrook Slog.

With the stoma I no longer had any urges and going to toilet was now out go my control but with the bag to catch anything it meant that I could get on with enjoying myself. Post-surgery I still have to remind myself how things have changed and how in an instant everything changed. It’s so easy to forget how things used to be and not having to worry about going to the toilet has now become the new norm.

The main goal is to get back running, and still photograph races when I’m not competing, and in time I’ll be able to do that but right now this is a big step in my recovery.

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Diagnosed with IBD in 2002, I have experienced the usual ups and downs of having a chronic disease and tried numerous medications but the time finally came in 2018 to elect to have surgery to improve my life. I had the surgery in 2019 and this is my journey having a 'New Bum'.

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