Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Not sure where to begin. I am exalted, broken-hearted, exhausted, defeated and empowered, all at the same time. This summer has been full of surprises- most of them unwelcome. Soon after my own discharge from the hospital, my grandfather ended up admitted for palliative cancer care; a surprise to those of us close to him as he had been running around baking bread for the entire town just a short time before. I missed three weddings, fairly unexpectedly, and am now feeling very down in the dumps as I was supposed to be boarding a plane to Ireland tomorrow.

Somewhere in the midst of this nightmare, a neat little package arrived on my front door stoop. It was a package that had been in the back of my mind all summer, but had been overshadowed by my own health and that of my very beloved grandfather. My husband tentatively presented this piece of mail to me just two weeks ago. It had been sent overnight in a Priority Mail envelope. The sender's address read: Columbia University. My heart skipped a beat.

Of the months upon months I have spent in hospitals, between my own issues, my father's, my grandfather's, and other loved ones, I have never been able to help but wish I could be on the other side of the hospital bed. It's been years that I have sat in that bed, or in that chair next to the bed, just dreaming. But, folks, my wish has at last been granted. I am so very pleased to announce that I was admitted to Columbia University's Postbac Premed program! 

The news that I will be soon embarking on the track to doctor-hood has been met with very mixed reviews, mostly in response to the condition of my own health. But what these naysayers DON'T know about IBD, is that it prepares us for anything life throws our way. Sleepless nights? GOT IT! The sight of internal organs? SEEN IT! Tubes down throats and life-threatening complications requiring emergency surgery? BEEN THERE, DONE THAT! Oh- and have I mentioned how we, as IBD warriors, have more passion, more drive and more emotional investment when it comes to helping those in need? 

Many comments have, similarly, referred to the fact that it will be 6-7 years before I can call myself doctor and an additional 3-5 before my residency is complete. Well, another thing IBD has taught me is that life is precious, unpredictable and, ever most importantly, we live it only once. No one knows if they will have the good fortune to be on this earth even tomorrow- what's the point of concerning ourselves with how old we are when we attain major life goals?  

There are so many reasons to NOT embark on this arduous journey: my health, my daughter, my husband, the long hours, the hard work, the financial investment or the unavoidable stress involved in becoming a doctor. But I have so many more reasons to get ready, set and go. And so many of those reasons are the same as those just cited. My history of poor health does not hold the key to my future, my daughter will benefit greatly from a loving mother who is also a positive female role model, and I've never met a challenge without excitement and anticipation about the next curve ball and how I'm going to hit it out of the park.

Columbia, I'll see you on September the 2nd. You and I are going to show IBD what's up.

Until then, hoping positive vibes and good spirits on my current "side of the bed" can help ease the pain of my ailing grandfather. Pop- you've given me a hell of another good reason to fight my way to M.D. It's another road that won't be easily traveled, but that has never meant it isn't worth taking. You taught me that. And I'll think of you every step of the way. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Team Challenge- BIG news!!!!

So I have some exciting news for a change! Well, it's both disappointing and exciting.

As many of you know, I was in the midst of training for a Team Challenge half marathon in Dublin, Ireland that is taking place on August 4th when I was blindsided with five small bowel obstructions and, shortly thereafter, found myself in the hospital recovering from yet another laparotomy. Unfortunately, this means that I will be in no shape to run Dublin in August and, sadly, I will have to forego this trip altogether. Those of you with IBD know that the absolute worst part of this disease is missing out on everything, and this trip meant a lot to me. IBD life is full of surprises, and they are rarely welcomed. BUT!....

Shortly after canceling this trip I was bestowed a great honor by the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. I have been named the Honored Hero for the Team Challenge Tri State Triathlon team, which will race in Clearwater, FL on November 9th of this year. I am so humbled by this opportunity to (hopefully) inspire this team to swim, bike and run harder and faster towards a cure for IBD. Interested in joining us? Find all the info here. Participating in Clearwater last year was one of the greatest experiences of my life and despite having IBD I think I've had a pretty awesome life, so that's saying a lot! I promise it's an experience that will stick with you- in a very good way.

Can't participate? Consider making a donation here. This still reflects my Dublin fundraising efforts- but all of these funds go to the same great place.

I am so very excited about being able to participate in Clearwater- albeit in a different capacity from last year, but hopefully an equally powerful one. Hubbie, Billy, will be running the race in my honor, along with my bestie, Erin M., and hopefully we can even find a few more of you out there to join Katie's Crew!