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How I Stay Strong as a Marathon Runner With Chronic Illnesses

When you live with chronic illnesses, there is often a lot you aren’t told. Besides new symptoms, medication side effects and a change of lifestyle, chronic illnesses can change how you end up feeling about yourself. Depending on the chronic illnesses you are fighting through, some of them beat you up mentally as well as physically.

Luckily for me, I am a fighter, a mover, a goal chaser. So I try my hardest not to let my pain and illnesses beat me up. But there are some bad days. There are some days where I just can’t. I have scoliosis, fibromyalgia and several different neurological disorders. I experience chronic migraines that are doing a lot of damage to my brain, bad enough to leave scars. I am going through several different treatments to see what works, but so far everything has failed. Still, we keep trying.

This is something my husband of 12 years did not expect to happen, nor did I. But the harder my journey is getting, the harder we fight and the closer we stand. Having so much going on does take a toll on me mentally. It does make me feel alone at times because no one knows what I am going through or how I feel. But my husband makes sure I know he has my back.

Whenever I feel weak or have bad days, he is right by my side. He fights all my wars with me. I couldn’t be more grateful or more honored to have him by my side. I feel bad at times because I know this isn’t the life he married into, but he has never complained about it. He thanks me for all I do and always tells me how proud he is of me. It means so much to me.

I am thankful for his unconditional support. Trying to run and do marathons in my conditions is brutal. But here I am. Training has been ridiculous. My health has gotten in the way so much and makes training complicated. I already have to work much harder than most runners, so this is tough.

Today was a big test on my anxiety, scoliosis, facial and body numbness (neurological issue) and willpower. I had 15 miles of training and boy was it a battle. Tears flowed — not because of pain, but because I was frustrated. I feel trapped. I want to do so much but my body won’t let me, so I get frustrated.

But in walks my husband to remind me of my strength, what I have done and what I am capable of. I’ve run other marathons and this is just another one I am about to overcome. His unconditional support and love is immeasurable. He didn’t ask for this life, but he is willing to be on this journey with me and doesn’t plan on letting me be alone, ever. Sometimes you just need to hear some encouraging words and get a big hug.