In August 2016, I went to Rio for the Olympic Games; a trip I had been planning and looking forward to for no less than four years. As a sports fanatic and Londoner, when the Games came to my town in 2012 it was easily the best two weeks of my life, and I promised myself there and then that I would also be at the next Olympics.
Unfortunately, my dream trip did not go to plan. I have Ulcerative Colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), that flares up from time to time. And in Rio, in a case of the-worst-timing-ever, I experienced the most awful flare up of my life, eventually ending up in hospital in Copacobana for 5 nights. This was after struggling around Rio for the first week in excruciating pain.
Initially, it was a relief to get into hospital and receive the treatment I needed. But being stuck in there on my own, on the other side of the world, was no less than shit.scary. Five nights easily felt like five weeks, particularly as I was left on the emergency ward for three of them; think freezing cold, immobilised by wires and drips, bed pans, no windows, the most uncomfortable bed, patients screaming in agony next to me. All this, all day, all night. And as anybody who has experienced a stay in a hospital abroad may be able to relate, the additional language barrier just added to the feeling of bewilderment. To sum up, the experience was somewhat distressing. Although I would like to mention how caring the nurses and doctors were in Rio, and I can’t thank them enough for getting me better in the end.
When I was eventually discharged, I was overcome with joy to be free and ‘OK’. I’d survived a real life nightmare. The last two days of my trip in Rio were the first I had experienced pain free, and I got to the event I had been looking forward to most; Usain Bolt running in the 200m final. The next best moment was touching down in London Heathrow and being embraced by my family, who ran under the barriers and jumped me. The warmest welcome I think I’ve ever had 🙂
I am now delighted to be home and safe. Whilst I may be emotionally scarred by my trip for some time, the upside is that I am enjoying the simple pleasures in life more than ever. Food is one of those, and tastes especially good after not being able to eat for the best part of two weeks.
I have been following the ‘Paleo diet’ to help manage my IBD symptoms, and I thought it would be worth sharing my recipes for other people out there with IBD, or who are following a Paleo diet for any other health reasons. I believe that you can ‘eat clean’ and eat delicious food. I love food and wouldn’t want to give up enjoying it every day just because I have a health condition. I hope that these recipes will be useful to others and I’m keen to link in with anyone who is interested and welcome any comments, thoughts, feedback on my posts.
Thanks for reading.