How I Went From Being Debilitated by an Autoimmune Disease to Running a Marathon

You don’t know what you’re capable of until you push your limits.

Louisa Chalmer
Human Parts

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Story author during her marathon run.
Me, during my marathon, courtesy of Race Atlas.

I considered myself to be a pretty fit and healthy person for most of my life. Sure, there were periods when I had done a little less exercise or I hadn’t eaten quite as well as normal, but they were few and far between. I developed anorexia when I was 16, but I had put in the hard yards to regain weight, put on muscle, and eat a well-balanced diet, so I felt as though I had turned eating well into a superpower by the time I was 21. Being physically fit and healthy became a part of my identity. But, as I discovered, physical health is about more than just what exercise we do and what we put in our body.

In 2017, when I was 30, things mysteriously started getting out of whack with my body. I inexplicably started putting on weight. I was tired all the time, and my muscles were fatigued. I was experiencing brain fog; it would take me hours to complete a simple cognitive task that I would have finished in minutes before. My monthly cycles were more like three or four monthly cycles. I started to get an upset stomach every time that I ate. All of these things combined made me pretty sure something major was up.

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Louisa Chalmer
Human Parts

Complementary Medicine Practitioner, Scientist, Winemaker.