nicole tomlinson

I met this amazing woman while on the Gutsy Walk committee in Vancouver. She is a documentary and reality TV producer, winning a Leo Award for Best Screenwriting in a Documentary Program or Series, 2013. She is incredibly intelligent, articulate, fun and fights back in the face of Ulcerative Colitis. Her favourite top 3 things she loves most about herself are her sense of humour, drive, and her toothy smile. I personally couldn’t agree more!

I caught up with her to get the inside scoop!

What is it about your career that drives you and create massive passion?

I love my career because I get to tell people’s stories and highlight the best of them in a realistic way. I am thankful for extraordinary people doing extraordinary things around the world – they’re the reason I’m employed and pushing to do their feats justice.

If I were to find you doing your favourite thing in the summer months, where would that be?

In the summer I can usually be found riding my 1960’s Schwinn Collegiate bike around False Creek and the Sea Wall. Riding my bike is one of my most favorite things in the world to do – it’s the fastest I can move using only my own energy.

In the chillier winter months, where is your favourite place?

In the winter I am usually at home, relaxing with my husband and Rottweiler Stevie. It’s our first winter as a married couple and dog owners – a simple but satisfying time.

What has being diagnosed with UC taught you about yourself?

Stress plays a huge role in my physical health, and that I am in control of much of my stress. I can’t control what the world throws at me but I can control how I react. Since I was diagnosed I strive to conquer stress with this mindset. I invested in a therapist who specializes in stress and am always looking for new ways to minimize it.

What’s the most positive thing that’s come into your life since being diagnosed?

The most positive things that have come into my life since being diagnosed are an enhanced appreciation for bouts of good health and family and friends who support me and make me laugh when I am feeling weak and down. My disease has forced me to be vulnerable, but in that vulnerability I have discovered opportunities to move past my insecurities into a place of peace, comfort and trust.

What’s your least favourite symptom?

The symptom I’ve encountered that’s cramped my style the most has been digestive discomfort and fatigue from anemia due to blood loss during flare ups.

What do you do to work around these pests?

The thing I’ve done to work around my least favorite symptom is watch my portion sizes and take daily iron supplements.

Have you heard a phrase that’s become a mantra in dealing with a chronic condition?

The phrase I’ve resonated with that shifted my perspective about dealing with my illness the most has been “the best way out is always through” – Robert Frost. Being in denial about an illness doesn’t make it go away. Being cognizant and respectful of it does. Well, maybe not. But being honest about what’s on the table always helps when it’s time to tackle it.

What would you tell a newly diagnosed person? Any words of advice?

My best words of advice for the newly diagnosed are to go to reliable sources for information – books, doctors, etc., and avoid browsing catastrophic Internet forums, looking for the worst case scenario. Be OK with trying different techniques and having a few (or several) fail. Losing control of your life to an incurable disease seems dark and hopeless at first. Have faith that slowly but surely, light will shine on ways for you to move past the downsides and thrive.

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