Enya.

Glimpses

Date: July 22, 2013 at 6:00 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 54

“When you’ve been sick for so long, you forget what it feels like to be healthy.”

Wise words from my friend Jess, who also happens to have Crohn’s-Colitis, the disease of digestive underachievers everywhere.

Back in May, when I was in “Desperately Seeking Doctor” mode, Jess called me to help me out with my quest for a new doctor and my miracle drug (still searching for that second one). When some people offer advice regarding this disease, I’m completely unreceptive. Unless you’ve been in my exact situation, I just don’t want your “genius tips.” Thank you for trying, but also no thank you.

Jess, however, gets it.

We met back in 2009, when we had both signed up for our first half marathons — Napa to Sonoma — with Team Challenge, and she was the first and only person I ever knew who had been diagnosed with both Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis. Way to go, Jess!

That's Jess on the far left. I'm the shorty next to her. I'm not actually short. I just happen to be standing in between some lovely giants.

That’s Jess on the far left. I’m the shorty next to her. I’m not actually short. I just happen to be standing in between some lovely giants.

My point: What Jess said to me on the phone back in May really stuck with me.

I have been sick for so long that I’m having a hard time remembering what my “normal” life is like. Since January, my days have revolved around trips to the bathroom, visits to the doctor, pills, IVs, steroids, tears, more trips to the bathroom, medical bills, missed days at work, ruined vacations, missed vacations, ruined runs, missed runs, missed races and essentially watching my life and the things I love slip away.

Plus more trips to the bathroom. And more medical bills. And thus more tears.

This is my life. Twice a week. My veins are starting to develop scar tissue because they're being over-used. I'm told that's a bad thing.

This is my life. Twice a week. My veins are starting to develop scar tissue because they’re being over-used. I’m told that’s a bad thing.

Lately, though, I’ve gotten a few glimpses of what my former life used to be like, and I must say, it’s been kind of amazing.

Last weekend, Brian and I went to Bob’s Discount Furniture to finally buy a new couch — something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

Old couch = leather, ugly and covered in dried boogers. Minus the boogers part. Maybe.

Old couch = leather, ugly and covered in dried boogers. Minus the boogers part. Maybe.

I hated our previous couch. I spent entire days laying on that couch, with chills and then sweating as my fever broke. I spent nights sleeping on the couch so I wouldn’t wake Brian with my every-five-minute bathroom trips. I never got off the couch except to use the bathroom, and eventually I associated the couch — “The Crohn’s Couch” — with being sick. I couldn’t wait to get rid of it.

In this photo, Brian is a little mad because we had dragged out couch out of the apartment, but then the doorman told us it was too early to leave it out on the street. So we had to bring it back in. Also something about me "not helping." I thought documenting the couch removal process was more helpful than helping lift, though. PIVOT!!!

In this photo, Brian is a little mad because we had dragged our couch out of the apartment, but then the doorman told us it was too early to leave it out on the street. So we had to bring it back in. Also something about me “not helping.” I thought documenting the couch removal process was more helpful than helping lift, though. PIVOT!!!

Today's WOD: Push couch up hill. AMRAP. Kipping squat cleans and jerks. Crossfit speak is FASCINATING. Just kidding. It's not. But yeah, I pushed this couch. Where was Brian, you ask? Taking photos. THANKS FOR YOUR HELP, BIG BRI.

Today’s WOD: Push couch up hill. AMRAP. Kipping squat cleans and jerks. Crossfit speak is FASCINATING. Just kidding. It’s not. But yeah, I pushed this couch. Where was Brian, you ask? Taking photos. THANKS FOR YOUR HELP, BIG BRI.

We also bought a new friend for our apartment. I love him and he brings joy to my life every day.

I shall call him Selena Gomez.

I shall call him Selena Gomez.

After we got our new couch (yay!!!), we decided to go out to dinner — another thing I refused to do for a long time because I couldn’t leave the apartment. As we crossed the street to get to the restaurant, we held hands and we were laughing and I just remember thinking, “This is what my life used to be like.” It was like this miraculous glimpse — a wake-up call — and a reminder of what things could get back to when…if…my disease ever goes into remission.

And now we have a new couch, and it doesn’t remind me of Crohn’s or fevers or misery. I want to sit on it forever.

The corner seat is the best seat. I call lifetime dibs on it.

The corner seat is the best seat. I call lifetime dibs on it.

There have been other glimpses of a return to what I think “normalcy” is like…

Look at me, out and about and unshowered! That's Kristan on my right. We'll talk more about her in a little bit.

Look at me, out and about and unshowered! That’s Kristan on my right. We’ll talk more about her in a little bit.

I’ve gone to work events. Summer is a busy time for dancers, and while I’m still technically on medical leave, I have forced myself into a fancy dress a few times to go support my favorite dancers.

I'd buy a fancy bag to go with my fancy dress, but I have run out of money. Soooo...Mom? Dad? Brian? Is there a Financial Aid department at Bloomingdale's that can help me out?

I’d buy a fancy bag to go with my fancy dress, but I have run out of money. Soooo…Mom? Dad? Brian? Is there a Financial Aid department at Bloomingdale’s that can help me out?

I’ve done the dishes, swept the floors and done some serious dusting. I hated that when I was at my sickness peak, I was home all day but the apartment was a devastating mess. Brian and I even did something I swore I would never do: We hired a cleaning service. And the worst part was that when the cleaning people came, I would be sitting on the couch while they worked. I was too sick, too exhausted and too useless to be able to clean, and I hated that someone else had to do it for us. Now I’m back in control of the Lysol Wipes and it’s wonderfully empowering.

DON'T JUDGE ME, but this was what I discovered when we removed the old couch. There was enough food under there to feed two Tylers.

DON’T JUDGE ME, but this was what I discovered when we removed the old couch. There was enough food under there to feed two Tylers.

I’ve gone for walks and made pit stops to ride rides. Yeah, that happened.

Kristan takes the train into the city so she can take walks with me. That's a great friend. The other day, we stumbled upon a little amusement park situation in Central Park. We ventured in, paid up and hopped on. Since the rides are made for children, they were slightly uncomfortable and made me dizzy and a little sick. It's OK though, because I kept the Crohn's in!

Kristan takes the train into the city so she can take walks with me. That’s a great friend. The other day, we stumbled upon a little amusement park situation in Central Park. We ventured in, paid up and hopped on. Since the rides are made for children, they were slightly uncomfortable and made me dizzy and a little sick. It’s OK though, because I kept the Crohn’s in!

This is Kristan and me on The Kite Rider. I found this ride to be quite boring. Kristan got to sit in the front of the kite because she embodies the take-charge attitude one needs to drive the kite. I sat in the back because I'm lazy and was looking to avoid responsibility.

This is Kristan and me on The Kite Rider. I found this ride to be quite boring. Kristan got to sit in the front of the kite because she embodies the take-charge attitude one needs to drive the kite. I sat in the back because I’m lazy and was looking to avoid responsibility.

I’ve gotten back on my bike!!! Cycling is so much gentler on my stomach than running. I’ve taken the Lexa out a few times in the past two weeks and I’ve remembered how much I love clipping in and pedaling my way around Central Park. I even tried to get Brian to sign up for another century ride with me, but it’s a month away and he suggested that’s “not a good idea.” At least it shows my return to optimism and positivity? Or sheer delusion…

Sweaty Selfie! I realize my statute of limitations is just about up on these. I promise to stop soon. I also sort of forget what statute of limitations actually means, but I feel like I used it correctly.

Sweaty Selfie! I realize my statute of limitations is just about up on these. I promise to stop soon. I also sort of forget what statute of limitations actually means, but I feel like I used it correctly.

The doctors love giving me drugs, and they think that each dose of whatever is going to aid me on the road to recovery. But I think they’re wrong. I think the real medicine I’ve needed is a little bit of laughter, a hefty dose of fresh air and a perfect escape from New York City.

Last Thursday night, I ventured out of the apartment to watch my friends compete in their Dizzy Bat competition in Central Park.

Crazy kids.

Crazy kids.

I loved being out, I loved seeing people I haven’t seen in so long and, best of all, I loved laughing harder than I can remember laughing all year. It just felt so good.

Glamour shot! Just me and my thighs. Photo credit to the sneaky little Erica Sara.

Glamour shot! Just me and my thighs. Photo credit to the sneaky little Erica Sara.

As they wrapped up their dizzy batting and headed to the bar, I decided to walk around the park.

I happened to be wearing new running shoes I ordered months ago and hadn’t taken out of the box. They paired well with the giant goofy grin I was wearing.

Look at these beauties!

Look at these beauties!

When I found myself at Engineers’ Gate facing south, I decided to turn my walk into a run.

I ran to Cleopatra’s Needle, and then down Cat Hill. I turned right onto the 72nd Street Transverse and saw my long-lost friend Lindsay. I kept running, goofy grin firmly in place. I ran a full lower loop of the park, and when I faced Cat Hill again — this time from the bottom of the hill — I kept running.

Meooooow!

Meooooow! Fun fact: All the runners I know call this hill Cat Hill. But cyclists apparently refer to it as “Cat’s Paw.” Isn’t that interesting? I KNOW, IT REALLY IS!

Soon I was back at Engineers’ Gate.

I had run a full lower loop of the park and back without stopping.

I visited Bernie’s Bench to tell him all about my run, and then I ran home.

I ran 4.42 miles.

I used zero bathrooms along the way.

Last one. I swear. For now. I HAVE CROHN'S, LET ME DO WHAT I WANT.

Last one. I swear. For now. I HAVE CROHN’S, LET ME DO WHAT I WANT.

On Friday, I hopped on board the Seastreak ferry bound for New Jersey.

Enya.

Enya.

I spent the weekend in a state of ultimate relaxation at my friends Kristan and Will’s beach house. We beached, we pooled, we (I) napped furiously and we went to a concert on the beach.

Oh Jersey. You're crazy.

Oh Jersey. You’re crazy.

Best of all?

We ran.

On Saturday morning, Kristan took me to a trail that has a name that I can’t remember.

Kristan is a 2:53 debut marathoner. We did not run together.

I ran mostly alone, with the company of my buddy Steve for the last mile or so.

I had to make two bathroom stops, which I wasn’t thrilled about. It was a hot morning and I felt dehydrated.

But that goofy grin was back and I couldn’t seem to wipe it away.

It was there during my first mile.

And it was there when I finished my sixth mile.

A few weeks ago, I ran for the first time since getting sick. I ran 1.57 miles around the Reservoir, and my average pace was somewhere around an 11:45-minute-mile.

That lady is wearing a jacket. When the heck did I take this photo??

That lady is wearing a jacket. When the heck did I take this photo??

One week later, I tried to run around the Reservoir again and failed miserably.

One day later, I tried again and failed. Again.

I think the Reservoir is the #1 reason I can't bring myself to leave NYC.

I think the Reservoir is the #1 reason I can’t bring myself to leave NYC.

I was heartbroken, frustrated and convinced I would never be strong enough to run like I used to.

Last week, I decided I definitely would not be running the Wineglass Marathon in October. I’m absolutely fine with that decision. After all, I’m still registered for another kind of big race in November.

Just 26.2 miles from Central Park...

Just 26.2 miles from Central Park…

Then, on Saturday, July 20, I ran six miles.

I ran six perfect miles with good friends waiting for me in the parking lot when I was done.

I proceeded to spend the entire day bragging about my 9-minute-miles. Kristan was impressed I bet.

I proceeded to spend the entire day bragging about my 9-minute-miles. Kristan was impressed I bet.

I ran six miles in just under 54 minutes.*

Don’t call it a comeback. Not yet.

I'll use you someday soon...

I’ll use you someday soon…

Just call it a glimpse of something really, really good.

*No, I’m not running with a watch. No, I’m not running for time. No, I don’t actually care about my paces. I had the MapMyRun app running on my phone to keep track of my distance, but didn’t check the time or pace until I was done. I don’t have a training plan or a goal or anything in mind other than “run when you can and enjoy it.” Relax. I’ll do the same. Go team!

Comments (54)
 
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