White Flag

Things are not so good around here.

Things are, unfortunately, getting progressively worse around here.

It’s been a really bad past week or so.

I was optimistic before I left for L.A. Even though the trip was going to involve a pretty grueling schedule — each of the four conference days began at 8 AM and went as late as 1 AM — I hoped that if I could just survive the cross-country flight, I’d be fine.

This was the most I saw of the California sunshine: a tiny glimpse during the car ride from the airport to the hotel. TRAGIC, I KNOW.
This was the most I saw of the California sunshine: a tiny glimpse during the car ride from the airport to the hotel. TRAGIC, I KNOW.

That was a week ago.

Much has changed in a week.

The flight there turned out to be the least of my problems. I was supposed to be in a window seat, but the sweet girl in the aisle (she had a puppy on board!!!) agreed to switch with me. I had to dash for the airplane bathroom a bunch of times, but nothing tragic happened.

The first night in L.A., I spiked a fever. Each night it topped out around 100–102 degrees and I sweat right through that pretty hotel bed. When I stepped out of bed, everything ached — my lower back, my knees, my ankles, basically anything that could hurt, did hurt. My legs felt swollen and heavy and I was constantly dizzy.

I also developed a nasty cough and a stuffy nose to go with it all.

Meanwhile, my stomach was getting worse. My doctor had hooked me up with some extra-strength-type Immodium goods and the amazing pharmacist gave me some samples of VSL #3s that she said may help my stomach.

But nothing helped. I dreaded going to the conference each day because I was constantly running out to use the bathroom. And when you’re in a huge convention center, there are always lines for the bathrooms.

It was just bad. All around bad.

I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I was exhausted and feeling sicker than I had ever felt before.

By Sunday, the fourth day of the conference, I couldn’t get out of bed. So I didn’t. I raised my white flag, and I missed the final day in favor of staying in bed and playing a rousing game of “Life’s not fair.”

I’m awesome at this game.

I can’t stop thinking about all the people I know in this world who are awful: They are mean, they are selfish, they cheat, they lie, they drink, they smoke, they take terrible care of themselves, they never work out, they work out too much…and they never get sick. They go through life just fine.

I like to think I am a good person. I donate to charity. I give back. I take care of myself. (Cadbury Mini Egg consumption didn’t give me Crohn’s, right?)

But I’m sick.

Never too sick for self portraits. MUST DOCUMENT ILLNESS.
Never too sick for self portraits. MUST DOCUMENT ILLNESS.

And right now, life just doesn’t seem fair.

I was terrified to get on the plane back to NYC on Monday.

I was able to switch into an aisle seat — though it was one that didn’t recline, and that was also hugely uncomfortable — and I probably used the bathroom at least six or seven times over the course of the five-hour flight.

Since then, each night has been a little worse. I sweat through at least three pairs of pajamas each night, the sheets are consistently soaked and eventually I’ll just burrito-wrap myself in towels to attempt to stay dry. The fever refuses to stay down, and when I’m not shivering or sweating, I’m hanging out in the bathroom in pain and misery. I haven’t returned to work and I’ve only left the couch to see my doctor Wednesday morning.

I didn't even have energy to Skype with my buddy. It was so sad. He walked away from me because I am so lame. Fair enough, little man.
I didn’t even have energy to Skype with my buddy. It was so sad. He walked away from me because I am so lame. Fair enough, little man.

This is, without a doubt, the sickest I have ever been.

The way I feel right now does not compare to anything I have felt before.

When I came back from L.A., my plan was to stop taking all the medicine I’m on, since it’s clearly not working. I’m pumping myself with so many chemicals and poisons — and for what?

I placed a massive Fresh Direct order and vowed to do a strict two-week juice cleanse to give my digestive system the break it obviously needs. My body is breaking down and it needs to heal.

Not as good as the homemade stuff, but it was the best LAX had to offer.
Not as good as the homemade stuff, but it was the best LAX had to offer.

But then, after a particularly bad night on Tuesday, I knew I couldn’t wait two weeks for things to possibly get better. I needed a faster fix, whatever it would take. This is not a way to live.

Wednesday at 10 PM I got admitted to the hospital, where I’m currently setting up camp.

After last year, I swore I’d never need to go back to this place. But because I’m so dehydrated, my doctor wants me on a fluid IV, and we’re going to administer double the dose of Remicade I usually get, hoping that will at least provide some relief. I got a chest X-ray at the doctor’s office to rule out pneumonia, and the doctor wants me to have a CT scan while I’m in the hospital, though I’ve assured him there’s no way I’ll be able to get the barium down…and keep it down.

I’ve been trying so hard to remain optimistic, but it feels impossible. Every night when I come back from the bathroom, I can’t get comfortable and I’ve just begged Brian to toss me out the window. He hasn’t obliged. He obviously enjoys seeing me in pain.

I’m reminding myself that as awful as the hospital was last summer, I left and felt amazing for four full months. I would love four months right now — hell, I’ll take four hours.

That’s my life.

I am sick.

I am exhausted.

I am in the hospital.

I don’t have a lot of fight in me right now.

So I’m just going to hold up my white flag for a while and wait for the drugs to kick in.

Here’s a puppy:

This is the only thing that can make me smile right now. THE ONLY THING. Puppies with leaves.
This is the only thing that can make me smile right now. THE ONLY THING. Puppies with leaves.


97 Responses

  1. I’m so sorry that you’re feeling so shitty 🙁 Not fair at all – I know what you mean about looking at people who don’t take care of themselves and are terrible people and they don’t have to deal with these sorts of problems. Not fair at all. I was really hoping Cali would help but I’m so sad to hear it was awful 🙁 Good luck in the hospital and I hope it works!!!

  2. I’m sorry you’re so sick! It does suck and its not fair. I think you’re amazing for plugging along even if its doesn’t feel like you’re doing anything amazing at the moment. It will pass though and you’ll be healthy and happy again. Its hard to remember that the present moment won’t be forever, but it won’t. Hang in there!

  3. Ali,

    I’m a long time reader, never posts comments, but I have to say, this almost brought me to tears. I hate that this happens to such a lovely person right around Easter and Passover too! Keep searching for homeopathic remedies…while I do not have Crohn’s, I did (and do) have serious IBS that I continue to try and find minerals, nutritional supplements and other things to help it. Have you read the book, ‘The Thrive Diet’? I don’t know if it would be helpful for a serious autoimmune disorder like Crohn’s, but the meal plans have helped me considerably with my IBS, particularly as a marathon runner, where constant jarring upsets the tummy. Good luck, all the best, keeping thinking positively 🙂

  4. I feel your pain! I feel like I do everything “right” and still get sick with chronic problems.. I had to have sinus surgery on Tuesday. Keep looking for answers and be strong. You have to be your own advocate. I’m sure you know this though.
    I hope you can get stronger soon and get your life back. I understand– my life is at a standstill over completely different health issues right now too. Not fun at all. Good luck Ali.

  5. Hey Ali – I’ve been where you are in many ways and I feel for you. I’m sending you healthy thoughts and hope that your double remi infusion helps… are you going back on IV prednisone? I’m sure you don’t need medical advice (with such a great doc), but the only thing that’s gotten me close to remission in 3+ years has been Remi 10mg/kg every 6 weeks + Imuran (6mp) + prednisone + cortifoam. I found the foam helped a lot with the lower nature of my moderate-severe colitis.
    On another note, thank you for helping through my dark times with UC these past few years- you’ve been a lifesaver! Sending hugs.

  6. Oh, girl. I have been there. Right down to the VSL 3, followed by stopping all meds, followed by spiking the fever, “raising the white flag” and admitting myself into the hospital. 19 days later I was released minus one large intestine, weighing about 80 lbs, but at least, finally, healthy.

    I hope you get to leave that hospital just as healthy, but hopefully WAY sooner and without sugerical intervention.

    Just wanted you to know you’re not alone. When I was there, I talked to a girl who had been through it before and it made me feel way less freakish and definitely comforted. Thinking of you, girl. Stay strong, get morphine’d up, and try to sleep it away. You got this. You can do this. You don’t really have a choice, do you? 🙂

    PS have you ever had a food allergy panel testing? Just an idea…

  7. I hope you feel better. You should try to catch the show too cute. It’s about three different litters of puppies!

  8. oh, Ali, so sorry to hear it is this bad! Sending you lots of healing thoughts. I wore my I Heart Sweat shirt on a run on the Mall the other day, dodging Spring Break tourists and Cherry Blossom-viewers, and got many nice comments (some of them actually, well, nice 😉

  9. Hey!! I’m so sorry to hear about you being so sick. I work in a hospital, so I know it’s not much fun..
    However, as for that barium CT, ask if they have gastro you can take instead. I work in Radiology (i’m not a radiologist or a tech, but I have worked there for like 6 years or something so this is just a little insider advice), and we have an alternate to the barium. The gastro is clear and you mix it with cranberry juice usually. It works the same as barium, but might be easier for you to keep down. If they don’t, try to get the barium cold before you drink it (depending on the brand/type obviously), but ours is a slightly thick solution, so it goes down easier if it’s cold.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes!

    xoxox Marie
    Chocolate & Wine

  10. I hope you are feeling better. I’ve been checking for updated posts. Last post mentioned the conference and all I could think about was the flight. I don’t have Crohn’s but with friends that do…I can’t imagine. You sound so sick, I’m glad you are in the hospital and no longer toughing it out at home but I hope you are healing, Sweet girl.

  11. I am so sorry to hear this, Ali. This is not what I hoped to read on your blog. Tyler is not walking away from you. He is saying, “Come visit me soon and just being with me will make you feel better.”

  12. I’m really sorry to hear you feel that sick. Hospitals are rough places to be, but hopefully you can get better. And, the puppy picture would make anyone smile!

  13. I’m sad to hear this flare has been so bad. I thought you must be in the hospital with no posts in awhile. Hope you get well soon.

  14. I am so sorry you are in such bad shape. Hoping you feel better soon. And I’m sorry the VSL3 didn’t help – it didn’t really do anything for me either. Sigh.

  15. Ali, I am so sorry you are sick. I admire your ability to fight as long and hard as you have. I work for a mud run called Kiss Me Dirty. Our goal is to empower women of all shapes, sizes, and fitness abilities and encourage them to have fun with fitness. We spotlight what we call SHEroes (female heroes). And we would just like to let you know that you are one of our SHEroes! If you are feeling better we would love to have you represent an amazing group of women at either our Tristate event or our Buffalo, NY event. http://bit.ly/15i3rVj is the link to our page. Thank you for all of your inspiration and being a positive role model to women! You are motivating and amazing 🙂

  16. As a fellow autoimmune sufferer (RA), I am sending good thoughts your way, but also want to say, “CROHN’S SUCKS!!” I am flaring myself and am trying to get my disease under control. I really hope you can have a breakthrough while in the hospital! In the meantime – puppies with leaves are beyond cute (but not cuter than your Tyler!). 🙂

  17. Hi Ali, oh dear. Please get well soon. Do not let this break your spirit. Get plenty of rest, and I hope you are at the turning point of getting better. This will not be forever. You’re tough, and you will rock through this. 🙂

  18. Ali, I am so sorry to hear you’re still struggling and feeling so sick. I was really hoping the California sunshine would be what you needed to get over this recent ickiness. I wish I had some advice, but it seems like you’re doing what’s needed, even though I’m sure it sucks. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and send healing vibes your way. xo

  19. This post sucks, because it means you are in so much pain and I hate seeing that! I am hoping that this ER trip will give you months of freedom and ability to run! I also have colitis so I know how awful it is to need a bathroom all the time, and to bascally put life on hold! Hoping you feel better soon!

  20. Ali – So sorry to hear you are so ill. The hospital was the best idea. Does the traveling set it off?

    I regret having too much space in my house that I can do whatever I want with. I regret moving across the country without thought of kids or school districts. And I regret that I know my own mind (and my husbands) enough to know that this was the right path for us.

    The Kidless Kronicles

  21. Dude, that is so fucked up!! I hope you feel better soon! What do you think needs to happen-? I hate that there doesn’t seem to be an obvious solution, that takes so much courage just to live through a situation that doesn’t have one…be easy on yourself and consider it success that you just survive! Let us know if there’s anything we could do to help 🙂 hang in there!!!

  22. I’m so sorry you are not feeling well. Hope you get better soon. I am happy to let you borrow my dog anytime (she’s not a puppy anymore but she’s very sweet).

  23. Dear Ali, I was thinking of you just yesterday because I noticed you have been quietly absent from the world of Twitter. I am hosting a fundraiser for Team Challenge/CCFA in a few weeks and when I hear what you are struggling right now, it makes me so happy to be helping to raise money to fund research to help Crohn’s patients like you and me. Know you are never alone and will continue to be in my thoughts, xoxo

  24. Glad for the update. Unglad about the content. So sorry that you’re going through this yet again and I hope you are better postehaste. I’d post a picture of a cute animal, but I’m too busy clicking through the comforting manatees posted earlier.

  25. I’m sorry to hear you’re so sick. Sometimes life can feel really unfair, but you will get better, hopefully sooner rather than later.

  26. I’m so sorry that you’re not feeling well. I know being in the hospital sucks, but it’s worth it if you’ll feel better afterwards. I’m sure Brian and Lauren can smuggle some Cadbury Mini Eggs in for you.

    Get well soon.

  27. HI Ali
    So sorry to hear what you are going through. This disease is so hard. I just told you all we went through with my son. I am thinking about you and sending positive thoughts. The hospital sucks but will give you the boost you need.


  28. Love reading your blog-i always enjoys a new post, but not this one! i am so sorry to hear everything is going poorly! Hope something changes soon-keeping you in my thoughts!

  29. This sucks, and I’m sorry. I am going to use the rest of my comment linking to photos of baby animals:

    What’s this? A baby Bair’s tapir? Ok.

    Baby penguin?

    Baby beagle puppy?

    Puppies spooning each other?

    Seriously, just google image search “puppies spooning;” I’m dying.

  30. Hi Ali. I read your blog because I think your jokes are hysterical and because I love running. I live in DC, but I LOVE the Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made Of, so I like to hear about the NYC running scene. I don’t have Crohn’s, and I don’t know anyone who does. My point is this: I don’t read your blog for any reason remotely related to Crohn’s, but with your jokes and stories you have taught me so, so much about the disease. You have made me immensely more aware and empathetic for those living with Crohn’s. I would say that I’m so sorry because Crohn’s sounds perfectly awful, and that I can’t imagine what it must be like, but that’s not really true. I can, kind of, a little bit, imagine what it might be like, thanks to your writing. And that will shape how I respond to opportunities to support Crohn’s research as well as how I respond to anyone I might encounter with Crohn’s for the rest of my life. I will have a better understanding of what the illness is and how I might support them. So… in that sense, you’ve had a big impact on me (a stranger!), don’t you think? I think that’s something you should be really proud of. And I hope knowing that makes you feel a teeny tiny bit better this week. Sharing your story is incredibly brave. You may feel like you don’t have anything left to physically fight your illness, but telling us these stories is a fight in its own right. Keep writing. (And hopefully, in a few days/weeks/months, keep running!) I’ll be reading 🙂

  31. I’m so sorry to hear you are getting worse instead of better. I hope your stay is quick and you start feeling better soon.

  32. Hang in there Ali! I haven’t posted in a while but I’ve been reading. You’ll get through it like you always do.

    Hoping for the best for you and thinking about you! Sending hugs.

  33. Oh no Ali!!! I’m so, so sorry to hear. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers and sending a giant virtual hug. Hang in there champ.

  34. I am so sorry – and you are right – it is not fair! I hope you have a speedy recovery. And even though you we don’t know each other IRL and it is probably creepy of me to write this – just say the word and I will bring my puppy!

  35. Ali – love your blog and your honesty – soooo sorry to hear you are feeling worse each day. Fingers crossed your staycation at the hospital will help you get back to a healthier state! (healthier state = a life filled with cadbury mini eggs)!

  36. ah, man, that blows. as a fellow crohnie, i feel your pain. it’s not something i would wish on an enemy. hoping that this flare goes away soon, and that even as crappy as the hospital stay is, it helps kick your body into the right direction. much love and thoughts.

  37. Ali, I’m sorry to hear you are in such pain. This does suck, you have every right to be angry. You’re in my thoughts and prayers. Hoping this turns around soon for you. 🙂

  38. Ali, so sorry to hear things just keeping getting worse. Hanging in there! Sending good thoughts your way and hope you feel better soon 🙂

  39. I am so sorry to hear this, Ali. You are definitely in my thoughts and prayers. I am hoping and praying you get better soon. After spending a week in the hospital in January for my Crohn’s, I can feel your pain about being in the hospital. But, hopefully this will be the answer for you.

  40. I so hope you find some relief soon and can get back to feeling good again! In the meantime, I have found the BEST stress relief is the show Too Cute on the animal planet. It’s all about baby puppies or kitties. It’s seriously calming and I am telling all my friends about it- hopefully it will brighten your day without much effort 🙂

  41. Uch I’m SO sorry you’re going through this again. Let me know if you need anything while you’re at the hospital – I’ve got plenty of free time these days and plenty of DVDs that haven’t received the love they deserve recently that I’d be happy to lend….

  42. As a fellow Crohn’ser, I totally feel your pain. Hopefully this hospital visit will make your tummy get in line. I’m attempting the home juicing thing as well. It’s going ok. No dewy glow as promised by the internets though. Fail. I’ll be thinking about you and sending mental images of cute puppies your way…oh and here’s Boom and some cute bunnies. I’m scare of bunnies and their terrifying claws, but this is ridiculously cute: http://www.buzzfeed.com/summeranne/15-pictures-from-the-worlds-cutest-ever-easter-photoshoot

  43. Its ok to throw up the white flag every once in a while but make sure you take that flag down when you feel better. Remember Crohn’s might have a hold on you right now but it doesn’t own you. YOU OWN YOU! Have faith that it will get better because it has too and don’t let Brian throw you out the window. You are too cute to do that! 🙂 I can relate with you because after my last bowel obstruction I thought I was going to die and to be honest I wanted to but I didn’t give up! Praying for a fast recovery!!

  44. Get well soon!!! Your blog brings so much energy and motivation, it’s so sad to think that you want to do so so so much and your body just won’t let you. I hope your doctors can help you find a way to live a normal life full of all the things you want to do. Get better soooon!!

  45. Let me know if you need a private duty nurse who will always wear gloves and get your blood on the first try….all while carrying an elephant.

    But really…I hope the double dose of Remicade does something and makes you feel a little better. And that Kelly RD helps you with diet choices if they let you have more than clear liquids or something…

  46. I am so sorry to hear that you are so sick. I hope that you start to feel better. I hope being in the hospital helps you!

  47. Ali, I’m so so sorry you’re going through this again 🙁 Ugh, you’re right, it isn’t fair. Hopefully when you leave the hospital you’ll feel even more amazing than last time! Get well very soon!

  48. Oh, Allie. I’m so so sorry to hear that you’re sick. Is there anything we can do? Send you more pictures of cute puppies? Feel better soon, friend.

  49. Sorry to hear that you are so sick. I will send up an extra prayer for you . Wishing you a more speedy recovery!

  50. I know nothing we say will make you physically feel better. Just know that you have TONS of us blog-friends pulling for you to feel better soon. Lots of healthy juju and prayers coming your way!

  51. Feel better soon, gf! Feel free to send complaint emails & gchats if you need to vent, or want me to send you entertaining youtube videos. xoxo!

  52. I’m so sorry, Ali. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain you are in right now. I was trying to imagine being on a flight or a hotel, things which already aren’t the most comfortable, and being so sick, and my heart really goes out to you. Try to relax, and take the time you need to recover. Bad TV, I think, will be a good activity. Good luck. This by no means your fault. Your body is just being a jerk. You will get through this.

  53. I am so sorry to hear this, Ali. Obviously there’s nothing any of us can say to make this better, but please know that we’re pulling for you. Hopefully this hospital stay is productive and the last one for a long, long time.

  54. Hang in there. I too have Crohns and was miserable for much of my 20s and 30s so I totally understand what you are going through. Know that it does get better.

  55. Ugh. This sounds terrible. I am so sorry and wish I had all the cutest puppy pictures in the world to keep you happy and distracted. Modern medicine is just not fair the way they lock you in a cell to make you get better.

  56. I just went to email you because you hadn’t posted anything in a while and I was worried. I’m so sorry to hear your struggling and you’re in my thoughts!

  57. There is nothing good about this. And things must be bad, because you haven’t once referred to him as Dr. Pretty Face, or similar.

    This is the best offering that I have, which kind of competes with puppies (although isn’t as cute as Tyler). And you’ll have to sign in on Facebook to see it. But I THINK it may help you crack a smile. At least a tiny one. Because what is cuter than 1 laughing baby? FOUR laughing babies. [Who are each slightly less than 1/4 as cute as Tyler, by the way.]


    Also, I know you’re tired of people suggesting cures. But maybe your body is confused by all your “I <3 Sweat" shirts. It's getting the wrong idea about WHY you want to sweat. Maybe? 😉

    Here's to hoping that hydration, and happier intestines, are in your future.

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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