Two years ago, on a Friday night, I ate a piece of fish and a big bowl of corn.
The next morning, I woke up brutally early and made the trip out to Brooklyn to run the Brooklyn Half Marathon. It wasn’t a goal race for me, but I had just started training for my first marathon with Coach Cane so I wanted to do well and show him I was a decent runner who could negative split [insert applicable “LOL” here].
The race did not, in fact, go well.
I had gone to the bathroom my usual 900 times at home, and when I got to the start area I hopped in one of the notoriously long porta-potty lines. I needed to…do stuff…before there was any way I was running 13.1 miles out to Coney Island. My stomach just felt off.
I got to the front of the line, bolted into the stall and, much to my dismay, found there was no toilet paper. Rather than hop back out and wait for a more suitable porta-potty, I just didn’t go. With a bubble in my stomach, I moved into my start corral hoping for the best.
What a terrible idea.
The race started and I went out fast — too fast for me, but I was loving the speed on the rolling hills in Prospect Park — all the while I knew something was off in my insides.
By the time I finished the second loop of Prospect Park, I was desperate for a porta-potty. I had never stopped to use a bathroom during a race before but knew my time had come.
I made my first urgent stop just outside the park, followed by several more. It was hot, I was sweating and I was panicking because my stomach was in such distress mid-race and I’d never had that happen before.
I finished the race in 1:52:14 — not bad considering the uh, issues — and swore I would never eat corn again (and I haven’t).
I didn’t have time to celebrate my survival. I was immediately on a subway back to Manhattan where I showered and then got in a cab up to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx for a day of commercial shooting with the JackRabbit crew.
I was so tired, but shooting was fun. I loved being a part of Run for the Rabbit and getting to know everyone involved.
As the shoot wrapped and we all walked back to our cars, I started talking to the hot guy who was in charge.
It turned out, he lived in my neighborhood. We shared our favorite restaurants and bars and then we went our separate ways. Until a few hours later, when some semi-drunk Facebook message flirting got us on our first little date.
“He” was Brian. You know that already.
Earlier this winter, I signed up for the Brooklyn Half Marathon again. I was sick at the time, but I figured it would pass like it always did and I could get revenge on that Course to Coney Island. I never once thought I wouldn’t be able to run the race.
Plus, the timing was going to be great.
I’d have a good race this time, whether I could train for a PR or not, and then Brian and I had big plans: a trip to Hawaii.
Two of his friends are getting married in Hawaii, so we decided to make a vacation out of it. Plus, it would coincide with our two-year anniversary, and while neither of us are anniversary-celebrators, it was still sort of cool.
Well you probably know what happens now.
I’m not running the Brooklyn Half Marathon tomorrow.
I’m bummed, but I can get over it. It’s a race and there will be more races.
But on Monday at 10 AM, I’m supposed to board a 14-hour flight to Hawaii. I’m supposed to go to this magical place where we would hike and bike and do all sorts of fun, active, exciting things.
I bought new bathing suits, books for the plane ride, a pair of shorts with polka-dots on them and a sundress to wear out to dinner one night. I even got a new suitcase for my birthday to stuff full of Hawaii-appropriate shoes.
I don’t think that suitcase is going to get filled this weekend.
I’m in complete denial about this trip.
I can’t believe I’m probably not going to be able to go to Hawaii — a place I’ve wanted to go my whole life — because of Crohn’s disease. I’m in too much pain, and 14 hours is a long time to sit on a plane. Plus, even if I made it to the pretty islands, I wouldn’t be able to do much once I got there. That’s not the kind of trip I want.
I always bragged that I had this disease but it didn’t take over my life. I could still run! I could spin! I could go out with friends and I could mostly eat whatever I wanted! Except corn.
But now, Crohn’s disease is my life.
It’s keeping me confined to the couch and the bathroom, and there’s a 90% chance I’m not going to Hawaii on Monday.
I’ve tried to do everything right. The doctor said, “The Humira doesn’t seem to be working, so let’s get a second opinion,” and I called for the second opinion. Unsurprisingly, it’s impossible to get an appointment and I’m jumping through all the hoops I can find to make it happen.
I’ve been back to the acupuncturist and I’ve started on the Chinese herbs she concocted for me.
I take 15 pills a day, on top of the Tylenol I take for the unpredictable fevers (still happening) and the sleeping pills I take so I can get a few minutes of sleep between the night sweats (definitely still happening, and last night was disgusting).
I haven’t wanted to write much lately because I’m not in a good place to be sharing how I feel with the world. I’m usually all about opening up, and I’m happy to tell you about my symptoms. We can be as graphic as you’d like.
Mentally, though, I’m struggling. And I fear how much worse that could get when Brian gets on a plane to Hawaii by himself on Monday and I stay here, alone, on the Worst Couch Ever.
I used to love planning fun things, and now I can’t plan my afternoon, let alone a tropical vacation. It’s a different lifestyle than I’m used to and it’s not one I want to become used to.
Some days I think I’ll wake up and this will have all been a dream. I still hope for that.
They say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I don’t believe that right now. I’ve never felt weaker.
And I’ve never been more desperate for an escape to somewhere wonderful.