I feel so much better.

Sometimes people say things like “Writing is therapeutic.” And while what I do here is surely no substitute for seeing a licensed professional who can hear me out and tell me what’s up, writing that post last week was a bit like eating a really huge, leafy salad — or maybe tons of corn — for lunch every day, feeling sick from it, finally vomiting it everywhere or getting it out of your body some other way, or maybe both ways at the same time (what? that’s never happened to me…), and then spending the following hours in really rough, sweaty shape. But then, once you’re sure the salad is all out of your system, you feel good to go.

And then you punch yourself in the face for that run-on sentence. Yowza!

Leave me alone.

But the salad is like a wake-up call. Stop eating salad! You don’t tolerate it well!

“It’s a metaphor, Daddy!” Name that show.

So no, I am probably not really “good to go,” not fully yet. I’m still working through a few things — thanks, by the way, for some of the wonderful comments and suggestions on that post, which I swear was not supposed to come off as slightly hysterical as I guess it did — but in the past week I’ve sought and found a great deal of clarity in my little life.

This is "clarity." Really, though, it's a picture I took while running in Central Park a few weeks ago. I haven't been there in quite a while! Ah well.
This is “clarity.” Really, though, it’s a picture I took while running in Central Park a few weeks ago. I haven’t been there in quite a while! Ah well.

I think the biggest thing I lost sight of was the one thing — the mentality and the outlook — that kept me sane for the 20 years I’ve had this disease. I can’t fully control my chronic illness, but I can control how I react to it and I can try to maintain perspective even through the dark days.

I let the dark days take over for a while, and I think that’s justified. It’s been a year of feeling sick, and that’s a long time for a girl who likes to be active and play and go to work and run marathons sometimes.


I gave up emotionally, and I was cognizant of it but chose not to do anything about it. I was exhausted. And I just didn’t care.

Since writing that post last week, though, I spent some time thinking about the root of my feelings and generally doing some light soul searching.

Best place to soul search: The Bridle Path. Second best place? The yoga mat, I'm finding!
Best place to soul search: The Bridle Path. Second best place? The yoga mat, I’m finding!

My Thanksgiving holiday was spent in Pennsylvania with my dad’s whole side of the family. “Whole” meaning tons of Fellers (and Adairs and Feldmans because, you know, extended people) bopping around. We celebrated food and togetherness and love on Thursday…

Togetherness: A pre-dawn bottle with Tyler and Monkey. This was the single best moment of my entire weekend, I think.
Togetherness: A pre-dawn bottle with Tyler and Monkey. This was the single best moment of my entire weekend, I think.

…and we celebrated Grandmom’s 90th birthday on Friday.

90 years old and cute as ever.
90 years old and cute as ever.
"I don't care how old you are, Grandmom. Learn how to take a selfie."
“I don’t care how old you are, Grandmom. Learn how to take a selfie.”

We rented out an inn and I had a big room overlooking a big field with geese. I didn’t turn on my computer until Saturday when I had to check the bus schedule in order to get myself back to the city.

Got dressed for a run...hung out with Tyler instead. Through our many Skype sessions, we've convinced him that Brian's name is "Turkey," so when I turned my computer on, Ty ran over, pointed at the screen and asked, "Turkey?!" I am thrilled.
Got dressed for a run…hung out with Tyler instead. Through our many Skype sessions, we’ve convinced him that Brian’s name is “Turkey,” so when I turned my computer on, Ty ran over, pointed at the screen and asked, “Turkey?!” I am thrilled.

I spent a lot of time with my cousin’s puppy, Ranger, and a ton ton ton ton ton of time with my BFF Tyler.

Ranger Pup
Ranger Pup.
Tyler meeting Ranger Pup.
Tyler meeting Ranger Pup.
Tyler in Ranger's cage. It's fine. He chose to be in there, I swear.
Tyler in Ranger’s cage. It’s fine. He chose to be in there, I swear. And Ranger wasn’t mad.

I let myself relax.

Sweatpants + recliner + Grandmom-made blanket + a puppy on my feet + hot cider + a fire + Game Show Network = the recipe for everything that is wonderful.
Sweatpants + recliner + Grandmom-made blanket + a puppy on my feet + hot cider + a fire + Game Show Network = the recipe for everything that is wonderful.

I didn’t force myself to work out or run through the stomach pain or pre-burn any Thanksgiving calories. Though I did go for my first-ever run with my brother! We ran one mile together. He says it will “never happen again.” Ryan On The Run has already retired.

I'll work on the running, Ry. You focus your efforts on raising that cute kid of yours.
I’ll work on the running, Ry. You focus your efforts on raising that cute kid of yours.

I ate well but didn’t over-stuff myself for once.

I decided to forgo sleeping in in favor of waking before the sun to snuggle with Tyler.

Toddlers in Track Suits. So good.
Toddlers in Track Suits. So good.

I had the best, most perfect Thanksgiving I could have imagined. I would have loved to not be sick and be in pain and be in the bathroom quite so much, but somehow that didn’t cross my mind a whole lot.

For the first time in as long as I can remember, I came back to New York at the end of the break feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and in a completely different mindset than when I left just a few days earlier.

A pretty little commute.
A pretty little commute. After I took this photo, I ran to make a very urgent bathroom stop at Penn Station. That was fun. The more you know?

I’ve felt like myself again these past few days — minus the running, because that’s on a bit of a hold right now — and it feels really good.

Another marathon photo! I'm done now. Promise promise.
Another marathon photo! I’m done now. Promise promise.

I’ve laughed and smiled and haven’t had unmitigated panic attacks over an unmade bed. I’m cleaning up my diet a bit and generally trying to take better care of myself, one day at a time.

Cleaned up diet photo. Or Tyler's Thanksgiving celebration at daycare. Basically the same.
Cleaned up diet photo. Or Tyler’s Thanksgiving celebration at daycare. Basically the same. I just think this is a really cute picture and wanted a reason to post it.

I’m regaining my perspective, and I’m feeling a bit more like the Happy Ali who was around for a long time before this year. I missed her! I’m guessing you did, too, maybe? Because Sick Ali and Miserable Ali and Confused Ali aren’t so good with words and emotions and feelings and also all that Velveeta…

Oh, and I’m doing a bit of yoga. You should come with me sometime.

So we’ll see.

With or without Crohn’s disease, I’ll still have dark days.


I’ll probably still feel claustrophobic and a little lost sometimes. I think lots of us feel that way occasionally. Sometimes life is hard.

But as long as I can, in some tiny part of the very back of my brain, remember that “It’s going to be OK,” I think I’ll be just that…OK.

Thank you for sticking with me through these sort of weird and crazy times. It can be tough deciding when and how to write, and how much to share. My very natural instinct is to word vomit — not to be confused with corn vomit or salad vomit — all over the page and see what happens. So I realize that may make me come off as slightly unhinged and totally insane sometimes. Which maybe I am! Either way, thanks for being along for the ride and for chiming in to make me feel better or give me tough love. You are very special to me.



37 Responses

  1. “You’re a shoe! You’re a shoe! You’re a shoe! What if I don’t want to be a shoe? What if I want to be a… purse?!” 🙂

  2. Just started reading your blog…. I don’t have Crohn’s but I do have IBS that I have lived with since I was around 12, most of my IBS was triggered due to emotions and living in an unstable household growing up. I use to let IBS control my whole life and now at 26 I have learned to not let it control my life. I just started running this past summer and now try to do so every day! I love it! Glad to see you are better and hope you have a great 2014!

  3. So glad you are doing better, mindset can really be a gamechanger when you are feeling bad and in a dark place! I recently heard about Lyons Den yoga and have been wanting to try, what classes do u go to?!

  4. This was wonderful to read–it’s so nice to catch a glimpse of the old Ali. Though I’ve never dismissed you as insane, your pain (emotional as well as physical) was palpable in some of your posts over the last few months, and I’m relieved you’re finding your balance again and feeling happy despite the discomfort you’re in. We’re all rooting for you!

  5. I’m thrilled you’re feeling a wee bit better since your last post. It’s amazing what some relax time with family can do; talk about a battery recharge. I hope you’re able to incorporate some of that into your every day life. It’s incredible difficult for us type A’s, but also totally worth it in the long run. Also, you’ve had a pretty crappy year (pun not intended) so you’re allowed to have all the feelings.
    Thanks for the update.

  6. FRIENDS…duh haha. I miss you and love all those Tyler photos, althought I’m pretty sure I already saw (and liked) all of them on Ry Guy’s FB haha. Glad you are back at Yoga, that’s my goal this weekend to start that back up, it’s been waaaaay too long!

  7. Sometimes it is hard to step back and rediscover yourself for me. It sounds like you are doing great at it though. Keep on your journey.
    Looks like you had a great thanksgiving though. 🙂

  8. My niece and nephew used to go in the dog crate and shut themselves in. We never understood the attraction but it’s there with kids.

    Glad you are feeling better.

  9. Yay Ali! This post made me happy. I clicked the yoga link and I can’t tell you how much joy it brings me that you’re doing some Baptiste inspired yoga. It’s so good for you – body, mind and soul. It has, and continues to, change my life in the best way possible. This makes me want to come to NYC (for the first time ever) and go to yoga with you! 🙂

    ps. I’m currently sitting on my couch with my 14th glass of Miralax/coconut water prepping for tomorrow’s colonoscopy. Fun times are happening now!

  10. NICE! I love when we do a little self/soul searching and come to those “light bulb” moments on our own…..You can’t control the illness but as you said, you can control how you react to it. Here’s hoping the dark days are few and far between. I spent my weekend doing a whole lot of couch chilling with puppy on my lap and hot coffee and HGTV. It was delightfully relaxing.

  11. Glad happy Ali is back! Puppies and babies are magical aren’t they? You should go listen to Better Days by Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros. I think its applicable to you and a really good song.

  12. I’m so glad you’re feeling more like yourself, even if you’re still not 100%. Baby steps, right? It’s amazing what a few days with no pressure (and a visit to see your adorable nephew) can do for your spirits. Also, I love that your grandmother still looks like a diva at 90!

  13. Really glad you’re feeling better! And you are 100% right, it’s about how you choose to handle the illness (or any other struggles) that ultimately affects how you feel emotionally. I hope your body starts getting much better too.

  14. “I don’t want you to buy me a hat, I AM a hat. It’s a metaphor, Daddy!” As I’ve said before, please NEVER stop posting Friends quotes. They make my day!

    My natural instinct is to word vomit as well so I completely understand that. Writing IS therapeutic though, and there’s been times when I’ve written posts and just putting them into words and out of my nutso head has helped so much.

    I’m truly glad that writing helped. I wish I was in NYC so we could yoga together. I fall out of poses regularly so it would be extremely entertaining for you.

    Glad things are a bit better! xoxo

  15. Ali…you are one tough cookie. You have been so sick and fought so hard this year. Of course there will be dark days,that’s normal. Thanks for being open and honest about what you are going through.

  16. I am happy to read this break was good for you.
    Also, I want to say I prefer to read your true journey than a fake one. So, yes, I love “Happy Ali”, but you were not this girl this year and it’s ok. You share the true story and it’s 100 times better. In my opinion, there is no point only sharing the good times.
    So, whatever happens, I am happy to read your words.

  17. My point for that too long comment. Girl you are as tough as nails! Unless you been in those running shoes don’t force therapy, or anything else. You would be crazy not too loose your mind sometimes. It’s the nature of the IBD beast. It’s what you do after the melt down that matters, and you sweet Ali are a fighter.:-)

  18. IBD Thanksgiving

    In case you need a smile today…

    1989 Thanksgiving. A time when we still wore nylons and slips with our skirts. With gut twisting and churning from a turkey hell bent on Intestinal revenge. I did the only logical thing. I removed my slip, nylons and underwear before making the hour drive home to my apartment – I live in the Hood to Coast part of the world. About the half way home point the pumpkin pie joined the turkey’s revolt, so I reached under my waist length shirt and unbuttoned my wrap around skirt. Then the burning perpetual bathroom dilemma – try to get off the crowded freeway or rush home? Clinching as tight as a Chinese finger toy, I chose home. I parked my car, loaded up my hands with delicious left overs and stepped into the parking lot. My skirt dropped to the ground…

    Could I pick up my skirt and cover my full moon with frontal? Nope. First, I had to set down the left overs…

    I plunked the leftovers on top of the car. Squatting unceremoniously, sans bowing to my shocked audience, quickly hitching my skirt back up and buttoning the stinkin’ thing. I ran for the bathroom and cried. It took me ten years to be able to tell this story, now it’s a family favorite. I still don’t remember what happened to the left overs!

  19. Everything IS going to be okay 🙂 We don’t get to pick what “okay” is, but the okay really is coming. Sounds like a healing Thanksgiving. So glad you’re doing a bit better.

  20. So good to hear you are on the up! Have a chronic condition is just so unbelievable tough.

    I know you aren’t really fussed on unsolicited advice but I’m going to say this anyway! I started a low FODMAP diet not long ago for my severe IBS (not comparing IBS to crohns!!!) and it has worked wonders! I’ve heard some rumours that people with crohns/colitis may benefit… I’m really not sure but thought I’d mention just in case!

  21. So that last line reminded me of something my grandpa had said to me, back when I was having my own tough times last year: “You’re going to be okay.” Simple as that, but you know what? Freakin’ wise. And as someone who also has had a chronic illness since birth, i one million percent agree with you that it’s ALL about mindset… sending more positive vibes your way. 🙂

  22. There are pictures of me hiding ( well not so good) in the dog cage at my cousin’s house at age 4. One of my favorite pics actually! Glad you were able to escape the city and spend time with your family!

  23. Glad you are feeling better!

    Just want to say though, given the sort of dismissive attitude to therapy displayed in this post and the edit on the last, that there is NO SHAME in seeking therapy if that’s what you need. As someone that works in the health care field I had to chime in. Honestly, I think everyone could benefit from talking things through in a private, safe, no-one-to-be-offended place once in a while.

    I’m not trying to diagnose you over the internet, so please don’t delete this comment all butthurt-like. But I think it is important to send a message to your readers (particularly others facing chronic illnesses) that yeah, sometimes this shit is tough and beyond something you can handle on your own. It is okay to ask for help from someone trained to provide it!

    1. Thanks for your comment (which I would never delete “all butthurt-like,” because that’s not my style — I’ve only deleted one comment in the history of this little blog and that’s because it was naaaaaasty mean) and for chiming in. I’m not at all dismissive when it comes to therapy! Not even a little bit. I don’t think there’s any “shame” in seeing a therapist — that is not a thought that has ever ever ever crossed my mind. Almost all my friends have therapists they trust, love and have found great success with. I think that’s a WONDERFUL thing, and I’m sure I, too, could benefit from talking things through with an expert in the field. It’s not something I’ve sought out yet because I’ve wanted to do things “my way” for a while (ha). I see so many other medical professionals that I haven’t wanted to find (and, honestly, pay) one more. I absolutely advocate therapy and have never said otherwise. My edit on the last post was just to remind people that this is just a blog, which is just a little part of my life, and I’m a human with lots of feelings and I’ve been very emotional and extra-sensitive lately. Plus, there’s a huge difference between advising someone to talk to a therapist and saying “you definitely have ______ disease,” which is what I was hoping to avoid in the comments. It wasn’t meant to say “therapy is bad, don’t do it!” in aaany way whatsoever. Hopefully that clears things up a bit!

  24. “light soul searching” struck me as hysterical…

    must’ve had a long day…

    You are ascending to the top of the pyramid! Abby Lee is PLEASED! ECSTATIC!

    But, seriously, glad you’re feeling better and had a nice holiday! 🙂

  25. So glad to read this and hear about your relaxing Thanksgiving – it feels like you are learning to be easier on yourself and more accepting – yes there will be dark days sometimes, many of us feel claustrophobic and confused when stuff is on our minds – and having Crohns SUCKS BIGTIME – but in the end things really will be OK and hopefully there will be more good days than bad. Hope the peaceful feeling persists, and know that we are all still here reading, rooting for you, adoring all the Tyler pictures and happy to see you doing better….

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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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