February 18

I was going to stop by the internet today to tell you about the very disappointing failure that was February 10.

About how I showed up for my appointment, so excited in my tracksuit, and Study Lady was just shocked to see me at the office! “Are you sure your appointment is today?” she asked.

I was sure. She should have been, too, since we had discussed this day no fewer than three times the previous week.

But evidently, you can’t just write down a patient’s appointment on a Post-It. You have to actually enter it into the computer system, and she neglected to do that…among other things. (I will not rant about Study Lady. I will not rant about Study Lady. Study Lady is an idiot who cannot handle her job. I will not rant about Study Lady.)

February 10 was a disaster. It was the most hysterical day I can remember having in months. I covered my tracksuit in tears that day, and I sat in that office for hours waiting for the Study Staff to get its shit together.

I had to fill out a 10-page survey. All the questions were equally as hilarious as this one. I mean...seriously?
I had to fill out a 10-page survey. All the questions were equally as hilarious as this one. I mean…seriously?

It never did, though, and I went home that night without drugs, without even a placebo, and with a day of my life fully wasted. And I was probably very, very dehydrated because of the tears.

Is this picture from February 10? I don't know. Probably not. It's nice, though, I think.
Is this picture from February 10? I don’t know. Probably not. It’s nice, though, I think.

So then I had to wait until February 12 to try again. Two more days, on top of those two more weeks, on top of the two years it’s already been. No big thing.

I returned to the doctor’s office two days later, again wearing my Get Well ASAP Tracksuit, and this time with slightly more trepidation.

This time, I decided not to put any pressure on the appointment. It was just another day at the doctor.

My drug/placebo arrived in this little paper bag. Pretty lackluster, don't you think? Where's the glamour in all this? Where's my Wow Factor?
My drug/placebo arrived in this little paper bag. Pretty lackluster, don’t you think? Where’s the glamour in all this? Where’s my Wow Factor?

And this time, I got the drug, or the placebo, and though the day was long (an hour and a half of prep, an hour getting the infusion, a half hour of getting “flushed” with saline solution afterward, followed by six hours sitting in a room by myself being “monitored,” i.e. a poor girl coming in every so often to make sure the drugcebo didn’t kill me on the spot), it all happened.

Hellllll yeah. Hit me up with the good stuff, doc. While I sat there, I Googled "What does a placebo look like?" It was largely inconclusive.
Hellllll yeah. Hit me up with the good stuff, doc. While I sat there, I Googled “What does a placebo look like?” It was largely inconclusive.

“You should hopefully start feeling better in about a week to three weeks,” the doctor told me without much conviction (it’s fine).

A few days went by.

No change.

I was miserable for most of the long weekend. Plenty of pain, sleepless nights, an inability to leave the apartment and those damn night sweats. At one point I went to the grocery store across the street, and another time I got a pedicure with my friend, which was awesome. But other than that, I was cooped up and cranky.

And not healthy yet.

All I wanted on Monday was to try and go to yoga. I set my alarm crazy early, hoping to make it to a 9:30 AM class with my beloved Bethany.

OH GOD, THAT IS SO BEAUTIFUL. And no filter, guys! No filter!

It didn’t happen.

By Monday night, I was convinced I had gotten the dreaded placebo and this has all been a bunch of bullshit, even though we’re just a few days in. (My patience is admirable, don’t you think?)

I woke up today, Tuesday, February 18, with the “just get through the day” mentality I’ve succumbed to most mornings throughout the past year.

NYC, you beautiful beast!
NYC, you beautiful beast!

But maybe part of me was optimistic, because before I left the apartment, I managed to find a pair of shorts, a tank top and a sports bra, and I threw them in my bag. It’s been a while since I’ve seen those items.

I went to work early and had the busiest day I’ve had in a while. It’s hard to get in a productive groove when you have to haul ass across the office to the bathroom every 15 minutes.

This is me, hard at work, with the most darling ballerina named Juliet. I love her. This photo is not from today. But it shows me working, so...relevant.
This is me, hard at work, with the most darling ballerina named Juliet. I love her. This photo is not from today. But it shows me working, so…relevant.

By 5:15 PM, I was ready to leave.

There was a yoga class at my happy place, Lyons Den Power Yoga, at 6 PM with Terri, a teacher I adore. She was the last teacher I took class with, back on January 7, before things got really bad. That was my last “workout.”

So I got in a cab and I went downtown.

I walked up the three flights of stairs to the studio and was pathetically winded by the time I reached the top floor. My body is in one sad, unmuscular, uncardiovascularly-able state these days.

I went into the studio and was excited Patrick, the assistant studio manager and one of the instructors, actually remembered me.

I changed into my workout clothes and was surprised I remembered how to wiggle and writhe my way into my sports bra.

I set up a mat in the toasty room, right by the door, and laid down until class started. Terri knows about the whole Crohn’s situation, and she knows that if I run out mid-class, I’d rather not explain why. (In person at least…I do my explaining for the whole internet to read.)

Class started. I was nervous at first, and everything felt super weird. My legs were shaky, my toes felt miles away (can’t even come close to touching ’em anymore!) and one chaturanga felt like 300 push-ups. I tipped over in tree pose (my favorite), my standby crow pose was less than graceful, eagle pose was absolutely not happening and I did an elegant faceplant when I decided to attempt side crow for the first time.

But I never had to leave class.

I managed to stop thinking about my stomach for a while, and I let myself relax and get all yoga-fied.

This is what relaxing looks like! This isn't my yoga studio.
This is what relaxing looks like! This isn’t my yoga studio.

I remembered, albeit briefly and possibly for just a fleeting 60 minutes, how good it feels to feel good.

It wasn’t long before I was flopped down in savasana, crying those little happy tears I’ve been known to shed.

When I left the room, Bethany and two of my most favorite yoga friends — shout-out to Sam and Zovig — were in the lobby waiting for the next class

I lost my mind when I saw them. Like, fully dissolved into a puddle of ugly-cry tears and hugs. It was the best feeling and it was the happiest I remember feeling in a very long time. Those hugs were downright life-changing. Or at least temporarily mood-changing.

It's my comeback and I'll post this beauty on the internet if I want to.
It’s my comeback and I’ll post this beauty on the internet if I want to.

I came home and life quickly returned to “normal with Crohn’s.” But that’s OK. I’ll take the pain as long as I can enjoy the occasional happy tears.

Maybe February 10 wasn’t “the first day of the rest of my life,” and perhaps February 12 wasn’t “the day that everything changed.”

But February 18? I’m starting to feel kinda good about February 18.



26 Responses

  1. Hey Ali, I’m wishing you the best of luck!! I did well on medication for a while, until I just didn’t anymore. I eventually ended up having to have the surgery and my quality of life is so much better… Now I’m blogging my story to help others. I hope you get to feeling better really soon!!

  2. Yoga is one powerful exercise from India. I too love doing it and this gives energy as well as a positive vibe which keeps me getting higher and higher. You too concentrate on exercise and things will go fine.

  3. So does this mean the cheese party is off?
    First time I’ve ever been happy to have a party cancelled tho.
    So glad you had a happy time and an hour without dashing to the loo is great. Hope this is the start of good things for you Ali.

    I remember those feelings when I started Infliximab infusions – so much hope. I was over the moon after the 3rd one and I felt so WELL. I also remember the black pit when everything stopped working after the 4th one.
    I’m really hopeful that you’re on the up – everyone has to have a share of the good stuff and I reckon it’s your turn.
    Take care.
    Ali (in the UK)

  4. I love this post! It’s inspiring to hear you (as always!) appreciating things in life like seeing friends and attending a yoga class that many people take for granted. Your posts always remind me to be thankful of everything around me. So happy to hear you’re feeling better.

  5. Hey lady! I’m glad to catch up on what you’ve been going through the last few months- I can’t believe it all! I moved out of NYC to Boston in October and miss Central Park SO much, but I couldn’t imagine seeing it every day, driving through it everyday and not being able to run in it- that would be TORTURE! I hope that Feb 18th is the start of all the awesome days to come and HEALTH. Honest to goodness HEALTH.

    You’ll be in my prayers- keep on yoga’ing on! xoxo

  6. This brought happy tears to my eyes!! Thank you for sharing, and I am SO glad you could have some relaxation time… even if it was only for 60 minutes!

  7. I found your blog last year and although I’ve always been too shy to comment this post made me so freakin’ happy that I had to send out a virtual “WOOT WOOT” and high five your way. In fact, I am doing the happy dance for you as I type (be thankful you can’t see it. Your eyeballs would be traumatized for life).

  8. Oh, you know how to make me well up with tears … I am so happy for you and I hope you get many more of February 18th-days!! Thanks for the update, and that last picture is beautiful – it oozes happiness!!!

  9. I’ve been wondering how you’ve been doing!! This is the best news. I know things go up and down all the time, so we won’t get too excited…but I’m too excited for you!!!

  10. Oh Ali – so glad to see some brightness and optimism back – wishing you many more moments/hours/days in your happy places soon xo

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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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