Home Gesundheit Ich werde immer ein Läufer sein, auch an Tagen, an denen ich nicht laufen kann

Ich werde immer ein Läufer sein, auch an Tagen, an denen ich nicht laufen kann

von NFI Redaktion

By Alison Feller, told to Candy Schulman

When I was 7, I was on a family vacation, living my best life. Or so I thought. I wasn’t sick – until I was. There were no symptoms suggesting Crohn’s disease was coming. I was losing weight but was a super active kid. Suddenly, I started vomiting heavily. I had a fever. At home, my dad took me to the hospital for all sorts of tests. A specialist did an endoscopy and saw all the inflammation in my digestive tract.

My family didn’t know how to handle my Crohn’s diagnosis. We had never heard of Crohn’s disease and learned it would be a chronic condition I would have to endure forever. I thought my parents would figure it out. I just cared about getting better and going back to dance class. As long as I could dance, I was happy.

I am lucky to have two wonderful, supportive parents. We met with doctors, and they gave me oral prednisone to stop that flare. In early adulthood, I had to deal with my illness, learn to advocate for myself, call doctors, get approvals, and fight for the treatment I needed. Crohn’s flared up once a year. Steroids calmed it down. As I got older, treatment became more challenging. I got on biologic medications. Over the years, I’ve taken a huge cocktail of medications, trying to find the perfect one.

I started running during a healthy period. I fell in love with it! On my first run, which comprised four lampposts, I was out the door. Eventually, I made it a goal to run the full mile to the dog park. Three months later, my first race was a 4-mile run in Central Park. Since then, I’ve completed six marathons, a dozen half marathons, and many shorter races.

Living in New York, I had a dream job as editor-in-chief of Dance Spirit magazine. I was sicker than ever and had to take a medical leave for two years. I couldn’t even leave the house. I was depressed, not myself. I was in the bathroom up to 40 times a day, so I always had to be near a toilet. It’s neither glamorous nor fun to talk about. But it’s my life. I give it my all every day.

Crohn’s disease prompted a major change for me. I had to make decisions that were best for me, my family, and my health. I no longer had to commute to the office or worry about how many sick days I had. I needed freedom and flexibility. Sometimes I had to work from the bathroom. I could do that if I worked for myself.

When I’m feeling down, I can’t run at all. I always plan my runs around toilets, bushes, or woods. Living in a city was challenging, so I moved to New Hampshire, surrounded by woods. One day, I’ll be running in the woods and find another person with Crohn’s disease in an awkward situation.

My quality of life with Crohn’s disease is better here. Running is even more fun now because I don’t have to worry anymore. People enjoy running with me because I can tell them where all the toilets are located. I’ve learned to adapt. I’ll always be a runner, even on days when I can’t run. I bought a treadmill to help me when I’m sick.

Running is my favorite activity, so I turned it into my profession on my podcast „Ali On The Run.“ Every week, I interview runners about why they love the sport, how it makes them feel, and what they like to do when they’re not running.

My flares vary but happen at least once a year. They can last a few weeks or a year. There’s no consistency. I run as often as I feel like running. If I see a race I want to participate in, I don’t register far in advance to prevent cancellations.

My advice is to give your best every day. Only You decide what your best is. Lower your expectations and be pleasantly surprised. Don’t worry on tough days because there will be tough days. This disease made me so much stronger. I am resilient. I can handle challenging things. The Crohn’s community is very supportive. Our conversations are truly empowering. It makes us feel less alone.

Alison Feller is a podcaster, freelance writer and editor, runner, marathoner, and proud mom to Annie. Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the age of seven, she has written for leading fitness and health magazines about running and Crohn’s disease. Her weekly podcast „Ali On The Run“ is the nation’s top-rated podcast on running.

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