It's hard to describe how difficult everything becomes when you (I) have anemia. Literally lifting each limb is tough. Climbing stairs is exertion of the highest order—a relief to finally reach the top. And when you (I) live in NYC, there are a lot of stairs. Most every subway stop, and now, my own apartment has two glorious staircases. My head is heavy, and I am out of breath most of the time (there's not enough oxygen in my blood) and a slew of other symptoms that make it hard to tell if I'm a wimp, depressed, or just symptomatic (or a combination.) Still, I have been getting my ass to work and to shows and to parties and on walks almost every day, while wishing I could just melt into the couch and stay there for a couple weeks til the iron infusions do their trick and my energy returns.
Then, with no energy to speak of, I decided to spit in the face of my depleted cells, and join Josh at the gym. I didn't know what I'd have the energy to do, so I took a screenplay with me in case I wanted to sit in the corner and write. But I got there, and I didn't even ask myself what I had energy for; I just went to the treadmill and set it for 30 minutes, turned on Top Chef (tropical edition) and I started to run. Was it easy? Nope. But could I do it? Absolutely. Slow but steady (two 15-minute miles.) And somewhere along the way I felt a little bit of joy in the familiar feelings of movement in my legs and my hips and my belly and my chest—the familiarity itself being the joy. Fuck anemia—I'm still me, and I still like to run.