Finally feeling better! First stop: AMUSEMENT PARK RIDES!

Thankful Things Thursday: To You

Date: October 10, 2013 at 2:05 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 71

Remember Thankful Things Thursday?!


I know, it’s been a while (since April, to be exact). Probably because for the solid majority of this year, I felt thankful for very little. I remember one day, during my gluten-free, dairy-free, “I will do whatever it takes to get better at this point” phase feeling thankful for my discovery of Amy’s gluten-free, vegan macaroni and cheese meals. Beyond that? I don’t recall feeling particularly grateful on the regular.

But now?

Oh now I’d like to formally RSVP to the Thankful Party.

And the party is today.

Ahhhhh yes. The beauty. The wonder. The magic.

Ahhhhh yes. The beauty. The wonder. The magic.

So here I am.

Brace yourselves. This one’s about to be a doozy. Do people still say “doozy?”

I’m thankful for so much every single day. I’m thankful I get to get off the couch. I’m thankful when I sleep through the night. I’m thankful to no longer have the night sweats. I’m thankful my arthritis pain has ceased entirely. I’m thankful I can — most days, at least — take the subway to work. I’m thankful I can go to work. I’m thankful when my favorite toilet paper is on sale at Duane Reade.

I am beyond thankful for THIS.

I am beyond thankful for THIS.

I’m thankful I can run again. It’s not easy. But it’s always fun. Even on my most tired legs, running into a headwind, uphill, in the rain, making a dozen bathroom stops at a time. I do not take this ability for granted. For so long I couldn’t put one foot in front of the other. And now I can, for double-digit miles at a time. It’s an incredible feeling.

TRAIL RUNNING! Or as close to it as I've ever gotten...

TRAIL RUNNING! Or as close to it as I’ve ever gotten…

[Slight pause in writing because apparently I’m crying now. In part because listening to this song brings it out in me. In a much larger part because I’ve been waiting to write this post for so long, and I’m finally doing it.]

I’m thankful for my parents. My incredible, patient, understanding, forgiving parents. I imagine that the only thing worse than being very sick is standing by while your child is very sick and not being able to do anything about it. I have unwillingly and tearfully put my mom and dad through the ringer this year, and every single moment I was in pain I would think about how far away Contoocook, NH, felt.

The street I grew up on.

The street I grew up on.

I cried on the phone to them almost every day for seven months straight. And every time I called, they answered. And they let me cry and they did everything in their power to be there for me.

I will never forget the day I was supposed to fly to Hawaii with Brian. We had looked forward to this vacation for so long (and had paid for it in full, too). But the day came, and I was in no shape to get on a plane. So I sent Brian on his way and, that day, went to a new doctor. A doctor I loathed. On the two block walk back to my apartment, I called my dad and, as I tried to haul my weak body up the hill from Second to Third Avenue, I found myself completely out of breath and unable to go on. I sat down on the sidewalk and just totally lost it.

That night, I got on a teeny tiny plane to Manchester, NH. I so clearly recall walking in the pouring rain (so dramatic, right?) toward my mom’s car. I was where I needed to be. (I couldn’t wait to hug my parents — and yet my mom didn’t even recognize me as I approached the car, probably because I was down 20 pounds from my normal weight.)

Happily snuggling with mom after the worst had past.

Happily snuggling with mom after the worst had passed.

My parents did everything they could to try and “fix me” while I was home. They waited on me hand and foot, putting cool wash cloths on my forehead to try and break my fevers, buying me new pajamas to try and perk me up and forcing me to walk one lap a day around the first floor of the house just to get some semblance of movement.

At the end of my week-long stay, my parents drove me back to the airport.

To everyone’s dismay, I wasn’t any better.

I will never forget that drive back to the Manchester Airport. My dad drove so carefully, making sure not to hit any potholes or bumps, since the slightest movement was so painful for me. I thought that was the nicest, most thoughtful gesture ever.

As I walked through security, I remember turning around to wave goodbye and seeing my mom crying. I could not hold it together; clearly that’s a genetic trait. I felt like I was breaking their hearts. They wanted to fix me, and I felt so guilty for putting them through so much.

So as much of a toll as this whole saga took on me, I know it was even harder on them. I will never be able to express my gratitude to them.

[Honestly, with these tears. What is happening here?]

I’m thankful for Brian. I would love to tell you that getting sick brought us closer than ever. That he held my hand throughout this entire thing and that seeing me at my most vulnerable made him fall even more in love with me.

At a wonderful wedding this summer in Vermont. I was so sick.

At a wonderful wedding this summer in Vermont. I was so sick.

In the mere two and a half years that we have been dating, nothing has been as hard as this. Seven months of misery was so hard on our relationship.

But he’s still here. And so am I. Brian has seen me at my best, my sweatiest and this year, at my absolute worst. Brian is the one who saw me every single day. He was the one next to me in bed the night my ankle blew up and I had to crawl to the bathroom as I was screaming in pain.

All those moments you think to yourself, “Ugh, I hope no one ever sees me like this?”

The couple that juices together... Right?

The couple that juices together… Right?

Brian has seen me at every one of those moments. I’d like to think it gets easier and prettier from here.

Finally feeling better! First stop: AMUSEMENT PARK RIDES!

Finally feeling better! First stop: AMUSEMENT PARK RIDES!

I’m thankful for the people who hug you and don’t have to say anything because they’ve been there and they understand. To Patti and Meghan Dann, to Abby and to all the people who reached out to tell me “I know what you’re going through” — you are the ones who kept me going when I really, really didn’t want to keep going.

I’m thankful for my little Lauren, my tall hot Sara and my fast Kristan. I cried to my parents on the phone, to Brian in person and to Lauren, Sara and Kristan on GChat. They were there for me every day, with the little green circle next to their names in my GChat window. And no matter the day’s drama, these three girls never told me to shut up, never told me I was being irrational and never made me feel badly for telling them all my worst, deepest thoughts. For a while, I even had an ongoing email to Lauren called “Things on the internet that piss me off.” She never told me to sign offline. That’s a good friend.

The first weekend I could get myself out of the apartment: Kristan invited me to spend three days at her beach house. Get yourself friends like these ones, people.

The first weekend I could get myself out of the apartment: Kristan invited me to spend three days at her beach house. Get yourself friends like these ones, people.

I’m thankful for my coworkers, especially my incredibly kind now-neighbor Michael. They kept things going while I was on medical leave, and Dance Spirit didn’t miss a beat. They visited me, picked up my prescriptions for me when I couldn’t leave the apartment and assured me I was missed around the office (perhaps a little white lie, but it’s one I’m OK with).

These are some of the best girls I know.

These are some of the best girls I know.

I’m thankful for Meggie, who knows more about my bodily functions than anyone. Probably even my doctor. I got into the habit of emailing her daily to describe everything.

I’m thankful for Gregg and Bethany, the two people who truly brought me back to life. When I couldn’t do anything — specifically go to my beloved SoulCycle classes — they brought the world to me. They showed up at my apartment one night with SoulCycle candles, a playlist, an outfit and so much love and kindness. I take Bethany’s class every Sunday (come! it’s the funnest!) and at the end of every class, I remind her that she brought me back to life.

[Can someone bring me another box of tissues? I mean, shitttttt.]

Bethany and Gregg showed me a kind of selflessness that I thought was lost in this world. I was at a very low point the night they came over (with Sara, too!). I had pretty much given up. I woke up that next morning committed to powering on. They changed my entire outlook.

Thanks for the mini cupcakes, GB. Sorry I ate them ALL.

Thanks for the mini cupcakes, GB. Sorry I ate them ALL.

I will never forget my first SoulCycle class back with Bethany. I sat all the way in the back, I couldn’t get on the beat for my life and I cried happy-joy tears from the warm-up right through the cool-down. When Bethany gave me a mid-class shout out — “Ali, this is a huge victory for you” — I was heave-sobbing and so glad I was in a very loud, very dark room.

I know this is getting long. I’m almost done. I just have a lot of people to thank.

RIBS! I HAD RIBS FOR LUNCH! (Not today, but you know...Anchorman...) Also, if you want the BEST BBQ in NYC, go to Mighty Quinn's in the East Village. Get the brisket.

RIBS! I HAD RIBS FOR LUNCH! (Not today, but you know…Anchorman…) Also, if you want the BEST BBQ in NYC, go to Mighty Quinn’s in the East Village. Get the brisket.

I’m thankful for Ryan and Michaela. They would Skype with me at night and I wouldn’t even have to talk. They would just let me sit there and watch Tyler which brought me more happiness than I know how to describe.



I’m so thankful for Tyler.

I can't look at that little face and feel sad. He lights up my whole life.

I can’t look at that little face and feel sad. He lights up my whole life.

When I was at my worst and I wanted to quit life, I thought about Tyler and it snapped me back to reality. He is everything to me.

"It's a MAN'S bag. It's got all these compartments for your things...your keys, your wallet..." "Your makeup?"

“It’s a MAN’S bag. It’s got all these compartments for your things…your keys, your wallet…” “Your makeup?”

Finally, I’m so thankful for all of you. I hope you know how much I really, truly, from the bottom of my formerly stone-cold heart mean that.

When I felt like I didn’t know where to turn, I would come to this little internet place and try to write. And whenever I did, you were there for me. You encouraged me, you cheered for me, you sympathized with me and you shared your own stories with me.

You kept me going and you held me up when I was falling so far down. As a writer, I fully comprehend the cliches here and the cheesiness of all of this. But please know how genuine this is.

The support I felt from this blog community was tirelessly tremendous.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

I love you forever.

Comments (71)
I always thought I hated running in little Contoocook, but I DON'T! I DON'T!

Or Not

Date: October 8, 2013 at 7:56 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 69

Having not posted in two weeks indicates a multitude of things: I’m busy. I just haven’t had time to sit down and write anything. I have too much to say. It’s hard to pick back up with something after you’ve […]

The way to my heart is through chocolate layer cake with my name on top. Brian knows.

This Weekend By The Numbers

Date: September 23, 2013 at 7:14 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 52

…because why use words when numbers will suffice? 10: Times I swore I was going to clean the apartment this weekend. 0: Things in the apartment that got cleaned. 5: Times I saw Buzunesh Deba, my favorite favorite favorite elite […]

A post-hike victory lap at a place I'm inclined to call Griffith Observatory. OUaL, that sound about right? Note the kick-ass Hollywood sign in the background.

What Fall Feels Like For Me

Date: September 16, 2013 at 7:21 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 36

I felt it so strongly this weekend. There was a chill in the air. Everything felt crisp. I could have worn shorts and a tank top or zebra-tiger sweatpants and a zip-up, and either way I would have been comfortable. […]

Just chillin' with my girl Cat Deeley.

The Most Valuable Professional Lessons I Have Learned

Date: September 10, 2013 at 6:23 pm- by Ali- Comment(s): 52

Today marks my 6-year anniversary at Dance Spirit. I’ll always remember the day I started, because I was living in Connecticut at the time and my mom didn’t like the idea of me commuting into the city on September 10 […]

Posted in Work and tagged , -
At the top of the world this weekend, in more ways than one. Awwww.

The In Between

Date: September 5, 2013 at 9:17 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 55

Hi, I’ve missed youuuuuu! Really, I have. I’m here today to talk about this weird place I’m in right now — a place I’m not at all comfortable being, and not in that edgy “push yourself out of your comfort […]

Speaking of "magical"...

Work In Progress

Date: August 18, 2013 at 2:39 pm- by Ali- Comment(s): 44

Hi! I’m happy to report that these days I’m operating at something like an 87% “normal health” rate. I wake up in the morning and my stomach says, “I’m going to make this rough on you.” But eventually, usually after […]

Posted in Crohn's disease and tagged -
Buy 'em now and they'll be shipped by the end of the week. Woo!

Last Chance For Sweat

Date: August 12, 2013 at 7:20 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 9

All “I Heart Sweat” shirts have been marked down. Long-sleeved shirts are now $35. Short-sleeved shirts are going for $25. Whatever’s left on the website is what I have left. If you see the size you want in the drop-down […]

Posted in Uncategorized and tagged -
I will never forget the first time I re-ran the entire way around the 1.57-mile Reservoir. It took me forever, or so it seemed, but I loved every painful, heavy step.

It's Not Going To Be Easy

Date: August 1, 2013 at 6:58 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 46

Returning to running after seven months of being sick and sedentary hasn’t been easy. There have been some amazing moments, absolutely. But it’s so hard. Running is hard. My body is recovering, but it’s still weak and tired — not […]

This photo is from 6 AM Sunday. I couldn't sleep so I walked to Central Park where I was promptly eaten for breakfast by a flock of wild mosquitos. My right leg is a bumpy, itchy mess. So pretty!

I Remember

Date: July 31, 2013 at 5:13 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 74

Last week I wrote about how when you’ve been sick for so long, you forget what it’s like to be healthy. Last week I got sparse glimpses of that healthy life I used to live. This week, though? This week […]