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.
Oh now I’d like to formally RSVP to the Thankful Party.
And the party is today.
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’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.
[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.
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.)
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.
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?”
Brian has seen me at every one of those moments. I’d like to think it gets easier and prettier from here.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I love you forever.
Beautiful post! Glad you’re feeling better and it’s wonderful to hear all the thank you’s! Makes you reflect on who you should say thank you too as well! =)
Hey Ali! I feel your thankfulness, heartache,happiness, and sadness through this post. This past year I witnessed my 23 year old daughter going through the same- night sweats, weight loss, anemia, thrush, fevers-( before and after her Crohn’s diagnosis) and many shared tears between us! You are so right- a parent just wants to fix it and we feel so sad when we can’t! I am thankful for you and all of your shared stories! Keep trying to focus on the positive, Ali! and keep trying to laugh!
You are such an inspiration. Blogging is a great outlet and it’s wonderful to know how much you are supported. I just moved to the city and am going to cheer my friend on and will definitely cheer you on if I see you pass by!
We love you, Ali! Remember, we only keep coming here because you’ve always been so great, and have inspired many of us for years.
Oh man…tears from me too! I’m another of those don’t-really-know-you-but-feel-strangely-attached-to-you internet strangers. I hope it isn’t too creepy to say I’ve thought about you a lot this past year and hoped that you were feeling better. I am so happy that you have amazing people in your life to take care of you and support you. *hugs*
I am so glad life is looking up for you. Love you right back… in that not creepy, non-stalker way.
There’s nothing quite like your Thankful Thursday posts when you are feeling on your A game, and this post was a wonderful example of that. There’s also nothing quite like tears which come on at unexpected time. Thanks for sharing that bit too. Sometimes, for reasons I can’t fathom, I’ll find myself crying along to some song on the radio where moments before I was singing into my faux microphone. Hormones are weird things.
I remember a post a few months back where so many of the comments said “You’ll be writing your ‘I’m back’ post before you know it.” I think THIS is that post. I can only imagine the long hard road it has been but there is ALWAYS ALWAYS a reason(s) to keep going and a light at the end of the tunnel (more writer cliches!) Hugs from an internet stranger … I’m so happy for you!
I’m so happy for you!
Nothing like a good monday morning cry. So glad you are feeling better!!
Crap. Now I’m crying.
So happy to read that you are doing better 🙂
(also so happy you posted the Tyler with the man purse picture… made my day.)
So glad you are feeling better, lady! I know it was a very tough time for you- happy to read you’re doing well!
This is perfect. I’m so happy to hear about your progress, Ali! I cried while reading this post.
I’m thankful you are feeling better! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Darn google reader; I lost touch of your blog. I had no idea. I’m so thankful that the worst is behind you. XO
<3 <3 <3 So happy for you.
Love this and yes, I’m now sitting at work crying. My daughter was diagnosed with Crohn’s two years ago at 21 yrs old. We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs in two years (now in a major ‘down’ period). Your blog gives me hope that she will be able to keep pushing on with this. Thanks for being so honest and open!
Nothing but smiles here. Love your honesty as always.
Can I have a tissue!?! That was so beautifully written, and so heartfelt. Very, very happy you’re on the up and up, Ali! You always help remind me to be thankful for the little things in life, so thank you!
…And I’m thankful for finding you and your blog! Lots of tears and joy reading this post. We’re not alone in our mutual struggles.
I thank you for sharing your thoughts. They have helped me heal and carry on my passion for running and just living life to it’s fullest! Even when some days are really, really hard.
Thank YOU for this post and for reminding me to be thankful. You’re so strong.
I’m so incredibly thankful for this post and your health and your inevitable Friends references!! <3
<3 <3 <3 no words, just love.
xoxo, NOT-so-little Lauren
PS. I know you're feeling much more thankful and not so ragey these days but…I'm still waiting for a full draft of that "Things on the Internet that Piss Me off Post"…you know, just to keep the balance.
your parents did a good job! so happy for you!
Sooo happy for you!! I’ve been having a totally pants past year with my Crohn’s too, and it’s just started coming right for me now too! I’ve been keeping up with your blogs and it’s really helped knowing that I’ve not been the only one going though this hell. Sooo pleased to see you’ve finally turned a corner too.
I’ve not been able to run for a year, but just started getting back into it last week…only 3km at a time, and that leaves me totally k-o’d, but I’ll get there. Have signed up for a half marathon next year, so fingers crossed I make it to the start line (although the finish line would be better!!).
Get out there and enjoy the dwindling Crohn’sness, you totally deserve it!!! 😀 Much love!!! xxx
Yeah, I got all weepy too…the bit about your Mum got me! Now I have a little one, I know that I would much rather be ill myself than see him be ill, so I can only imagine how heartbroken your mum was that day!! As others have said, I know you’re not out the woods yet but it’s so lovely to be able to stop, see the progress you’ve made and celebrate it. 2013 still has time to be a cracker for you!
What an amazing post that has brought me to tears just like almost everyone else. You give inspiration a whole new meaning. Wishing you all the best to come and rock that little thing called the NYCM!!!
Love and hugs from KCMO. I’m so glad things are looking up for you. I stumbled across your blog earlier this year and (creeper alert) have read every one of your posts. You have been such an inspiration to me. You have inspired me to start running and to find joy in the smallest things in life. Tonight, you made me shed a tear or two. Thank you for being your candid, over-sharing self. You…are…awesome!
…and now I’m crying!
So happy you’re thankful
Love this post! Happy, Happy, Happy!
I OVE those emails.
Tears. Very happy tears for you. I’m so happy you have so many fantastic, amazing people there to support and cheer you on! We all need people like that, right? 🙂
As a fellow Crohn’s sufferer, I fully understand what you go through. However, your post was far more eloquent than I could ever compose on my own. So I am going to steal it to express my thanks to all of those who have supported me through similar times. I hope you don’t mind.
This is the happiest, most moving post ever. I feel more thankful having read it! Thank you so much for sharing (and for showing pictures of that freaking adorable nephew of yours!).
I am so happy thankful things Thursdays are back at least temporarily! They are my favorite holiday.
It is so important to remember that even at our low moments there is so much to be thankful for…such a wonderful post….good thing I am sitting in a classroom all by myself so I have no high school students judging or wondering about me as I am tearing up…
Such gratitude! You are surrounded by such wonderful, supportive and loving people 🙂 Throw the fucking Garmin/running app shit away and focus on THIS!!! Awesome. O, btw gluten-free and dairy-free are boring…adding in egg-free, fish-free, and potato-free really gets the party started 😉 Hope things keep moving on a healing trajectory for you!
So…. the other day when you posted I got all excited because it had been a while but then momentarily bummed bc I figured it meant that we weren’t going to get a Thankful Things Thursday this week, too. but YAYY!!! And more important than my YAY, YAY that feeling a bit better and feeling more optimistic about life,too. And even though you didn’t ask, this week I’m thankful that I found my first ever run buddy!! I’m also thankful for blister bandaids (and in turn, BandAid should be thankful for me because I’m pretty sure I’m singlehandedly keeping them in business right now….)
Things I Don’t Hate on the Internet: Posts like this. Smiling so hard for you. Your gratitude is infectious, and I’m so ridiculously happy that you’ve been given some sunshine after all the storms. No one deserves it more than you girl. Now go kick some NYCM ass!!!
I am about to reveal something very creepy to you: I love your smile. Like, in every photo, even at your sickest, your smile always looks so natural and happy. I always wish I could smile like you. Now that my creepiness is out of the way, I’ll say again that I am so glad you are feeling better than before. I look forward to reading more about your running as you continue to improve!
Just when I determine the reason i think your blog is my favorite is the suspense/build up between posts (weeks), you post twice within 48 hours of each other??!!! No worries. I actually still hold you in the #1 spot but now it’s because of your use of [bracketed crying moments]. I’m so thankful you’re feeling well enough to be thankful. I’m also thankful that the farebox was broke on my express bus 3 times this week! I’ve saved $18.
At work crying!! Thank you!! 😉
Looooooooooove!!!!!!!!!!! I definitely cried while reading this.
And WE love you, Ali. Thanks for sharing your life and letting us all be a part of it. I love your family and B, too, because they make you so happy <3
So many tears. I don’t know you, but I’m thankful you can write this and that you have those people in your life. Where are my Kleenex!?
You are the best and I love you and I cried through this entire blog post, so THANKS!
I am so touched by this. You know I’m always here for anything you need and will never tell you to go away. I can’t even begin to tell you the ways you were there for me through a tough summer. My cowbell and tambourine are warming up to cheer you on in 24 days!!!
Tearing up over here, too. I’m so glad to be reading your TTTH post, and I’m so happy to be reading how happy you are! I think the hardest part is getting past that low, and turning your attitude around. You are very lucky to have such amazing friends. Your comments about Brian are very sweet, and the part about your parents broke my heart, too. Wishing you many more thankful Thursdays!
All I have to say is I am holding back tears here at my desk.
So happy for you, and you are truly an amazing, strong, beautiful person.
I hope that you continue to feel better and that the worst is behind you.
Well, shit… now I’m tearing up at my desk!
I know you thanked us, but I want to thank you for being my inspiration on tough runs when I wanted to stop. I thought to myself, “Some people don’t even get to run. I get to, and I can do this.” You are amazing. xoxo
Ali, soooooo happy that you are in a place where you are back to writing these posts.. you are truly inspiring to everyone who may feel there are in a hopeless situation…. things get better and talking about it and getting the right support makes all the difference 🙂 delighted you have so many amazing people in your life, you deserve it
You Ali, are a rock star! My mother has crohn’s so I know all about the good, bad & ugly that comes along with it. But you powered through and that is incredibly impressive.
Welcome back 😉 hope the worst is forever behind you. <3
Ok…now that I’ve finished ugly crying and sniffling everywhere I can reply to this post.
I stumbled accidently upon your blog a little over a year ago and I am SO thankful I did!!!! I was newly diagnosed with crohn’s and dealing with mean doctors, new diets, bathroom breaks every 5 seconds, night sweats and so much more. Your blog helped me realize there was life beyond all this health crap. You were a girl around my age suffering from the same thing as me and yet you were living in NYC, running and making me see there really were things in life to be thankful for.
Even as you struggled these past 7 months (I don’t wanna sound like a creeper but I check your blog everyday to see if there’s a new post) you kept on going…or like Dory say you “Just kept swimming”. I cannot tell you how much I admire you for that. No matter how low you seemed to get you always found a glimmer of hope to hold on to. I cannot tell you how HAPPY I am you are feeling better and back to doing the things you love.
Aly, although I don’t know you I feel like I do (sorry to be creepy again…I swear I’m normal…hahaha) I want to thank you for being open and honest about everything you’ve gone through….It truly has saved me from feeling alone during this struggle that is crohns.
Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!!!
Yeah I teared up a lil on the train whilst reading this. You are the best. <3
I’m completely new to your blog so I’m not quite sure what happened in the past, but I can tell that you are such a beautiful & warmhearted woman =)
You are amazing, Ali. Keep focusing on the positive things in life and you will get through this. You inspired me to write my own Thankful Things Thursday post…it really helped me to change my perspective. xo
I’m not crying…someone is just cutting onions in my office…at 9am…I’m so glad you’re feeling better and you’ve had an amazing support system this year. I hope you never slide back to feeling as bad as your did earlier this year. And every time I run and I feel like shit and I start whining to myself I think of you and how much you’ve had to go through….then I STFU and keep going 🙂
I heart this post so freaking hard! Yay Ali!!
And sheesh, this almost brought ME to tears and I’m just someone who reads your blog….
Ali, I’ve been out of the loop for quite awhile, but this post brought me to tears (hormones!) and I am just so happy that you are feeling better. I know it’s been such a long year…you deserve the best. I’ll continue to send happy, healthy thoughts your way! xo
Also, I feel like I should say something witty just to keep things light, but I have nothing witty to say. Go, you!
thanks for making me cry at my desk… loved this ali, so glad to hear things are looking up. thanks for reminding us that we all, always have something to be thankful about. xo
This is the best. Really, it is. So happy that things are getting better!
Quite a few tears over here, too! So happy to hear you’re in a more positive place. xo
I’ve been following your blog through your highs and lows after a friend recommended because of a funny post about NY in 2011. Glad to see things are continuing to progress, I think a lot can be said for your positive attitude as well the positive people you surround yourself with! Like others have said, keep fighting the good fight! Keep your head up, sending positive vibes from Ohio!
Quietly crying to myself at my desk. Thankfully, no one else comes into my office this early so there are no witnesses.
You’re the best, Ali! So happy that TTT is back (and that I didn’t put my mascara on yet). Keep fighting (and winning), girl. We’re all behind you.
If someone could pass the tissues here to VT, I have to go to work in a few…
Dammit Ali, now I’m crying. Best thing you have ever written. I have no idea how bad you felt, but would check the site for updates a few times a week. Even in all the pain, there was still humor and hope, and the desire to get better. So happy you have people around to help and love on you!
So happy to see you back, Ali. I know it’s not over, but, I really hope you will be fine for a while now. Enjoy the big and the little things. And I can’t wait for reading your review of the New York City Marathon. Because, you’ll be there. I know it. And you’ll go through it for all the things that happened to you this year.
Keep going, we’ll keep reading 😉
Good lord, girl. It’s a good thing I live in Asia, land of carry-your-own-napkins-and-toilet-paper. And by napkins/toilet paper, I mean tissues. Tissues sorta split the difference on soft/sturdy, and can be used to wipe your nose when you “get something in your eye” while reading a really awesome blog post.
Funny how small the blog world can seem sometimes – or how tightly I can get wrapped up in a (sort of except she spills her guts on the internet) stranger’s life.
Bottom line: I love this so hard, it’s making me reach for a napkin. Errr…tissue.
Shit, pass me one of those tissues.