Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Thanksgiving Thoughts

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, but I am having a hard time being grateful. I know I should give thanks for all the time I have been given this year. At the beginning of the year the docs said it could be as long as a year or as little as three months. I never expected to live past the summer, much less Thanksgiving. I know I have been very blessed with all the things I got to do this year and time spent with family and friends, but this past year has been hard and sometimes I just do not feel very thankful.

Christmas is around the corner and I can not get excited about it. The last two years I have had an open house the second week of December. I thought that maybe we should have one this year and that would give me something to look forward to and maybe help get me into the Christmas season. But after the last two weeks of not feeling very good, I have decided I am not up for it. It is very hard to make plans since I never know how I am going to feel in a few hours, not to mention the next couple of days. Last week I was hit with what seemed like the 24 hour flu and while I felt better the next day I felt the effects for several days. Last Wednesday night I had a breathing attack that lasted over an hour and left me very weak. I had to cancel my plans for the next day. All of that totaled to three events I needed to cancel and countless hours in bed. I went out on Saturday and paid for it by spending Sunday in bed. Instead of just one nap a day, I am up to two or even three, but even though I am exhausted I have trouble going to sleep at night. It does not seem fair that I can fall asleep in minutes during the day and it takes me hours at night.

As I read back at what I have just written it seems I just went off on a tangent on the things I am ungrateful for. So much for trying to reflect on the meaning of today, let’s see if I can do better.

I can tell you that I am grateful for my parents and them allowing me to move back home. It has been hard and an adjustment for all of us, but it helps knowing that I am not alone if I get a breathing attack or need help with something. I am also thankful for all the love and support that people have shown me, especially my cyber friends. It cheers me up when I look at facebook and twitter and realize there are so many people out there that I have never met in person that are providing support. Thank you very much.

Last week a good friend that I used to work with undertook an incredible challenge. He participated in a 50 mile run. He told me last spring that he wanted to do this, but not just for himself, he wanted to run for me. In September he sent me an email and he wrote:

"I think about you often when I run. If I hit a tough patch and start to whine about being tired, I think about you and your fight. Somehow, I always run a little stronger and finish the distance."

He raised over $1200 on my behalf and that money is going to help other young adults with cancer. It is hard to believe that our friendship inspired him to undertake such a physically and mentally challenging task. I talked with him a few days befor the race and I was overwhelmed that he was doing this for me and could not find the words to thank him. I promised him I would keep him in my thoughts and send him good vibes so that he could have a great run. I thought about him a lot on Saturday and I think he is the one that gave me strength to do the things that I wanted to that day.

I once told someone that if I could help one other person by sharing my journey with cancer it makes some of it worthwhile. In the last two weeks I have been told by several people how I have inspired them. I even talked to a researcher from a national talk show and she told me that of all the people she has met, my story has touched her the most and she will always remember me. I guess that is what I should be thankful for – all the people who have listened to my story and been a part of my journey and the unending support I receive. From age 19, I always wanted to make an impact on this world and the people in it. I know now that I have, that this is my legacy. I may be dying, but I don’t think I will ever be forgotten and I hope that I helped others by sharing my life this way.

I started out writing post feeling very depressed, but now I am smiling as I think about all of you that will read this and how much each of you have helped me. So for today I am grateful to be alive, to be sharing the day with my family and for my connections with each of you and of course I am thankful for all the delicious food I will be stuffing myself with.
Below are a few pictures from moments this year that I am thankful for.

Please share with what you are thankful for this Thanksgiving.

The Ward Girls - Jan '09

37th Birthday Party - March '09

Easter '09 Family Pic

Easter '09 with Nephews: Adam, Sawyer, Zachary

Nephew Spenser's '09 High School Graduation

Beach Trip June '09
Spenser's growing too big for Aunti Alli's lap

Beach Trip June '09
Tickle time with Sawyer

Beach Trip June '09
Night at Trimpers on the Boardwalk - Bumber Cars with Spenser


ajcmjan said...

Dear Sonsalli (because that is how I know you),

Just read you blog and it left me in tears. I'm one of the people that have never met you in oerson, but we talk a bit on Tiwtter and let me tell you: life sure hasn't treathened you fairley but I thankfull that I got to meet you. You inspire so many of us, including me. I can relate to your friend that did the running: I too think of you and your battle when on the bike and not feeling good. I think of you and know I can go on. So you are so absoluteky right: you will NEVER be forgotten, not by me at least.
I do hope you will have a nice Thanksgiving with yur family and friends closeby. You are in my herat and thoughts as always. Hope you stick around a bit linger. Love and big hugs, Annemieke

Shelly said...


Happy Thanksgiving 2009 to you. I am thankful that we are friends and no matter how much life gets in the way you know I love you and that I am here for you. I miss you and want you to know that I think about you everyday and wish nothing but good things for the rest of your life.


Kris said...

Alli, you are a treasure and no one who has ever known you, in person, on the phone, or in cyberspace, will ever forget you! You have a spirit and an honesty that is rare, and it has been my honor to get to know you, even though it was late in your life. I am sitting here with a big, red nose, tears in my eyes, AND a smile on my face as I read your words and look through your photos.

You have every right to be ungrateful, yet I think in owning those negative feelings you came to experience the joy and gratefulness in your life, so I think it's all good.

I have worn your name on my shirt in two run/walks now, The Race for the Cure, and Run for Her, to honor you and your fight, and the fight of all the rest of us living with cancer.

I don't know if you got my recent email. I'm still planning to call you, but have gotten caught up in the holiday maddness and need to find some quiet time to call.

Love, prayer and peace to you my friend, Kris