Friday, February 25, 2011

The Past Year Or So...

I have not updated in a really long time, and for that I apologize. I honestly didn't think anyone was following this anymore, so I find of let it go. Until I just got a comment from a sweet friend of mine, asking when I was going to update. So I'm updating, and will start doing so on a regular basis again. I've had a lot go on since the last time I posted; good and bad, trying and triumphant.

January of last year, I got into a car accident that resulted in breaking two vertebrae in my back. I was driving on a busy road that was covered in salt residue from a prior snowstorm, and I had to swerve around a car that had it's back end half in the turning lane and half in my lane of traffic. When I went around it, the car in front of me slammed on its brakes to avoid hitting the car in front of them. I slid on the rock salt residue and rear-ended the car in front of me. The person I rear-ended had a brand new Suzuki. I was driving a 1990 Volvo; a tank, basically. My body took the force of the accident. My car was perfectly fine and the other car was deemed a total loss. I'm still getting treatment for this accident (chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy, etc). There's a reason I'm telling you about this accident. Bear with me. :)

After I graduated from Mercy in May of 2009, Pastor Steve and Barb felt I needed to do some SERIOUS counseling regarding my childhood sexual abuse. At the time, I wasn't ready. We started that counseling in January of last year. It was hard and painful, and I dreaded the months of counseling it took to get through it/past it. But it was worth it. The nightmares I had since I was a kid no longer haunt me every, single night. I may have a bad dream every once in a while, but they are nothing like the nightmares that once tormented me. It came down to me needing to rescue the little girl inside me whom I tried to kill with my negative behaviors for 20+ years. She kept me alive when I was being abused, and rather than trying to let her grow up with me, I tried to kill her. So I'm still trying to get a handle on trying to love her, care for her, etc. It's not easy. But I'm trying.

My sister Megan had a little boy the day after Christmas in 2009, and my sister Karrie had a little girl on February 13th of 2010. Megan's boyfriend is Albanian, so my nephew's name is Skender (Albanian for Alexander). We call him Skipper. My niece's name is Teagan. Teagan was a preemie and in the NICU for a bit, but she is perfectly fine now! She has no effects from being a preemie! Both these babies bring absolute joy to my life!

Megan and Skipper on Superbowl Sunday. Our Steelers lost :(

Me with Teagan and big brother Gavin. He's 6 :)

I've been doing Davidic dancing at my congregation for about a year and a half now, and I love it. If you don't know what it is, here are two youtube videos that are as close to what we do as it gets. There are a ton of youtube videos of Davidic dancing, but a lot of them aren't so good.

I got a tattoo on my upper back last August. My friend Liz and I were talking about tattoos once. Another Mercy girl has a tattoo with this verse on it, but it's a lot different. My entire life, I felt like I was a piece of trash. Because of different abuses, I figured that if others had no regard for me or my body, I certainly didn't care about it. But then I got some insight into my worth as a person, and realized the abuse was not my fault. The tattoo is from a verse in Proverbs 31, and it is a permanent reminder to me about my value and worth. I am not what I've done or what has been done to me. My value is not based on the fact that I've had an eating disorder, or that I used to cut myself, or that I've had an abortion. It's not based on the fact that I used to sleep around and prostitute myself. It's not based on the fact that I was an alcoholic and in rehab before my 21st birthday. It IS based on the fact that I am priceless in the eyes of God, and more costly than diamonds, rubies and pearls.

I'm in my 2nd semester of Advanced Hebrew, which is taught at my church, and I love it! It's a really hard language, but I'm learning a lot, and the class is small, so we get to joke around. That makes the learning more fun. This past Tuesday, I forgot about something that needed to be added to direct objects from a lesson two weeks ago. So I said, "Dude!" The teacher, who goes to my church, said, "That's 'Moreh Dude' to you!" Moreh is the Hebrew word for teacher. It's fun stuff like this that keeps the class really fun and exciting, even though the language has a ton of exceptions, silent letters, etc.

And the reason why I told you about the car accident from last January! I found out in early October that I had Stage 2 Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. The reason the car accident in so significant is because that was the beginning of a series of broken and fractured bones that would happen throughout 2009 and 2010 that my doctors attributed to my osteopenia and being on a double dose of Nexium. Besides the vertebrae, I broke and fractured bones in my feet. Numerous times. Because of the osteopenia and the Nexium, no one thought to test for Leukemia. I went to my family doctor in early October with severe bruising, fatigue and other symptoms. He did blood work and some other tests. I was referred to an Oncologist, and tests were done to determine what form of Leukemia I had. I started chemo AND radiation twice a week on November 8th. My length of treatment was slated to be 10-14 weeks. Barb (my Rabbi's wife) drove me on Mondays, and Ann Marie drove me on Fridays until she went to FL, and then Eva did. I was sick, but thankfully I wasn't as sick as I could have been. I lost about half my hair thickness, but not all my hair. On January 17th, my chemo and radiation were increased because my Oncologist didn't like the look of my labs, and it was decided I would go a full 15 weeks. The increase in the treatments made me really sick towards the end. BUT, after a really intense worship service at my church, I asked my Oncologist to re-draw my labs, even though they had been done two weeks prior. Those labs had shown my WBC count was still 500,000. The labs I had requested came back with a WBC count of 11,000!! During that worship service, my Rabbi had said that we, as people of God, know that God knows what we need. But having that knowledge, we don't ask. He told us we need to ask for what we need. I knew God knew I needed (and WANTED) to be healed from the Leukemia. But I had stopped asking. So I asked God to please heal me, and just started sobbing. I didn't beg God, but I asked Him from the depths of my being, and it made my heart hurt. I don't know what happened, but something felt different inside my body. Thus the reason for me asking for the repeat labs. I knew something was different. For insurance reasons, I had to finish out the last 5 treatments, but I am Leukemia FREE!!

How's that for an update? :D


  1. Thanks for the update Ali. I hope you are doing well

  2. Wow, Ali... Talk about an update, like ya said. I am so happy that, despite all the speedbumps, you are still hanging in there, and not letting the enemy get the better of you. :)

  3. CONNIE: i'm doing well!

    LILY: i am doing MORE than hanging in there! i've got a death grip on life! :)

  4. Ali..its Jessica from TN. I hope you remember me. I have a blog now and I was waundering if you want to follow it. You can if you want. :)