Bonne Année Everyone!
I hope everyone rang in the New Year to a new tune and is ready to take on this next Decade. Unfortunately, I found out just a few days after the new Decade rolled around that a close family friend from our football days in Chicago passed from complications of Leukemia. He was a survivor, a fighter, a Father, a friend, a husband, and most recently a Grandpa and this year is dedicated to Dave! It has probably been 20 years since i have seen this person, or maybe even more, but survivor connection is something really special and I want to honor him as I move into my 4th year of survivorship, and 2nd year of COMPLETE REMISSION.
January unfortunately always brings up a lot of emotions, as candidly it was January 24th, 2018, just one day before my now Fiance’s birthday and 2 days before my bestie in Baltimore’s birthday, as well, that I got the diagnosis that my minimal residual disease had been overturned and it was officially relapsed stage leukemia. This was probably one of the most difficult moments of my life, deciding how I would tell my employer, how I would tell the man I was falling in love with who was living in France, how I would tell my friends, who were coming to visit that weekend for early bday celebrations and most of all how was I going to tell my Grandfather, without him having a complete meltdown, thus making me even more scared than I already was. I took 5 days to pull myself together, get the official biopsy results, phone a friend (from Felix) who was a BMT doctor in NYC to get his opinion on where to do the transplant, and start packing up my apartment on S. Wolfe street so I could officially fly the coop to Florida to rest, recover from the most recent news, regroup with my Family, reconnect with my twin brother and recharge for the war that awaited me.
The good news is this January, I am feeling less anxious, more settled and as always moving forward. I had a wonderful visit from one of my besties from the big Apple, who happens to be my friend from high school as well and we had the most magnificent 3 days together in Ole Paris. Inclusive of a missed Mass at Saint Chapelle, that led to visiting my favorite organic wine bar L’Avant Comptoir, and a late night chat i was in desperate need of. Partnered with an HCP inspired dance party at my humble abode, where my fantastic Fiance allowed us to play an array of songs from Robyn to Celine Dion to my newly discovered Normani. ha! Jeanmi is truly le DJ du ma vie, and as a result him allowing this barrage of present and past POP artists in his living room late at night on a Monday just shows how much he really loves me and wants me to be happy. 🙂
After ringing in the New Year, I fought a cold for a few days. With weather changing daily from 30-50 degrees, and allergies running rampant in my 100+ year old apartment building, it was no shock the cold got me. I nursed myself back to life for a solid 3 days, as I had almost forgotten how great the over the counter cold medicines are in France versus the US, (don’t worry I cleared with my oncologist first) and was once again thankful for the POWERFUL immune system that was gifted to me 20 months ago, as it continues to keep me healthy, happy and living authentically. #LURPEDOUTPOURLAVIE
As I reflect on the past decade, like many people have on social media and other forms of communication as of late, I remember what a decade of growth it truly was. In 2010, I was just settling into my life in NYC, and candidly a BIG break-up was on the horizon with my then philandering fellow. I remember our relationship had not been good for a while, and it was only a matter of time before we could no longer pretend that it was fixable. In 2011 I got my wings and moved into my own apartment on the Upper East Side, met my first French friend, Bruno, who has become like the long lost uncle that I never met due to a devastating accidental drowning back in 1966. I joined the Jones Jeanswear Group, where I met so many amazing friends, co-workers and clients alike. I dabbled in living on the Lower East side for 6 months, but realized I was not hip or cool enough to continue that charade, so I hightailed it back uptown to W. 63rd street where I made my home for almost 5 years. I fell in love with Central park strolling, got back to exercising religiously between runs with my friend Faith, and/or Soul Cycle when I could afford it. I dated like it was going out of style, fell in love, had my heartbroken by someone who got me to finally start learning French. I ran a Marathon in Argentina, because what else do you do when you heart is broken and you need a healthy outlet to detox from the devastating aftermath and also save yourself from yourself. I spent 50% of my Sundays at Felix drinking rose and dancing the Sunday scaries away. 1 year later, I moved to France the first time, fell in love with Paris all over again, unfortunately allowed an American bad boyfriend to bring me back stateside to clean up a shitstorm he created in my palatial apartment on 63rd st. In May of 2016, I moved to the Murder capital of the US, Baltimore, MD, where I was employed by the greatest Sport company of All time, and just shortly after I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. I fought leukemia for most of 2016 and in 2017 got my groove back and headed back to Paris, where I met the love of my life in a night bar that my friend Brandy brought me to. In 2018, I was told to finally move forward and be cancer free forever, I needed a stem cell transplant. My Mother phoned my at the time estranged frere jumeau and told him “cancer doesn’t wait, there’s a ticket at the Southwest Counter at the San Diego Airport, and a 6 am flight you need to get on.” My brother came to my rescue, not only saved me with his stem-cells, but nursed me back to health during 90 days of isolation, read everything he possibly could about the chemo drugs I was given, the side effects, etc. Snuck in portillos (if you are from Chicago you know what this means) to the Stem Cell ward religiously so I could eat something other than the so called “safe” food they serve to cancer survivors. I went back to work in 2019, got news that I was 100% donor cells, moved back to France to be with my Forever Love, quit my cushy job, started a consulting platform for small brands that need help with my expertise of services, started speaking French semi-fluently at dinner parties, fought off massive PTSD during an 18 month major restaging. Got the call from my Doctor after trying on wedding gowns with my bestie in Charleston, that I was good to go and to stop letting the fear of leukemia stand int he way of my future. Spent my first Christmas in Eastern France with my Fiance’s family, felt super loved but also missed my family traditions. Rang in the new year with my gratitude then I can put into words, and closed the cancer chapter and left it in the last decade. When I sum it up, the last decade was pretty good to me even if I took too many detours to count, I got my best friend for life back (my twin brother) and found the love of my life in exactly the place i intended to. xx theoneandallie
With that, as I look toward the future, of this new decade that is upon us all, I know it will allow me to move further away from the struggles of years past, but of course I remain incredibly grateful for the journey that once was, as it has brought me to where I am today. (even if it bruised a few major organs a long the way)
The good news is, February is in the near future, and I will be turning 34 in France, and feeling more love than I ever imagined from both near and far. Thanks to my family, Fiance and all of my incredibly friends, and YOU my followers.
I am really lucky. Last year was about growth and gratitude. This year is about health and happiness.
This is the one and allie.