I'm One of the Lucky Ones Comment Count

Ace October 9th, 2018 at 10:59 AM

TLDR: I've launched a GoFundMe and could use your help.

A little over seven years ago, in my eighth month at home waiting for the perfect job to fall out of the sky, something that would fit both my passion and my needs, a job posting went up on this site. I'd been reading MGoBlog since high school; now I was hastily assembling a resumé for a full-time job taking over for two talented and productive part-timers who'd secured full-time sportswriting gigs themselves.

At the time, I was two years removed from being diagnosed with ME/CFS after a protracted quest for answers to odd health problems. My condition hadn't stopped me from graduating school—a much easier task once I knew what I had on board—and launching my own site, for which I wrote on a near-daily basis. I figured writing from home about something I love would make it easy. (I wasn't entirely wrong there.) I had no idea what I was in for; neither did Brian, who only knew me from my work.

In the years since, I've been on the field at Michigan Stadium for the finishes to the 2011 Notre Dame and Ohio State games, covered seven seasons of football in some of the greatest settings in sports, interviewed high school kids who've gone on to become NFL starters, contributed to a report that expedited the exit of a reviled athletic director, had my research and a photograph published in a New York Times bestseller, covered a Hall of Fame coach (he liked my tweets!) and his two Final Four teams, sat down with future NBA first-rounders, and rubbed elbows with Michigan sports and journalism luminaries. I've lived out a childhood dream, one I know full well isn't just mine.

More importantly, I've become part of a true community. Brian created a special place here, not just focused on analyzing the programs we cover but the great impact sports can make on us and we can make on each other. When my health increasingly impacted my ability to work on a reliable schedule, he supported me with both job stability and greater flexibility to mold my work to my capabilities. When recovering from surgery this spring took longer than planned and wiped out my normal summer recovery time, he not only gave me the room to take a paid leave, he assured me I'd be taken care of regardless of the outcome.

I still didn't expect this to be the outcome. My body hasn't bounced back in the way I'd hoped. It's time, at least for now, for me to resign my post and focus on my health.

I can't put into words how much it's meant to work here and how much gratitude I have for the people in this community. I'd especially like to thank the crew here. Working with Brian, Seth, Heiko, Adam, Dave, Eric, Fuller, Patrick, Marc-Gregor, Alex, Bryan, Matt, Ethan, Morris, The_Mathlete, and everyone else who's contributed has been an honor and a pleasure. This is a remarkably talented group of people; they're also now great friends and a critical part of my support system, even though many of us often go months (sometimes years!) without seeing each other in person.

It's not in my nature to ask for help until I'm in dire need. In this case, unfortunately, my needs fit that description.

I'm currently living alone in a townhouse that costs $900/month after my housemates moved out on short notice when I was physically unable to move myself. My plan to continue living here involved considerable financial support from my family, which for reasons I won't get into here I can no longer totally rely upon, and continuing to work. This has all happened rather quickly.

I made a little under $50,000 last year—Brian has taken great care of me—and maintaining something close to that income would allow me to truly relax and do what I need to manage my health. Over the past several years, my annual medical costs have ranged from $10,000 to $30,000—my prescription medications alone nearly match my monthly rent. I need to make yearly trips to Alabama to see my ME/CFS specialist, a world-class doctor in a field with vanishingly few experts. (My doctor is one of a couple of ME/CFS specialists that the head of the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center at U-M will recommend to patients; he does not recommend seeking treatment for ME/CFS at U-M.)

In my current state, work is not an option, and really hasn't been much of one since I had surgery on my gall bladder and esophagus in May. I'm in constant pain, my weight is stuck in a frighteningly low zone of 130-135 pounds (I'm 5'10), I'm sleeping around 12 hours a day and essentially in a state of semi-consciousness for several more, and simple tasks like doing the dishes or even walking down the stairs takes considerable effort. ME/CFS symptoms often follow waves of severity and this is a low point; I'm optimistic rest and less stress will at least stabilize my health to its pre-surgery level and allow me to live a fuller life.

With Brian's blessing and the support of the whole site, I've launched a GoFundMe to cover my living and medical costs for what can hopefully be at least a year off to rest and recover. Anything you can give would be deeply appreciated.

I should add that this is not goodbye. I still plan to be around a bit; I just can't keep up with the day-to-day. At the very least, I'll still be on Twitter—yes, tweeting about Michigan sports—and I'm hoping to make the occasional contribution around here, too.

The outpouring of support since I posted this video on Twitter last night has been nothing short of incredible. While I'm sad to be giving this up, I'm excited for the next chapter in my life, which I plan to involve improved health and a greater presence as a patient advocate. I can't thank you all enough for following along with my journey, and I hope you'll continue to do so.



October 9th, 2018 at 11:07 AM ^

Donated. Unfortunately a broke grad student so couldn't be a ton, but donated. Good luck moving forward Ace. You've been an integral part to this site's success for 7 years and your presence will be missed. Hoping for all the best, some good luck in your recovery, and fingers crossed a future with your regular presence on this blog.


October 9th, 2018 at 1:26 PM ^

Even though Ace blocked me on twitter for a mild at worst tweet, I gladly donated and hope for a recovery to his condition.  Regardless of any political differences, we are all family here, and Ace was a great member of this team.   I wish him the quickest way back to health!


October 9th, 2018 at 11:09 AM ^

Donated.  Thanks Ace for all the incredible work - reading this site over the last 5 years has brought me more joy than nearly anything else, and has allowed me to stay connected to the community while away from A2.

Get well soon Ace - we'll miss you!


October 9th, 2018 at 11:09 AM ^

Best of luck, Ace. Get well, man. I loved everything you contributed around here and thank you for being apart of what makes the MGoBlog so great.


October 9th, 2018 at 11:12 AM ^

Hey man - you previously wrote to me at my old job empathizing with me and my wife seeming to be going through the same thing.

This shit sucks and I wish the best for you man.

If you wanna talk again, use my personal email: [email protected]

Good luck.

Blue and Joe

October 9th, 2018 at 11:13 AM ^

The podcast has not been the same without you this year (nothing against David). I will miss seeing your content here on the blog, but I will still be following you on Twitter. Wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavors. 

Ali G Bomaye

October 9th, 2018 at 11:15 AM ^

Ace, I learned something today. I'd like to say it's something deep and meaningful about health, life, work, and caring for others. But what I really learned is that your name is actually Harry.


Get better, dammit.


October 9th, 2018 at 11:15 AM ^

Very best of luck in your recovery, Ace.  I can’t pretend to know the hell thah you’re going through, but I can certainly hold out hope that your condition will improve rapidly.  Rest up and hopefully we see you around here again.  


October 9th, 2018 at 11:16 AM ^

Don't sell yourself too short; we've been lucky to have you too.

P.S. Chronic fatigue was one of the symptoms I got through a medication mishap I've luckily since recovered from.  You don't see a light at the end of the tunnel, every day is measured by how much of what needs to get done is do-able before your fuel tank runs out, and sleeping long hours in our "bootstrappy" culture brings on depression.  You're trying as hard as you can yet feel less of a human being than anyone else because it's "pathetic" that you can barely wash dishes without getting dizzy.  It's also terribly lonely because you're either unconscious or trying to catch up, and you don't feel like seeing people anyway because you're afraid they'll think you're lazy and worthless.  Point is, I don't know Ace's hell, but maybe I was able to see it from where I was.  I have ambitions (heh, if you can call them that) of becoming a writer and having been through a mild, temporary battle with chronic fatigue, I'm amazed Ace was able to write as well as he could with a fraction of my daily energy.


October 9th, 2018 at 11:20 AM ^

I'm currently living alone in a townhouse that costs $900/month after my housemates moved out on short notice when I was physically unable to move myself.

Just a question - would finding additional housemates be an option? That would definitely help financially and maybe even be good for moral / help around the house. I'm sure there are people on mgoblog looking for a place to live that would know better what your situation is than strangers. Just a thought.

Get well Ace. Appreciate all your work over the years.


October 9th, 2018 at 11:27 AM ^

It's an option but not an ideal one. It's very difficult to live with someone who has ME/CFS—you end up taking on the bulk of the housework, for one. This illness also makes it hard to be around other people all the time. I've set up this townhouse to be ideal for recovery—I have a spare room where I can get horizontal that isn't my bedroom, which is huge for mental health when one is often house/bedridden. It'd be a huge stressor to add a housemate at the moment, and my #1 directive from my specialist is to avoid stress.

Thanks for asking, and for your support. Thank you to everyone in this thread.


October 9th, 2018 at 11:45 AM ^

What about me paying you for storage? I have a small business that requires me to store furniture at times. If your extra space is on the first floor, I could store the pieces there and pay you your sq footage rate. Only issue is that it removes the option to rest there. Let me know your thoughts. 


October 9th, 2018 at 11:23 AM ^

"Anyone who's ever built an empire or changed the world sat where you're sitting right now, and it's because they sat there that they were able to do it." From Up In The Air.

Often times what feels like our lowest moments in life turn out to be doors to life changing opportunities. Best of luck, Ace. You deserve the best. 



October 9th, 2018 at 11:30 AM ^

Your contributions to this blog, and to my life as a fan of Michigan sports are too great to put into words. So many times I couldn't understand where I stood or how I felt about our programs and then you perfectly summed it up in a paragraph, a sentence, a word, or even a simple image. 

We are elated to have read your work, and completely crushed to see you go*. 


*hopefully just for now!


October 9th, 2018 at 11:32 AM ^

We were the lucky ones Ace.  You brought us along for the ride and it’s been incredible.  I sincerely hope your issues get better, we are all cheering for you.  Plus Brian still needs a professional pronouncer for the podcast, so yeah get well.


October 9th, 2018 at 11:33 AM ^

Best of luck, Ace - we're going to miss your every day inputs as much as you'll miss providing them.  And we'll always look forward to whatever you do provide to the site.  Take care of yourself first, we'll always be here when you need it...


October 9th, 2018 at 11:34 AM ^

Ace - I have appreciated your work and perspective. It honestly broke me down a bit last night as I watched your video. I would also like to donate to help you, however gofundme and other similar organizations take a cut. If there is a way I can help you directly, let me know. I have to believe Brian has a way to track me down via my info from HTTV purchases. Godspeed.