An Open Letter From Ace Comment Count

Ace December 6th, 2014 at 11:08 AM

I've been conspicuously absent the past few days. I will not be covering the basketball game this afternoon, nor the game on Tuesday, and I'll be working in a limited capacity for the rest of this month.

Allow me to explain.

Over the past few weeks, my health has taken a turn for the worse. The diagnosis of gluten intolerance I received over the summer hasn't been the be-all, end-all answer I'd hoped; there is more going on, and right now I don't know what. I've been dropping weight at a rather alarming rate. I covered the Syracuse game on Tuesday while weighing 115 pounds. (I'm a hair under 5'11", and haven’t weighed this little since middle school.) My brother drove me to and from the game, because I didn't feel comfortable getting behind the wheel of a car—not the first time he’s done that over the last month, unfortunately.

That's the bad news. I'm very limited physically right now, to the point that covering games in person is not a feasible option, even though there's no part of my job I enjoy more than settling into my spot (or leaping out of it) on press row at Crisler.

The good news is I have no shortage of support. My physician came into the office on a scheduled day off to see me on short notice on Wednesday afternoon, and as soon as I left he was on the phone with specialists at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital; I'll be in and out of appointments at St. Joe’s this week to begin anew the process of determining what, exactly, is going on with my body. As far as doctors go, I'm in very good hands.

The same can be said for my support system at home and at work. My parents and my brother are doing everything within their power to ensure that I'm comfortable, supported, and in good spirits; other than going to appointments, I barely have to leave the townhouse I share with my brother unless I'm up to it—they are taking care of me. I have friends near and far checking in on me, providing moral support or much-needed distraction; those often go hand-in-hand.

Brian, as he has been throughout my time at MGoBlog, has been remarkably supportive, especially when considering I've often had to bail out of work on short notice, and it's not like this is a large operation in which one employee's absence can go unnoticed. He's allowing me to scale back how much I'm working this month, which I hope will be all that's necessary before I'm able to return to writing at full strength, even if it takes longer for my body to reach that point. I've been able to do so time and again the last four years. Very little can stop me from doing what I love: writing.

For their part, the people in the sports information department for Michigan Basketball—especially the SID par excellence, Tom Wywrot—have been extremely flexible and understanding during this time, and I cannot thank them enough for it.

Same goes for fellow MGoBlog writers Seth Fisher, Alex Cook, and Bryan Mac, who've covered my ass on more than one occasion* when I’ve been unable to write, as well as our photographers, Bryan Fuller and Eric Upchurch, who've been extremely generous in offering their support. Thank you, as well, to MGoRightHandMan Dave Nasternak, who filmed high school games this fall when I didn't feel up to it, drove me to games when I did, and even stopped by the studio last weekend to give me a loaf of gluten-free bread after a podcast recording. I’m so lucky to be able to work with you all, and I don't get to convey my appreciation enough.

[Hey, look, they did it again; the NJIT preview is here, and you sure hope you've read Alex's great post on Spike Albrecht.]

If I haven't responded to your emails, phone calls, messages, or tweets in recent days, I hope this serves as a reasonable explanation. I'll get to them when I can, if they truly require a response—these last few days have been spent in near constant communication with doctors and my family so we can get this figured out as soon as possible.

If I've been an asshole to you recently, as I know I have been with a few of you (including some who were beyond undeserving), I apologize. This has been a very stressful time. That’s not an excuse for taking it out on others.

If I told you I'd make plans with you, grab a drink, be in touch, or the like, I must apologize as well; right now, my life is on hold. Trust me when I say that I'd like to see or hear from you soon, but my big mouth occasionally promises more than I can provide, and that's been the case more than usual lately.

I turn 27 tomorrow. I've been dealing with strange health issues that have affected my everyday life since I was 17, when I'd often shoot awake at night in a cold sweat thinking my heart was going to beat out of my chest. I've been able to get through school and largely work around my health problems for a decade. Now is the time I must put my health first and foremost. Diagnoses of de Quervain’s thyroiditis, depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and most recently gluten intolerance haven't fully addressed what's happening; this time around I'm determined to search until the true answer is presented.

I'm confident, with the remarkable support I have, that I'll get to the bottom of this. If there's a place to be sick, it's Ann Arbor, where it's hard to walk around the block without bumping into someone at the top of their chosen field. I still plan to write while the search continues, just not quite as much as I have in the past. I hope you’ll bear with me in the interim. If you’re looking for a way to support me, I hope you'll consider donating to MGoBlog. Brian is paying me full-time for work I don't fully have the capacity to do at the moment, and I don't plan on going anywhere. Supporting the site is the most direct way to support me both now and for the long haul.

Thanks for your understanding.

Now let's get Jim Harbaugh to Ann Arbor.



December 6th, 2014 at 11:20 AM ^

I spent much of my young adult life struggling with the same issues , seeing specialist after specialist . In a story that would result in TLDR , I ended up at the Cleveland Clinic where they quite literally saved my life . Five years later at almost 44 my quality of life is better than it's ever been .

In summary , it's worth the 3 hourish drive . I'm very confident they would be able to help you .

RHammer - SNRE 98

December 8th, 2014 at 11:29 AM ^

your reporting and contributions to the blog have always been greatly appreciated, but they pale in comparison to the importance of your personal well-being and health.  Here's hoping you, your family, and your doctors, can help get you back up to full health; we'll keep you in our thoughts... take care!


December 6th, 2014 at 11:15 AM ^

I'm saying prayers for you to know what it is that is affecting you in such a way and to have the doctors in place to give you the treatment and care you need to get back to being completely healthy. 


December 6th, 2014 at 11:20 AM ^

Feel better! My younger sister has had a saga of medical issues for the past 15 years, and I know how it can be taxing on the entire family.

Best of luck and stay as busy as possible!


December 6th, 2014 at 11:21 AM ^

Your articles are excellent and informative. A lot of people feel the same way, can't wait until you are back 100%.

And you will be. Remember - no one is ever alone battling illness. You have all of our unequivocal support.

Stay strong!


December 6th, 2014 at 11:24 AM ^

Thoughts, prayers, wishes, whatever it is you believe, I'm pointing them towards you Ace. My wife started facing very similar symptoms as yours about 2 years ago; it's an incredibly difficult thing to go through and even more difficult for others who have never experienced it to understand. I'm thankful that through various medical professionals and my wife's own obsessive researching we were able to get it figured out.  She's on the road to recovery but it could take years to be "normal" again, if ever, but she's a million times better now.

I say that just to let you know there are random internet strangers out there who can empathize, and that there is hope - which I'm glad to read it seems you have even during such a draining and challenging time.

Thanks for sharing and putting yourself out there. Cheers!




December 6th, 2014 at 11:23 AM ^

I'm so sorry to hear of your health challenges. I'll be praying for you, and also sending a small donation to MGoBlog.

My daughter has celiac disease, (which I realize is irrelevant to you.) The point is, it took more than long enough for her condition to be correctly diagnosed. The time waiting for that diagnosis was both painful and slow. I certainly hope they identify something that can be treated and dealt with by you, so that you can continue with your love of writing and your love of Michigan sports.