207 Weeks in Michigan

Lake Michigan

This is available to us any night of the week. Well, it used to be. This will be our last night in Michigan.

I used to take Michigan for granted. Growing up here I just thought all states were filled with endless natural beauty and small freshwater oceans. Then I met and married a man from Illinois and learned that cornfields the size of small oceans were also possible. We lived in that world for fourteen years before giving Michigan another try.

It made sense at the time. We had no family left in Illinois. The combination of becoming parents, having a sister in Michigan who was battling breast cancer, and our shared willingness to do something “different” with our lives is what paved the way. And after four years, we have learned that what’s on the inside really is what matters most- even when it comes to places.

Don’t worry Michigan. You will always be the pretty one.

It’s only a five-hour drive. Sometimes four. I should know; I have made that drive many times over the last two decades. I imagine there are at least as many trips in my future. The last month has been overwhelming, but it all came together. New house, new job, new school for Teghan….that last one is the hardest part. She had a great school here, but we will make it work for her. After a million discussions on the topic, I know we will all be happier.

Today was her last day; because yes, it is a year round school. No more of that luxury. Some of you probably think I have lost my mind. I don’t think Teghan understands any of it, but I have tried to explain. Luckily her new room looks a lot like her old one- but I know she will still wake up every morning and ask for school.

Yesterday was my last day at work. And while it is always a nice feeling to know that all those things on my plate don’t matter anymore, it is surprisingly difficult to let them go. I liked my job, but I think I will like my new job even better. I’ll find out soon since I start on Monday.

Tomorrow we will move all of our things into a new home. We will be living in our old neighborhood again, and I suspect it won’t take long at all for us to fall back into a regular routine. Illinois feels more like home anyway.

What I’m saying is that is has been a busy week.

This week also marks the first time I have ever found a lump in my breast. I guess it’s as good a time as any. It’s as if somehow my left breast just knew that an insurance switch was on the horizon.

I’m thirty-eight. It’s probably nothing serious, right? But when you have a sister who died of breast cancer at the age of thirty-nine, you have a hard time letting yourself believe it. I called my doctor’s office within the hour. The moving clock was ticking. If you don’t know about my doctor’s office, you can read more here. They are pretty great. I’m going to miss them, but at least we’ll finally have my husband’s neurologist back. As many of you know, that is a reason worth moving back for on its own.

One of many smaller lakes to choose from if you don't feel like driving to Lake Michigan. I used to frequent this particular lake when I was Teghan's age.

One of many smaller lakes to choose from if you don’t feel like driving to Lake Michigan. I used to frequent this particular lake when I was Teghan’s age.

They got me in on Monday, and scheduled my mammogram for Wednesday. Between 10:00 and 1:00 I had a mammogram, a sonogram, a biopsy, and another mammogram. They weren’t messing around; I was bandaged up and back at work in time for lunch. They said I would have the results by Friday.

I got the results yesterday.

All good news.

This seriously screwed up our week. I kept thinking, “Why was this my first mammogram?” Sure I’m under forty, but so was my sister. She was exactly my age when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Did I learn nothing at all from her experience?

I have since made my husband take photos of the moles on my back. I’m turning over a whole new leaf that probably started last month when I decided to begin tracking my sodium intake. I used to think these were the habits of old ladies. Okay, I still think that. But now I realize those old ladies just don’t want to die from something preventable. I think they have the right idea.

So I’m adding a few new things to my to-do list. And right now, that list is going to take me a while to get through. But if I had time this week for all of that- so do you. And if you don’t have a doctor who takes you seriously, go find a new one.

You only live this life once. Don’t put things off. Take care of yourselves, and surround yourself with people who make you happy. Sometimes that means fitting things into your busy schedule, and sometimes it means quitting your job and moving to where your heart is. This week has been stressful, but it might just stand out as one of our most successful weeks in life. And as parents, it is probably one of our finer moments in role-modeling.

On that note, I am now going to go mop our empty bathroom for the very last time. I hope.

See you all in Illinois!


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