7 years

It’s the seven-year anniversary of when I left Michigan to move down to Texas. In a weird way, it feels like it’s been much longer; in fact, it feels almost like I never left Texas in the first place.

It’s interesting because the background check for my new job goes back seven years and I realized that didn’t cover any of my years in Michigan.

I feel like I have aged a hundred years since I’ve been here, between my disability and my husband’s cancer diagnosis. In these years, my kids have also all fully reached legal adulthood.

At the same time, as much as I could try to pretend that the Michigan years never happened—especially now that we are on track to really achieve some major financial goals this year—I also don’t want to forget the Michigan years, despite how difficult they were and how little I’d ever want to return to them.

After all, that was where we formed the earliest memories with our children. Those years of struggle formed who we are and enabled us to really appreciate how much better things are now.

They were also important years for me and my husband, even if at time, they were fraught with struggle. I don’t want to gloss over the hard times (which I’m sure will be a great temptation whenever he’s gone.) But even despite the hard times, they are also part of us, part of our story.

Through it all, we managed to survive. Sometimes it really was little more than surviving at bare minimum. But we made it nonetheless.

My husband has to decide if he wants to continue chemo or not right now and that would be a difficult choice to have to make. He essentially has to hedge his bets between hoping the cancer will stay inactive for several years vs trading quality of life for a perhaps greater chance that the cancer won’t return. I’m leaning toward taking the chance without chemo, just because I don’t think it will return that quickly and the quality of life factor is so significant, not to mention the fact that chemo itself is so toxic. But I get why it’s a difficult decision for him to make and only he can make the choice.

Seven years ago when I came here, I obviously had no idea that he’d be fighting for his life. Though I never want to return to Michigan (and in many ways, I believe his outcome would have been much worse had we stayed there), I admit that I can’t help but feel a bit wistful for the naïveté that didn’t know I’d be dealing with this.

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