As much as we loved Singapore, we knew it was time to move on. We had lived there for five years, and in that time we lost most of our close friends; it is a very “expatriate heavy” country, and most of them had moved on. We had an opportunity to move back to the states, and it was a good move for my hubby’s career, so we packed up our four kids, our nanny, our dog Krissa, and moved to Michigan.
Neither one of us had ever been to Michigan, nor had we ever lived in the mid-western states, so the transition was hard. We bought a house that needed work, we had four small kids, and we had my sister (and her 6y old and 18 mo) move in…I needed to get a job! I ended up officiating volleyball, driving the school bus, and dj’d at a restaurant/nightclub on the weekend nights, we were both very busy!
I got to play volleyball again too-a lot, which was a great switch back from the tennis I played in Singapore, but it also ended up with another torn ACL on my right knee, however, my rehab was quick and solid. I played on several different leagues, and open gyms, and it took a toll on my back. I had some troubles in the past with my back, but I just chocked it up to playing hard and not stretching out beforehand, but I soon found out I suffered from a disease that degenerates my vertebrae.
After getting off the bus that morning, I noticed a lot of pain in my lower back, and by the time I drove home I could hardly get out of my car. In fact, I had to have my nanny load the kids in the car and drive me to the physical therapy office I was currently attending from knee issues. He put me on traction right away, just to try to relieve some of the pain from the pressure of my body on my back. It worked for a bit, but I found myself in the emergency room the next day. I had a “quick” four night stay that ended up with a Laminectomy on my lower spine. My hubby was in Korea at the time for work, so it took some time to get ahold of him to agree to the operation, as I was in no way coherent enough to make the call. While I was recovering at home, I had a massive scare with a HUGE BLACK SPIDER crawling on the side of my bedroom wall…luckily, I was just hallucinating the entire episode! As I recovered, and went off all the opiates, my reality came back; I even went back to playing for about a year.
During the time we lived in Michigan we also worked on our house. While my hubby worked hours and hours at his office, my nanny and I (and my physical therapist/friend) tackled the house. We retiled the door/hallway, laid hardwood flooring in the den, painted the entire house, finished the walls in the basement, and built a 20X40ft lifted deck off the back porch. We also had a fire in the master bathroom, which ended with a nasty contractor running out on us with the money, so we fixed that too!
As you can imagine, all the stress from our life in Michigan took a toll on my marriage. We were surviving there, not living, and I had made friends there…I made my world a place that he would have to fit into, and it wasn’t fair. We really struggled to stay together, let alone stay friends. We were both unhappy together, and I took my friendship away from my soul mate, and when the opportunity came to move, we decided it was time to move on. It was a very scary thought of moving to a foreign country with my marriage in the state that it was, but we both knew it was the right thing for us to do.
I wish I could say my back stayed strong, but unfortunately it didn’t. After a flight back from Norway, and a 18 hour drive from Michigan to Colorado, I ended up passing out on the toilet in the wee hours of the morning (from what I was told) and ended up back in the emergency room. I was medicated enough to make it through the trip, but spent most of my nephew’s wedding and reception on the floor, luckily my family was there to keep me company. I had damaged my back so bad that surgery was the only option, so when I returned from Colorado by airplane, I found a surgeon.
It may seem odd that I bounce around a bit…but the entire picture of what “my life” looked like is the best way to tell my story. Just one squall can damage those who are not strong enough to take the storms of life, but I don’t think we ever manage just “one” squall…it’s always blowing in from one direction or another, and I feel encouraged with my progress throughout my life. I am “life“…that’s just how I “roll“. The problem comes in sometimes where I don’t have as much “sympathy” with those who don’t “progress” through life, (notice I said “progress“…it looks different for everybody). I know there are those who criticize my choices, and they always will, but as long as I am “progressing”, I don’t listen. Those of you along for this ride are not surprised by that statement.