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Living in La La Land

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As a child living in Ohio, I dreamt of moving to California, but never in my wildest dreams did I ever think it would become a reality.  To my delight, my family left the mid-west and moved to Arizona before my 12th birthday.  It wasn’t California, but is was close enough, at least for awhile……

My childhood reasons for wanting to live in California were so I could go to Disneyland and the beach whenever I wanted to without having to travel thousands of miles.  Two years after moving to Arizona, my dream of visiting California came true.  My family visited the San Diego Zoo, Universal Studios, and Magic Mountain, but it was my day at Disneyland that sealed my love for California.  I immediately fell in love with it.  Before leaving, I vowed to come back in the future.

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Week long vacations and weekend getaways to Disneyland and other areas of California became an obsession in my twenties.  How often I made the trip decreased drastically soon after my 30th birthday when I was diagnosed with my first autoimmune disease, psoriasis.  Two years later, psoriatic arthritis and fibromyalgia joined the party.  Less than a year after that, I was diagnosed with endometriosis.  The first four years of my chronic life was spent getting answers and surviving.  There wasn’t time or money left for Disneyland or fun of any kind for that matter.

By the fifth year I was beginning to figure out how to live with my diseases and chronic pain.  Feeling confident in how I was treating my illnesses and able to reduce my pain, we returned to Disneyland for a week long family adventure.  To my surprise, it wasn’t any of my chronic illnesses that created problems, instead it was my appendix! On the second day of our vacation, I was rushed to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy.  The following three years would be filled with agonizing pain from endometriosis, a hysterectomy, and three more surgeries to fix the mistakes made during my hysterectomy. When I was finally able to return to Disneyland in 2009, my chronic pain and illnesses had progressed to the point of my needing a wheelchair while in the park.  Part of me felt like this would be the last time I would visit, because I didn’t know if I had the energy to return.

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Even though my health was continuing to spiral downward, the opportunity to make my dream of living in California come true presented itself in 2010.  I laughed when my husband asked if I would be willing to relocate to southern California.  There was nothing to think about.  It didn’t matter that neither of us had any friends or family there.  He had a job opportunity and I was not going to let the chance to live where I had dreamt of living all my life slip through my fingers.

I am a planner and I typically take time to analyze every aspect of a decision of this magnitude.  Yet for some reason I couldn’t walk away from this opportunity.  Had I known then what the following two years had in store for me, I probably would have never made the move. And that would have been the biggest mistake of my life……

The moving process was awful. My husband had to begin working a month before we were able to move in to our new house. This left the packing our four bedroom tri-level home during Arizona’s monsoon season to me. It was unbearably hot and humid. Every day of the packing process was spent in tears. Not because I was moving, but because of the pain I was in from the weather and physical activity. Yet, even then I never doubted that moving was the right thing to do.

My life nor health improved after moving.  In fact I would soon enter one of the darkest and most painful periods of my life, but that still  wasn’t even enough to make me regret moving to la la land.  As I will explain throughout this series, had I not made the move, I wouldn’t be where I am at today in regards to my health, career, and personal life.

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Has the opportunity to make one of your dreams come true presented itself?  Did you go for it?  If so, how did it turn out?  If not, do you regret your decision?  Would you make a different decision if the opportunity to make one of your dreams come true presented itself today?

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