Our life has changed immensely in the past 9+ months. For starters, our kids are finally back in school, which has been and was the most difficult thing to witness throughout the “Covid Lockdowns” in CA. Although we are the kid’s parents, I didn’t go to school to be an educator, let alone a therapist for the harm that has come from all this chaos thrusted upon us, especially someone like Dylan. But enough about CA living, as we’re no longer in that environment and have started over. Which brings me to another point – yes it’s different here, yes it’s COLD, yes it can be overwhelming starting over in our 40’s and kids at 10 and 16 years old. Now having to make new friends and be that “new kid” in school, and in addition, Dylan having to repeat his sophomore year because Zoom isn’t a substitute for in person learning. He and his sister are now attending a school with only 600 kids vs. thousands, it’s a big difference. But not financially making ends meet and continuing the unhealthy environment in CA, we simply couldn't make it make sense anymore. We felt compelled that a drastic change was necessary for our family.
So, as of April 23, 2021, we left the state of CA, never looked back, and started our journey to South Dakota in 2 separate cars, with 2 kids, a dog, and a cat. It’s been an interesting journey, one that we never would have ever dreamed about had the world around us (and so many others) hadn’t come crashing down. They say drastic times call for drastic measures; I’m hopeful that in the long run this was the best decision we could have made given our circumstances at the time. I know everything could always be better or worse, but this is something that we grew sick inside, especially given Dylan’s complex medical situation that forever needs attention. I can’t even articulate well enough the pros and cons we went through ensuring that we not only have adequate care but superior care for Dylan – we didn’t make it this far in life being lackadaisy about him and his medical team that cared for him.
After getting grounded with our new life, kids somewhat settled in school, both Amber and I with new jobs – Dylan had a setback. Dylan back in October ended up inpatient for ascending cholangitis…which was extremely difficult to deal with in a new place, new Dr’s, and new ways of doing things that we hadn’t navigated before in this new state. He is now also due to have a liver biopsy here this month too. Another hurdle outside of CA, is the medical system. Almost everywhere else, the medical system has Coinsurance (percentage you pay for the bill) and although we have the best plan and lowest deductible offered, our portion of the hospital bill for 2 days was $4,300+ (this is on-top of the $1,200 monthly premium). But this isn’t isolated to SD, it’s basically any other state, as SD only has about 900k residents…the cost sharing just isn’t the same among the population as a much larger state. This was another hurdle we knew coming here, its something we researched before even looking at places to live. The truth of the matter is, just like before we decided to have another child (Tegan), we looked at how much she would cost per month for insurance, and we came to the realization that it’s just no way to live. So, we decided, just like with her, we will just have to make it work – for better or worse, I must believe we will continue to do what it takes for Dylan to thrive.
As we continue down this path to our “new beginnings”, we still feel confident that no matter what life throws at Dylan, he will adapt and overcome. Although I know he likely hates what we’ve done to him here recently with the move – I think we’re still surrounded and guided by a love far bigger then us and for something better in the long run. Time will tell if I made a bad decision for my family but I have faith that given ample time, an open heart and mind, all good things come to those who embrace it.
Even if we aren’t close by those that we had before - we sure thank you for all your support through the years. Here’s to another one and ideally with less hurdles than these past - onward and upward!