We’re going back to the future. Back to a time when we knew what was good for us. Back to a place that served us well and where we flourished and grew strong. Back to New Mexico. The first time we decided to move to NM was in November 2008. I was suffering from biotoxin illness (the same as right now), we didn’t know anyone at all where we were going, and me and my children would be alone for an unknown number of months before Dom would join us. We were penniless, all our belongings were gone, all precious things I held close to my heart; destroyed. My life was destroyed. Moving to New Mexico was something I knew deep in my heart that God wanted for us. Not moving meant certain death for me. A hint that it was God wanting us to go to NM was the fact that I did NOT want to go there. Nope! Nothing in the deepest parts of my being wanted to move to the desert. NOTHING! I hated the thought of going to natures largest kitty litter box 2,000 miles away from where I was currently dying. I was born for the call of the ocean and the deep abiding sounds of the forest.
But, trusting God, we took deep breaths, blocked out all the naysayers who thought we were crazy for leaving the east coast and got on a plane to a place that I never in a million years thought I would ever come to love.
Dom and I took a road trip to Idaho not long after we were married, and THAT was my land flowing with milk and honey. That was the place I wanted to call home. Up in the Idaho panhandle straddled between Bonner’s Ferry and Sand Point, was my nirvana. Never before had I ever felt such peace and joy being there. It was heaven to me. Who knew?! We traveled the northern route from Pennsylvania all the way to Washington state. I had just been released a few weeks earlier from the hospital, and we wanted to see if being in a drier climate would help my health. We couldn’t stay in hotels or motels because of mold that usually exists in the heating/cooling units, so we made our way across the country in a conversion van.
We often smile recalling the events of that trip. We didn’t have a honeymoon, and I started needing to be hospitalized about 7 months after we got married, so even though I was frail, it was an amazing road trip. As we traveled through each state, and as the climate started to get drier, my breathing began to improve. I don’t even recall all the medications and steroids I was on at the time, but I do know that by the time we were in Idaho I didn’t need to take a rescue inhaler.
So why don’t we move to Idaho? Good question! Simply put, it’s where I want to be, but not necessarily where I belong. I’m not sure if that makes sense, but as much as I’ve always dreamed of living in Idaho, I don’t think it will ever happen. It’s kind of how I wanted to move to Nova Scotia to be on ancestral land and really dig deep into my family history being an Acadian. I wanted it. We (Dom and I) wanted to be near the ocean and close enough to visit family on the east coast. Maine was a good in between for us. Although it is pretty far from family in NY, at least it wasn’t in New Mexico…or Idaho.
Being on the ocean in Maine was a dream come true, and then a nightmare! I didn’t contend with mold in Maine. The buildings we lived in were up off the ground and had good circulation. I’m convinced I would have thrived in Maine without any biotoxin illness. But it wasn’t where we were supposed to be. I know that now. At every turn on the east coast, we have witnessed death encroaching upon me. Just like prior to living in New Mexico in 2008. Death in many forms can teach me about the life I can live fully if I return to the place that God had chosen for us. That is where I belong. That is where I grow strong. That is where blessings overflow and life springs forceful and abundant.
It has been a costly lesson. If we continue to live here stubbornly believing that we can make it work, I risk my life. So back to the future I go! Back to a life that gives me a future, and hope. A place where I learned to farm the high desert and learned about my calling. Back to a future of good health and well being. And it’s not just my well being…
For most of Dom’s adult life he has dealt with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). In the beginning of our marriage, every winter like clockwork, he would move out and leave us. Was I angry? No. It was very scary though not knowing if he would come back. He always did. He would hit a massive depressive state where he would retreat into himself, not wanting to talk with anyone. He would run far away from me into this dark place where he couldn’t even express himself. We didn’t know at the time that he had SAD, I just knew that I married a man who was kind and loving, and then would disappear into himself quietly. Like a ghost walking around, he really just disappeared, until, he would just leave altogether. Gone. No apologies, no excuses. I didn’t know how to help him. He was never unkind during those times, he just wanted to curl up into a ball and disappear. I gave him the gift of being able to do that, understanding that something was happening that had nothing to do with me or us.
When we moved to New Mexico, I expected that in the fall/winter of 2009 he would leave again. He was finally able to find a job in NM and join us there about 6 months after our family moved there in 2008. But, he didn’t leave. As a matter of fact, he was actually smiling, happy, filled with hope instead of dread. He was talking. You see, Dom is an extrovert who enjoys being around people. He’s the bright spot in a room full of people. You can’t help but want to be around him. That part of him always disappeared when we lived on the east coast, and for the first time after 5 years of marriage, he didn’t leave in the winter. He and I could have our morning conversations, and drink coffee together, and spend time together.
I didn’t question it. Honestly, we never thought about how depressed he used to get, and I no longer had knee-jerk reactions to impending winter. I felt safe. Secure in the knowledge that he was actually happy and wanted to share his thoughts with me.
The pain of seasonal affective disorder seemed lost in the history of our past until we returned to the east coast. In the fall of 2015 something started happening. It felt so familiar but I couldn’t put my finger on it. He started retreating into himself in October. He lost that soft fluid look in his eyes and it was replaced with a cold almost soulless stranger. It happened almost overnight! And then it happened…
We had our first world melting historic fight. We had NEVER fought before. We have never fought nor do we ever bicker. I know it seems weird to think that a married couple could go years without arguing or fighting, but we don’t! There is no back and forth arguing, no bitterness ever, no spiteful attacks, no negativity. Our life was built solidly on emotional security. So, this was an EPIC fight we had, and it is the only one we have ever had. Dom snapped at me like a hungry dog backed into a corner and I lunged back at him to hand him his ass. That was my knee-jerk reaction to this situation.
When the dust had settled and we both apologized for our horrible behavior towards one another, it dawned on me that we were heading back into winter and we were on the east coast. I started doing the research to see if there was a supplement that Dom might be able to take to help him through the winter, and it turned out he was deficient in Vitamin D. We learned all there was to know about having a Vitamin D deficiency and how it can affect certain people during the winter. It was then that we realized that the reason Dom did so well through the winter in New Mexico has to do with where we were living.
In order to make Vitamin D in winter, your geographic location needs to be at about 33 degrees north latitude. We were at 34 degrees north latitude in NM but we were also up at an elevation of 4,800 ft. in Los Lunas. He was able to make Vitamin D naturally all year. When we moved back to the east coast, he couldn’t make Vitamin D anymore in the winter. He has been managing his deficiency by taking large amounts of Vitamin D not only in winter but throughout the year.
We will be moving to Reserve, NM which is at an elevation of 5,800 ft and is at 33 degrees north latitude. He will once again feel good in winter and be able to make Vitamin D on his own.
Going back to the future is good for both of us. I’m excited to return to our home state. As costly as this lesson was to us, we will be returning home wiser than when we left. We now know that because of my mold allergy and Dom’s Vitamin D deficiency, New Mexico was a state handpicked by God to heal us and make us whole.
Lesson learned. Our hope is to be in Reserve before the end of this month.