The challenges of the past year have led us to the conclusion that the best solution is a sunnier and drier climate than the Pacific Northwest. Michelle has made nearly a full recovery from the grand mal seizure she suffered in February of this year. Since the seizure, she has been diagnosed with asthma and vocal cord dysfunction which mimics asthma but has a neurological component to it. We’ve been to multiple doctors this year and they have all told us that Michelle would greatly benefit from a change in climate. Michelle and I visited Las Vegas this past summer and despite the triple digit heat, she did quite well. During the trip she had no breathing problems and when we returned home, so did the trouble breathing. That started the wheels in motion for what has now become our next great adventure.
I gave my resignation to Microsoft this past week. My last day will be Friday, January 10th, 2014. It’s been a great ride with Microsoft, but it’s time to step out on my own. I will be starting my own company focused on project management, event logistics as well as teaching and speaking. I have been asked to be on the advisory council for the Administrative Professionals Conference in Washington DC next year. I have also been given a standing invitation to speak at another conference that will be in Silicon Valley and Chicago next year. Next week I’ll be following up on an offer for work with my first potential client, Microsoft.
In addition to Michelle’s health problems, we have also been dealing with health concerns over our son, Jonathan. He started out the year having symptoms that are common of multiple sclerosis. Fatigue, cognitive impairment and pain. With a family history of MS, this was a bit of a concern. His first appointment with the neurologist was two days after Michelle’s seizure. Two weeks after Michelle’s MRI, Jonathan was having his first MRI. The results showed one lesion on his brain. His fatigue and pain had advanced to the point that he had to finish out the school year in a wheel chair. A break for the summer brought much needed relief. He had several appointments at Children’s Hospital to help him manage the pain. His third MRI is scheduled for Tuesday, December 18th. We expect that it will show no new lesions and no progression of the existing lesion which may be a result of his premature birth and not as a result of MS. Jonathan has also undergone a sleep study. It’s likely that his fatigue and cognitive impairment have been a result of a lack of sleep. We should have resolution on this by the end of the year.
Our landing spot for the first part of the journey will be Prescott, Arizona. We will be staying with family that recently moved from California. The kids are excited about the move and seeing family they currently don’t see very often. Our house in Monroe will be available for rent starting March 1st. If you know of someone looking for a rental in Monroe, please send them our way. I’ll post a link to Facebook once we have the house listed.
We look forward to seeing as many friends and family as we can before we make our big move. There is a road trip to the Spokane area in the near future. We will be at the candle light service on Christmas Eve at Cedar Park. We have a handful of friends that have already made their way to Arizona over the years and we look forward to seeing them when we arrive. In the digital age, goodbye isn’t what it used to be. We look forward to keeping in touch online. We thank you for all of the support you’ve given us through the years and especially this past year. May you have a Merry Christmas and a healthy and happy new year.
The Stephens Family