I was born and raised in New Zealand. I am the oldest of three children and the only girl. With two younger brothers I was a bit of a tomboy growing up. My parents are AWESOME! They gave us so much when we were growing up. I’m not talking material things I’m talking about values, love, and what they taught us. Most of our school holidays (vacations) were spent traveling around NZ exploring it. My parents gave us the gift of travel. They taught us how to be travelers and not tourists. They taught the importance of exploring your own country. They taught us to accept people for who they are and where they are at. As much as us kids would complain about some of the vacations we were taken on, we had a blast! Our parents taught us a lot and I am forever grateful for all they taught us.
When people ask me where in NZ I’m from I tell them “all over”. I have lived in 13 different towns and cities from as far north as Auckland to as far south as Invercargill and I attended 9 schools – 6 primary (elementary); 2 intermediate (middle) and 1 high school. I have had a wide variety of jobs since I was 12, including serving for six years in the Royal New Zealand Air Force and 10 years with Marriott International. Today I run and operate my own travel agency with my husband Brad. We actually started our business while we were in the middle of Brad’s battle with cancer. Crazy! Yep, but you do what you gotta do!
I have a LOT of interests like devouring (reading) good books, watching awesome movies, writing, meeting people, knitting, crocheting, sewing, scrapbooking, traveling, walking, genealogy, exploring different cultures, and many others.
Brad and I met online in 1996. He was in Virginia and I was in NZ. Yep we are one of the early internet match-ups. I came over to the US for a short visit in 1996 to meet him then flew back to NZ where I packed up and in February 1997 I moved to the US. We got married on December 28, 1998.
On January 19 2008 I added a new title to my collection of things I have done in my life. I added the title of Cancer Caregiver. It was on that day our world changed when Brad was diagnosed with rectal cancer. The next 18-months saw lots of ups and downs, tons of blessings, and lots of lessons learned. I’m not normally a public person but since moving to West Coast I have become more open about what we went through. My book took two years to write. I had had the idea to write it back after our journey ended, but pushed it to the back so I didn’t have to think about it. Then in 2012 I had this urge to write it and in 5 minutes I had the title, the chapters and outline done. I started doing some work on it but then it became too emotional to deal with so I put it away. When I started working with some business advisors/mentors they told me I needed to get the book written. My book became my therapy to help me deal with what I had been through. If I can help one other cancer caregiver have a smoother journey from what they read in my book, then it was worth the emotional journey to write it.
Today we live in San Diego and on Monday November 24, 2014 we got the results of Brad’s latest biopsy…the cancer is back and has metastasized. What does this mean for us…It means that we get ready to do battle again. We are currently putting together our San Diego Medical Team, then further testing will be done to determine how far the cancer has spread, which will then help us figure out what treatments will be needed. This blog was started as an extension to the book. What it is now is an extension to the book AND a journal about my journey through this next battle.
The book ‘Today is Super Fantastic and Sparkling: A Caregiver’s Journey Through Her Husband’s Battle with Cancer” is due to be released on February 1, 2015.