Until January 2, 2015, I worked as a nurse practitioner hospitalist for 12 years. It was my job to diagnose and treat really sick people. And I loved it. I was great at my job. I loved helping patients and families figure out what was wrong, explore treatment options, and walk with them through some of the most difficult moments in their lives.
On January 2, 2015, my life was turned upside down when my husband, Tom almost died. He was bleeding internally and had lost half of his blood. The source of the bleeding was a large neuroendocrine tumor (NET) on the tail of his pancreas that had spread to the spleen and was pressing against some major blood vessels, causing a life-threatening emergency. An amazing medical team (my colleagues at my own hospital), were able to stop the bleeding and save his life. Unfortunately, the tumors had already spread to the liver. The next couple years were filled with medical appointments, scans, and treatments including a very major surgery.
January 2, 2015 was the last day I worked in the clinical setting. My husband’s cancer diagnosis wasn’t just the beginning of his journey, it was the beginning of our journey. My sense of identity, my perspective, and my priorities all changed. I made a conscious decision to put my husband first. I hung up my white coat and became his partner in the journey with cancer. I took on new roles as the CEO of his health care, nurse navigator, manager, communicator, insurance appeals expert, networker, caregiver, and personal chef.
Finally, in 2017, after extensive treatments, Tom and I enjoyed a period of stable disease that allowed us to find a “new normal.” For me, that meant creating meaningful ways to help people. Given my professional and personal experiences, I became passionate about helping people learn to thrive.
This passion led me to pursue health and wellness coaching.
In June 2018, I obtained my post-graduate certification from Vanderbilt University under Dr. Ruth Wolever and passed the National Board Certification Exam, to become a Nationally Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC).
- Master of Science in Nursing, University of California, Los Angeles
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Loyola University of Chicago
- Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Wheaton College
- Post-graduate Certification in Health Coaching, Vanderbilt University, Osher Center for Integrative Medicine
- LACNETS Program Director, LACNETS health coaching program
- Lead Faculty, Vanderbilt-Meharry Health Coaching Program
- Mentor, PIRE Consultant with VA Whole Health Program
- NET VITALS, ENETS abstract March 2020 and NANETS abstract October 2020
- Cancer InCytes Magazine interview, June 7, 2020
- LACNETS Patient Education Meeting: NET Patient and Caregiver Journey, April 2017
- San Diego NET Patient Education Meeting, March 2019
- LACNETS Patient Education Webinar: “Thriving with NET – How Health & Wellness Coaching Can Help You,” August 28, 2020
- Carcinoid Cancer Foundation Luncheon with the Experts, September 17, 2020