How my Stepfather having cancer inspired me to make a carrier change.
My story actually starts in 2006 when my Stepfather had cancer and unfortunately passed away during the month of May that year. He inspired me to make a carrier change. My stepfather had been a firefighter for the city of Tacoma, Washington. After he died I found the courage to leave my job working with a regional airline in Seattle and took on the challenge of becoming a Park Ranger for the National Park Service.
I cried my head off on my first day working at Mount Rainier wishing my Stepfather could have seen me that day. I also thought of my grandmother who died of Alzheimer's disease because she always knew I loved Mount Rainier and hoped that some day I would become a Park Ranger up there. She was a nurse and she inspired my love for animals.
I served for two seasons for Mount Rainier National Park here in Washington state until my heart unfortunately started to give me problems. My aortic valve was failing me causing a Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm.
In 2012 with the help of Dr. Scott Werden and Dr. Craig Hampton they replaced my aortic valve with a mechanical one here in Tacoma at Saint Joseph's Hospital. It was a 6 hour operation. The valve problem still gets monitored by Dr. Werden. Thankfully because of both these men I am now a 5 year survivor of aortic valve heart surgery.
There is hope after cancer affects us. Olivia herself told me here in Tacoma Washington at a LIV ON concert that I was a perfect example of someone living on after losing as much as I have. I am doing great today and my heart, with it's new valve is currently stabilized.
I am very hopeful I have many great years left to live on and my doctors are positive as well.