Hi, I’m Nick.  This site is about my experience with Head & Neck Cancer and how it has influenced my outlook on life.

I wrote my first blog post from my hospital bed, a few days after coming out of the Intensive Care unit following my first surgery in June 2009.  I lost my speech for a while, so I started the blog as a way of expressing myself and telling my family and friends around the world how I was feeling.

After that, I began spicing up my recovery with activities such as springboard & platform diving, running the Rimutaka incline with a stomach tube in, and racing up & down Mt Tongariro like a Goat.

Now, I’m a proud escaped patient of Wellington’s public health system.  I have frequent checkups & monitoring, to make sure my recovery is going smoothly, but my health today is excellent – thanks to my Medical Dream Team.

And thanks to the support of all my family and friends, I’m the fittest and happiest I’ve ever been in my whole life.

Since getting cancer & going through treatment, I’ve learned a lot about life in a very concentrated way.  My cancer experience has been serious business, but it has also enhanced my outlook on life.   I enjoy writing and speaking about what I’ve learnt, and sharing it with others in different ways.  There’s a highlights package of that, here.

I’m a life member of Outward Bound NZ and past Chair of on the Outward Bound NZ Members Council. I’m also a patron and ambassador for the Pink & Steel Physio Programs, founder of mycancerexperience.co.nz, a nonprofit support site for New Zealanders affected by cancer.  I’m a trained and active volunteer for the NZ Cancer Society’s Cancer Connect support programme, and a past president of Mt Victoria Toastmasters.  I do a bit of professional speaking these days too, to help raise donations and awareness for the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute.

Most of all, I love running up and down mountains, for fun.  My highest NZ summit run has been to the peak of Mt Taranaki, a dormant volcano in the North Island of New Zealand, but my favourite mountain of all is Ruapehu, (an active volcano, which I’ve been privileged to run on every year since being diagnosed).

In addition to my blog I keep in touch with people via my ‘Secrets of a Shameless Optimist’ updates.  They’re a bit more in depth than my blog and give behind-the-scenes updates on my various projects, such as:
  1. Progress on my book, a.k.a.  THE BOOK (gulp)
  2. Speech & presentation gigs, recent & upcoming
  3. MyCancerExperience, my nonprofit support site for NZ cancer patients

…with occasional updates on mountain running, Outward Bound NZ, and my addiction to smoothies :).  If you’d like to drop me a line, or just keep track of what I’m up to these days, feel free to subscribe below: