aka Jerome Wiley
I was diagnosed with the genetic disease Cystic fibrosis in 1971 when I was only three months old. At that time, the life expectancy of a CFer was only twelve years. Due to my rather… spirited nature, my childhood was spent either galloping around the nearby New England countryside… or, in stark contrast, spending frequent stints of ‘prison time’ in a NYC hospital to treat the never-ending pulmonary and digestive complications of CF.
In 1988, as a junior in high school, I asked a shy sophomore (scandal!) out on a date to see the operetta “Candide”. Eight years later we were married, and my high school sweetheart ended up as a highly successful engineer, husband… and father! In 2002 we adopted a spunky one-year-old from Baku, Azerbaijan. In 2005, she was joined by her equally engaging infant sister from California.
I am especially fortunate to have my husband Dan by my side. During our thirty-three year journey together he has been my rock through the good, the bad, and the truly terrible — watching his wife come very close to dying multiple times. Together we’ve climbed a lot of mountains and weathered countless storms.
Professionally, I’ve received a B.A. in Biology from Mount Holyoke College, an M.S. in Ecology and Animal Behavior from Purdue University, and an M.S. in Environmental Medicine and Toxicology from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. I was also a certified EMT, completed two equine veterinary internships, worked in the M.I.T. Biochemistry Labs, and in Belize during a Marine Biology internship.
The one constant in my life, other than an incredibly supportive family, has been my love of horses. I started out in hunters when I was six years old, began Eventing at age twelve, and made the transition entirely to dressage at twenty-five. I became a certified instructor at age sixteen and have taught students from age five to seventy-five. Before my health declined, I fulfilled my goal of competing in the National Dressage Championships. In my mid-thirties, as Cystic fibrosis destroyed my lungs, I was forced to stop riding and sell my horses.
In 2017, my lungs began to fail and with only weeks to live, I underwent a double lung transplant at Duke University. Unfortunately, there were a multitude of complications – six weeks of sepsis, deadly fungal and bacterial infections, and severe neuro-toxicity — which led to the development of chronic rejection and a second double lung transplant in 2020.
I currently live in southwest Virginia with my husband, two teenage daughters, and a carnival toy poodle. I enjoy gardening, hiking, tennis, photography, competitive rucking, reading war memoirs, dog agility, mentoring, being involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Lung Transplant Foundation, and generally learning new things.
I write about my passions and my adventures, as well as science fiction and educational fiction.