“Back when I was working for the CDC a co-worker and dear friend gave me the nickname “Pandemic Jane” or “PJ”. I loved this because I thought it was in reference to my passion for infectious disease research. I later learned he was calling me PJ because I was always sick. I knew I had to find answers to my continuous health issues. Now that I’ve been diagnosed with cancer, it’s time for me to share my story. I hope my experiences seeking diagnosis and treatment help others with their search for wellness.” ~ Jane
Jane’s love of writing and public health has been a lifelong passion. As a teenager she could be found at open mic nights around San Diego reading her poetry. In 2004 she graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Comparative Literature where she wrote her honor’s thesis on “Plague Environments in Literature”. In 2008, she graduated from Emory University with a Master’s of Public Health degree in Global Health with a dual emphasis in Infectious Disease and Community Health and Development. Instead of writing a traditional Master’s Thesis, Jane lobbied to be the first to write a creative thesis. She wrote a fact-based fictional novel on an outbreak of pandemic influenza. She went on to work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a writer, editor, and researcher.
In 2011, she was compelled to join Teach for America (TFA) to help provide an excellent education to children growing up in poverty. Through TFA she moved to Denver where she taught High School Biology, A.P. Environmental Science, and Environmental Health – a class she designed to teach her students about local and global health inequalities perpetuated by poverty and racism.
Unfortunately, due to chronic fatigue and health issues she quit teaching in 2013 after only 2 years in the classroom. She then started working for a Fortune 500 Company as an Instructional Designer and Wellness Ambassador. Working at a corporation gave her the flexibility she needed to make her health a priority. In her quest for health she started visiting multiple specialists, got multiple diagnoses and tried a variety of diets and medications.
It wasn’t until December of 2015 that she was diagnosed with a highly aggressive form of metastatic thyroid cancer, which her doctors estimated she had been living with for at least 5 to 10 years. Having gone undiagnosed with cancer for many years inspired her to launch “Jane’s Health” – a platform where she can share her experiences with thyroid cancer and other illnesses like tuberculosis, cholera, and allergies as a way to both educate and entertain her readers.