Gina Neild joined XML Financial Group as an Administrative Associate in 2005. She performs administrative and office support activities and is the lead associate for Kevin Peters. Prior to joining XML, Gina worked for the New Zealand Police in the administration department for 7 years. In 1987, she joined the finance industry, working for Jordan Sandman Smythe/JBWere New Zealand, where she worked until moving to the United States in 2003.
Part 1: Relocation and Adjustment
In late November 2002, my husband (Steve) came home and asked, “How do you feel about moving to the States?” I replied, “Let’s get through Christmas first.” On Jan 19, 2003 he left with the promise that by the time the school year ended (our children were 7 and 9 at the time) he would have found a place for us to live and a school for the kids.
I stayed behind in New Zealand, packed up the house, sold two cars, rented the house out, left my job of 15 years behind, and prepared us to leave for the USA. Coincidentally, my mother was coming over to the states in April to see some friends for a few months. We flew out together, which was great.
We arrived with no place to live and no idea where the kids were going to go to school. Steve had had to go to Thailand for business and what was meant to be a two week long trip ended up being three months!
I found a place to rent, at the same time finding a school for the kids to go too. Once semi-settled, I started looking for a home to buy. On October 31, 2003, I went to the closing settlement on a home which is still our home to date
In 2005, I was offered a part time job at XML. I wasn’t looking for a job and they weren’t particularly looking to hire anyone, so it was a perfect fit. I needed the flexibility they could provide. My children were always my priority and If I needed time off it was never an issue. I have always felt I have had a great balance between being a mother/wife, running a home, working and carving out some time for my own interests.
Fast forward several years: we sold our home in NZ to pay for the boys’ education (we always knew that day was going to come). Watching your home being sold by Auction over Skype in another country is very surreal, but it was time to say goodbye. Kris and Mike’s education was our focus.
In August 2015, I became a US citizen. I was the last in our family to do so. I had been struggling with the idea for several years, but knew it was the right thing to do.
Part 2: Surprising Health Changes
For years I have been extremely physically active, walking 4 miles a day and doing Zumba 3 times a week and Pilates 4 – 5 times a week.
I was due to have my regular annual physical in September 2016. I was going to discuss with my PCP that I had a few odd things happen over the past month, like not feeling my usual walk-healthy self. But I was blaming it on the 91 degree heat we were having. There had been some other unusual signs that I was going to discuss with my PCP, unfortunately I did not have the luxury of time to do so.
In the evening of Monday August 29th, I was woken by a pain across my chest; it felt like I had a Mack Truck on my chest. I had pain down both arms, nausea, and was in a full sweat. I knew instantly I was having a heart attack.
It was what is called a Widow Maker heart attack. My LAD was 100% blocked (blood clot). I had a drug eluting stent embedded into my artery and will be on medication for the rest of my life. This came as a shock, because I have always been super active. The day of the heart attack I had walked 4 miles in the morning and 4 miles in the evening. I have always been someone who has yearly physicals and had blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked due to family history and was being treated for both. I was told that I am the 5% that do everything right, but due to family history there was nothing I could have done to prevent it.
I was back at work within four days and with the support of work, I started cardio rehabilitation as soon as I was able. For three days a week for three months, I worked out while being monitored. After six weeks of rehabilitation I was able to return to Zumba and Pilates and have not looked back since.
We are currently in the middle of updating our wills and advance directives, something we all should have, but many of us don’t. Scares like this make you think about how vulnerable we all are. Life is short, live in the moment and don’t put off doing what you want to do.