New perspective on life

Nick and Allison Duggan with children Dakota and Jessilee.
Nick and Allison Duggan with children Dakota and Jessilee. Studio Republic

NICK Duggan was a provider. That was his job.

But when he contracted Coccidioidomycosis Meningitis while quad bike riding in the San Diego Desert in July 2010, he became gravely ill and was forced to leave his successful business life behind to focus on his health.

Nick's ability to provide was severely compromised, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise - it made him a better father.

The father of two darling daughters, Dakota and Jessilee, found clarity among the unbearable pain and said he understood them more and could better relate to their emotions and feelings.

"I used to take my health and energy for granted," Nick said.

"We are taught as fathers to provide. The roof, the food, the clothes. We give that, at an expense.

"Going through something like this, gives a much greater understanding of being a father and the influence and impact you have on your children and that time is viewed so preciously.

"I've always been very close to my daughters as we are a very close family, but you realise when your time can be cut so short that raising and being an influence in your children's lives has such more significance and greater impact on the love that you share and the example that you lead for them."

"For example, I teach my daughters about being respected and loved and treated well, by the example I set towards their mother.

"Hopefully, they can see how, especially when they are grown women, their husbands need to treat them."

Nick has been in and out of hospital in Australia and America while doctors struggle to find a treatment that will work.

"My spirits are up, but my body and emotionally I have gone through a rough patch the last two months," Nick said.

"My last relapse was four weeks ago and the change in my medication has been tough to rebuild myself physically. It has even become hard to hold down a meal again."

Nick said his body was still adjusting to the new medication, but weekly blood tests were helping in getting the levels right in his system.

Nick and his wife Allison have been living in her parents' house, while he receives treatment in San Francisco.

He said he would remain in America until they could find a stable treatment that works consistently for at least 12-18 months without falling into a relapse.

Despite the physical and mental drain, Nick has found sweet pleasure in having his dear wife and daughters nearby.

"I think every day has a significant meaning on previous years with this illness, knowing how precious time has become," he said.


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