Have you studied beyond school? If so, how did you balance study, personal and CF responsibilities?
Yes, I bought a couple of big books and taught myself how to make websites and use image editing software. For a while I worked for a local website business designing the front ends. I also completed a traineeship in office administration. After my transplant I completed a cert III in warehousing and got a forklift licence. I am currently training to work as a bicycle mechanic. In all cases I was able to do training or study when my health permitted. My health wasn’t good during my time making websites so I did this freelance from home. I could work on them while I nebulised my medication.
Do you work and if so, how many hours per week?
Yes, I currently work for Coles doing dawn fill. I am part time but I gain extra shifts so I can work between 12 and 30 hours a week.
When did you tell your employers about your CF?
I disclosed my CF in some job interviews so they knew before they hired me. Some others I didn’t tell them but then talked about it casually i.e. I didn’t make a point of telling them.
How did you and your employee address the need for time off for treatment?
I let them know as soon as I could so they could adjust their rosters to cover my absence.
Have you got any tips for the young CFs looking for a job?
Talk to Centrelink and ask to be put in contact with a job agency that specialises in people with disabilities. Government and some large corporations have policies in place to maintain a diverse workforce. Some workplaces also choose it as their charity. Don’t bite off more than you can chew and be honest with your employer.
If you've had a transplant - what is one thing you wish you were told before transplant that could help you nowadays?
I think the importance of skincare and the sun was understated. I’ve have two BCCs removed since my transplant
What would the older you like to tell the younger you?
Don’t drink so much alcohol and eat fewer lollies. You want your liver, pancreas and kidneys in the best condition they can be. As the CF progresses and your health declines your organs will be put under greater pressure with increasing medication doses.
What are few things you would love to be able to do in the future (i.e. climb Mt. Everest, meet Ellen, learn to juggle)?
Oh, Everest has always been a fascination of mine but I wouldn’t want to risk anything going wrong with my new lungs. To be honest, since my transplant, everyday things that normal people take for granted are things I love to do. Working, riding my bikes, walking the dogs and even going a day without coughing is things I am thankful for. I don’t look too far ahead and live year to year. I will be travelling to the US this year to see my second total solar eclipse so this will be a bit of a milestone for me.