Wednesday, 28 December 2016

This year didn’t suck

A lot of people have said that this year has sucked. Well for me, this year for the most part didn’t suck. The first 10 days were very tough, as were the next few months, but the good definitely outweighed the tough this year. I am so grateful for that.

I found myself in an ambulance heading to hospital on the morning of January 10. However, as a direct result of that happening, I have great medical professionals around me who legitimately care about me as a human, not just a medical experiment to pay their bills. My doctor is good enough where he knows what to do with my health, but he isn’t arrogant enough to say he has a total cure. Yet he (as well as my OT, Laurie) has given me enough peace and courage to do what I can to help myself in my own health journey and I am so grateful for that.

This year I have re-connected with a lot of family from my dad’s side, with thanks to social media. It’s great to know most of them still have a place in their life for me, as I do for them. It certainly makes up for the number of people, due to a whole bunch of different reasons, who have drifted from my life in one way or another. Not much at all of that is a personal thing, just life happening at a very fast pace (something I still struggle with, to be fair). I am finally starting to learn that people do come and go in life and that it is very rarely a personal thing against me.

I have learned the power in consistently keeping up with medical appointments and tests. Before this year, I would see them as an inconvenience to me living my life and ignore it until something dramatic happened with my health. However, earlier this year my doctor told me that if I’m not keeping up with said appointments and tests, then I’ll be less healthy and productive when attempting to live my life. I have found this to be very true this year as I’ve attended all appointments for everything and I am now the healthiest I have been since 2006.

Some absolutely amazing and accidental things have happened, such as early May this year. I received an email inviting me to a Brisbane Broncos dinner in Perth. I bought my ticket, even though at the time it would wreck my budget, because these things in life only happen once in a lifetime and sometimes you just need to do fun things. I bought my ticket and had a great night. At the end of that night, I was talking with Broncos CEO Paul White and he would tell me it was a business owners dinner and he said I must have accidentally got the email invite. However, he said if I love the Broncos then I am welcome to stay.

I have achieved a dream of attending a footy game at the MCG and going to Melbourne. Aside from the freezing cold, it was so great. From buying coffee as big as my face and getting change from $5 for it, to accessible paths, beautiful scenery and sport and music everywhere, it’s a great place. I can see why some friends live there now. I will be back some day, but not in the middle of winter next time.

Then in August of this year, I was looking at Twitter one day when I saw a tweet from Perth Wildcats. It was asking for game night volunteers for the current season 2016/17. I updated my resume and applied. My first interview as far as I’m concerned was terrible. However, that following Friday afternoon I would receive an email asking me if I would like an interview with the Wildcats CEO Nick Marvin, on the following Monday afternoon. It went really well and he offered me a voluntary position in the administration staff at Perth Lynx. I now work there once a week and at every Lynx home game. I also attend all Perth Wildcats games. It was a lot more than I originally thought it would be. It has become a reason to fist-pump at life, to get out of bed with enthusiasm again. I am literally at a place now where ball is life. As I said to someone recently, if I’m not in an office for basketball, I’m working at a game, attending a game as a fan or watching a game of NBA or NBL on my laptop. Ball is literally life and I love it.

These are just a few highlights to try and encourage you all that this year did not totally suck. Not for me or for anyone, really. Sometimes we do need to try and look a bit harder to find the goodness. To sum it all up, I have finally got help with my overall health, both physically and mentally and I have learned the truth in the Switchfoot line that says “love alone is worth the fight”. Yes, it’s tough, but it is so worth it, friends. May 2017 be full of joy, peace and love and whatever comes your way, may you be able to say that “hope is the anthem of my soul”, as the Switchfoot song says.

Giving up is not an option,

Perry

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Fear is a powerful motivator


Today, September 14 2016 is a date that all of you should mark on your calendar. I know I will never forget this date anymore. Earlier today, I was told by my doctor that I have exceeded expectations for a blood test I had last week. He went on to mention that I do not require any more needles or medical appointments for six months. For someone who has needles in their top five fears in life, that is a huge thing to hear. I couldn't help but hug my doctor in that moment. Thankfully he didn't see it as inappropriate and he understood why I did that.

Over this last eight months, I have had a diabetes and anaemia diagnosis (anaemia is no longer an issue), as well as mental issues such as depression, anxiety and PTSD. Just to try and give you an idea, in January and February, I was in medical appointments three times per week. These last eight months have been dedicated to doing whatever I have needed to do in order to get my health back to a place where I'm smiling at life again and physically strong enough to do what I need to do. I am happy to say I am now at that point. Yes, there were definitely a few points along the road where I have thought the process of healing was not worth it because let me tell you, recovery is a hard road, whether it's from physical or mental health issues. When you're dealing with both, it's like standing in the middle of a freeway at peak hour.

I am so grateful beyond words to my GP. For the first time in my life, I have a GP who understands all of my health issues and doesn't belittle them or feel overwhelmed by them, yet knows how to help me deal with them. He showed me where to find hope when I didn't know where to look. He gave me tools to get myself out of the hole I was in at the beginning of the year and through those things and God's grace, I got out. At no point have I gone on medication for my mental health. The only medication I am on is a tablet for diabetes control which is pretty good right now.

As for the diabetes, it's simple really. As I mentioned above, needles are a huge fear for me personally. Therefore I have come to the conclusion this year that fear is a powerful motivator. The day I was diagnosed with diabetes, I literally gave away all chocolate, lollies and soft drinks to other people, who were only too happy to take them away. Now, whenever I go near a confectionery section in a shop, I see needles and back right away. That's what I mean by fear being a powerful motivator. Far too often, people focus on the negative side of fear. However, I have found that fear can definitely have a positive effect on our lives.

While the mental health isn't perfect, it is definitely a lot better than it was. Each day now I'm going outside for fresh air and sun (weather permitting), journalling, reading good jokes or watching something funny on TV or Netflix, taking care of my physical health as much as I can and eating and sleeping properly. Also, each day I write a list of places to be or house jobs that need to be finished that day. That forces me to get up and take on the day, however I may feel physically or mentally.

Anyway, I believe murder-ball in the paralympics is on soon, so I better leave it there. Apologies also for the gap between posts. Life gets crazy busy sometimes.

Giving up is not an option,

Perry





Sunday, 24 April 2016

Patience in the process

24/4/2016

I have mentioned a fair bit that in January something rather dramatic happened as my mental health hit rock bottom. Well, after that day, I had appointments, either at home, by phone or out in other people's offices such as GP, OT etc. The exhaustion, physically and mentally, was starting to become more harmful than helpful and I was on the brink of quitting on the whole process of starting to heal.

Then one day, it was about mid February, just as things were getting exhausting. I was on my daily "run" and if you've been to my place, you'll know I have a heap of gum trees right outside. I stopped and felt reminded of Matthew 6 where God tells us that if he can take care of the trees and the birds of the air, then he can certainly take care of us. Then he told me to simply have patience in the process. Those four words have kept me going ever since. Whenever I'm thinking of losing hope or getting too tired, I am reminded to have patience in the process. In the beginning of this, my GP told me that recovery from this will take a long time, but I can and will make 100% recovery.

One thing I want to make sure people get out of this blog is that I no longer believe that nobody cares for me. I know there are some people who do care. It's just that sometimes in life, the voices of those who don't care can become so loud that it drowns out the voices of the people who do care. What I am saying right here is that people who care need to speak louder. Speak louder than the negative, nasty people.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been to a couple of AFL games. Sure, my anxiety was triggered a couple of times and I must admit I nearly went home early (nothing to do with the score). But I stayed, faced my fear of big crowds and getting bumped in the head and got through it okay, both times. It was scary at first, but I enjoyed seeing familiar faces again, such as bumping into an old basketball team mate and a high school teacher.

I turn 30 next week and I don't want to be a 30 year old who is too scared to deal with his fears. Another big fear came up for me this week as I realised something that has been holding me back for about 20 years. I won't go into it here, but to say now I recognize it for what it is and am dealing with it. I have got to that place where the pain of having something bother me is more painful than the pain and fear of doing what it takes to receive healing from the pain, if that makes sense.

So in closing, going back to the title, patience in the process. Recovery is a long process and I'm starting to think more clearly, realize that going outside isn't so scary and that dealing with emotions is hard, but very necessary if we want to be able to achieve my dreams. I still have dreams. Big ones. I will achieve them - whatever it takes. One day, one hour, one minute, at a time.

Giving up is not an option,

Perry

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Catch up on life...

25/03/2016

I have been meaning to write something for weeks. However, every time I go to write something, I end up getting busy with trying to adult in this life. Or that voice in my head tells me that nobody cares and nobody will want to read this. Then this morning, I read a great blog from a friend and it was the push I needed to do this. You know who you are (if you're reading this).

Being my first blog for 2016, I feel I need to cover a few things and inform people of a few happenings in my life. First of all, on January 10, I was taken to hospital via ambulance for mental illness. I was discharged the same day, thank God. There is no way I am sleeping or eating in a hospital, unless I absolutely have to do it. Even just the knowledge that I could go home eased the stress in my mind a little bit.

My brain had got so low to a point where I truly believed that nobody out there cared about whether I was breathing or not. To be very fair, I am still not convinced anyone does, other than medical people who are paid to care. I also feel the need to highlight here that it is an illness. That you can't just "be positive" or "just cheer up" or "just pray it away" and it will magically go away. Illness doesn't work like that.

I've always known since I was a kid that I've had depression. I was made to see a psychologist from 8 years old. I was admitted to a children's mental health ward and made to take an anger management class at 10 years old. I was told I'd be in jail, dead or living in an adult mental health hospital if I didn't clean my life up. That stopped me from seeing anyone in psychology for 20 years... until recently. I have had to get over my fear of psychologists to see someone.

There are still a lot of things in my head that need to get sorted out. The biggest thing that I've got over the last two and a half months since that day in hospital is that I have a little bit of hope. A realistic hope that says that while tomorrow will not be all kinds of amazing, it will be okay and I have the strength and resources to deal with whatever it may bring.

I am trying to remember to take life one day, even one hour, at a time. That is all my brain and body can really handle and to be fair, I have never really been one that's good at planning ahead anyway. I am back studying my youth work degree at university, which is becoming a good mental distraction for everything. As well as university, I have help with cleaning and cooking at home and I am seeing my GP and psych both once a fortnight. All that keeps me very busy. Busy to the point where I said to my doctor that for the first time in my life, I may need to buy a thing called a diary.

My doctor has also done an overall physical health check and it's been discovered that I have diabetes and severe anaemia (pretty sure I spelled that wrong). The anaemia is so bad that I am waiting on admission into hospital to go on a drip. The diabetes is okay, just about figuring out a new diet that works for my body. That's not that simple, but I'm over the sugar withdrawal symptoms and I already do feel better just for cutting out sugar from my diet, even if it was forced upon me. I'm just not sleeping very well because some days, I feel so awake that I can "run" a marathon and other days I feel like I can't get out of bed. Some balance in my energy levels would be great! One more thing about my health and doctors is that finally, for the first time in my adult life (since 2003), I am finally in a place where I have medical people around me who not only know what they are doing in their area of expertise, but they genuinely care about me as a person, not just a job. If it took an ambulance taking me to hospital on January 10 to get to a place where I have good medical people, so be it.

Anyway, I think that is more than enough for the first blog back for the year. I hope to get back to consistently writing soon.

Giving up is not an option,

Perry

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Bullying


19/12/2015

The last few weeks, like a lot of the time, to be honest, has not been a fun time in my head. I have had numerous nightmares about various bullies I encountered during the majority of my school years. I saw one of them in public a couple of years ago (we were on the same bus) and I could not get off that bus quick enough. 

I am writing a relatively quick post here to remind everyone to not be a bully, especially at this time of year when we should be working especially hard to share love, peace and joy, regardless of your religious belief. 

There is no other way around it, except to say that bullying sucks and it hurts. Depending on our personality and other factors, we may be able to defend ourselves, just brush it off, or if you are like me, bottle it up for years and cause nightmares only a few months shy of your 30th birthday. It can make one feel inferior when dealing with any sort of confronting situation. It can make one's head say that avoiding humans entirely is the best option. It can rob the person of healthy sleeping and eating and eventually, cause that person to not even consider working or studying as their head is so muddled up. 

I am not writing this to come across like a sob story. However I am writing this as an encouragement to everyone, adults too as it does happen later in life, to stand up to bullying. Be a friend to the one who is being bullied and within reason, stand up to the bully. It is not easy, but the person being bullied will think you are an absolute legend and will be a true friend in return. Trust me on that one. So please, do not be a bully, but be-friend the bullied and stand up to the bully. No matter how old you are, you are never too young to make a positive difference.

Giving Up Is Not An Option,

Perry

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Sanka, you dead? - Cool Runnings

October 6, 2015

The date was October 6, 2007. Australia had just been knocked out of the rugby world cup by England. Now, some slight backtracking... For a few weeks leading up to this date, I was unwell, spending most of my time in bed, sleeping, with a fever, vomiting and most other sick symptoms you can think about. However, I was too stubborn to go to the hospital, thinking it was just a bad flu or something and it will pass. Yes, I have had the flu like that before and in me, the flu can last up to a month.

This wasn't easing up and instead of it progressively improving, it was getting worse. What was different on October 6 was my middle sister came into my room and basically yelled at me (yelling doesn't motivate me, but scares me) that I really need medical treatment and to eat something. I don't remember why, but I do remember eating KFC for dinner that night, throwing it straight up, having a shower and calling a friend to take me to hospital.

Given little choice considering how unwell I was, I was taken to Royal Perth Hospital. The time here would have been about 7:30 pm. The next three hours were a bit of a blur. What I do remember is there was a mad rush around me and I had a drip in me quicker than I can say "I hate needles". As it got to about 10:30 pm, I had about five medical professionals around my bed. They all looked me in the eye and diagnosed a blood and bone infection and stated they don't believe I will live another six hours. I remember looking each of them in the eye and saying the following: Okay, thanks for your medical opinion and expertise. However, you don't have the authority to tell me when I'm going to die. Therefore, thanks but no thanks. Now if you don't mind, I'm not feeling too well and I'd like to get some sleep. See you in the morning. Their reply: Sir, you won't live until the morning. Me: We'll see.

I did live until the morning. I woke up the next morning, still feeling pretty average, but well enough to know I was supposed to have breakfast. I wasn't given any and when I asked for some, they were in genuine shock.

Over the next 182 days until April 14, 2008 when I was finally discharged, I would spend most of my time sleeping, with two drips in me going almost constantly with antibiotics and pain relief. I had to have multiple blood transfusions and for a while there, had to spend some time in absolute isolation to prevent others getting it. I had to do crazy amounts of physio and OT to get my strength back up but I made sure I did what I had to do to get better (and more some days).

Upon leaving that hospital, I felt like I was Spider-man, that nothing could stop me or squash me. I went back to bible college and managed to finish my Cert. IV in Ministry (Youth) in 2009, finishing my time there in 2010.

The infection is incurable and is still in my system. I had to go back into hospital for the first half of 2013 with the same thing, but symptomatically I didn't feel as bad as I did in 2007. I'm two years hospital admission free and hoping to keep that going as long as possible ...

Giving up is not an option,

Perry.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

There Goes My Hero ... - Foo Fighters

1/9/2015

I need to open this blog by apologizing for the lack of blog in August. I hope that in this blog you will discover why I was unable to blog last month.

In two and a half years of writing blogs, this is the hardest blog I have ever thought of writing.

On August 5, which is also mum's birthday, I got a text message from mum that basically said I need to come to her place. I put on a load of washing, had a shower and made my way to her house. Thinking it was just a mother wanting to see her only son on her birthday, I didn't think anything negative at all. When I got to her place, she made me coffee and she stopped me outside. Then mum said something that was probably one of the hardest things for her to do. On her birthday, she had to tell me, her only son, that her father was on his death bed, thanks to freaking cancer. I'm just going to say it now: cancer is a moron! I spent the rest of that afternoon/evening at mum's place trying to get my head around it and trying to be there for my family as best I could.

Two days later I was meant to have a medical appointment but that was cancelled, so I went back to mum's place to see my grandfather. That day I saw my aunt cry for the first time. That felt like a kick to the heart to see that. We were told the afternoon of the 7th he had a week to live. I tried to go to youth, but to be honest, my mind wasn't letting me stay there so I went home. I somehow managed to get some sleep that night, which is a relief because I wouldn't get any for the next two weeks.

The next day, at 12:57 pm, I got a call from my aunt: I think you should come now. I had a shower and went as quick as I could, both because I saw black clouds overhead and because I knew the urgency in what she was saying. By the time I got to mum's place, my grandfather had died 30 minutes earlier. I still hate myself for that. If I had a shower first thing in the morning like a normal person, I could have left straight away and would have seen him one more time. The rest of that afternoon/evening my family and I just sat at mum's place looking absolutely shocked, numb, sick. On Saturday August 8, 2015, the best man I had ever known had passed away.

It feels like someone has taken a huge chunk of me, seriously. Some days I'm functioning and getting things done and not letting my emotions get the best of me. Other days, like today, I can't get out of bed until after midday, am not hungry and really don't care for social interactions because everything just sucks.

He taught me how to treat a female as more than their bodies. He taught me that Jesus loves me, no matter what happens in this life or what I do or don't do and lastly, he is the one responsible for my simple sense of humour. He told me when I was a young kid that I need to learn to laugh at the simple things in life because with the situation God has put me in, I will get depressed if I can't at least laugh a little bit.

I can move on as best I can knowing that great man is in heaven, with his wife and a healthy body again. Apologies if this blog is all over the place and doesn't make much sense.

There goes my hero ...

Giving up is not an option,

Perry.