On the 30th of January in 1993, Donna Hogan and Rod Morgan became proud parents of their first child. That child was me, Rory Morgan. However, the joyous norms and emotions of parenting were soon after soured by a diagnosis that would change their lives. I cannot recall every moment from when I was that young but stories from my family and information from my ‘My First’ album have given me an insight of my up bringing with Cystic Fibrosis and it goes a little something like this.
I had spent the first two years of my life living in hospital and by the age of two I had already had a feeding tube installed and other various surgeries on my digestive organs. I have been taking artificial enzymes since I can remember, as well as other vitamins and supplements to help me grow and maintain weight. Mum and Dad gave me physiotherapy every day twice a day that involved a beating of my lungs to clear my airways from congestion; I nebulized every day and begun physical activity from an extremely early age. Mum being an organized and routine person had me all sorted every day every week. When I was too young to swallow tablets, she would extract the enzymes and mix them in to my ice-cream or yoghurt. When I was at school, she would wrap them in glad wrap around my food so I knew exactly what to take before I had a meal.
Just before I started school I had my feeding tube and portacath removed so I would be as normal as the other kids. This left me with a second “belly button” as the tube left a small whole in my stomach, which was my “freaky trick”. I had numerous scars from my portacath’s that had been installed on my ribs, underarm and neck, my scar from bowel and digestive surgery that goes right across my stomach and there is a small scar above it from my feeding tube. In grade seven I had my final surgery which was the ‘close up’ of my feeding tube hole which just has a small line on my stomach now, instead of a second belly button.
My scars or medications never bothered me in my childhood because they never altered my ability to do anything like a normal child could. I played sport every day, I went to school every day and ate every meal every day with a little more just to keep me topped up in my energy tank. Nobody knew I had Cystic Fibrosis unless I told them because I kept myself at such a healthy state it was unnoticeable and I did and still do consider myself as an everyday average person. My transition into high school was as average as any young adolescent’s, including acceptance in to sport excellence in AFL program which was a great achievement for me. I began a new Positive Expiratory Pressure program instead of my belting in physiotherapy to a gauged expiration machine, which became a part of my everyday routine. It was more recently in my transition from adolescent to adults years I had slackened my routine and assumed I was cured, I honestly thought I was that normal. For a few months at the age of seventeen I had stopped taking my medications and nebulizers to clear my lungs out, which resulted in poor lung functions and weight loss. This also included chronic stomach pains from the lack of enzymes and a continuous cough that was once a seasonable maybe.
I quickly went from being rated above health standards to dropping to an all-time low which was well below average. Doctors were considering an admittance of two weeks to pump me with antibiotics and medications to pick me up back on my feet but it wasn’t CF making me sick, I believe it was my lazy nature and this was something I had to conquer to resume my healthy life. A comparison to this with an average person to put it into context would be trying to return to a gym routine after three months off. People know that it’s a lot easier to not go to the gym and being unhealthy takes less work then being healthy and this is the crisis I had faced. So the only way I knew I was going to get better and avoid hospital was to return to the medications and physical activity that once had kept me on top of the world.
I didn’t do this alone, I had already being dating my then girlfriend Chelsea for a year and my Mum and Dad were constantly reinforcing my therapy. My immediate family were motivating me to get back to surfing and go back to playing football the way I used to and together I improved my health better than ever. Through this I realised how selfish it was to not maintain my CF routine because of how much my family encouraged me, as they were the ones who worried and care about me and I couldn’t care less at the time to be honest.
It was after this dark period my health teacher in high school Miss De Casanove begun a fun run for Cystic fibrosis in the City2Surf which was headlined ‘Run for Rory’. Although it wasn’t specifically for me but more the population of sufferers with CF, the community gave a phenomenal amount of money and support to Miss DC. The charity was an eye opener for me to consider how much people really care and to this day I cannot thank the people who got involved enough. I cannot comprehend the effort Miss DC put towards raising the money for a cure for Cystic Fibrosis, because this was the first charity I can remember being involved in since I hate lime lighting my condition.
Also finding out I wasn’t ‘cured’ was the best thing that happened to me because it was a genuine wake up call to the reality of living with CF. It had inspired me to study my condition as well as my secondary school studies and to be honest learning about my disease wasn’t the best because of depressing statistics such as marital, lung transplant and life expectancy, but this is something I have overcome due to the life I’m living.
I have transferred to MMA instead of AFL, which is something I cannot get enough of and I continue to go to the gym every day, which is productive physical therapy. My lungs are blowing capacities higher than an average persons and I’m eating like a trooper. But the most important things in my life are the positive power of my family and friends, my parents in particular. Each day I face new Challenges and set myself new goals, last year (2011) I worked fulltime as a laborer and excavator operator which also included having a great boss who was more of mate. This year (2012) I begun tertiary studies which involves a future in health having already passed my cert three in Fitness.
I still don’t consider my cystic fibrosis to be a life impeding condition because every day I do exactly what an average person does I wake up, have a shower, dress in a uniform for work or study, hang out with mates and continue to improve my health with physical activity. This is only a snippet of my life and I wish I could recall every detail to aid in the motivation of other suffers, and to recognize the people who have helped in the past such as my mates and colleagues. I’m not trying to force a routine lifestyle the same as mine because everyone is an individual, this is aimed towards advocating, inspiring and motivating those people who foresee and partake in a healthy lifestyle for them and wish to achieve and succeed in life.
I wrote the above article at the age of 17 for a health magazine. Now just recently turned 24, I have decided to expand and express my knowledge and life experiences into a sufferers guide to Cystic fibrosis.
With the information I share on this website I hope to explain to young sufferers, parents and friends of CF’ers; how to overcome certain situations and create the mentality that the condition lives with you, you don’t live with it.
Not everything I suggest and advocate in these posts will be of valuable use to you, however my expressions, understanding and personal experience should develop your confidence and improve clarity with certain obstacles you will stand against in your battle against Cystic Fibrosis or other life hurdles.