Recently (9 May) Natalie and I were married. This was the culmination of what has been a tough two and a half years. It began in October 2006 when I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Dilated Cardiomyopathy.
This changed my view on life so quickly it wasn't funny. I thought I was a fairly healthy young male and that having a heart condition was something that happened to older people. How wrong I was. As a result of this I had to quit my job, move back home and change how I approached life. It was a constant battle between what I used to do and what I could do now.
There was always the constant fatigue if I pushed myself too far either at rehab or home. My condition started to get worse and I was struggling to do anything without having a break. In June 2007 the doctors, in consultation with my Mum and I, decided that the only way I was going to get better was if I had a heart transplant. I greeted the news with shock and confusion, but I knew that if I wanted to live a normal life again, this was the only way to go.
After going through a series of tests and procedures, I was placed on the transplant list which is not really a list as such. Availability depends on your age, blood type etc. So I now had a lengthy and testy wait for the phone call. I had no idea when it would come and it was a real struggle to cope with the fact that at any time of the day or night I would have to drop everything and make my way to The Alfred. The phone call came at 4:45am on the 27 November after a four month wait. I then spent the next three months or 93 days in hospital recovering from the operation and also dealing with the added complications of a lung infection.
Through all of this I received a constant stream of family and friends, cards and encouragements. At first I was reliant on the nurses and support staff to get around, but gradually I started to get my mobility back. There were a number of setbacks and some days I felt like giving up, but the encouragement I received and my faith kept me going. I finally received the news that I was going home and it was the best news I had received since I got the phone call.
Through all this my girlfriend Natalie and my Mum were keeping my friends and other members of my family informed about my progress. This included the setbacks and victories.
I spent three months at The Alfred three days a week attending rehab and education classes then I was allowed to manage my fitness and health at home. I still have to go to The Alfred every so often for tests and procedures, but as I approach the two year mark these are becoming further apart.
The other major milestone I achieved (apart from getting married) was returning to part time employment in Dec 2008. My work knows all about my medical condition and history and they are very understanding. I am always grateful for the chance they gave me especially since I hadn't worked since Oct 2006 and in retail from 2003.