This is a story, a story of a 21 year old photographer from the small city of Albury in New South Wales, Australia.
The Younger Years
My childhood was an enjoyable one. I grew up in a wonderful home with a wonderful family, I went to a wonderful school and I had wonderful friends. When I was growing up, up until the age of about 8 all I cared about was having fun. Whenever I was asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, I wanted to be many things at many different times, some of them included being an astronaut, zoo keeper, to work with my Dad in video production, but my favourite of all of them was to become a guy in a Power Rangers suit at Movie World!
Oh how quickly things would change..
The heading of this part of my story is kind of ironic, because it was around this time in my life that I first heard “Changes” by David Bowie on the Shrek 2 soundtrack and I became a Bowie fan for life!
When I was 9 I started to get some pain issues in my lower back. It didn’t stop me from doing much at first, but as the years went on the pain got worse, the pain spread all over my body and I developed a lot more symptoms such as severe fatigue, insomnia, extreme muscle weakness and so many more that would take me a lifetime to type out.
I went to doctors and a couple of specialists here in Albury and they had no idea what was wrong with me. I even had one specialist say that I had “Growing Pains”. Little did he know, it was something much worse than that!
High School Years
By the time I hit High School, I was barely able to function properly. I was almost never at school because I was so unwell, and by my second year in high school I had a lot of trouble even walking. It got to the point where I couldn’t stand without someone or something supporting me and somehow Mum managed to convince my GP to send me to a specialist in Melbourne, and it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
When we went to Melbourne to see the specialist, we found out what I had was much worse than we had thought. It turned out I had Fibromyalgia, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, parts of Marfan Syndrome and a severe case of Insomnia due to all of it. I had the worst case of Fibro/M.E that Monash Medical Center had ever seen in a child/teenager and I was put into hospital a few days later to start some extremely tough treatment that would end up helping me walk on my own two feet again, literally and figuratively.
The years passed, I went back into hospital multiple times, I would even go back to Melbourne just for checkups every 2 weeks, and that was very tough for me as it’s a 3 and a half hour car ride away and my body can’t handle travelling very well. I also developed more conditions including, but not limited to nerve damage and sleep apnoea.
In the end, all of the treatment I had only got me walking again. It never helped my pain, fatigue or any of the other countless symptoms and no medication has even slightly helped me, and to put it in perspective I’ve had twice as many different medications and alternative treatments in a few years than most of you will have in your life!
The End And The Beginning
When I turned 18, I was no longer young enough to be allowed in the paediatric hospital system and I was left on my own with no support at all. It was tough at first, but now I’m use to it.
I also decided on a whim at that age that I wanted to get a camera! I had always used Dad’s Nikon DSLR at family events, but I was only able to ever use it at family events and I had always really wanted had a camera of my own. So I decided to save up and get one. Honestly, it was the single best decision that I have ever made!
Photography has changed my life! It helps me forget about all my of health issues for a little while and it has also given me so many opportunities that not many people ever get to do!
Getting to meet my idol, favourite photographer and now friend Benjamin Von Wong was one of those opportunities, and you can click here to read the first part of that series of blogs which chronicles the whole adventure with him! It is and always will be the best week that I have ever had!
Because of my health I can’t do many photo shoots and doing a single photo shoot can put me in bed for a week or two due to the physical strain they put on my body. In fact, last year I only managed to do an average of one photo shoot a month. I am hoping to increase that average this year, even if only by a little bit! Or if I can’t increase it, I want to at least equal it, but with better quality content!
If you would like to read more about my goals for this year, please click here.
I hope you have all enjoyed reading a little bit about me. There is so much more to my story, but I thought I would give you a very condensed version with a few of the important bits!
I hope that wherever you and and whatever you are doing, you are having a wonderful, fun filled day!
And as always, keep smiling everyone! 🙂