REDteen were lucky to catch up with Jordan, who is in high school and works part time, to ask him a few questions about school, work and other interests he has.
What year are you in at school and are you enjoying it?
I am in Year 11 and I’m 16 this year. I am enjoying school now as I am doing a special school program which is for students who are not reaching their potential in school but have the ability to do well. I was unwell last year and so missed a bit of school and was behind. The course I am doing is more focused towards a career that I want to do.
I am studying aeronautics as ultimately, I want to be a pilot for the Royal Flying Doctors, or some other small plane company, as I prefer to fly by feel rather than control settings. I have to do projects throughout the year where I have to find in depth knowledge about a particular topic, keep a journal and a planner and then present the project for 45 minutes to the teachers. I also do an internship twice a week. I have done internships at Jandakot Airport, the Royal Aero Club, and I spent four weeks at Pearce Airbase. I’m looking for a new internship at the moment.
Do you talk to others in your school about having CF?
I mainly keep it private and only my best friends know. I don’t want to tell lots of people as I am not sure if they would be supportive or not; people tease each other a lot. If anyone asks about when I have been off sick, I just say I have a lung problem or a bad chest infection. My teachers know about it though.
I want to live a normal life and not worry about CF too much.
Tell us about your part-time job?
I started working last year when I was 15. Most of my friends had jobs and there were lots of things I wanted to buy which mum and dad didn’t want to buy for me, so I needed to get a job so I can buy the extra things I want.
I asked my teachers to help me with my resume, printed up a whole bunch and was ready to take them to lots of different places with my mum. Luckily the first place I went to, Red Rooster, gave me an interview on the spot and offered me a job. My friend works there, so that helped. It’s fun working there and I work 15 to 20 hours a week, doing 5 hour shifts at a time.
I’ve kept it confidential about having CF at my work.
Do you have any hobbies?
I’m a hobby person! When I was younger I was really into remote control things like cars and helicopters. I am really into animals. I have a Bearded Dragon as a pet, which I have had for a year. His name is Fizz. It’s been proven that lizards can get attached to their owner. I also have a dog named Monkey and we’ve had her for 8 years. She is a Tibetan Spaniel and the nicest natured dog.
I’m really into all types of video games and I gained my interest in flying from playing a flight simulator game a few years ago.
I also just bought my own moped, which I use to go to work and to friends’ houses. It gives me some more freedom to get out and about.
How do you balance work with school, fun stuff and your treatments?
I prefer to do the fun stuff and when there is no fun stuff available, I’ll do the other things. My mum and sister remind me to do my treatments and other things I am supposed to be doing.
How do you go with peer pressure to do things like smoke or drink?
The main thing I have a problem with is how everyone shares their water bottles with each other. I try to avoid doing that. My friends don’t make me do stuff. I want to keep my pancreas healthy so I know I can’t binge drink. When I had pancreatitis it felt like my stomach was eating itself and was extremely painful, so I want to avoid that again if I can. It also makes me think about what I am eating as I don’t actually have to follow the usual high fat CF diet.
I don’t have to take enzymes with most food but with foods high in fat such as fast foods, I do take them, as otherwise I can get pancreatitis (which I had about 4 times in 2 years).
I think smoking is pretty disgusting and at my school, it is not as common for people to do it, so more people are teased if they smoke. I think less people think it’s cool these days.
Interview from REDteen, 2014.