Scott on fatherhood and CF
In this episode of the CFStrong podcast, we speak with Scott about being a dad, his journey to fatherhood and his advice for others thinking about having a family of their own.
”Fortunately enough for me my three children are very healthy, very active, and they've become my three best friends. We do everything together now. It's an awesome time in my life to be honest. Yeah. It's great.Scott
Voiceover: Welcome to the CFStrong podcast. CFStrong covers the successes and challenges faced by those living with cystic fibrosis. You’ll hear first-person stories, conversations with health professionals, friends and partners. Just a heads up that guests may share their personal views about treatments and health management but please remember this is not medical advice, and you should always follow the advice of your clinic team regarding your health.
Sam: Hello, and welcome to the CFStrong podcast. I am your host, Sam, and today with me, I have Scott. Hey Scott. Do you mind just telling us a little bit about yourself and your family?
Scott: Yes, mate. How you going? I’m 40 years old, currently living in the Southern Highlands, married with three kids, so yeah. We have small business or a couple of small businesses. My wife has just started a small business of her own making cakes and cupcakes, and on the golf pro by trade, but now we run the pro shop at Campbelltown golf club.
Sam: A pro golf by trade. As in you’ve played golf in on the world stage, or is it more of a local pro golf scene?
Scott: Yes, more locally. I did go overseas a couple of times, not on the world stage, unfortunately. That was the dream, but obviously, I didn’t get there, but played a couple of the island events in Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti and New Caledonia and then right around Australia. I played most of my professional golf before having to settle down and start working back in the pro shop and which has been around Sydney for the, most of my career.
Sam: That’s really exciting. It sounds like you’ve had a good experience in the golf sector with all the travels.
Sam: I’m guessing that would also made you stay very fit in regards to looking after your CF as well.
Scott: Yes. It’s actually been a bit of a blessing taking that path with golf. It obviously gets you outdoors a lot of the time but working in the pro shops, we also are indoors, so it’s a bit of a good mixture. It’s not like you’re out in the sun all day but I’m not also sitting at a desk. It keeps me active. Taking up golf as a career was something that my parents—my dad was a good golfer, so that’s where I got it from. He wanted to turn pro. When I said I was keen to do it, he was all for it. So I did a trainee ship as a professional golfer back when I was 19. You learn along the way that doors open here and there in that industry, which is why I’m still in the industry today. I love golf. You can do a lot of things, travel the world, obviously and meet a lot of interesting people, but also getting a game of golf in all the times is fun as well.
Sam: My dad’s an incredible golfer, but myself personally, I like to stick to the mini golf because the skills unfortunately did not pass down the generation.
Scott: That’s alright.
Sam: Just wanted to go back to your family, you mentioned you had three kids, how—what are their ages and what do they like to do?
Scott: I’ve got a boy that’s eight-year-old next month, he’s turning 8 I should say. I’ve got a five-and-a-half-year-old boy and a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. They’re full on. They enjoy doing everything at the moment, which is great. They haven’t really picked up anything that they want to do, particularly because they’re just loving doing soccer, bike riding, footy, guitar lessons have started up, drawings; you name it, they’re doing it, which keeps me active as well also.
Sam: I can imagine running after three kids all under the age of 10 could be very full on.
Sam: That’s actually a good point. Obviously, trying to manage CF as a young adult is hard enough in regards to keeping on top of your life and say work or university and whatever it is. I can’t actually imagine how hard it must be to not only be responsible for your own health, but also having three kids to look after as well. Can you describe some of the challenges you’ve experienced with a mix of parenthood and cystic fibrosis?
Scott: Yes, it does get quite challenging sometimes. I mean, obviously just for a young parent it’s challenging as is. For me, I’ve been quite lucky. My health has been fairly good and stable over the years. A bit of a game changer for me was taking Kalydeco tablet about seven years ago now, which obviously was around the same time as my first son was born. Obviously I was in good health just before there and that’s helped me keep stable. You know very supportive wife, obviously she takes a lot of the burden on with looking after the kids. Obviously, my parents help out a little bit and my in-laws as well.
So, they’re very big helps. I mean, obviously with anything with CF regardless you just need that support, like a good support group around you, which helps a lot. Then, obviously my doctors and nurses have always been a phone call away, if you ever need anything. Obviously, the last couple of years have been hard with not going to the hospital, but it wasn’t a problem ever heading up to the hospital, seeing the doctors whenever you needed to. But obviously the challenge is, as hard as it can be, you’ve got to stick to your regimes, if you say, be consistent with taking your medications, you can’t get lazy. And then obviously with any young parent you’ve got to get your sleep.
Sam: That’s a big one.
Scott: That’s what I reckon is the biggest one is just don’t think you’ve got to be— I mean, it’s full on now, obviously with the kids are running around all the time, but they do crash at night and I’ve just got to learn also to get to bed early. That movie that you want to watch, you might not get a chance to just yet, but go to bed and get as much rest as you can. So yes.
Sam: So being strict on your routines and making sure that you’re always on top of your things, making sure that you’re not falling behind, yeah that sounds like, it definitely sounds like a challenge. I struggle myself doing it and I only have me to look after. Very challenging.
Scott: It’s very challenging. I mean, I’m not perfect. You miss things, but another big thing for me is trying to stay fit and healthy as well. Running around with the kids is doing that, but also go to the gym. I feel that when I do get a little bit chesty or whatnot, having that little bit of extra exercise that you’ve been doing really helps in that way as well.
Sam: Yes, 100%. I feel the same way. The exercise makes all the difference in the world, I believe. It’s just, it can be very hard to keep on top of it, especially when so many things are going wrong all the time, such as the past two years, for example.
Sam: Very hard to keep to certain routines.
Scott: It is, but I mean that’s where, obviously it’s been good for me having the kids because they, they keep you active as well. Whereas times I might have just maybe sat on the lounge and watched TV as a 20 year old or a young 30 year old, now you don’t get that chance. So, you sort of learn, you just learn as you go on. Also learn what your body can do, try and not over exhaust yourself. As you said before, stick to those strict guidelines that you have. And then don’t try and—you’re going to go out and in all the time, but try and keep with it as much as you can.
Sam: Just going back to what you said before, about your support networks. You mentioned that you wife is very supportive. One question I had was it’s quite a difficult topic for many people living with CF. It’s kind of the emotional weight that we’ve had to deal with growing up in regards to having a family and falling pregnant to begin with. Was this something that you thought about and how did you navigate that early on in your life?
Scott: Yeah so to be honest, I didn’t really think about it. I always thought I’d have kids but never really thought about it when I was younger. So I didn’t really know what was involved in falling pregnant having CF either. It’s not something that, I didn’t really find out until I met my wife. Well, I’ve known my wife for a long time. We knew each other back in primary school and went to high school together and we didn’t meet up until, we got married in 2014, so it was a couple years before that. We’re coming up 10, 11 years together. But to be honest, I didn’t think about it before we were together having children. Then we spoke about it. Then I went and spoke to my clinical nurse and just told her that we were think about getting married and having kids.
Then that’s when I had the talk to about what we’ll have to do and go through IVF potentially and all those kind of things. But yeah, it was not on my mind before I met Lindsay. And then when we did—the thing was though when she said you know like, we want have kids. I said, I’m more than happy to have kids. Not a drama, but if there’s ever going to be an issue with the genes and there could be a chance of having children and, and them having Cystic Fibrosis, I said, I don’t want to do that. She was fully supportive of that, and she said, we’ll cross that path when we come to it. So then we obviously had to go down the path of getting the genetic testing and getting everything else tested and seeing what happened.
So it was, even though things have come a long way since I was born, I was more, my memories of young kids is what I saw back when I was obviously going to clinic at Randwick Sydney children’s hospital, and I just didn’t want to have any children with the chance of them having any Cystic Fibrosis.
Sam: So we’re discussing just the difficulties of having the conversation with your partner about falling pregnant and also the potential risks of falling pregnant in regards to the genes and such as that. I guess the follow up to that was, was this a difficult conversation to open up to your partner about? Or did you find out it was quite, that she was quite supportive in the entire area?
Scott: As I said, I’ve known Lindsay for obviously a long time. I went to school with her and been friends with her. She’s got two sisters, been good friends with her two sisters for a long time also. So she knew obviously about all my CF history. They’d come and see me when I was in hospital when I was younger. So they know all about my history with it. She’s also a nurse as well, so she obviously probably would’ve read up a bit of, learn about it as well when we started dating more, I would say. So basically, the question of having children and was always on the cards. It might sound a bit harsh from my side, but I just said, if you have the gene that we don’t want, I don’t want to even take the risk, even if it’s one of the slight chance.
Because as I said my history of seeing children with it, even though the advancements have come a long way, when I was really young, my parents had a bit of a struggle time, but as I got a little bit older, I got better and better. But the other kids that I was around, I just didn’t want to, hopefully if we had the choice, we didn’t want to be put in that situation. So we never really talked about it. because then we went and got tested. Well, Lindsey went and got tested and it all come back pretty good so we were able to go through the process.
Sam: I can imagine that would’ve been a huge wave of relief once you got those test results back and you could then continue the process of hopefully falling pregnant?
Sam: As you were saying before, it is quite a hard thing to deal with as growing up with the disease and seeing those around you not being as healthy as you are, I guess. It can be quite an alarming thing to see. I can definitely imagine why that might possibly have hindered your thought process on the entire parenthood plan. With the fertility treatment, it’s so advanced at the moment. It definitely helps us overcome the barrier of infertility. What was the process you then took with your wife to start the fertility treatment?
Scott: Yeah so, after talking with the clinical nurse at RPA we had to go out to a hospital at Concord and I obviously had to get tested for my tubes just to see where I was at with them. And obviously, people with CF don’t, are born without the, I can’t pronounce the correct word, but the tubes for the sperm. So, we found that out, that that was correct. Then Lindsey also at that time was getting genetic testing, which was done at RPA Hospital. That all came back clear. So, it was a bit of a process. It went on for a little bit to get results and to make bookings and whatnot. So, I think that took roughly six months; maybe four to six months. And once we got the go ahead and got the results back, then you have some counselling at the hospital as well.
So, I went through the counselling for genetic testing and also going through the IVF process, which we’re all very confident with obviously big positive for me, which I’ve probably never really told Lindsay. She obviously was a nurse and a midwife. So, I just felt very confident in any decisions that she wanted to make whilst falling pregnant. We went to Westmead not the hospital, opposite the hospital, there’s a doctor there to start the IVF process. We had to go there for a couple of appointments, which took a little bit of time. Then once that was all done, then we were over to Westmead Hospital into the day surgery, or the IVF clinic and the process started.
It was very interesting to go through that process because obviously, a lot of my mates were just starting to fall pregnant as well, all naturally. There was not really anyone we had a chance to talk to about it, but once again, the doctors were very supportive. For me, Lindsey went through a little bit more obviously than what I did, but I just felt confident with the process the whole way through, to be honest. It was good.
Sam: Well, that’s good to hear. You said before that you didn’t really have anyone to talk to about the process, is there any advice you would then give to say someone who is looking to start that process or falling pregnant with the barriers of cystic fibrosis, is there anything you would want to pass on to them or anything you think they would benefit from hearing?
Scott: Well, I, as I said, well, we had no close friends that obviously went through any IVF treatment, but we had a lot of support obviously, as I said from my doctors. We did have a chance to talk to people about the process and how it all went. I’ve always been one to never question anything that my doctors ever say. So, to be honest, I sort of always take on board what they, if they pass me on to a certain doctor, I’ll go see them. When we went and seen the doctor at the IVF clinic, he was outstanding. Very nice gentleman. And then his team around him over at Westmead, he always said you know they’ll look after us.
So once again, I just was always fully supportive of what they had to say, but it can be a bit of a you know, bit of a roller coaster ride going through the treatment, making sure that you get enough eggs and at the right term to be able to be put back in and all those kind of things. But once again, the doctors and the nurses that we spoke with gave us all the information, talked us through it the whole way. Anyone that’s looking to fall pregnant, I would just suggest to, obviously do a little bit of research online, but make sure you get good research. But then just ask the doctors questions all the time. They do it every day so, that’s my belief. That’s what I’ve always believed in, is just, got any questions, speak to doctors. I don’t do much research online, but if you go to the specific sites that CF community put up, then that’s where I would get my information from.
Sam: There are no bad questions, are there? All questions are just as important as each other?
Scott: That’s correct, yes.
Sam: It’s very thoughtful insight so thank you for sharing that. Just to finish things off, what are the best things about being a dad that you’ve found?
Scott: Like everyone says, it’s the best day of your life when you see your baby born. I’ve been fortunate enough to have that three times. It’s pretty surreal to have someone that actually needs you to help them grow and support them. It’s the best thing obviously you can do; it’s the best thing I’ve ever done obviously. The love that they give you, a mate of mine said, no one will love you as much as what your kids love you. And you can see that as they grow older, but also with my girl, she’s two and a half at the moment and she’s going on 12 and a half, but the love that she shows; she has a few tantrums here and there, but the best thing I could say you could ever do is obviously have children.
I’ve been very lucky that their health has been very good. We had a little bit of a scare to start with my first child. He started to show some signs of having CF. We had to actually go and get him sweat tested. At the time I went back and I was always in contact with my doctor that I had as a child, which was Dr. John Morton, at Sydney Children’s Hospital who was a great man. He was alive then, so he actually got to see my first son, then looked after him through that little process that we had and got him tested. He came back and he was happy with all the results.
It was just nothing major. He come out of it fine. It was just, just had to grow out of a little thing that he had, but he was all good. Just having that little scare was a little bit was hard and it was just a little scary. With those parents out there that have got children with CF, I could only imagine how scary it can be at times. That’s where with anything, if your children are sick you’ve got to just be on top of it. See your doctors regularly. Stick to the medication as hard as it can be. You’ve got to be able to do, do it on a regular basis. Fortunately enough for me that my three children are very healthy, very active, and they’ve become my three best friends. We do everything together now. It’s an awesome time in my life to be honest. Yeah. It’s great.
Sam: Sounds very beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing all the ups and downs, but most importantly, all the love that being a parent brings. Thank you, Scott. Thanks for being on the podcast. We really appreciate hearing your stories.
Scott: Thank you very much, mate. Thanks for having me.
Sam: Thank you.
Voiceover: Thanks for listening to this episode of the CF strong podcast. Make sure you subscribe on your favorite podcast listening platform so you don’t miss the next episode. If you enjoyed this podcast, we’d really appreciate if you could leave as a review, it helps other people find CFStrong. Or share us with your friends. Also, a quick reminder that the views expressed in the CFStrong podcast may not be reflective of Cystic Fibrosis Community Care’s viewpoints. The podcasts are designed to share information and provide insight into the lives of those living with Cystic Fibrosis around Australia. This podcast was made possible thanks to support provided by the Australian government and was produced by CF Community Care and CF Western Australia. Our theme music is Spark of Inspiration by Shane Ivers from Silverman Sound. Thanks for listening, and we’ll talk to you next time.