Perth underdog dares to believe!  

Pete and Warren at the Gymn

With my new trainer Warren at Surge Gym, Clarkson

The last 7 years of my life have been absolute hell.

Struggling from quadriplegia, learning to communicate with only my eyes, learning to breathe again on my own and – the final indignity – being fed baby food until I was able to hold a spoon! For a 33-year old ex-squaddie-cum-martial arts enthusiast-cum-builder-cum-runner, this was quite a comedown, I can tell you!

After waking from coma after my stroke, I was totally paralysed, unable to do anything except blink. I had to learn absolutely EVERYTHING again – walking, talking, eating and even breathing. But I did it. 6 months and 1 day after a massive brain stem stroke left me locked-in, I managed, albeit shakily, to walk out of hospital and into an uphill struggle from then on.

So you’ll forgive me for confessing: “I am extremely proud to have found my feet again – not just in a physical sense. At the same time, my experience has humbled me, and I will always be very grounded!!

You don’t just get through locked-in syndrome and think: “Oh well crack open the beers and spark up”.

It’s made me completely O.C.D. from my P,T.S.D. Yet it’s changed me into ME! – only a little more introverted I guess, a little more distant from the world. Hey, it’s even turned me almost pescatarian (that’s fish-eater to me and you!) – I feel stronger for it. I’ve got used to the new Pete and I’m content with bugger all! I know what that REALLY means now!

For the last 7 years almost, I’ve spent most nights in the gym, getting my body to work again. The gym is my church for mental and physical health and once I walked in there nothing else in life mattered. Just me, the music and my obsessive mission to be strong again!

3 months ago, I joined Surge Gym, Clarkson. I’ve never lived so close to a gym before -ever so have taken that as a sign from the force above.

I dare to believe I can be a body builder!

Yes I know. I thought I’d just stop and get on with my life -,but working out has become my life now and I need to see just how far I can push this battle-worn carcass of mine!

I recently met this Personal trainer in Surge called Warren who’s taken me under his wing. Sadly, when he was 20, his mother was cruelly taken away from him with a stroke. .
You know when you’re being guided! I swear you’re given signs in this life! But you still have a choice, E

ither follow these signs or just believe in nothing and moan about stuff! As for me, I believe when your cards are dealt you must play the best hand you can!

I might be dead soon, so having fought so hard for the life I have left, I personally want to put my absolute best hand on the table. I’ve realised my curse has become my drive for life and now I’m going for it!

I am doing this for me!

I am doing this for locked-in syndrome survivors!

I am doing this for stroke/brain injury survivors!

I am doing this for everyone who is fighting against the odds!

But most of all, I am doing this because no one believed I could!

WARREN – Let’s show ‘em bro!

 

An ‘In the Blink of an Eye’ Goodbye – from Peter Coghlan

Well, a decision has to be made. I am sick of living on my own and it’s time to make changes……

With my 40th fast approaching, I’m moving in with a friend, putting all my stuff in storage and going on my first ever cruise.

This is the start of a new chapter in my life…..a new beginning…..I’m making it happen! 👊

The pain and suffering in my life has slowly disappeared through hard work, obsessive behaviour and my stubborn belief in a better tomorrow.

I would never have dreamed I’d be taking my mum on a cruise after her radiotherapy treatment.  And after having gone through cancer myself, then brainstem stroke and LIS I reckon we both deserve a break. Thanks to my new job, I saved a bit of money for this amazing treat. Whooohoo!

I feel very proud and lucky to have found the strength to get my body going again – from a blink & 1/2 a millimetre flicker in my right thumb to where I am now!

Although I have further goals to achieve, today’s the day I start living again…after riding the lightning for too bloody long!
“I am ready”👊

This may well be the last ever post on my blog as I move forward with my private life!

I hope anyone else with stroke, ABIs or personal battles can benefit from my story in some way….sometimes ‘evidence-based collective medical information’ can be challenged!  That’s all I wanted to prove and to give others hope.

That being said I’m so proud of the medical system and the first class treatment I received to give me a chance to rise again. Do not confuse this with a cure; it’s been bloody hard work! The struggle…the tears …pneumonia…pillow pushing…learning to talk…learning to walk..the endless knocks and falls…learning to drive…work…divorce…education!

I’m now a support worker in disability in the community (think that’s a first from a locked-in syndrome survivor) and who knows where this road will take me!

My obsession from day one has got me here. From waking with no eyesight, hearing the doctors say, “He may need a peg feed – it’s too early to tell,” I refused to accept my fate.

I’ve come out a different man that’s obvious, but I like me now more, I think! I guess I still have confidence issues and a lot more goals to work on, but that’s to be understood. In time I WILL grow even stronger!

Thank you for following my unbelievable story; I hope my life, above all, has peace now.

Before I go off sailing on my well-earned holiday, I’ve had a video made to motivate others.

Finally, whenever you feel alone in this world, and you can’t see a way forward, just think of my story and keep on punching, guys! Focus hard…get obsessive…use your pain and, most of all, “believe in tomorrow”.

AND NEVER GIVE UP 👊

Pete Coghlan signing off, Easter Sunday 2017.  God bless every fighter out there!

Hope you enjoy my video link:

You can still find me on Facebook Facebook.com/petercoghlanintheblinkofaneye or follow me on Twitter @PeterCoghlan1

 

 

 

WA leading the way in medical research!

 

Aquamotion Devotion

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This last month I’ve been pushed to my limits as usual. I actually started sinking after losing half my hearing in my right ear!!  (very frightening indeed). This stems back to my building days a few years before my stroke when an SDS hammer drill was used in a concrete room without warning.

Must admit depression was really trying to get to me! No surprise there – it has nearly pulled me under a few times since I emerged from my quadriplegic state after locked-in stroke.

While retraining at college, I was using my brain for a year and my body wasn’t getting serotonin, making me too tired at the end of the day for a physical workout. I hated that part!

On the plus side, I’ve been getting used to a new support role which is keeping me happy and empowered. But…I really felt the need to join a gym, as I was sinking a bit – somewhere with a rehab pool for my weak calf (it’s still giving me the shits but I’m winning).

Anyway…..I found this new gym near my area called AQUAMOTION in Wanneroo, North Perth, which is perfect for me. As well as a rehab pool, it has new machines, including a chin-up assist with multiple grip positions which just glides smooth as butter and really helps my shoulder.

It has a grinder too! Sounds ominous but that’s just a nickname; it’s actually a hand-pedalling machine.  I’ve worked out that when using two arms on the grinder the strong one takes over, so I’m just pedalling with my weak arm only and holding the seat with my other hand. (I had the same problem on the bike, but no way could I use just one leg on that!!)

I’m so buzzing right now! Joining Aquamotion was just the injection I needed to keep focused and mentally stimulated! (Happy injection 😀)

I’m at a new level of my life recovery now. Holding a job down AND being able to train again! That means I’m back almost back to a regular Joe Bloggs – Or should I say to “a regular Pete Cogs”?

This place will be my new church in future – it’s gonna make me stronger and faster👊

You know you hear about these 12-week challenges at gyms? Well … I’ve just finished my half decade and AQUAMOTION is the start of my SECOND decade!

“AQUAMOTION” I HAVE THE DEVOTION!

Proud to be smashing it in your gym👊

 

 

 

Certificate 3 in Allied Health Assistance

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It’s arrived!!!!

I’ve done it!!

Many said I would never move again!.Others said a high level of care would be needed: ”He may make a few small gains.”

Well….I’m proud to say that I didn’t listen to ANYBODY!!! I just pushed and pushed and never stopped looking forward. Forward-forward-forward!!!!

And here I am with my Certificate 3 in Allied Health Assistance!! Proof, if any were needed that there IS life after Locked-in!

Every millimetre! From getting every spoonful of porridge to my mouth…to pushing pillows in bed with my legs (Wow, that was so hard!)

The first stand…to first step…to over 1,000kms! I wanted Pete back!

Many people left my side, probably a good thing as I was in a different world, a different mind frame!  It’s like adrenaline for years!

All my training and discipline over my life helped, I think – my sense of humour especially 🙂 – though there were more tears than laughter, I promise you that)

But yes!!! I DID IT!!!!!!!! Whoowhooooo!

I think I’m the first man in history (at least in Australia) to have broken out of Locked-in syndrome and bounced back into health care as an Assistant Therapist!

Yet this is no power trip. This is very important….many stroke and brain injury survivors are still in dark places trying to battle their way home.

My message: I can’t give you my strength, as I’ve very little left in life after this, but I have shared my journey from the  start, hoping to prove to you that if you’re 100% committed to getting there, you will make gains. I didn’t even have the new clot-busting drug either!

I pray my story gives fuel and hope around this (sometimes) cruel world!

Remember my words and challenge everything!  Sometimes the experts and people at the top only know what they are taught – just like the rest of us!

Human Will is still the Boss!

Thanks also for a great Health Service, Australia! I urge the government not to cut nurses’ jobs health care costs; from what I can see, the system struggles enough.

God bless all in the health services! My heroes!!

 

Hang tough, Strokies – and Focus!

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When I feel the need to write, nothing matters till the words are down! Today is such a day.

I do sit n cry now and then when I’m alone – and am not ashamed to say so, either. This feeling of gratefulness hits me, memories of trying to swallow litres of spit after my coma and trying to lift my head up too – it was so heavy, like a cannon ball.

I cannot fully express the happiness I feel at the moment. I love having a purpose again!  Working in the community seems to be bringing out the new Pete; working over 20 hours is still a struggle but, all in all, I don’t suffer with fatigue any longer. Insomnia and fatigue was hell for what seemed like forever!!

The company limits my hours for now, and I’m also finishing the last part of my Certificate 3 in Allied Health within the company (thanks to Michelle Jenkins!)

On completing this, I’m very grateful after fighting my way back from locked-in-syndrome, total quadriplegia and speechlessness to getting a Allied Health Certificate 3 and a Community Care Support position.

Now you see why I cry!

My fight to gain millimetre after millimetre for half a decade has made me this new man.  I’m still a bit obsessed there I think, as I can’t stop rotating my wrists or trying to lift my legs in shops.

Know  what I think? I think I like the new me better! The limping,  non-drinking Pete is very, very content, more positive and laughs a bit more – well, a LOT more at  myself, actually! Haha. My life’s slotting back in place in a much more exciting way.

The point of this blog was to say to others with ABIs (Acquired Brain Injuries) or stroke: “No matter how far or how long it takes to achieve the smallest of goals, you must keep trying, and you just never know how far or how much you’ll achieve!

Please!  Focus only on today. If you do this then, one day, tomorrow could surprise you! Be stubborn. Get obsessive. Keep positive. Believe. Keep trying.

Above all, hang tough and focus.

God bless you!

Pete 😎 👊👍

First day on the job – I’m now officially a Community Support Worker

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Quickest blog ever!  I’ve just completed my first day in my support role in the community and am now officially a Community Support Worker…..but you can call me Pete!!

Feeling proud ‘n’ privileged Fisted hand sign
From being comatose, quadripleagic and speechless to having a support role!!
Put that in ya pipe an’ smoke it! Yes!!!!!
Yo Adrian…….i did it Fisted hand sign