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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Autumn 2020

A fresh look for NDIS support We’re all in this together – a message from our CEO Myth busting the stigma of attending counselling Food matters

EMPOWERED TO LIVE WELL

EMPOWERED TO LIVE WELL Rebekah Marche’s life has been filled with ups and downs since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) 15 years ago, but her positivity, vigilant care of her health, and support from her family and MSWA has given her strength to enjoy every day. “MSWA has been a lifeline for me,” Rebekah said. “They have been there for me every step of the way. “The support is phenomenal, and I can’t stress enough that reaching out to them is one of the best things to do if you are diagnosed with a neurological condition.” Rebekah, now 57, was an aspiring actor, attending Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in the mid-80s. Looking back on this time, she realises something was not right. “I was always injuring myself. I’d say this was the beginning of my MS.” Rebekah developed a persistent headache and her vision started to blur. She visited a chiropractor who told her to see a doctor. A neurologist at Royal Perth Hospital began tests. “I was told it could be a brain tumour, so when I was diagnosed with progressive MS, I was actually happy!” But then her symptoms worsened. “Everything went haywire – my sense of taste disappeared, and parts of my body went numb. But thankfully, steroids stopped these symptoms immediately.” Rebekah’s neurologist recommended she contact MSWA straight away, which she did. “I accessed everything they had to offer, and it made the most amazing difference.” An MSWA nurse taught her how to inject her medication and she attended speech therapy, counselling, sound therapy and mindfulness at MSWA Wilson Services Centre. “Group counselling sessions particularly, gave me such confidence talking to others and I was able to learn from others’ lived experiences.” When her children were young, Rebekah regularly attended the MSWA camps and now, she enjoys them on her own. “I love the camps – they were invaluable when my kids were little as they gave them a good grasp of what it means to have MS. I still go now that they’ve grown up as it gives me a break and a chance to be around people who understand what it’s like to have the condition. “You may not see the other attendees for a year, but it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to explain anything to them. Listening to other people’s situations puts yours into perspective.” Rebekah is unable to do many of the activities she used to do before her diagnosis. She had to leave her work and has modified her hobby of making cake decorations into creating porcelain roses, in keeping with her home and garden which are filled with beautifully scented roses. Rebekah Marche and MSWA Physiotherapist, James Beckett. She can no longer drive and experiences sensory overload, memory issues and weakness in her legs. “Some days, it’s such an effort to get from one spot to the next so I might need a wheelchair or a walker, it just depends on the day.” The next step is for Rebekah to work with MSWA to help her to apply for an NDIS plan. “It’s taken all this time to accept that I have MS, but by looking after myself and with support from my family, friends and MSWA, I feel empowered to live a fabulous life.” To find out more about MSWA’s services and support, call us on 9365 4888 or visit mswa.org.au/support-services 30

HAVE YOUR SAY – BE PART OF OUR FEEDBACK COMMUNITY As a valued Member or Client, your opinion is important for our organisation to continue to meet your needs and provide you with outstanding services and support. Please opt in or out of the Feedback Community here: https://bit.ly/mswa-feedback We would love to be able to connect with you from time to time to gain your feedback on how we do things, what matters to you, and how you live with your neurological condition. With our growing focus on research, our local researchers also sometimes need to talk to our Members and Clients and seek feedback to help them with their important work. This feedback is usually obtained by online survey or phone survey. We sometimes also run face to face focus groups, which we may invite you to attend after you have engaged with us about a topic via email or phone. If you are you happy to be part of our feedback community, or you would like to opt out of being contacted, please visit the web address above and we will record your preference. If relevant, could you please also take a moment to update the contact details we have for you? You can do it via the link above or you can contact us at customerservice@mswa.org.au. We thank you in advance for your support of the work we do at MSWA. 31

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