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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Winter 18

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CHLOE’S STORY

CHLOE’S STORY DIETETICS MSWA MEMBER KAREN HUMPHRIES, MSWA DIETIAN “An eye test that changed my life” Chloe Baker is a bright and hardworking 31-year-old who has built her life based on a positive attitude and determination. She was living in New Zealand in 2017, running a cosmetic business with her partner Shaun, when her vision became impaired and she started feeling fatigued. Wrapping up the business in New Zealand and coming home to her family, meant Chloe could focus on her health, and after an eye test that led to an MRI, Chloe was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). “The biggest shock was seeing the lesions on my brain and spine, I wasn’t prepared for that, it was the one time I cried,” said Chloe. Telling her family about the diagnosis was difficult and Chloe’s sister, who is a nurse, was extremely upset. “This was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, you have to be strong and calm when telling your family, but on the inside, you’re still processing what it means for you. My sister and I are very close and naturally she had a lot of questions, some of which I couldn’t answer,” said Chloe. After adjusting to her diagnosis, Chloe’s mum reached out to MSWA on her behalf. That first phone call from the MSWA team was very impactful. To hear a reassuring voice that could answer her questions helped her to not feel so alone. Chloe said, “lucky for me, I have an amazing network of family and friends supporting me, and a dedicated team at MSWA who contribute to ground-breaking research every year.” Life for Chloe is a little different since her diagnosis, monthly infusions can be exhausting but her body is responding positively. Heat intolerance, double vision, fatigue and anxiety are her daily battles, but living a healthy lifestyle is something she now takes seriously, including no alcohol and in bed before 9 o’clock. “If I don’t get a good night’s sleep, the next day can be a struggle. If my body gets hot, it’s ten times worse and I need to close one eye to see where I’m going,” said Chloe. Embracing the everyday challenges, Chloe has started her own blog aptly titled ‘My MS blog’ to help others living with MS to tackle the condition with a positive attitude. Chloe said, “I’m really passionate about promoting my journey with MS in a relatable way. I hope my story can create awareness and encourage people to donate towards funding research. “Life can throw you challenges but with your support I’m ready for them.” MSWA has welcomed two part-time Dietitians to the team. Katie and Karen are excited to join us and are very much looking forward to setting up the Dietetic service and getting out and meeting MSWA Members and staff. Dietitians are university-qualified nutrition experts who promote general health and disease prevention/management through dietary changes. They will work with our Members by assessing nutritional status and dietary intake. They provide dietary counselling, education and advice that is evidencebased and individualised, empowering Members with practical strategies to meet their goals, improve their health, wellbeing and independence. The MSWA Dietitians can assist Members with malnutrition assessments and management, as well as tube feeding support and medical nutrition therapy for chronic diseases (eg Diabetes). Many people with neurological conditions have difficulty receiving adequate nutrition through eating and drinking normally and may therefore need special nutritional supplements or even be fed via a tube (eg PEG/RIG/NGT) using a specially formulated nutritional liquid feed. Dietitians are able to determine how much feed an individual requires and can assist in trouble-shooting any issues that may occur. Did you know – your nutrition can impact a wide range of things from your concentration and food, to your energy levels and immune system? Making sure that you are well nourished will help you to maximise your overall health and strength so that you are better able to perform your daily activities and meet your goals. Meet the Dietitians! Karen Karen graduated from Curtin University with a Masters of Dietetics in 2016. Karen has previously worked with NDIS participants when she worked at Senses Australia. She is a strong advocate for individuals with disability and enjoys working with them to optimise their health and ability to participate in everyday life. She has recently taken six months’ maternity leave and is a mum to two joyful and energetic young boys. She has a love of all things food and health, you will often find her eating or in the kitchen preparing the next meal. Karen (R) and Katie (L) Katie Katie also graduated from Curtin University with a Master of Dietetics in 2016. Prior to joining the team at MSWA she worked in a range of different medical areas at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. She has a strong passion for neurology, which began while she was running the neurology dietetics clinic at the Hospital. She grew up in the South West on her family’s farm surrounded by avocados, vines, cows, sheep, goats and chickens and moved to the City to pursue her interest in human biology and nutrition. She is a big foodie and believer in enjoyment and balance when it comes to eating – food is so much more than a collection of nutrients! 12 | MSWA BULLETIN WINTER 2018 MSWA BULLETIN WINTER 2018 | 13

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