Nicole was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in December 2009. She tells her story in her own words:
I went to the doctor because I had three cold fingers and that’s when I got the diagnosis. It was devastating. I was a full-time working mother and it seemed like my world had collapsed.
The MS soon progressed and I was living permanently in a chair. This left me homebound and financially it was a disaster. My husband could only work three days a week on reduced hours so he could look after me. Our combined income was reduced to just $30,000.
I couldn’t afford to ever get out, I couldn’t get a wheelchair, couldn’t see my friends. It was just depressing and that’s what I thought life was going to be like for me from then on. Before too long I developed anxiety.
Then the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) arrived. I had my first meeting with Local Area Coordinator (LAC) Katrina from Social Futures in March 2018 and from that moment my life and my family’s life has changed, out of this world. Just amazing.
With assistance from disability services provider Breakthru I was able to hire transport and a support worker to take me out. My first trip out was to Bunnings – can you believe it? Bunnings! And I loved it!
Everyone gets a break
My friends can now come over and take me out for lunch, I have a support worker so my husband can get a break and play golf once a week. I have a cleaner and my kids don’t have to come and look after me. I can go to physio myself in my new powered wheelchair.
Now I’m just so happy and so shocked all at the same time. The NDIS has been life changing. Before the NDIS I couldn’t afford anything, I was sitting in a chair, I was so depressed. I used to do art therapy, I did it for hours and hours and hours. And I thought, that’s all there was. That’s now my life. And that’s all it’s going to be from now on.
My husband – he had to do everything. He was a man trying to style my hair! Now I have help. And now I have a life. I almost have to have a booking diary I am so busy these days!
The physio has also been great. My legs are a bit better now and she has me up doing a few steps. That has helped with my anxiety too.
I was a barmaid for 26 years, I was a really social person. After my MS diagnosis I didn’t visit the supermarket for years, but the other day I went down in my power chair and it took me hours to do the shopping with all the people stopping me to say hello.
Home modifications approved
I’ve just had home modifications approved for a deck and a ramp so I’ll soon be able to get out my front door for the first time in six years. With help from Reita (my new LAC from Social Futures) I’m going to apply for bathroom and laundry modifications so I can even do laundry. We’re looking into car modifications too so I can get my power chair in the car.
It was a rough start with the NDIS because I didn’t understand it. And letting people into my home and my life was challenging, but it’s been lifesaving.
Now I’m sitting on a cushion that’s helping my pain from sitting all the time and that’s also funded by the NDIS. What can I say, other than I love it.
“My first trip out was to Bunnings – can you believe it? Bunnings! And I loved it!” (Nicole)
Nicole’s NDIS supports have helped her:
- Rebuild her social life
- Enjoy quality family time
- Improve her mobility
- Purchase key equipment.
Social Futures is a National Disability Insurance Scheme Partner in the Community.
Our Local Area Coordination services connect participants to the NDIS in regional New South Wales.
To contact your nearest LAC call 1800 522 679
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