I care for my amazing husband, David. I met him at the end of 2014 and although he had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), he was functioning fairly normally apart from some memory issues and nerve pain. We had a whirlwind romance and were married in August 2015. Knowing that he had MS, I was prepared for the probability of become his carer at some point, but was NOT prepared for how soon that would become a reality. On 8 November 2015, David had a massive bleeding stroke which has left him with significant limitations down his left side.
He never regained any feeling and so he has had to re-learn how to sit, stand and walk without being able to feel where his body is and uses a wheelchair most of the time. He can only do some basic things with his left hand (like hold a rail) and suffers continual nerve pain and stiffness in his face and jaw, as well as fatigue, especially when rain is about.
Thankfully, David is still the same intelligent, funny, kind and motivated man I married! He has not been affected cognitively and is able to speak well even though it is tiring for him to chat for a long time. We have many friends both as a couple and individually – some have stayed, some have gone and others have come into our lives. David inspires them all with his positive attitude and desire to encourage and motivate whoever he meets.
One thing I have struggled with is juggling all of my “balls” and keeping them in the air, as I am not a natural multitasker! I am wife, carer, mother (to my teenage daughter living at home) as well as more recently having a new ball called “my own life.” I find it hard to constantly shift my focus between each of these roles and the last four years have been a huge learning curve for me!
Thankfully, David received a support package from NDIS about two years ago. I have taken a step back from some things and he has regained some independence, pursuing his own interests and hobbies with support. He has also encouraged me to do some things for myself. Probably the best thing I have done over the last two years is getting fit and losing weight! Twice per week we go to the gym/pool together and I do an aqua aerobics class and coffee with friends and David does his workout with a Support Worker. I am also studying (finishing a course I started pre-stroke), working a couple of hours per week (as a support worker of course!) and have joined the worship band at church. My life is busy and challenging at times, but full. Actually it is the best it has been for a very long time.
Being a carer has opened up a whole new world to me. More importantly this new world comes with wonderful people that we have gotten to know and love. New opportunities to understand the needs of carers and people with disabilities, to get alongside them and encourage them to lead the best lives they can live. I love seeing my husband find new passions and ways to contribute to the lives of others.
I have found incredible support from our friends, in particular those within our church community. And when I am at my lowest it is my loving and faithful God who gets me through.