Hi, I’m Nicolette, and with support from MSWA I am ready to climb my Everest.
Nicolette has been living with MS since 2010.
Nicolette used to love to run, she would get up early in the morning and hit the gym to clear her mind. This came to a halt after she collapsed from exhaustion one day. Confused as to why her body couldn’t keep up with her usual exercise regime, she decided to have a break from running. This is Nicolette’s first memory of MS, which was not diagnosed until 11 years later.
Nicolette explains that she was by herself when the MRI confirmed her Relapsing Remitting MS (RRMS). “A phlebotomist found me crying whilst waiting for some further tests and he told me to research Betty Cuthbert. I’ll always be thankful for that advice as she had achieved so much whilst living with MS. It gave me confidence to accept my diagnosis,” said Nicolette.
Nicolette believes her MS symptoms were brought about during a stressful period of her life, including relocating to Perth from the UK. These initial symptoms were loss of fine motor skills in her hands and feet and difficulty doing domestic activities around the home. Since receiving her diagnosis, this bubbly single mum had to face many challenges, but has handled them with courage and positivity.
When Nicolette reached out to MSWA, she felt a sense of relief that she would receive support for herself and her family. She said “I‘m raising two sons and doing it alone can be hard, but MSWA’s support has grown every year. It’s a weight off my shoulders and I feel like I’m alright, it’s not so scary.” She currently accesses physiotherapy, occupational therapy, nursing, counselling, speech therapy and domestic support.
“MSWA always has time for me, and their kindness makes me feel a part of the community. My domestic supporter is considered a part of our family now, and my sons, Sebastian and Nathaniel think she’s magic. Literally ‘magic’ – all she’s missing is a wand! We would be lost without her,” she said.
Nicolette accesses the $8 million MSWA Facility in Butler, which opened in early 2019. “It’s so convenient to have this facility just over the road. It saves my petrol, parking costs and having to walk far. Having professionals on-hand is a godsend,” Nicolette said.
Symptoms that currently affect Nicolette are the lack of ability to walk without an aid, loss of fine motor skills, fatigue and heat intolerance. Not one to be held back by obstacles, she’s been able to adjust gradually.
“As soon as I was given a walker, I could take my kids down to the park again and watch them play. This independence has made a huge difference. I feel determined to provide a wonderful life for my sons and, so far, I feel I have.”
Nicolette hosts her own YouTube channel, Alright!withMS, documenting her journey with MS. She hopes other people with the condition can find some comfort in her stories and reach out to her as a mentor.
“I feel lucky that I got to meet my own mentor, Bear Grylls, several years ago. I first heard about him when my children and I started watching his show - Man vs. Wild. Here was this posh British bloke eating bugs and grubs for entertainment.”
Through research, Nicolette learned of his skydiving accident, and that he was told he wouldn’t walk again. Bear proved them wrong and a year later climbed Mount Everest. His story gave Nicolette hope and resonated strongly with her life managing her MS symptoms.
“We got to meet Bear at his Perth event and he and I wrote to each other for a couple of years,” Nicolette said.
Not only does Nicolette believe she will live to see a cure for MS, she feels like she is one of the lucky ones. “Living with MS has forced me to make some life changing decisions, but my family and I have reaped many opportunities from them. We love that we can join in the Outreach camps offered by MSWA which offers quality time with my sons, and we get to meet amazing people.”
“For a London girl to have ended up in WA, where the sun always shines and I have access to so much help, I truly believe I’m in the right place at the right time, and that anything is possible. One day I will be walking on a beach with my sons without my walking aid.”
If you'd like to find out how MSWA can support people living with a neurological condition, call us on 1300 097 989 or fill in the below form.