Hi, my name is Wendy and I am ready to continue practicing positive thinking and gratitude.
Wendy Wilson first met her husband, Neville, when she was 13. Their story spans five decades. In their twenties, they led a rich and exciting life in New Zealand, racing cars and jet boats. They got married and had two daughters, Tracey and Laura.
It was 1994 when Wendy and Neville took a big leap: moving to Perth, Western Australia. Two years after the move, in the height of summer, Wendy noticed her feet were freezing cold.
“I went to my GP and was shocked to be sent to the neurologist. Eventually I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS (RRMS).”
“It’s a shattering diagnosis,” says Wendy. It was 1996 and Wendy recalls that there was still a lack of knowledge at that time.
“Even though I’d been working as a nurse, I could only name what I knew about MS on one hand.”
Wendy describes how people’s reactions varied. “At work, one lass burst into tears. I often found myself trying to make it easier for everyone else.”
Wendy and her family managed her condition at home for many years, but in 2014 made the decision for Wendy to move in to MSWA supported accommodation at Fern River. It was a huge decision, but Wendy says she doesn’t look back.
She relocated to the new MSWA Butler facility when it opened in 2019.
The high support accommodation facility in Butler is purpose-built for people living with neurological conditions like Wendy. Residents have their own self-contained unit, with a private patio, as well as shared communal areas where they can socialise. All with onsite 24-hour, 7-day a week care.
Not only is Wendy’s new home closer to her family, it also has a Services Centre next door where she accesses physiotherapy and social support.
She and Neville speak every day. He is working on the mines these days and she says she is thankful he’s up there.
“He’s not someone who takes respite, so going away for work is good for him. We’re closer than ever.”
Wendy is affected most by neuropathic pain and loss of function – she is unable to walk. She says the hardest thing about her MS diagnosis was the impact on family and the day-to-day challenges of care. She is grateful to now be in supported accommodation, where the staff have become a different sort of family for her.
“There is a ‘can do’ attitude at Butler. You couldn’t get more dedicated staff.”
Wendy herself is a strong believer in positive thinking and gratitude.
“As you progress along the MS journey, you need to come to terms with it as quickly as you can, adjust to how things are now. When you’re in bed and can’t get out yourself, one minute can feel like one hour, especially if you’re in pain. Your mindset is so very important.”
Wendy enjoys gardening and is a skilled floral artist. Her arrangements decorate the communal areas at Butler. She particularly delights in having her family come to visit her in her apartment.
“My husband and girls come to visit me at Butler and they know I’m well looked after. If they’re happy, I’m happy. I’m pretty lucky.”
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.