A few years ago, Tammy Murray reached the point where she thought she would be forced to move out of her own home.
The long-term Forbes resident was becoming increasingly isolated, living with Devic’s disease, an autoimmune condition, which led to progressive weakening of the legs and hands, and vision impairment.
“It came on about ten years ago when I was in my mid-30s,” Tammy said.
“I thought it was just a pinched nerve, until one day I collapsed on my front steps and wound up in hospital.
“I was fortunate enough to be seen by a neurologist who had experience of the condition – too often it gets misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis.”
Tammy’s condition continued to worsen, and she had to stop teaching music and working as an office manager for a friend’s business.
“Luckily I have a lot of support from my Uniting Church congregation which helped me through the worst times.”
A couple of years ago, Tammy joined the NDIS and is now receiving better support.
“My Local Area Coordinator, from NDIS Partner Social Futures, Belinda Separovic, has been great with referrals and emotional support.
“There have been rough patches where I’ve had to contact her a lot, and she always tries to find the answer for me.
“With my first plan I was able to access occupational therapy and physiotherapy. The occupational therapist helped me get my first-ever electric wheelchair, which I really needed. The physiotherapist designed a proper exercise regime for me – heaps better than the online exercises I had been trying to follow.
“My second plan now includes 20 hours of funded support every week, so I’ve been able to employ four support workers. They provide personal care, clean my house, maintain my garden and will soon be able to take me out for community activities.”
Now Tammy has enough support to stay in her home and she’s hoping to get back to work.
“I teach piano, guitar and drums, but realistically I don’t have the energy to get back to what I used to do. However, now I have support it would be nice to teach at least a few clients.
“With help from my physiotherapist, I’m also hoping to regain at least some mobility. But mostly, I’m just very happy feeling safe and secure in my own home.”