NDIS funding has Rosemary functioning at her best

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Tasmanian NDIS participant, Rosemary Ellicott said now she’s on the NDIS and receiving supports her quality of life has significantly improved after a rare cancer left her with a permanent disability.

The 62-year-old Oakdowns resident said through her NDIS plan she now receives funding for fortnightly physio, chiropody, a house cleaner, a gardener and receives support with meals, which she is extremely grateful for now she has difficulty doing tasks on her own.

Three teenagers are standing behind a couch. On the couch there are 3 children and a toddler who is sitting on an adult's lap. They're all smiling at the camera.

At age 53, Rosemary was diagnosed with osteosarcoma of the left humerus bone.

“My doctor said it is a rare cancer to get at that age, and at the time there was only about 25 Australians known to have had it in that age group, but because of that I had to have a double dose of chemotherapy, and I ended up with peripheral neuropathy,” she said.

The condition means Rosemary’s nerves malfunction, causing weakness, numbness and pain in her hands and feet. A titanium rod was inserted into her left arm to support her humerus bone, but it means she can’t lift her arm past her breast bone.

“There’s lots of little everyday things I can’t do anymore because I’ve got pins and needles in my hands and feet 24/7,” she said.

“With neuropathy, the sensory signals I would normally get, touching hot, cold, or something sharp, are blocked so I have to be careful and think about what I’m about to do.

“It’s also affected my balance. Some days my legs and hands ache so much I fall over. It’s a horrible thing to have. I’ve ended up with tremors, but we’ve got them under control.”

Rosemary said when her doctor ran tests, he found the left side of her body was weaker than her right, and having to lean to compensate for soreness has now affected her hip.

“The NDIS has really, really helped me a lot,” she said. “My Mission Australia Local Area Coordinator, Helen Young, has just been fantastic. I’m getting fortnightly physio on my arm and now I’m getting it on my hip, and with all the other supports I’m feeling so much better.

“Given all the falls I’ve had too, my ankles are now weaker, so I was able to book in to see a chiropodist. He ordered me two pairs of $600 orthotics to put in my shoes. I’d never be able to afford those on my own.

“Now, I can go out and get some suitable shoes instead of having to wear runners all the time when I go out.”

Rosemary said another positive outcome of being on the NDIS is she no longer has to ask her family to do jobs for her around her house.

“Now I can get it all done, and we can sit down as a family and enjoy more quality time with each other, without me feeling guilty about having to ask for things to be done.”