I currently live in Bothwell Tasmania with my partner Patrick, my two children Elly 10 and Billy 7, and Patrick’s daughter Jasmin 18. I have lived in Bothwell since March 2014.
When I was in grade 5 (10-11 years old, 1993) I started showing signs of HSP. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was in my mid-teens. The worst part for me in the start was the teasing at school. I was embarrassed to go places when I was teenager, felt like people would stare.
At age 19 I started using elbow crutches to help with walking as my ankles became weak and I would fall. I felt more confident in public using crutches as people wouldn’t stare as bad and would assume I sprained or broken my leg. I didn’t use them all the time or sometimes just used one.
In 2007 I decided I needed to get my license to help get around as I was a single mum with not much help with my two children. I had to be assessed by an Occupational Therapist to drive and was assessed as be able to drive with hand controls. By May 2008 I had my Ps and driving around in my car fitted with hand controls, which changed my life and gave me freedom.
The start of 2012 I went along to wheelchair basketball at Ulverstone to see if I liked it and have been doing it ever since. It is a great way to get out, get exercise and socialize. Since moving to Bothwell I have been going to Moonah and playing wheelchair basketball.
Around the age of 29 (2011) I put on 20kg from feeling depressed and not getting out, and from the weight gain needed to use crutches full time. Around November 2012 I was assessed for a wheelchair via the hospital Occupational Therapist department and approved by the end of December. I loan a wheelchair and shower stool, which I pay $50 per year in total for thru the North West Community Equipment Scheme. I had to wait til March 2013 for the wheelchair which now (August 2014) I use every day. I find everyday tasks less tiring now than what it would be like walking using crutches and I can do more with my children.
There is no one else in my family with HSP and my children haven’t shown any signs or symptoms of HSP.