Episode 16. Adapting Chronic Illness Support Systems for Relocation

Apr 23, 2024



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Hey there, Teisha here and welcome to episode 16 of Wellbeing Interrupted. If you've been listening to previous episodes, or if you've looked on Hurdle2Hope®  on Instagram, you will know that crazy times are upon us at the moment. We're packing up our house down at the beach and moving to our beautiful new property in central Victoria, which is a state in Australia.

One of the biggest decisions I've had to make—or a number of decisions, I guess—has been in relation to making the move to a place about two and a half hours away. And what I'm going to do in relation to my existing support network. I think sometimes, the thought of moving away is so scary that it stops us from making decisions which I know this decision to move is 100% right for my wellbeing. But it's scary because all of a sudden, the supports I've built over the last decade, may or may not be able to be part of my future.



Navigating Chronic Illness with an Established Support Network


So to move or not to move? A few people have, I know, questioned or thought about what I am doing in relation to moving because I do—I've got an amazing support network around me. In terms of medical support, I've got an incredible oncologist, a great general practitioner, a really good surgeon—though she's taken my two boobs so no more to take. That's all right, a really amazing neurologist. So that's, you know, medically in relation to my conditions and diseases of MS and stage four breast cancer.

Then to keep me moving, I've built up incredible allied health professionals. I've got an amazing neuro physio who visits me every week at home. And that's been invaluable, that support. I have a speech therapist. As I've shared in previous episodes, my voice is getting heaps better, but still not perfect as a result of muscle tension dysphonia. So that was the outcome of the trauma I've been through for the last few years. And I see a speech therapist and go through different exercises to get my voice working. And she's doing a good job because I'm doing this podcast, which is amazing.

I also see an osteopath regularly who has really helped me with cranial osteo, which is more energy work as well as normal osteopathy. I'm not very technical in the way I describe things, but you know, to help me with muscular soreness and keeping me aligned, because my body does go through a lot with MS. I am in a bit of pain. And so I need to work on my body a lot.


 And I'm trying to think of who else I have. Yeah, and I also see an amazing energy healer because for me part of keeping well is being proactive with my wellbeing and also exploring natural therapies.

So I think that basically covers my network, but also incredible family close by. My parents live very close by, only about five minutes around the corner. So it's a big move away from them, as well as friends I have in the area as well. So, with all of that being said, I guess I can understand why some people don't necessarily say it to my face, but I know they are wondering why we're moving away from such amazing supports.


Re-envisioning Support Networks for Chronic Illness Management


But as I also talk about, once you quiet your mind, once you really learn to be guided by your intuition, then a decision like this one is made so much more easily, because I know that the most important thing I can do for my healing—so if I want to stay in remission with my cancer, if I want to keep improving my strength, and keep getting better with MS—this move is what I need. And I just know that to be true. So with that being the case, if this move is to happen, and it is happening, we're packing up and will be out of this house within a couple of weeks, then I need to work out how to continue having a support network when we move. You may be faced with a similar challenge. It is scary because you do need to be supported when dealing with life-changing illnesses. If you don't feel that support, then that's when our health suffers, and everything becomes really stressful and overwhelming because we're doing it alone.


Part of this move means most of the decisions I've made; my neurologist is amazing, I see him only a couple of times a year. From our new place to where he is, it's only a two-hour drive. I know years ago when I was living in Bendigo, I used to drive to Melbourne, which was two hours plus lots and lots of traffic. So I've decided two hours on country roads isn't too bad. I'm wanting to do that because I also know that post-COVID, telehealth has become a possibility. And that option does enable us to stay connected with health practitioners that might be a little further away. So I'll definitely still be seeing him. I also have an infusion every six months for MS. I'll still go and have that infusion; we'll stay at my parents or we've got a canopy on the back of the ute. So Andrew says we'll just drive down; he can sleep in the back of the ute and then drive me back because I can't drive after having the infusion because it makes me very sleepy. So that's MS medically dealt with.


Next is cancer. And that decision for me has also been made to stay with my existing oncologist. Whether that is the case in two or three years' time, I'm not sure. But for now, she's been absolutely amazing. I'm in remission, and I want to stay that way; that connection with her has been incredible. I see her every three months, I have a treatment which I can drive after every three months, and a PET scan every six months. So for now, I'll stay with her, and we'll just see what happens. Depending on if I stay in remission for quite a while, then yeah, we might explore seeing someone else closer by. But it's such a full-on illness; I don't want to mess with that. So I want to stay in remission for as long as possible. So at the moment, we're going to commit to that. And as we've said, even if it means a hotel room every few months, if that's what's needed, well, so be it. That's what we'll do.


Next is all of these incredible allied health services that I've had surrounding me. And I know I have to keep up with them. But it's not practical every week to see my beautiful physio, so very sad that I won't be seeing her as often. But if I'm ever down at mum and dad's, I can definitely catch up with her and have a session. We can also—we're setting up a gym in one of the sheds on our new property—and I can have some Zoom sessions with her just to check given that she knows my body so well, to check that I'm doing things right, so that's one way we can stay connected. And also, she can help refer me to another physio in the area, my speech therapist, I can continue to see which is amazing. We can do that via Teams. So I can continue seeing her every six weeks or so, then my incredible energy healer. And I can still see her using Zoom for connections. She's also my business coach, as well. And we have regular Zoom sessions. And the good thing for me is, she has a holiday getaway, which is not far from our new property. So if we ever need face-to-face sessions, then I can see her there.



Final Reflections on Relocating with Chronic Illness


So that has been my thought process with this move. And I wanted to share it with you because we don't want our health conditions stopping us from embracing change. But we also need to be a bit methodical, working out what is best for our health. And for me, I know that I need all the supports that I've established, but some of the way that I receive those supports needs to change. And I need to make new connections as well. What is good about how far I've come over the years is, I know that I will connect to the right people that will provide the support I need. I was confident in that when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, and I connected to incredible people, I knew no one in this whole world of cancer. But my surgeon, my doctor, my oncologist have got me through such difficult times that that again has given me confidence that I will be connected to who I need to be in this next stage of our life. And instead of fearing that, I want to get excited by that, because there are so many new opportunities that wait. And I know just being surrounded by nature in our block will help me to heal. And I get emotional when I think about that and loss for words because I just am so convinced this is where I need to be. And I feel so at peace when I'm there, that getting all the supports around me will happen.


And in terms of family, you know, we'll still regularly be catching up with family when we build our proper house up there, we'll be building an attached sort of unit there for mum and dad so they can come and go whenever they want, will have our units there for friends and other family members to come and visit. I think we'll be setting up a bit of a commune, so I think really, we will be surrounded by so many more friends and family and feel so connected that both Andrew and I will really benefit from this move.


So like last week's episode, this is another quick one because I'm still surrounded by boxes and not getting stressed. Try and stay very calm because stress is not good for our bodies. So I'm meditating every morning. I'm practising deep breathing, I'm trying to in between the boxes, find a spot for my mat so I can do my physio exercises. But I still wanted to stay connected with you and give you a bit of an update. Connect with me on Instagram at Hurdle2Hope® with the number two. And I'll share some of the behind-the-scenes of us making this massive move. And I hope some of what I've quickly shared do you find helpful, and I'd love you to connect with me. By DMing me, that's a bit hard to say when you need a speech therapist. But DM me at Hurdle2Hope® if you're going through something similar and be overwhelmed about setting up a new network or if you're having a new diagnosis and dealing with that at the moment. I'll put in the show notes and some blogs I've got as well about building your support network. Enjoy your day. I'll continue packing and sorting and throwing things out. And I look forward to chatting next week. Bye



Are You Ready to Reclaim Your Life?

If you are living with a health challenge or supporting a loved one who is the good news is...

You can start your own Hurde2Hope® journey today by accessing this FREE on-demand MindsetMasterclass.

In it, you'll discover the exact three mindset shifts that have empowered me in my life with MS and now stage 4 breast cancer.

I'm so excited to share these insights with you! ❤️🧡💚