Nathan Speaks Up For Men's Health
For men, seeking help and making changes for the better can sometimes seem an insurmountable challenge. Women by contrast, more readily seek healthcare and communicate their needs. For Men’s Health Week we spoke with Nathan who hopes by sharing his experience, he can encourage other men to reach out and seek the support that’s available to them in order to better their lives.
Nathan hasn’t always been comfortable talking about his mental and physical health issues compounded by cerebral palsy and epilepsy since birth. Nathan also suffered a stroke as a result of undergoing brain surgery to cure his epilepsy. Despite this incredible adversity, Nathan has grown more resilient over time and his words “I’m a survivor” certainly ring true.
The limited range of movement in his limbs brings daily challenges, not least the anxiety around falling over and hurting himself badly. But a few years ago, his sister encouraged him to talk to a surgeon and a world of possibilities opened up.
Fast forward to today and Nathan has been out of his hand and wrist splints and guards for four weeks and is healing nicely. “The surgeon was able to increase the range of movement and control in my wrist and hand, so I have more function in it and it sits more naturally open.
“Part of the reason I wanted the surgery was I felt I could protect myself better with an open hand or wrist if I fell because I’ve had balance problems my whole life. Now I hope to be able to utilise the hand in ways I haven’t been able to do for 24 years.
“It could potentially be life-changing but you don’t know what the outcome is going to be when you go into surgery.”
Nathan’s Support Coordinator Tani was there to support Nathan emotionally throughout the lengthy, frustrating wait times when surgery was cancelled twice due to Covid restrictions.
“Tani enabled me to stay focused and positive that my time for the surgery would come.
“Hopefully I can look forward to the future and get back into the workforce where I envision myself to be. Tani suggests she could help with me getting work down the track, and that I could be a Support Coordinator myself, but if I can help just one person today by sharing my experience it will be worth talking about my mental and physical issues.”
In the last three months, Nathan has had the help of an occupational therapist/hand therapist funded by the NDIS. “It’s pretty straightforward, I pay the invoices and forward them to the Pay Manager at Pathways To Care to reimburse.”
The Occupational Therapist and Surgeon are pleased with Nathan’s progress so far. “The surgeon is very happy and she is considering similar surgery for my leg to walk more heel-toe, but that’s in the early stages.”
Nathan’s journey has been a tough one, but with his family’s support and the help of his Support Coordinators at PTC, he tries to keep a positive outlook.
I’ve always been a survivor, no matter how bad things have gotten I find a way forward. For the most part, things do get better.