Andrea is a wife, mother, worker and friend who was diagnosed during 2004. She is fiercely adamant that despite the diagnosis, “I am still me”.
Following participation in the MS Readathon in primary school and learning about neurological conditions while training to be a registered nurse, little light shone on the real impact of this disease until it presented as an uninvited stranger in this educated woman’s life.
Vague symptoms of foot and facial numbness disappeared as quickly as they appeared. Preliminary testing detected no abnormality, so she headed for England on a working holiday in 1995. There she landed the role of a live-in nurse for nine months to a lady who was severely affected by multiple sclerosis!
Andrea describes her time with her patient as a privilege, where she learnt a lot about living with dignity and strength and the importance of accepting help and how it does not make you weaker, but it gives you choices.
Back in Australia in 1996, life provided marriage, motherhood and an exciting career as Unit Manager in an Aged Care facility and Andrea is still working there to this day.
Numbness again plagued Andrea along with other symptoms during 2003 affecting her hands and feet, with a three month old baby in tow, she was given a definite diagnosis of multiple sclerosis during 2004. With loving family and friends support and good management, Andrea has also studied for her Masters in Aged Care which she completed in 2011.
MS Ambassador Andrea Flenley is an engaging and dedicated ambassador who, in spite of the detour life has taken, continues to say, “I am still me”.