My name is Michael Thorpe and I have worked as a Counsellor and Consultant within the addiction treatment services for over thirty-five years.
Five years ago, on our 10th wedding anniversary my wife, Amanda, was diagnosed with diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis and told, in quick succession, that she would never return to work and needed immediate treatment. When leaving the consultation I considered how serious this diagnosis really was and how were we going to cope with it.
As part of our coping strategy we went on a search to find others who would understand this rare disease and what we were each experiencing as a person with the disease and as the care giver. It became clear that while the sufferer was rightly preoccupied with managing the disease itself, the symptoms, medications and so forth the care giver was muddling on alone without help because they were unaware that there was any.
In both my professional and volunteer work I have been involved in the development of care giver services. Listening to the needs of the care giver and getting alongside them is something I am passionate about because, I too, am a care giver. I believe it’s a privilege to be involved with others who, like me, need someone who understands their challenges which are psychological, sexual, emotional and downright painful. Thanks to the International Scleroderma Network care givers can now have their voice heard, they have something important to say and the right to say it.
I have started a blog entitled, “Stop the Rollercoaster!” in which I’ll talk about my experience as a care giver in the hope that it will encourage and support others.
As well as being a care giver I acquired an Advanced Diploma in Person Centred Counselling and an honours degree in Addiction Management. I have also trained in Humanistic, Systemic and Psycho Dynamic counselling. My email address is [email protected].
Michael Thorpe (Amanda's husband) has joined us as an ISN Sclero Forums Blogger. He has started a blog entitled, “Stop the Rollercoaster!” in which he will talk about his experience as a care giver, in the hope that it will encourage and support others. (Also see:How to Volunteer) Posted 06/06/12.
Reading Voices of Scleroderma Books: Diana Kramer.
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