Hi everyone, my name is Jess and I am a 26 year old art student from Sydney, NSW. I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) just days after Christmas in 2005 while I was living and working (and travelling) in the UK. Of course it came as a shock but I'd been feeling so awful for days (I was found to have Pneumonia and Pleurisy first, which led to the discovery of the ALL) and I almost expected something was very wrong. I coped suprisingly well for the first few months of horribly painful treatments and my boyfriend abandoning me because he "didn't sign up for this" - until a fungus in the air got into my lungs and soon travelled to my brain. Cerebral Aspergillosis ensued and while doctors were trying to treat the infection I was put into an induced coma. When they withdrew sedation after two weeks, and I wasn't waking up, doctors told my mother (who was in the UK already) to call any other relatives to come over because they gave me a less than 5% chance of survival. I don't think I fought consciously, but perhaps instinctively. I spent 3 months in a neurorehabilitation hospital re-learning how to do everything - walk, talk, swallow, type...everything has had to be re-learned, the synapses in my brain having to be re-wired to obtain normal function. But there were people in that hospital who would never walk again, people who would spend the rest of their lives like that and I refused then and there to be broken like that! Even now - I can do most things, but every now and then I have to remind myself to blink, take a breath - sometimes I even forget for a second, how to tie my shoelaces or which hand my watch goes on...until it clicks and I remember again. It's been a very long and frustrating journey that I've had to walk alone, but it had to be walked. I am too stubborn to have just given up! I have a lot of medical 'repercussions' from my cancer and its treatment and sometimes the obstacles I still face seem insurmountable, but I can't see any other way to go so it's onwards and upwards for me now. I hope to meet a lot of new people through this site and share experiences - to make new and lasting friendships.
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