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.
9 Comments
Not applicable
HI Little one..I am sure you will climb all mountains on your journey and reach the top..the pathway's have been steep for you.. but i can see you are a climber. Live Laugh Love From Livey
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Frequent Contributor
Hello, Welcome to the forum. Wow, what a fighter you are, good on you. I wish you well with all your future aspirations and of course your health.
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Contributor
Hi Jess, Welcome to our family. You've had a big fight on your hands & won. I'm sure you will keep on winning. A great story to inspire others. Keep us updated on your progress. Take care, Merkel
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Not applicable
Hi Jess, Your story is so amazing!! And shows your fighting spirit. Who ever would have through that stubborness could be such a good thing! Look forward to getting to know you. Courtney
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Occasional Contributor
Wow, thank you to Livey, Bev, Merkle and Courtney for your lovely ego-boosting comments - it's great to "meet" you all and I look forward to chatting with you all further. When I can manage to dig myself out from under the pile of Art History textbooks, I will be able to throw myself fully into your wonderful community, but right now, uni beckons!
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Contributor
wow what a story and what fighter you are. With this behind, you could take onthe world although I suspect like many of us, you may just want to enjoy life each day at a time. Thanks
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Deceased
Hi there What a story! WE don't sign up for a lot of things - losing people we thought were good friends. Infections from agents that normally aren't considered dangerous but in our weakened state become life threatening. You have had a lot thrown at you, but you have hung in there. Years ago one of my oncologist made the comment that I seemed to be coping - my response was 'I'm not coping, but I am managing' Thta seems to be what you are doing - so keep on managing. Sailor
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Cancer Council NSW
Hi Jess, What a story full of strength and resilience. We are honoured that you have shared that with us. Good luck with the study and I look forward to hearing more from you, Cheers, Mags
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Occasional Contributor
And to think...I just gave you all the edited version, so as not to frighten potential new friends!
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