Sarah Norman (2005)

 In Survivor stories

My name is Sarah Jane Norman. Having celebrated my 40th birthday in July 2004, I assumed that life was settled. I was working in a profession I loved, was happy, healthy and fit and I rode my horse a couple of times a week, I have a wonderful husband and two wonderful children, beautiful girls aged four and six at the time.

Suddenly one day in November 2004, I experienced excruciating pain, ranging from backache to a very painful abdomen. After numerous tests, I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. What a shock – my doctor immediately initiated chemotherapy treatment and I spent my first Christmas in Constantiaberg Clinic in the isolation ward of the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit.

I was in and out of hospital over the following few months.

I had my life-giving stem cell transplant in July 2005, 28 days after my birthday.  I am now blessed to celebrate two birthdays in July, and it has been a long, slow process to become as strong as I am today.

I had some funny times and some sad times, some scary times and some painful times. My weight dropped to only 40kgs but am now very pleased to be back to my normal 60kg mark.  I was in and out of hospital for two years and six months.  My beloved husband is an angel.

I picked up a virus in December 2005 and had to spend my second Christmas in hospital. Then in mid-2006, I contracted a virus that attacked my pelvic area and I lost most of the use of my legs and found myself back in hospital.  After a long recovery period, I am riding my horse again and although I have an achy body, I’m doing very well.

I go to a local gym twice a week, which helps strengthen my muscles and loosen the joints and I also ride my horse twice week, sometimes more often, depending on how my body is feeling.

I take each day as it comes and each moment in time to live in the present, the now, the calm and the happiness of being alive and with my beloved family.