One woman’s bat­tle back to health to be­come a bride.

She’d been di­ag­nosed with a life-threat­en­ing con­di­tion as a baby, so Bri­ton Kelly Divers, 29, never said no to any­thing in case it was her last chance – that is, un­til her boyfriend pro­posed

Friday - - Front Page -

Rac­ing around the gar­den, grin­ning, I looked like any other happy-golucky seven-year-old. I was what Mum called a ‘ball of energy’, for­ever danc­ing or play­ing. But what most peo­ple didn’t re­alise was that I was ac­tu­ally very dif­fer­ent from most chil­dren.

‘Time for your phys­io­ther­apy,’ Mum called, beck­on­ing me from the back door.

Sigh­ing, I fol­lowed her in­side. Ev­ery day, Mum mas­saged my back and chest to clear mu­cus in my air­ways. I also needed daily med­i­ca­tion and reg­u­lar hos­pi­tal vis­its for check-ups.

It was just nor­mal life to me. That’s be­cause I’d been di­ag­nosed with the life-short­en­ing con­di­tion, cys­tic fi­bro­sis, at just two weeks old.

A ge­netic dis­ease, only half of suf­fer­ers live to their 40th birth­day. It causes in­ter­nal or­gans to be­come clogged with thick mu­cus, re­sult­ing in chronic in­fec­tions and in­flam­ma­tion. As I grew older, I re­alised that time wasn’t on my side, as the con­di­tion could cause rapid health changes.

One day a suf­ferer can be well enough to run a marathon, but the next, they may be too weak to climb stairs. Although I was healthy in my teens, no one knew when – or how dra­mat­i­cally – my con­di­tion would de­te­ri­o­rate. And so I be­came the ‘don’t wait un­til to­mor­row’ girl.

As I en­tered adult­hood, I lived life at top speed. I didn’t want to leave any­thing un­done. So I had a busy so­cial life and went back­pack­ing half­way across the world on my own.

I went to univer­sity to get a de­gree then a mas­ters, hop­ing to be­come a sign lan­guage spe­cial­ist for the deaf. It was dur­ing this pe­riod that I fell in love with my old class­mate, Karl Swift. Luck­ily, he wasn’t fazed by see­ing the jars of pills that I needed ev­ery day.

‘Your con­di­tion or the med­i­ca­tion you have to take don’t mat­ter,’ he told me. ‘I just want to be with you.’

Lots of men would have run a mile at the prospect of dat­ing some­one with such se­ri­ous health is­sues, but not Karl. He was so gen­tle and car­ing but, months into our re­la­tion­ship, we had to swap meals out to­gether for meals in hos­pi­tal af­ter I caught pneu­mo­nia, H1N1, a Me­thi­cillinre­sis­tant Staphy­lo­coc­cus au­reus (MRSA) in­fec­tion and tu­ber­cu­lo­sis, al­most one af­ter the other.

It stopped me in my tracks. I was stuck in hos­pi­tal for more than two months and Karl stayed by my bed­side. ‘Don’t worry, you will be out of here soon,’ he’d say.

NO ONE KNEW when – or how dra­mat­i­cally – my con­di­tion would de­te­ri­o­rate. So I be­came the ‘DON’T WAIT UN­TIL TO­MOR­ROW’ girl

I was so frail doc­tors said I’d need a dou­ble lung trans­plant so that I could breathe prop­erly

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