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
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