First-class result for Alison
Successfully completing a university masters degree is hard enough but it is nigh impossible when battling a painful brain condition at the same time.
So our congratulations go to Alison Stiles Johnson who picked up her Msc in Tourism and Events at the recent Academic Awards at the Stadium of Light.
Alison had just started her Masters Degree course when she received life-changing news.
After enduring months of pain, including speech problems and stroke-like symptoms, the 44-year-old was eventually diagnosed as suffering from Chiari Malformation, a condition where the lower part of the brain pushes down into the spinal canal.
While waiting for a major operation at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, Alison even travelled to New York as part of her degree course.
On March 13, 2017, Alison underwent her operation, in which surgeons removed a section of her skull, going through muscle before helping ‘uncork’ the trapped area.
She remained in hospital for five days before having three months of recuperation at home and although the operation was considered a success, she is not free from the condition and has to manage on a day-to-day basis, using pain-numbing medication.
“From day-to-day I have to cope with a lot of pressure behind my eyes, numbness in my arms and legs, pressure build-up on my neck and swelling of my eyelids,” she said.
During this time, Alison’s studies were put on hold. She had managed to complete the first module of her MA but her illness meant she would have to take time out, and she was grateful for the help she received from the university until she could go back to complete her work.
And she even managed to marry partner Michael at a ceremony in Italy this year.
All in all, it’s been a firstclass result for Alison.