I was married in 2007, aged 25. Children were absolutely part of my Plan A. I’d grown up in a small, but close family and wanted the same for our next generation. My marriage ended a year later, so my plans to settle down were put on the back burner and instead I focused all of my energies on Plan B - climbing the career ladder in the job that I loved. It paid off, for a while...


In June 2011, aged 29, I was diagnosed with transfusion dependent Non-Severe Aplastic Anaemia with a PNH clone. My body was all of a sudden unable to produce enough blood to keep me alive; I was seriously ill. Plan B came to a shuddering halt. Now what was I going to do? I didn’t have a Plan C…

I spent a year in and out of hospital, I had two rounds of (rabbit) ATG treatment and the usual cocktail of drugs to go with it. I gained almost a stone in weight.  When I returned to work, somebody looked at my swollen stomach and asked if I’d been off to have a baby. I just laughed and said, ‘No, I’ve been on steroids, they make me fat!’. The baby bit was part of Plan A. Plan A was long gone.

My life over time and now

In the years since my diagnosis. I have fought many battles. I won the most important one and achieved remission from Aplastic Anaemia. Unfortunately, after coming off Cicosporin in 2018, I relapsed. And despite my medical teams’ attempts to get me back into remission, nothing worked. So I ended up needing a stem cell transplant and thankfully, that has been successful. 

SInce I relapsed, my focus turned inward. Doing whatever it took to become healthy again, became my unplanned Plan C.

Focusing on getting well meant that Plan A and Plan B took a back seat. Here I am in my forties without the family of my own or high-flying career that I thought would be a ‘given’  before my diagnosis. I now question whether that life I had planned was ever meant for me in the first place. I’ve learned that ‘normal’ doesn’t really exist…

When I relapsed, I made a conscious decision to stop wasting time on opportunities lost to Aplastic Anaemia, instead focusing on living life in the here and now, with a smile on my face, gratitude in my heart, and absolute faith (most of the time!) that the path I am travelling, is the right one.

That said, chronic illness of any kind is a hard road. Some days are better than others, sometimes I look at those around me and for a split second, wish I was walking their path instead of mine but then I stop and think...HOW LUCKY AM I?

There is positive in almost every negative, if only you open your eyes. A few years ago, I read a quote from a fellow Aplastic Anaemia patient (name unknown) on an online forum, it resonated deeply and will stay with me forever:

 I cannot chart the path that life lays out for me, but I can command the grace with which I walk it.

 My hope for the future is that, whatever my path, I walk it with grace, gratitude and my team beside me.

Blog by Lisa, fighting aplastic anaemia 

Hello, I’m Lisa! I was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia in 2011. It's been a bumpy old road, but I've learned a lot about myself along the way.  

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AA voices

AA voices is a collection of blogs in which people affected by aplastic anaemia share the stories they feel are important, in their own words. If you would like to tell your story here, please get in touch with Ellie, our Comms and Fundraising Manager, by emailing [email protected].