I was diagnosed with VSAA in Feb 2021, over a year ago now. Since then my life went from a high to a low very quickly. In the space of five weeks I went unwell, was diagnosed and then sent for treatment. The treatment I ended up having was Horse ATG as I didn't have a match for a BMT.

An amazing recovery

Since having the ATG, I started recovering more or less instantly. My blood counts started increasing daily and I started gaining my strength back as the weeks went by. It was a miracle really because I haven't had one infection, transfusion or antibiotics since leaving the hospital, and that was April 2021. I am still on my medications (tacrolimus) but am currently being weaned off. 

Returning to work

I returned to work in September 2021, and this was more of a shock than what I thought it would have been. I work as a nurse normally, but I have had to take a step back from clinical duties for a while until I feel that I have fully recovered. I started back slowly to make sure I wasn't over doing it, which I'm glad I did because around about November time I noticed my mental health had started to decline. I was snappy with people, refusing to get myself out of bed in the mornings, anxious, constantly thinking I was being talked about when I really wasn't.
I mentioned this to my haematology nurse and she offered to refer me for counselling which I decided to accept because this was not like me at all. I started having counselling and it made me realise that I was having some sort of PTSD from my whole experience with AA. I didn't have a bad journey but because it happened so quick, and next thing it was all over. My mind didn't have the chance to process it properly which then resulted in me being effected by it many months later. I've spoken to people since about this and have realised that many of us go through this and its a sort of delayed reaction to what has happened. In a way it feels like a dream or even a nightmare now. 
Going from doing everything, to doing nothing, and now back to doing nearly everything again, it was a massive shock to the system! 
One thing I have to say though is that this experience has brought me better opportunities and in a way a better life than what I had before. My eyes are now open when I feel like they weren't fully open to the world before. 

If you feel like this, reach out

If you are currently going through something like this, try and speak to someone, a counsellor I found good because they didn't know me and I didn't know them. I felt like I couldn't be judged with them. You are also never alone, there is always someone out there somewhere that is experiencing something similar to what you are/have experienced. 

Hello, I’m Elin! I’m 25 years old, busy working as a nurse normally but very recently been diagnosed with very severe aplastic anaemia. 

Read more from Elin    Read more AA voices

Useful resources

Guides for schools, colleges and universities

These guides are designed to help educational settings to support students and pupils during and post-treatment for aplastic anaemia.

Discrimination at work - advice for aplastic anaemia patients and carers

This advice from employment lawyer Carolyn Miller outlines your rights when returning to work and how to request reasonable adjustments to help you feel safe and supported.  

Youth forum: Returning to college, university or work after treatment

Join members of our Youth Board for an informal chat on Thursday 23 June!

We are here for you. If you need support with returning to "normal" post-treatment, please don't hesitate to get in touch.