Nikki Quinn was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at the age of 13.
Shortly after her diagnosis she started her chemotherapy but during her first treatment she suffered seizures, which caused every organ in her body except her heart to shut down.
When she woke up after five days of being an induced coma she couldn’t walk, talk, write or taste.
“I had to relearn how to do everything again. I had to learn how to write and use my hands,” the now 26-year-old from Sydney, Australia, told Daily Mail.
“I don’t remember the exact moment I woke up but I remember being on the ward and the pain I was in — I definitely remember that pain.”
In an interview with News.com , Nikki said that although it was tough to relearn how to do everything, she vividly remembers the struggle to teach herself to walk again.
“Learning to walk was really hard and tiring and painful, but there was a little girl in hospital with me and she used to knock on my window and blow me kisses and I used to get frustrated that I couldn’t go and see her,” she said to News.com .
“That gave me the strength to keep going so I could go and see her.”
She also had to learn how to taste, which started with her licking a biscuit because she had to teach herself to eat.
“Then I went on to eat half a Smartie. To this day I still can’t eat Smarties because my brain thinks I’m full after half a Smartie. There’s no lining in my stomach so I can’t eat spicy food either,” she said.
Before her shock diagnosis, Nikki was an active teenager who loved playing sport but eventually started to feel unwell and tired.
While away for her annual softball tournament, her condition started to deteriorate.
Her doctor ran some tests and the following morning they received an urgent call from him asking them to come to his office.
“He told me I had cancer. I guess, being 13 at the time, I never knew kids could get it.
“I thought just old people could get cancer – and you die from it. I thought I was going to die. I was a bit confused because I didn’t understand,” Nikki told Daily Mail.
Just four days into her first round of chemotherapy, Nikki started suffering seizures and spent two years on-and-off in hospital recovering.
Nikki has since been in remission and found the strength to slowly recover.
Despite her remarkable recovery, Nikki now lives with pneumonia, chest infections, nerve damage and severe chronic pain.
And she also endured osteoporosis, post-traumatic stress and survivor’s guilt, reports Daily Mail.
Nikki, who’s recently completed a nursing degree, also embarked on a trip in Peru.
“Everybody doubted me but I was able to complete it in four days,” she said.
By sharing her story, Nikki hopes other cancer sufferers can draw hope from her experience.