Meet Cathy

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I am an eleven-year leukaemia survivor with an important story to tell connected to surviving sepsis.

In 2022 I self-published my story ‘LIFE BLOOD: Lessons from one woman who survived serious illness against the odds’, available as a paperback, hardcover and e-book across all book retailers globally. My moving, unflinchingly honest and often humorous recollections and reflections chart my experience from a shock diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia at age 59 to cure and beyond. I take the reader along with me through a cancer experience from a patient’s point of view.

A donor stem cell transplant saved my life and the Alfred Hospital’s brilliant doctors and nurses also played a vital role in me still being here. I had two rounds of gruelling chemotherapy. I went into remission, however right after the second round I developed a fever. An E.coli bug had brought on sepsis. I came close to death as many of my organs began to fail. I was incredibly fortunate this happened at the Alfred as help was immediately at hand. I went straight downstairs to ICU and was placed in an induced coma for a week. As I came back into consciousness I had the weirdest hallucinations which I can still recall in detail.

My husband Fred wrote many emails to family and friends during my three weeks recovering from sepsis in the ICU. The experience is detailed in my book. I turned sixty in hospital and felt totally debilitated. I had to learn how to walk again at the Caulfield rehabilitation hospital.

I have discussed sepsis in detail in my book and included a selection of Fred’s emails. The ones he sent when he thought I might die are especially moving. I commenced writing during my long recovery from AML.

Some years ago Fred also had an encounter with sepsis. The day after a prostate biopsy he began to feel seriously ill. He recalled reading in the post-procedure notes that any signs of illness should immediately be investigated. Fortunately he made a quick recovery following two days of hospitalisation and intravenous antibiotics.


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