Mother-to-two, tennis enthusiast and breast cancer survivor, Anna, 55, contracted pneumonia while travelling to the UK to visit her family in December 2017. After developing flu-like symptoms in transit from Sydney to London, Anna turned to cold and flu medicine to treat her symptoms. However, after her health continued to decline for the ensuing 7 days, Anna was soon rendered bedridden, unable to move, and struggling to breathe.
Anna was eventually diagnosed with pneumonia by a local GP and forced to delay her flight home by two weeks. She is still yet to mount a full recovery from pneumonia.
Anna, a cancer survivor and business owner with a passion for tennis, yoga, art and learning Italian, was struck down by pneumonia while traveling to the UK to visit her family for Christmas in 2017. During transit from Sydney to London, Anna contracted flu-like symptoms.
“On my way to London, I thought I had contracted the flu. While travelling I tried to mask my symptoms with over-the-counter cold and flu medication because I wanted to make the most of my trip,” said Anna.
While travelling from the UK to Spain for a family reunion over the New Year period, her health further declined.
“I was in Spain when I developed a terrible cough and breathlessness. I promptly visited a GP who diagnosed me with bronchitis and armed me with a course of antibiotics and an oxygen mask to help me to breathe,” Anna said.
“After returning to the UK I developed a terrible pain in my chest and back, which I later learned was lung pain, as well as exhaustion and a lack of appetite.”
“My cough became so severe that I couldn’t even lie down horizontally, which meant I had to sit up to sleep. I had no absolutely energy to do anything at all.
“After 2 days, I visited a local GP who, upon examination, immediately diagnosed me with pneumonia and explained that I should be in hospital were it not for a dangerous virus circulating at the time. So I ended up staying with my mum and taking two courses of antibiotics back-to-back, together with bed rest and lots of fluids.”
Anna was subsequently forced to delay her flight back home to Sydney, for she was too sick to fly.
“My GP failed to give me the OK to fly home, so I was forced to stay in the UK for another two weeks, although I couldn’t even get out of bed for at least four days post-diagnosis. Flying certainly wasn’t an option for me at the time,” Anna said.
In May 2018, after 4 months, Anna is continuing to mount a full recovery from pneumonia, as her most recent chest x-ray was not clear.
Nowadays, Anna fully appreciates the importance of visiting her GP at the first signs of pneumonia.
“As soon as I get a heavy feeling in my chest, I immediately visit my GP for a chest X-ray. I take no chances.”
Anna urges other Australians at risk of pneumococcal pneumonia, including those aged 65 and above, and the immunocompromised, to visit their GP to discuss how to best protect against the life-threatening infection, including vaccination.
“Those who are at risk of contracting pneumococcal pneumonia should be vaccinated against the
infection,” Anna said.
“As a breast cancer survivor, I can tell you that chemotherapy is a walk in the park compared to