Instagram star’s ‘shock’ diagnosis
Australian makeup artist Nadia Peri had just got off a flight to Los Angeles when she noticed something unusual about her feet.
Youtuber and Instangram influencer Ms Peri had heavy bruises all over her ankles along with swelling after spending more than 14 hours on a flight from her hometown of Melbourne.
She also felt nauseous and fatigued but put it down to the long journey.
Ms Peri had just begun her three-week trip to the United States with her LA-based boyfriend when she also began to develop a rash of small, red spots.
To her shock and horror, Ms Peri would later find out they were symptoms of a type of cancer - acute lymphocytic leukaemia.
"My legs towards the last few days of my trip started to bruise a lot and I also developed more in obscure places like on my wrist, chest and back," Ms Peri told news.com.au
"I also kept falling over and feeling dizzy but because I am already clumsy I had put it down to that."
It wasn't until her last day in LA when she realised something was definitely wrong.
Ms Peri and her boyfriend were at an event when she fell asleep - despite having only been there for 45 minutes.
"It was very out of character for me. I am a bubbly person with lots of energy, so that behaviour was unusual."
The beauty influencer called her mother after noticing the red spots had also started to spread over her body.
Within two hours of landing back home in Melbourne, Ms Peri's mother, a nurse, had booked her in to get blood tests. Ms Peri said it was her mother's persistence and medical knowledge that ultimately saved her life.
SHOCK PHONE CALL
The next day when she was at a nail salon, the young Youtuber received a phone call from doctors telling her to come in "urgently" following the results of her tests.
"I just knew in my heart of hearts that something was wrong," Ms Peri said.
"I was absolutely terrified. I called my mum crying."
Ms Peri was told that based on her results she had a 50/50 per cent chance of having leukaemia - a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow.
She was sent straight to emergency and after further testing it, it was confirmed she had the disease.
"Those few hours in between waiting for the results was the worst moments of my life. I can't put into words the amount of fear I had," Ms Peri said.
"I couldn't believe it was happening."
Ms Peri's mother and her sister have been her pillars of strength during the devastating time.
"(My mum) is my rock and her medical knowledge is exceptional. We had spoken about my symptoms and it potentially being leukaemia when I was in LA, she literally saved my life by having me go to the doctors and ask for my bloods to be looked at."
The bruising, rashes, red spots, nauseous, fatigue and overall pain Ms Peri was experiencing were all signs of the type of cancer.
But while she described her immediate experience as "horrific" she said she also felt a sense of relief.
"I finally knew what was wrong and no longer had a fear of the unknown hanging over my head," she told news.com.au from her hospital bed.
Ms Peri, who hasn't left hospital since she was diagnosed on February 12, is currently undergoing chemotherapy for several hours a day.
Being surrounded by positive people, support from family, friends and her boyfriend has "kept her going".
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"I did most of my crying before being diagnosed. I remember looking at my mum and sister and begging them not to cry when the doctors came back to tell me what was wrong, because in my heart of hearts I knew what they were going to say. I knew that if they could be strong for me in that moment everything would be okay."
Ms Peri said she is going "really well".
"I am really positive - obviously I have my bad days but I am surrounded by beautiful people who have been incredibly supportive during this unimaginable time," Ms Peri said.
As a social media influencer and makeup artist working with several beauty, fashion and lifestyle brands, Ms Peri refuses to let the cancer get the better of her and will film content for them the moment she is able to.
"The brands I work for have been so amazing and more than accommodating. They are happy for me to film from hospital as I told them it is good for my mental health to continue to go about my daily routine," she said.
Ms Peri is now using her social media platform to raise awareness about leukaemia - and has shifted her content to also focus on her journey to show other suffers they are not alone.
"I have had so many people who have suffered the same as me or have had their own cancer story reach out to tell me I have given them strength which is so beautiful."
"If anything concerns you about yourself or you notice a change in your body, book an appointment straight away to see your GP, because it could save your life."
HOW NADIA HAS DEALT WITH THE DIAGNOSIS
She said it is important to have a positive mindset, continue going about your daily life and not be hard on yourself when you have bad days.
"You are stronger than you think. You will be surprised with how strong the human spirit is when facing the unimaginable and for me that is having a sense of humour - it has really helped me."
"Don't let the diagnosis stop you from living. I love creating content which I do from hospital when I can.
"I also do my daily skin care routine and put on makeup because for me, it helps keep a sense of normality and routine in my life."
Ms Peri said it is also important for mental health reasons to generate some level of routine.
"Life goes on, you just have to adjust. You may not be able to control your diagnosis but you can control your happiness and daily routine," she said.
Ms Peri is now focusing on getting better with a primary goal to let others in her situation know they are not alone.
"By sharing my story, I hope it can help others and their families."
For more information about leukaemia and symptoms please visit leukaemia.or.au