A FIRST-TIME mum twice looked death in the face as she underwent complex brain surgery - but said the thought of her husband and baby daughter brought her through to the other side.
Samira Furniss is eternally grateful to the expert team of surgeons at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital who saved her life twice in the space of just a few days.
Eight months on and she is continuing along the road to recovery - determined to get her old life back as she works to master walking again, having already learned to talk once more.
Samira, from Swallownest, said: “It’s been really tough, such a tough journey, but I am proof it can be done.
“Of course I don’t want my husband to have to push me around in a wheelchair for the rest of my life, and of course I want to run after my daughter in the park - and I’m determined I will achieve these things.
“But even if I never progress further than the point I am now, at least I am still here.”
Samira was just 31 and a new mum to daughter Ella, then 10 months old, when she was suddenly struck with paralysis down one side of her body.
A series of tests revealed she was suffering two aneurysms - an abnormal bulging of arteries in the brain.
Medics were also baffled by the presence of an extra bone inside her skull meaning keyhole surgery - the usual procedure for treating an aneurysm to prevent it from bursting - was out of the question.
Instead a team of leading experts was brought together to carry out the procedure, which ending up lasting an incredible 13 hours.
The operation held so many unknowns that everyone involved had to be highly experienced, and a camera crew was brought in to record the procedure to help train brain surgeons of the future.
The initial signs were good, but within a few days Samira’s condition deteriorated drastically - and doctors discovered she had developed a huge blood clot on her brain.
It meant more surgery was needed which, although a success, left her unable to speak or move.
Over the past eight months determined Samira, now 34, has fought on, having vowed to make the best of the second chance she has been given.
This autumn she is staging a charity ball to raise funds - and is adamant she will take to the floor without her wheelchair, crutches or sticks for at least one dance with husband Michael, 34.
“At the charity ball my aim is to have at least one dance,” she said. “I want to do it without any sticks or support - just one dance. I don’t care if I am sitting down the rest of the night.
“I’m determined to get my life back.”
• Samira’s incredible fight - see pages 8&9