The Australian Women's Weekly

Against all odds

“There were times I thought ... I don’t think I’m going to have children.”

Striding out of the water after an ocean swim at Bundeena, Royal National Park in NSW, Jolene Anderson contentedly flopped down on a towel to read the novel she was halfway through. Cracking open the pages though, something was wrong. The words in front of her wouldn’t form. Even though she knew they should be familiar, she just couldn’t seem to make sense of them.

At first, she thought she’d been bitten by a tick during the bushwalk she’d taken earlier in the day. Trying not to panic, she spent the next 15 minutes trying to make out the word “path”. “But I couldn’t read it and I couldn’t get past that word to form a sentence,” she tells The Weekly of that terrifying day, which she is speaking about publicly for the first time. Soon, her calm dissipated and she made a frantic call to her mother who urged her to go to the hospital.

“Not wanting to make a fuss, I was like, ‘No, I’m fine,’” Jolene recalls. “I was crying and I don’t know if I was slurring my words. But I went to the local doctor and she took

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