Easy to be happy and positive

My dad always told us kids that we could do anything. Not in an arrogant ‘we’re better than other people’ way but in a ‘if someone else can do it, then you can too’ way. I’m sure he didn’t know at the time just how important those words would be to me as I progressed through life….

When Julie from HipMum asked me to write my story I was humbled and shy and it took me LONG time to sit down and type these words. My first thought was ‘What makes me any more special that the next person?” The answer is nothing. All our stories are special. I hope mine just may be special enough to inspire someone else.

So this is my story. So far.

My childhood in Australia was ideal, growing up on the beach at Noosa after moving there from Adelaide when I was 5. Nothing eventful to report during those years. Life was blissful. I cherish those memories.

Then at 12, I was sent to boarding school in Brisbane.

At 16 I fell seriously ill. I was at boarding school at the time and really had no one that I felt I could talk to. I felt ridiculously tired, sick all the time and was (as I now know it) very depressed.

My parent removed me from boarding school at the end of year 11. After many intrusive tests, the Dr. discovered a seriously low platelet count; the word ‘leukemia’ was thrown around and fell on my young ears.

Thankfully that did not end up being the case. After I had a very painful and botched bone marrow biopsy they discovered I suffered from ITP (a blood disease). That was the end of the good news. The treatment (at aged 16!) was steroids and a possible splenectomy. I spent my last year of school on steroids looking like Bert Newton. I missed out on all those great year 12 experiences only to end up in hospital having my spleen removed with no guarantee it would cure me.

I didn’t get to University as I had no TE score worth mentioning so I worked hard and saved and took off with a backpack to see the world. I felt like I could conquer anything that would come my way! (How I miss those days of feeling invincible!)

Just short of 12 months later, I came home broke and brokenhearted. Not long after, I picked myself up with help from my wonderful family, met my now husband, Mac and enrolled in University. Might I add, my mature age entry marks were in the top 5 percentile! This might sound funny, but that meant a lot to me after hearing all the wonderful TE scores my friends received years before. It validated me in some way.

Mac and I planned our wedding and all was good until I fell sick again at 27….I found some strange lumps in my upper arms that were itchy and after a few weeks did not disappear like an insect bite should.

This time after more biopsies and tests I was diagnosed with Lupus. The saddest news I heard was that my chances of having children was minimal at best. The fact that Lupus was potentially fatal was nowhere near as devastating to hear.

I refused to believe that I wouldn’t have children or that I would let this disease beat me. I did everything the doctors told me to do, which those who know me well will testify this is not generally the case. Although my pregnancies were tough and high risk, I loved every minute of those little bodies growing inside me.

So 14 years down the track I am still here, happy and mostly healthy with two wonderful, bright children and a husband and family who have supported me through everything. It’s very easy to be happy and positive. I am grateful above all else that I am still here. I don’t feel sorry for myself and have never expected people to pity me. The illness does not define who I am. It is just a part of who I am.

Wow that felt good to write. I hope it helps someone else stay positive.

Melissa Hulbert

Thank you Melissa for sharing this story. I know it was not easy for you. You are an inspiration – the world needs more people like you.



  1. Jeff Wilken said...

    Every parent should want the best for their child and this was the case in our family. My wife, Fran, and I lived through those troubled days Melissa had and we can see the beautiful person who emerged.

    Melissa mentions how she missed out on those wonderful grade 12 things. Maybe but she also invested a few of her own.

    Melissa we are proud to call you our daughter and we love your family to pieces. Love Mum and Dad.

    Dec 02, 2011 at 9:53 pm
  2. Tess said...

    Mel is one of those people who make you feel happier just having been around her – she is compassionate, considerate, positive and community minded and above average funny. Thank you so much for your story Mel – you’re amazing!

    Dec 03, 2011 at 5:43 am
  3. Jenna said...

    Hi Melissa,
    I absolutely love this story of hope, positive thinking and triumph. You are an inspiration to us all. I am so thankful to you fro sharing your story!

    Feb 15, 2012 at 2:10 pm
    • Melissa said...

      Thank you everyone for your comments. I truly hope sharing my story helps someone to dust themselves off and get back up when life knocks them down. I would do it all again to be where I am today.

      Jul 10, 2012 at 5:45 am
  4. tanya hughes said...

    oh wow this story has resonated with me so deeply…thank you for sharing. i too did not do tee and worked hard and travelled coming back heartbroken and broke! i did go to uni and since became a teacher….i can relate to the sense of validation it gave me.
    i have two wonderful children and a gorgeous husband (inside and out!!) life sure does take some amazing twists and turns…
    just nice to know i am not alone with how i felt about things
    thank you for sharing
    Tanya xx

    Apr 09, 2012 at 6:36 pm

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