The old adage of "life can change in an instant" resonates with one Wagga woman, who was rushed to hospital after a brain haemorrhage led to a sudden stroke.
At 38 years old, Simone O'Mara was a mum of three, feeling fit and healthy and working as the strength and conditioning coach for the Wagga Kangaroos Rugby League Football Club. In her own words, she was living her best life.
Then in early June, she started to get headaches, and while that was not unusual for her, Mrs O'Mara noticed that she had started slurring her words a little bit.
Then on the morning of June 12, Mrs O'Mara was in her home gym with her husband, Brent, when she looked down and noticed the dumbbell she had been holding was on the ground, but she didn't feel it happen.
"My husband was asking me if I was OK, and I said, 'yeah', and then next minute, I looked at him and I said his name, and then he just grabbed me, and I couldn't speak," she said.
"I couldn't move my right side, and I couldn't speak. Once I said my husband's name, my speech stopped, and I remember I could only see out of my left eye."
Mr O'Mara carried her inside, and she remembers her children trying to give her some water and the ambulance being called. When the paramedics arrived, they asked Mrs O'Mara to count to 10, and she could not even manage to say one.
They raced the mum to hospital, and scans revealed a lesion on the left side of her brain that had exploded, which caused bleeding on the brain, and Mrs O'Mara had a stroke.
After a seizure, the doctors ordered an MRI, which came out as clear, but they flew her to Sydney to see a neurosurgeon who told her they were looking for the cause of the bleed, which could be cancer.
"They sent me for another MRI because they were sure that it was secondary, but it was clear," Mrs O'Mara said.
"Then they were looking for things like leukaemia, breast cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
"When I came back clear, they came to me, and they said, 'We think it might be this rare type of lesion called cavernoma'."
A cavernoma is a cluster of abnormal blood vessels, usually found in the brain and spinal cord, which can be something a person is born with or develops due to radiation exposure.
The doctors told Mrs O'Mara they were not going to cut it out, adding that many people have cavernomas and they live their life without knowing it.
"They were going to send me home doing radiation and chemotherapy to try and shrink it, hoping that it wouldn't do any more damage and that I could hopefully live a normal life," Mrs O'Mara said.
"So that would have been 12 weeks of medications and the chances of maybe possibly having another stroke or a seizure. I didn't feel comfortable, but they said that there was the option to do a craniotomy.
"They told me that it was a 60/40 chance on the operation and that it wasn't in my favour, and that there is a massive chance on where it is, that I would lose my speech, my sight and my mobility."
Mrs O'Mara said she cried after that consult but then, within the hour, decided that she would have the surgery.
From her perspective, she could learn to walk and talk again, and if she could only see out of one eye for the rest of life, that was "OK", but she could not fix what was on her brain.
"I said, 'I'm not going home to my kids like this. So take it out,' and within two hours, I was on the table," she said.
"There was a 95 per cent chance that it was not this rare cavernoma, and I had to wait a week to find out whether it was.
"They phoned me within a week and said, 'It's exactly what it was. This is rare cavernoma that has exploded', and the fact of me walking away the way that I have is beyond remarkable."
The day after surgery, Mrs O'Mara was up and walking around the hospital for physiotherapy.
"I was lucky to walk out with full sight, speech and mobility," she said.
While her friends and family have been amazed at what happened, for Mrs O'Mara, it was no big deal.
"I'm mentally prepared for everything and I will take anything that comes at me with two hands, so all I was thinking about was being at home with my family, and that was my result," she said.
The O'Maras were overwhelmed by the support shown to them by friends, family and their community. When she went to the hospital, her 25-year-old brother left his farm to look after her three children and her mother, sister, and best friend flew in to help.
"I had about 800 text messages, phone calls, emails from the Kangaroos Juniors, Kangaroos Seniors, all my clients, friends, people that I'd worked with in the Navy, and my school friends," Mrs O'Mara said.
"Our friends created a Team O'Mara chat and organised getting our kids to school and sporting events as well as organising a worker each day for the landscape company."
Mrs O'Mara said she hopes sharing her story helps at least one person.
"When you feel like things aren't right, you shouldn't push them aside, just for the sake of not having a checkup," she said. "Also, life's too short to be washing dishes. My family and friends and my community, that's what's important."