A brave mum who almost died after a tampon wiped her memory is hoping to remember her first family Christmas.
Deborah Usher, 27, from Porthmadog, Wales, was in a coma for a week in 2011 after suffering from Toxic Shock Syndrome – a rare condition caused by a tampon – which left her fighting for her life.
The mum-of-one woke a week later with severe memory loss meaning she now forgets events just weeks after they happen, including CHRISTMAS - and has no memory of enjoying festive celebrations with her little boy, Joshua, eight.
Deborah's memory is finally getting better after she remembered her son's birthday for the first time this year, and now she's hoping to remember Christmas too.
Deborah, a hotel manager said: "I'm hoping to remember all the special moments like my son unwrapping his presents, meeting Santa and putting a star on top of the tree for the first time.
"Since I woke from the coma four years ago I've struggled to remember Christmas since, and all the memories I had of it before have been wiped, the whole experience has been heart-breaking.
"I can't even remember the presents I've brought Joshua until he opens them. I can't remember him opening his presents or getting excited waiting for Santa to come.
"I have pictures of him with presents, and us decorating the tree together, but I don't remember them.
"TSS has completely taken over my life, it's like having a permanent hangover every day where you have memory blanks and your head feels funny.
"We celebrated Joshua's eighth birthday in September and I can still remember it three months on which is a huge achievement.
"So now I'm hoping I can finally remember our first Christmas, rather than having to rely on photographs and other people's memories."
In August 2011 Deborah believed she had the flu but within days she was rushed to intensive care after her condition deteriorated - leaving her unable to talk or walk properly.
Deborah was put into an induced coma for a week, and after failing to wake her twice, doctors prepared her family for the worst.
Deborah said: "The whole experience is a complete blur for me, when I try to remember I just have flashbacks.
"I was on life support and it really was touch and go as to whether I would pull through.
"My mum refused to take any photos of me in hospital as she didn't want them to be the last photos she ever took of me.
"She told me afterwards that every night she would think about my funeral in her head as she was so convinced that I'd never wake up again."
When Deborah woke from the coma she was left unable to feed herself, wash or change.
She could no longer walk and two months after recovering her hair began to fall out.
Deborah said: "It was the most terrifying experience of my life, every day felt like a nightmare which would never end.
"When I woke up I had no idea where I was or why I was there, I was like a child again.
"I struggled to remember people's faces, I still do, and I get deja vu when I visit places as I recognise them but don't ever remember ever being there.
"A CT scan had also showed a large mass which was a cyst on my ovary so I had an emergency operation to remove the cyst, my ovary, and fallopian tube.
"I remember panicking about what had happened to my stomach when I woke up.
"It took me two months to learn to walk again, and my family had to help me do everything, I can't thank them enough.
"But I was determined to get better for Joshua, he's my world and he needed his mummy back."
Deborah had been using super plus strength tampons throughout her whole period – which is believed to be the cause of the disease.
Now she's vowing to never use them again.
Deborah said: "Toxic Shock Syndrome is very rare, especially with tampons but no-one warns you about the dangers of using them.
"Somehow there must have been a slight tear and the toxins got into my bloodstream, I was so lucky to be alive.
"I would never use them again after I know what I do now, they've completely ruined my life.
"Four years on and I still have a weak immune system, I don't think some of my memories will ever come back but every day I remember more and I'm getting stronger.
"Now I'm concentrating on my son, he's the most important person in the world to me and I fought so hard because of him.
"I'm hoping this Christmas will be one to remember!"Suggest a correction