A woman who has defied odds after beating terminal cancer twice and surviving a near-fatal car crash reveals how she’s “cheated” death.
When Aria started experiencing painful flare ups under her right arm, she thought a typical infection had taken hold – but then she was given five years left to live.
The recording artist was diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma, a form of blood cell cancer, and quickly entered remission after undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and 16 surgeries.
But then, she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer during a routine check-up and was given one year left to live.
Defying the odds, she entered into remission once again and in a bid to celebrate, Aria, aged 28, took a road trip to see her best friend – and suffered a near-fatal car crash.
“I had detached my skull from my spine and my occipital bone had shattered into pieces,” she told NeedToKnow.co.uk.
“I had broken all of my ribs on my right side, had no sight or speech initially and had ripped open my colon, as well as my lower intestine, which caused internal bleeding.
“I passed out in the driver’s seat due to lack of oxygen and a climbing elevation, although I was at the 80 mph speed limit.
“I had crossed over all the lanes of traffic, including the oncoming lanes and was found crunched under my steering wheel not breathing.”
Aria, who was unconscious, was found by a highway patrol member and soon, she was rushed to hospital to have emergency surgery to reattach her skull to her spine before it was too late.
Luckily, her life was saved, for the third time – but she still had a long road to recovery.
She said: “I had to learn how to walk and talk again, and still, I’m working on things.
“I’m on an extensive diet to heal my internal organ injuries, eating only simple foods in a step-by-step testing process.
“Of course, my journey has been filled with immense pain and frustration, but it’s given me a new deepened sense of gratitude, that’s helped me pull through.”
Now, due to her triple run-in with death, she’s learned to stop waiting for things to happen and instead, goes after the things she wants.
Aria, from Los Angeles, US, added: “I’m a lot less worried about what others think of me, because we truly don’t have time.
“A ton of friends and family have left my life and it’s made me a lot more precious with who and where I put my energy.
“I’ve relearned how to drive, but being a passenger with other people is hard and I don’t like taking ride shares with those I don’t know.
“My nerve overwhelm is still constant and painful in large social settings and I have to be gentle with exercise, alongside using special pillows.
“I’m still grieving the loss of those years, but I’m much happier than I was before and glad to be the person I am today.
“I couldn’t have controlled anything that happened to me and I also know that if something else were to happen now, I have the tools needed to overcome it.
“All of this has been necessary and transformative.
“I’ve overcome near death three times and it’s truly showed me that anything can change in a split second.”