EMILY Wornes has been "getting better" for more than three years.
And despite all she has been dealt she can still see the positives in everything.
The former Albury woman's life changed in a matter of seconds.
It crumbled with her helpless body as she fell to a marble floor five stories below, shattering on impact.
Somehow she survived.
She survived two days lying on a trolley in Peru without any painkillers, surgeries in multiple different countries, the constant talk of amputation, a long and strenuous rehabilitation and ongoing nerve pain.
And as if she hadn't been dealt enough, a recent surgery once again left Emily paralysed.
She is now learning to walk again. For the second time since her accident.
The surgery - number 13 since her fall - to remove a cyst on her spinal cord over New Year's 2018 left her nerves in shock, leaving her paralysed once again.
"Surgery went well, they were able to drain the cyst, however when I woke up, for the second time in my life I was paralysed in my right leg," Emily told The Border Mail.
"The open back surgery stunned the nerves in my right leg.
"Nothing was damaged and they will come back, it's just going to take a whole lot of physio."
Emily said the news "broke her heart".
"I was walking after so long and to have that taken away again hurt," she said.
"But I love life and everyone in it too much to give up now."
It was December 15, 2015 when Emily, a then-23-year-old, was having the time of her life in Peru when her travels turned to disaster.
She fell through a balcony of a hostel, shattering every bone imaginable on impact.
Her right elbow shattered and the L3 vertebra in her spine "exploded".
"When I fell, I broke my back, pelvis, sacrum, right arm, right ankle and both my feet, leaving a lot that needed to be fixed," Emily said.
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"I had open back surgery in Peru to stabilise me so I could be flown to San Diego where I would undergo another 13 hour open back surgery along with another three surgeries on other parts of my body.
"This is when I was told I may never walk again."
But despite the uphill battle, Emily continued to climb.
At the peak of her pain Emily was having 40mL of morphine.
"And I was still chilling there completely sober," Emily said.
"I'd become tolerant to the drugs."
Her biggest battle has been chronic nerve pain.
"Nerve pain occurs when your nerves are damaged or squashed and signals from the brain can't get to parts of the body they want to, so the nerves freak out, and cause a whole heap of pain.
"It's a burning stabbing sensation, it literally feels like someone has poured burning hot water over your legs, or has taken to them with a blunt knife, I know that's sounds dramatic but its exactly what it feels like - worse than labour I've heard."
"I was never one to let pain get the better of me before my accident, I'd even refuse to take Panadol.
"But nerve pain, that's another story, it strikes whenever it feels like and the worst thing was that there's no pharmaceutical drug that helps it.
"I'd end up in the hospital once a week due to nerve pain, crying and screaming, praying for someone to take the pain away. They would usually end up having to sedate me with morphine because of the pain."
But what was worse than the pain was the "morphine hangover".
"You get what I call a morphine hangover, where you vomit all the next day and can barely move, you are just wrecked and a shell."
Currently her days involve 4.5 hours of physiotherapy, riding her trike, swimming laps, two hours of floor and strengthening exercises and yoga and meditation.
Throughout each week she also has roughly four medical appointments.
But she doesn't stop there.
"I'm also studying holistic counselling, have began public speaking and am in the process of writing a book," she said.
"By July I would love to be walking again."
Emily's former high school has raised almost $3000 for her continuing expenses.
Xavier High School MacKillop house captain Jessica Lowry said they held an Easter raffle on April 12 with plenty of Albury-Wodonga business donating prizes.
"I had a number of local businesses donate amazing prizes to the fundraiser which enabled us to put together an Easter raffle," she said.
"Emily and her sisters were former Xavier and MacKillop house students and we decided to, as a house community, raise funds to support the family with Emily's further rehabilitation journey."
Jessica said a generous donation of $2000 from Apco made a huge difference.
Emily is due to speak at the high school about her recovery in the coming months.
You can keep up with Emily on her Facebook page.
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