Australian model Amy Pejkovic has opened up about the moment her Olympic dreams were shattered after she was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
The then 19-year-old professional high jumper said doctors had initially dismissed her excruciating headaches and vomiting for a middle-ear infection.
But after an MRI scan, the young woman was left reeling when she was given the shocking news she needed to undergo surgery to remove a tumour from her head.
Australian model Amy Pejkovic (pictured) has opened up about her battle with a brain tumour
Opening up about her surgical scar, Amy said she was left feeling ‘self-conscious’ but accepted her hair would eventually grow back
‘I don’t even know what I was thinking, my mind just went blank,’ she told the North Shore Times.
‘I just remember lying there and just not knowing what was going to happen, I thought I was going to die.’
Following the operation, the Sydney model revealed how doctors told her they believed the tumour had been growing slowly in her head for 10 years.
‘It’s weird when I think about everything I had done before the diagnosis. It’s like, jeez, I did all of that with a brain tumour in my head,’ she added.
The then 19-year-old professional high jumper said doctors had initially dismissed her excruciating headaches and vomiting for a middle-ear infection
She was training to make the Australian team for the London Games before the diagnosis
Following the operation, the Sydney model revealed how doctors told her they believed the tumour had been growing slowly in her head for 10 years
The shock diagnosis meant she had to put her Olympic dreams on hold after she was training to make the Australian athletics team for the London Games at the time.
She had already qualified to compete in the World Junior Championships in Barcelona that year – and was working steadily as a model.
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia in August last year, the athletic said she recalled the moment she saw a ‘big white blob on my brainstem’ when she looked at her scans.
‘I just sat there and didn’t say anything for ten minutes,’ she said.
‘I’ve never been so heartbroken. At that time, not making the Olympics or even modelling again wasn’t exactly a priority.
‘It was the fact that I questioned: “Am I going to be alive to continue to do the things that I love doing?”‘
More than five years on, the now-24-year-old remains hopeful for the Tokyo Olympics 2020
Opening up about her surgical scar, Amy said she was left feeling ‘self-conscious’ but accepted her hair would eventually grow back.
‘I would tie my hair up and people would question me about it and I wouldn’t want to talk about it,’ she said.
‘I did have a massive bald patch in the back of my head, but it didn’t really bother me. I eventually thought hair is hair and it will grow back.’
Despite her battle, Amy remains hopeful five years on since the tumour was successfully removed through an incision made at the back of her skull.
The now 24-year-old has since recovered – and she now has her heart set on the next Games
Despite her battle, Amy remains hopeful five years on for the next Olympic Games in Tokyo
Reflecting back on her battle, the aspiring athlete said she feels ‘proud’ for moving forward with her life.
‘(I’m proud of) being able to sort of almost put it behind me and not let it control my life because it is tough trying to move on from it,’ she told the North Shore Times.
Amy – who lives in Balmain with her AFL star boyfriend Adam Tomlinson – now has her heart set on the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020.
Earlier this year, she shared a raw photograph of her scar along the back of her head to mark the anniversary of her brain surgery.
‘Apologies about the graphic image. It is the reality of an estimated 1600 Australians a year – around 1300 won’t survive,’ she wrote in the caption.
‘It’s the 10th of February! So, HAPPY NEW BRAIN DAY AMY!’