This is the story…

Me and My Halo
Before life saving surgery the halo was screwed to Nicole’s skull while she was awake. 20 pounds of weight was hung from rope attached to the halo as she lay immobilised in her hospital bed. During surgery a brace was attached and this is what she wore for 3 months to keep her head on straight!
Has My Halo Slipped, or Do I have a Screw Loose?
by Nicole Bradshaw

A so far unpublished memoir

About the book:

            Diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of seven, Nicole Bradshaw from Sydney Australia has always “lived her best life”. By her early thirties, she was happily ensconced in a world of family, friends, fun, travel and drugs (all legal of course!). Over the years, her life had been interrupted by numerous joint replacements, fusions and reconstructions, or by a blood clot from her ankle to her groin. But life was good. She had it all under control, or so she thought. Suddenly and when she least expected it (like you ever would), her head fell off. Just like that!

            Nicole had a basilar invagination – no, not a condition described in a gynaecological pamphlet! A basilar invagination occurs when the odontoid peg (that’s the little peg your head sits on) moves up through the base of your skull. Nicole’s did just that, and was touching her brain stem and spinal cord, causing her to lose strength in her legs and arms and feel indescribably weird.

She was admitted to hospital via emergency and waited for a week to see a surgeon – lying flat on her back with a collar tightly wrapped around her neck, she awaited his return from holidays – it was Christmas! Just hours after their first meeting Nicole was placed, whilst awake, into a halo brace that was screwed directly into her skull. It was attached by rope to a bag weighted down by twenty pounds of water, and there she lay in traction, for days, until the surgery that would save her life, or at the very least the use of her body. Surgeons operated putting a couple of rods, about a dozen screws, a plate and some bone from her hip into the back of her skull and neck. She was imprisoned behind the bars of her halo for months, coping with panic attacks, clinical depression and complete strangers wiping her bum, and all while she was learning to walk again.

            In the midst of this trauma and while she was still in hospital, her father died suddenly and completely unexpectedly. This was the catalyst that made her realise how important it was that she got herself well, for her Dad, for the rest of her family, and for her.

            After six months getting herself together (with lots of help) she was released from the rehabilitation hospital only to be dragged two days later by ambulance, sweating and shaking with pneumonia, back to where it had all begun months before – the emergency ward of a Sydney hospital.

            Nicole intersperses the story of her halo and breakdowns with flashbacks to a life lived, from a very young age, with a disability. She tells of coming of age as she came to terms with being “different”. She admits to sometimes taking advantage of it – and who wouldn’t, as she always says, “if you’ve got it, flaunt it”!

            Hers is a journey into the hospital system and back out the other side. It’s a voyage around the world (literally) and through the life of a young woman who just happens to have grown up with an “old person’s disease”. And has had a hell of a lot of fun doing it.

So, now I have your attention… 



and if you would like more please let me know via a message.

If there is interest and comments
and a desire for more from all of you out there,
you never know I might:
1. Create a buzz
2. Find a publisher
3. And a really good editor!
4. Have my book published
5. End up on Oprah and Ellen
6. Make people aware that kids get arthritis too – and it HURTS!
And all in just 6 simple steps!

If you enjoy it, please pass the link on to friends, family, and colleagues so they can read and comment too.

If you want more, let me know and I will be encouraged to continue with this whacky idea to get published

Thank you for reading the beginning of my book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy the life I have been given.

To quote Oprah – I’m definitely trying to “Live my best life” and hope you are too!

Warm regards Nicole




Thank you Nicolex ();-)

Oprah makes me want to be a better person.

Ellen makes me want to be a better dancer. 

And yes, I really am a dag.

Dag is an Australian colloquialism and bascially means I’m a bit odd, idiosyncratic, casual, informal.

Which is not a bad thing by the way. In fact I’m kind of proud of my dagginess!




  1. I am glued already – can’t wait to read further chapters

  2. Absolutely fantastic. Looking forward to
    reading the rest.

  3. hi nicole
    good on you for getting thus far – both literarily and physically!I wonder how your best lived life will end – don’t wait for the audience to finish your story, just make sure its a happy ending.xx

  4. Hi Nicole
    I have been witness and party to you “living your best life” you are an inspiration and I look forward to reading your journey!

  5. Hi Nicole,
    Fantastic idea…..will the result of this venture add another chapter to your book? I look forward to reading it all.

  6. Hi Nicole,
    Can’t wait to read the chapters and I’ll also be telling friends about it.

  7. Wow. Great idea. Looking forward to having a read.

  8. Hi Whar a great idea! I love the title of your book. I can’t believe what you have gone through – and are obviously still smiling. What an inspiration. Good luck to you and hope the next 3 chapters are out soon.

  9. Hi, Lucky I have a more interesting website to read now that I don’t need to be scouring realestate.com everyday. Love the site – great graphics and title. Alice and I will be needing some more stickers to post around for you! Looking forward to reading more..lots more.

  10. This sounds like such an inspirational story. I’m really looking forward to reading it. What a brilliant way of reaching your audience!

  11. You’ve got to love that title! Look forward to seeing you on Oprah’s couch. Good luck!

  12. Well done Nic – about time we got to see & understand what you went thru! And I will do everything I can to help you reach Chicago. XX

  13. OK – I have just read the first installment. Takes me back to the last episode of the first season of Grey’s Anatomy. I must have more, even though I sort of know what happens. Its really good. I can see it as a miniseries – who would play Nic? Better still, a movie. Nic could write the screenplay. Start thinking of that Oscar acceptance speech – hope Hugh is still around. Wouldn’t that be fab! Oprah, shmopra.

  14. It was fantastic. It read really well, your self-deprecating wit was evident throughout.

  15. Definitely a ‘page-turner’. I hope we won’t have to wait too long for the next chapters.

  16. Great marketing idea. It will go far I am sure.

    The book will be published. First 3 chapters are brave and revealing, but more importantly well written and easy to read – engages the reader and leaves them wanting more.

    Congratulation Nicole. I hope your story reaches many and I will do my bit to share it.

  17. Well Done Nicole!

    I hope the story gows global. I’ll ford it to others.

  18. Nic, you are way sic! Such a top class pen, other writers’ll weep in their den. And what a top shot! That sheepskin’s still so hot! You’re such an inspiration… So excited I’m a lather of perspiration! xxJane

  19. Nic – Truely Awesome – I’ll come with you! Keep writing, you do it so well. Congratulations on a brilliant job – Vic

  20. Fantastic! Congratulations on making it thus far – looking forward to the next three!
    Step aside Susan Boyle, it’s someone else’s turn to be on Oprah!!
    I wish you every success!!
    All I could ask is that everybody remebers to pass this link on to everybody they know! – I know I am.

  21. Having shared some of your time I know just how gutsy you are. Your 3 chapters are great and you must go the whole way…of course you will be published.

  22. ahhh braddles…what a story it has been and will continue to be…

    • Thank God! Somonee with brains speaks!

  23. I like your style! I like your sense of humour. I like your honesty. And I like your bravery. You have a fantastic attitude to life!

    Well done! You’ve capture what it’s like to be young and have RA (I have it too). People can be so judgmental, i find that really hard sometimes. But you have managed to deflect them and focus on the good things in life: like drugs (legal of course)! You live life to the fullest.

    You would make a great travel writer. Have you ever thought about doing that?

  24. Dear Nicole,

    Thank you for sharing the first three chapters of your miraculous story with us. It is brilliantly written, and unbearably truthful – and your indomitable spirit and wicked sense of humour are in truth, a joy to behold!

    You are a shining light in our lives, Nicole, and we would love to offer our support in bringing you closer to your dreams.

    We can hardly wait till your inspiring story is published and has sold more copies than “Harry Potter”, and you’ve become a regular guest on Ellen and Oprah! We can see you hurtling your way through the corridors of Harpo Studios in your zippy little scooter, and terrorising everyone in sight! You go, girl! ‘Wicked’…!!

    We wish you great success with your intrepid journey, and will be with you all the way.

    With much love,
    Catherine and Peter

  25. Dear Nicole.

    Thank you for a beautiful, honest, open and humourous read. It was not sad but uplifting leaving the reader wanting more.

    The beautiful story, the challenges are a credit to your character and spirit. The story is extemely well written and easy to read.

    It is is to see that anything is possible and the dreams can become a reality.

    On a business note have you ever thought of targeting a wider audience through Y Tube many a strategic plan has gained maximum exposure throughthis medium.

    On a personal note, you are a beacon, a star.

    Oodles of Admiration.

    Susan Kingxx

  26. Hi Nic….just checking mail after email prob….wow what a superstar you are becomming. All wonderfully impressive – love your writing. Look forward to reading more. Milxxx

  27. This is a human story that everyone should read. A story of profound and continual pain but enbued with a unique and engaging sense of humour.
    A beautifully written text in a voice free of regret,and with a spirit determined beyond her affliction.

  28. I want more. It’s rare to be moved to tears when reading. But I was in that first chapter. Thank you for your honesty.

  29. I admire you for keeping up your good spirits with all that you have and still are going through. Thank you for making this first chapter available to read.

  30. I couldnt put it down, and want to know how long I am going to have to wait for the next installment??? It is honest and moving account – thanks for sharing it with me.

  31. Also have just read it all….yes it took me 34 minutes to read (I am a slow reader) and must say that it is a great start to what will surely be an amazing book. I’m hooked already and really hope that a publisher finds you Nicole cos I want to buy the whole book now that I’ve had a taste! Well done for putting yourself out there – very courageous indeed!

  32. Nicole,
    You are my hero! I was diagnosed way back in 1963 with JRA and I can identify with so much of your story of your diagnosis and treatment. Your feelings of not wanting to tell anyone about your pain because it would lead to more testing and tears for all were so familiar, and I am brought right back there because I have a granddaughter who was just diagnosed at age 8. I’m looking forward to reading more of your remarkable journey, and I’m sending my daughter the first chapter to read. Thank you for sharing your story……

  33. Hi Nicole,

    What a great life you have led! We need to see more stories like yours made into movies. These are real experiences and real feelings that need to be broadcast to the world.

    I found this site because I was searching for personal accounts of people with the halo brace.

    Nine weeks ago I got my own halo brace put on and I wanted to read what other people had gone through. I was sadly made aware that not many people have blogged about this.

    So, I started my own blog: http://myhalobrace.blogspot.com

    Anyways, best of luck with your hunt for a publisher!

    Stay strong – we need more people in the world like you who are as vocal and strong.


  34. You have shed a ray of snusnihe into the forum. Thanks!

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