I met my boyfriend Richard on a work night out in 2011 when we were both working as store managers. He was 24, I was 21 and our relationship got off to a really fabulous start. After a couple of months, we decided to pack in our jobs and travel the world together.
Our first destination was Bangkok and, excitedly, we headed out for a bite to eat. All the traditional Thai dishes smelled fantastic and looked wonderfully exotic. But I'd heard horror stories about food poisoning from street food, so I decided to stick to chips and mayonnaise. Boring, admittedly, but I thought it best to play safe.
I felt pretty grim the following morning but put it down to jet lag. Two days later, however, I was bedridden and really suffering. I was pale, sweating and having terrible tummy trouble. It was clear I had food poisoning. At Richard's insistence I saw a doctor and was sent away with antibiotics.
The next day was my birthday. We had planned a great night out - a fantastic meal, with cocktails and dancing. But it was not to be. I took a turn for the worse and my stomach cramps became unbearable. I went to the doctor again and was quickly admitted to hospital.
It was a terrifying experience - being rushed around, with doctors asking me questions in Thai and broken English. The pain was getting worse by the second. Richard and I held each other, anxiously awaiting results of blood tests and scans. Then, suddenly and without warning, my belly was wiped down by nurses.
I was being prepped for surgery - and panicked. Rich called his dad, a doctor in the UK, and he Skyped the Thai surgeon to find out what was going on. It took just a few moments for him to work out that I had contracted a rare strain of salmonella, sometimes found in mayonnaise, which had triggered ulcerative colitis.