I hope no-one minds me sharing my little bit of good news. Today I submitted my PhD thesis (it's not all over yet - still got to have and pass the exam before I can call myself Dr but it's a big step).
It's taken me 5 years which is much longer than expected/usual (they say 3 years, though most people take more) during which I've had to study part-time when my health's been bad and study around hospital admissions and appointments. When my asthma was particularly bad and I was spending so much time in hospital and then had to fight for the right to continue at uni when so many people thought it wasn't in my best interests, and having to fight for funding so financially I could continue, I really never thought I would see this day. It still doesn't seem real.
I wanted to thank everyone here who has helped me through the difficult times over the last few years - you have really made a difference and are a part of me having achieved this today - thanks.
I hope this serves as some inspiration to others too - it's been hard and believe me at times I've wanted to give up but I'm so glad now I carried on fighting. I haven't reached the end the 'traditional' way in the usual time, but that doesn't matter - I got there and I proved what I knew deep down I could achieve.