Keely Shaw, 27, collapsed on a day trip to London just weeks after splitting from her boyfriend of 11 months.
She returned home to Pontefract, West Yorkshire, where she “can’t remember the next week”.
It emerged during this period she had six more seizures and was eventually put in an induced coma for six weeks, waking up in January 2014.
She had missed Christmas and during the coma had developed gangrene in her bowel, a result of deep vein thrombosis.
She needed a colostomy bag and weeks of chemotherapy.
Keely’s illness was not heartbreak but encephalitis, a rare illness which causes the brain to swell.
Keely, mother to Grace, nine, said the illness came on unexpectedly. “I’d been with my ex for around 11 months,” she said. “I was upset, although knew it was for the best when it ended.
“But the break-up had taken it out of me and I’d been exhausted. I’d felt run down and suffered headaches.”
Keely said the trip to London in November 2013 was meant to perk her up.
“I was planning to see my friend Craig,” she said. “Grace was staying with my parents.
“He picked me up from the station and we went to his house. He popped opened a bottle of champagne, started to pour it.
“But I said no. And I never turned down bubbles.
“I remember I really didn’t feel well.”
Hours later she collapsed and was taken by ambulance to hospital where doctors said it was an unexplained seizure.
Keely continued: “Doctors told me they had done tests and couldn’t find anything wrong.”
She returned to her parents, Steve and Angie, both 55, but that week suffered six more seizures, ending up in hospital.
“I started behaving very aggressively and shouting at people,” Keely said. “I was put in an induced coma.”
On December 23, 2013, while still in an induced coma she had emergency surgery for her gangrenous bowel.
Waking up, Keely said she did not know what was going on. She did not see Grace for a number of weeks because she was still too frail.
Grace stayed with her parents.
She said: “I had chemotherapy every month to battle the infection which had caused my brain to swell. My hair started to thin, although I didn’t lose it entirely and I was too weak to eat, was fed through a tube and lost three stone.
“Seeing Grace again was brilliant.
“At the beginning of March – four months after I collapsed – I was discharged and went to stay with mum and dad.
“I started building up weight and went back for chemo appointments every month until June, but then doctors said I could stop, although they see me as an outpatient.
“I still take handfuls of tablets every day and have a colostomy bag.”
Keely told how she had started seeing a new man, Mark, 29, an old friend. “I’ve started working three days a weeks as a financial advisor too,” she added.
“Things are going really well.”
The NHS said overall about one in ten cases of the illness prove fatal, adding: “It is not always possible to prevent encephalitis. This is because it can be a rare complication of a relatively common infection.”