This year the Meningitis Awareness Week is all about
‘what does meningitis mean to you?’
They are asking survivors like me to share our stories….. here is mine.
On the 14th July 2014 I started being sick and had, what I thought was a really bad migraine. My head was killing with the worst headache I had ever had in my life. Imagine someone driving a pneumatic drill into your head over and over again and you will be close to the pain but not quite there. I was vomiting up everything that passed my lips, including water and all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball and be left alone. I couldn’t stand any noise or light and all I could think of was PAIN.
We called 111 who thought I had some sort of gastric flu and they told me to call back if I got any worse or if I became unable to put my chin to my chest.
My now husband took me to his house, tucked me up in bed and then, as I was feeling worse by this point asked me that vital question ‘can you put your chin to your chest?’ and the answer was NO. He called 111 and an ambulance was sent to pick me up.
Little did we know at that point that what I really had was meningitis and I was about to enter one of the biggest life-changing periods of my thirty-something years.
- I was unaware that adults could get meningitis.
- I didn’t know that you could get viral and bacterial meningitis.
I was lucky that the operator on the other end of the phone at 111 had the foresight to realise that I was showing the signs of meningitis. I thought meningitis was a childhood disease and had no idea that adults were susceptible to it.
I was also under the impression that there was only one form of meningitis and that was bacterial meningitis but I was most definitely wrong. However, I was diagnosed with HSV2 viral meningitis that has left me with a plethora of little ‘gifts’ which will be with me for the rest of my life.
When I first came out of hospital I was unable to walk and I was having fits. These days I still can’t walk very far but I can bumble around my house and I use a mobility scooter to get out and about with my Graham. I have chronic migraines, I have a wonky right leg that likes to be left behind, I can’t work, I constantly feel sick, I can be talking to you and have no idea what you are saying or have forgotten what you have said at the beginning of the conversation and I am the worlds best person at falling over!
The biggest thing is that I am still here and I’m still fighting. I might have anxiety and all of the shite above but I still get up each day and fight to get through it. None of it is easy but I have found ways to cope.
I have a wonderful husband, an amazing furry friend and a fabulous bunch of friends.
I also have my crafting and my little online shop/blog where I try and express myself through art and words. This has led to a love of sharing my passion with others and hope that I can inspire someone to take the next steps on their journey, whatever that journey may be.
Had I not had meningitis I would not have met half of the amazing people I have met through the crafting and online community. There is a possibility that in a strange sort of way that meningitis has actually gifted me with a new life and a better outlook on life and I have actually learnt to look after myself in a better way.
I do believe that had I not had to go through these struggles then I would not be as happy as I am today. So whilst I hate my migraines and I hate the pain I do love my life.
Odd how these things happen isn’t it!
The End …..
Well, really there isn’t an end as I’m still here and I plan on being here for a long time to come.
I continuously talk about my story and hope to raise awareness of meningitis and that viral meningitis can be equally as dangerous as bacterial meningitis.
I want people to know that adults can be affected as well as children and that we all need to be aware of its symptoms. Please, please, please get your children and young adults vaccinated.
My heart goes out to those who haven’t survived and who don’t have the amazing support system that I have behind me. I feel so lucky to have such a wonderful husband, mum, and friends and I will be forever grateful for them all for all of their support. I would never have made it this far with this strength were it not for them.
If any of you read this thank you. I can’t really say any more than that.
On that note I will leave this post and ask everyone who reads it to share it or pin it. If someone can learn from what I have gone through then I will have helped someone and that will be amazing.
Please, please share this article with your friends and family and I would love to hear your own meningitis stories.