Charlotte spoke to us about how the disease has changed her life - here's what she had to say.
A life after meningitis
"I had just returned to university when I contracted meningococcal group W (Men W) meningitis in late February 2015, and things just haven’t been the same since."
"I just thought I had the typical ‘freshers flu’ when I began to experience a variety of symptoms this time last year. Who wouldn’t when all they included were feeling cold, shivering, and a sore throat. It’s not surprising a lot of students mistake it for a bad hangover!"
"The day after, I got rushed to hospital and ended up spending 17 days on an intensive care unit in an induced coma. When I woke up I was unable to remember what had happened to me. My family had to explain to me why I was in a hospital bed, unable to move anything but my eyes, and why I was hooked up to the god knows how many busy machines that were buzzing behind my head."
"Although I’ve now technically recovered from meningitis, there’s plenty of after-effects that let you know my life hasn’t been what you’d call ‘normal’."
"There are the more subtle things that you can’t see like my hearing loss, and chronic kidney failure, but the biggest change people see are my amputations. I had all the fingers from my left hand taken, and both legs below the knee."
"Because my kidneys don’t work as well as they should, I have to be connected to a dialysis machine every night for eight hours. Believe it not that’s an upgrade! I used to have to go and sit on a ward three times a week for it - I hated giving up my Saturdays."
"But even though I still spend most of my time going to hospital appointments, life is so much better! I’m getting closer and closer to having a kidney transplant, which will mean no more dialysis, and hopefully soon I’ll be back to driving again!"
I cherish life a bit more
"On the 25th of February 2016, it will be exactly one year since I got rushed into hospital, and I feel like we’ve come such a long way in such a short space of time. At one point we couldn't see an end to the nightmare we were having and it’s great to be able to see us back to our normal selves; always smiling and enjoying life, the way we always have."
"And for some reason, don’t ask me how because I will have no logical answer to come back to you with, I actually feel like my life is better than it has ever been before."
"I can’t remember the last time I said I was bored - there’s a new challenge to be trying to beat every single day (and anyone who knows me well enough knows I used to be as lazy as they come). But I think more than anything, my family, friends and I all cherish life a bit more because we’ve realised how short it can be."
"I cannot stress enough how important it is that we keep pushing people to make the effort and get vaccinated for meningitis. The support that has been presented on social media has been incredible, and makes me proud to be a small part of it. We need to keep sharing stories, signing petitions and not stopping until everyone knows what meningitis is and how to prevent it."
"My heart goes out to all the families and friends who have been affected by meningitis, and I think everyone should know that although my story has become a positive one, not all cases take a turn for the better. I think I speak for everyone when I say our thoughts are with you through this tough time, and that hopefully one day we can live in a world where nobody has to loose their life to meningitis."
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