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Claire J's story

18th April 2018

Claire has been left with chronic health conditions from her viral meningitis but has found our support hugely helpful in allowing her to accept the impact it has had on her life. The 39-year-old from Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, tells her story here

Claire J's story

“I was woken in the night with the worst headache I’ve ever experienced.

Somehow I managed to get back to sleep and even went into work the next day, but the pain wouldn’t go and I became really sensitive to light.

“I went to my local walk-in centre and was told it was probably a migraine but to seek further help if it didn’t get any better over the weekend.

“By the next day I couldn’t bear light and the headache was worse so I went to A&E. I was told it was sinusitis and given a week’s course of antibiotics.

Symptoms persisted

“The symptoms persisted over the next few days, so I went to see my GP who thought I had potentially had a bleed in my brain.

“She sent me to the local hospital for a CT scan. That was clear, so they did a lumbar puncture which showed that I hadn’t had a bleed but did have meningitis.

“I stayed in hospital for nearly three weeks with persistent pain and photophobia. I could barely hold my head up. When I was discharged, recovery was very slow.

Still have after-effects

“Five years on and I still have after-effects. I suffer from chronic migraine and fibromyalgia, both of which were triggered by the viral meningitis.

“During my recovery I received brilliant support from Meningitis Now. They funded some counselling for me to help me come to terms with the impact the illness has had on my health and my work and family life.

“There isn’t much awareness of the severity of viral meningitis and how it can be a slow recovery with lasting after-effects, even among health professionals - so the work that Meningitis Now do to raise that awareness is vital.”