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Colin's story

2nd December 2021

Lydia’s husband Colin contracted pneumococcal meningitis in November 2019 aged 28, but has also suffered from recurring viral meningitis having spent six weeks in hospital in July

Colin's story

The family has found Meningitis Now’s support amazing, as Lydia, from Belfast, tells us here.

“After a brain tumour diagnosis in 2016 our world was turned upside down. Colin had surgery to remove it and after hearing that it was successful we thought that life could 'go back to normal'.

"However, a complication of this surgery was a recurrent Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) leak. Over the past five years he has contracted viral meningitis five times and bacterial meningitis once.

“His pneumococcal meningitis came on so quickly. He was at a work training day, he left the house with a slight headache but feeling fine. Within a matter of hours he was vomiting, had a stiff and painful neck and was sensitive to light, before he lost consciousness.

“Colin has had a tough few years. We have nearly lost him on more than one occasion. He will never get a complete all clear from hospital as the CSF leak can reoccur at any time. However, he has had numerous operations and procedures to try and seal the area affected, undergoing massive brain surgery three times in the hope that this will prevent meningitis.

Colin pneumococcal bacterial meningitis case study

Live in fear of it happening again

“We live in fear of the symptoms happening again and are constantly on high alert anytime he has a headache. We know the signs to look out for and doctors have praised us for our quick response in getting Colin straight to hospital. When it comes to meningitis, acting quickly can be the difference between life and death.

“Meningitis continues to have an impact on our family’s life, Colin suffers with common issues related to meningitis such as problems with memory and concentration, co-ordination and balance problems, but we have received so much help and support from Meningitis Now through its Helpline and also the Rebuilding Futures Fund. The staff have been amazing – I can’t praise them enough.

“Colin has been in hospital several times, most recently for six weeks this past summer. I was balancing our three children under 6 by myself along with trying to get to see him every day in the middle of the pandemic.

Family break through the Rebuilding Futures Fund

“The team at Meningitis Now rang or messaged me at least once a week just for a chat or to check how he was doing.

“We were also able to get away for a two night family break recently through the Rebuilding Futures Fund, which we were so grateful for as the kids missed out on holidays with daddy over the summer.

“We are sharing our story to urge people to know the signs and symptoms of meningitis and to promote the work this amazing organisation does.”