She suffered severe, debilitating pain down her leg, vomiting, headache, fever, chills, lethargy and convulsions but was originally diagnosed with sciatica. She tells her story here.
“I went to bed with a mild but irritating pain in my right leg that, as a new mother, I thought was sciatica left over from pregnancy.
I awoke in the night to go to the washroom and fell flat on my face as soon as I put weight on my right leg. The pain was so intense I had to drag myself along the floor to the washroom where I vomited. I managed to get back into bed with great difficulty but did succeed in going back to sleep.
Over the course of the next five days my condition worsened. Doctors were called to our home twice and I visited ER once, but each time I was told I had a severe case of sciatica.
After waking my husband in the middle of the night with a series of convulsions, I was brought to ER where they performed two spinal taps to confirm bacterial meningitis (staphylococcus aureus) that likely originated from the insertion of an IUD a few months before and that had caused an abscess of the right psoas muscle, leading to sepsis.
Fell into a coma
“I fell into a coma upon admission and remained in one (5 on the Glasgow Coma Scale) for 10 days in the ICU.
I awoke spontaneously. My responses were encouraging, though I could not move anything from the waist down.
I remained in hospital for two months. The first month was spent focusing on getting the infection under control and treating side effects, which included a detached retina and severe nutrient depletion.
The second month was spent on the physio ward to learn to walk again.
I'm happy to say I walked out of the hospital (with the help of crutches) exactly eight weeks after I was first admitted."
No lasting after-effects
“I continued to regain strength in the coming months and can say confidently that I have not been left with any lasting after-effects.
I have started my own successful business, care for my 8-year-old and 4-year-old daughters, holiday with my husband and run 10k races.
Meningitis Now has provided a wealth of information on the disease, helping me to understand after-the-fact much of what I experienced, which has been enlightening and comforting.
I found Meningitis Now such a lifeline - France does not have anything similar. The care I received here in France was excellent, but it was nevertheless an added challenge to be hospitalised for such a serious illness and for such a long time in a country that is my adopted home yet not quite ‘home’.”