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Tes' story

7th June 2018

Tes Ludlow, 35, from Staffordshire, contracted viral meningitis last year. Here, she tells us her story and how she is still living with the after-effects of the disease nine months later

Tes' story

"I ended up in hospital during the 2017 August bank holiday.

I had been suffering from symptoms for two weeks, including sickness, diarrhoea, hot and cold sweats and body aches. I also had a migraine, which ended up affecting my speech - that was the final straw, and the beginning of a very long road to recovery.

"I had just finished my Masters in HR whilst also working full time, so I just put my symptoms down to doing too much, but my body was telling me that it was struggling.

"After becoming so ill I couldn’t speak properly, my husband dialled 111 and was told to immediately take me to hospital. Once there I had a lumbar puncture, which confirmed viral meningitis and spent two weeks in hospital, followed by home visits three times a day from a nurse, for over a week.

"I gradually got better, but then had a relapse and ended up back in hospital in November.

"I feel it’s really important to understand that viral meningitis, although not as severe as bacterial, is massively under-estimated.

"There is a long journey of recovery, both emotionally and physically. If it wasn’t for my family, friends, doctor, nurses and Meningitis Now, I think I would have really struggled.

"I broke down on the phone to a lady I had been put in touch with, who had accessed Meningitis Now’s services. She was great - although a total stranger, she spoke about her struggles and recovery and it really helped.

"I realised I wasn’t alone and she helped me to manage my expectations on recovery.

"Every week I thought the old me would return but it’s been a battle.

"It’s been nine months since I was ill and I still have regular acupuncture, take daily medication and am working on regaining my physical strength. I still suffer from fatigue and severe headaches.

"Meningitis Now was the first place I accessed when I got diagnosed and the charity gave me a great understanding of viral meningitis - prior to being ill I had no knowledge at all.

"All my family and friends have been great, but for me it’s a journey that will continue. I realise that I need to look after my body and well-being.

"I missed my graduation in November due to being ill, but I am looking forward to finally graduating in July 2018!

"I also aim to join Meningitis Now in September for their Five Valleys Walk. I won’t let viral meningitis stop me from living my life."