Helen was 36 when she fell ill whilst working abroad in May 2015. Viral meningitis was diagnosed and to this day she is still battling the after-effects of her illness. Helen, from Grantham in Lincolnshire, tells her story here
“In 2015 I was living and working as a teacher in Germany. I had had what the GP thought was a virus and been told to rest. But I started walking like a drunk and slurring my speech. I was also vomiting. I knew there was something really wrong, so I took myself to an A&E.
“I had viral meningitis and was in hospital for two weeks where I was treated with iv acyclovir.
“When I was allowed home I was medically fit, but I couldn’t walk properly, had slurred speech and couldn’t write.
“I decided to come home to the UK as I needed support.
Sorted out my walking
“I saw a physiotherapist, who gave me a walking stick, which, in time, sorted out my walking. I had a pad and formed letters every day until I could write again. In time my speech too sorted itself out.
“Since meningitis things have never been the same. I can’t teach anymore because of fatigue. I have developed fibromyalgia and occipital neuralgia as a result of the meningitis.
“The fatigue and the headaches are the worst. Sadly, I am only able to work a few hours a week, but I love my job as a learning support assistant. I have to pace myself.
“Once you have accepted that it’s not going to go away, you learn to be happy with what you have and accept that there will be days that feel like hell.
“I have learnt to enjoy the good days and cope with the bad ones.”