I feel better when I'm dancing; Lel's recovery from meningitis

23rd April 2021

A year ago - on World Meningitis Day 2020 - Lel was struck down with meningitis. Here she updates her story for this year’s World Meningitis Day (24 April), and tells us how dancing has provided the right steps for her ongoing recovery programme

Dancing inspires Lel's recovery from meningitis

“In a time where coronavirus dominates the media, the threat of other serious diseases hasn’t gone away.

“My experience of Neisseria meningococcal meningitidis is something I will never forget.

“On 24 April 2020 I contracted the disease. It came on very quickly with bad head and neck pain. I was sick to the extent I couldn’t get out of bed. I could not walk and the light hurt my eyes. I had double vision.

“Eventually an ambulance was called and I was taken to Watford General. This is where they assessed me and put me in the Covid ward. After giving me morphine and other pain relief, I could not comprehend.

Blood tests and a lumbar puncture

“The next day I was told I didn’t have Covid. They took me to a room on my own and said I could not leave. I had many blood tests and a lumbar puncture. This was conclusive of Neisseria meningococcal meningitidis.

“After 10 days on a drip of antibiotics and fluids, I left the hospital. The recovery from this disease is long and slow, but it is because of my son’s insistence, to the 111 service, that my treatment was so quick. He saved my life.

“For my rehabilitation. I thought walking would be good and I decided to take up Latin dancing on Zoom.

Lel bacterial Neisseria meningitis case study

I feel better when I'm dancing

“My friend Robin Windsor, the professional dancer from Strictly Come Dancing, whom I met at the Body Holiday in St Lucia, was just perfect at easing me into Rumba and Waltz. This took my mind off the pain in my feet and spine and all the other pressures of lockdown. 

“I then progressed to more energetic dances like Cha Cha, Samba, Jive and Paso Doble.

“I have discovered dancing is not just about keeping fit. It’s great for lifting your spirit, whether it’s grief, depression or a serious illness, it has also helped with my memory. I would recommend this type of dance which also can be done sitting too. I hope that dance can be a great inspiration to others as it is to me.

“Today is one year on from when I contracted meningitis, 24 April 2021 – World Meningitis Day. I feel very blessed and grateful to have had the perfect recovery programme. 

“I hope others who have had this disease can turn something frightening and debilitating into something good.”

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Read Lel's meningitis story.