Chloe, 23, of Manchester, contracted viral meningitis in September 2012 when she was 21. Her symptoms included drowsiness, severe headache, stomach pains, sensitivity to sound and noise, a stiff neck and confusion. After spending the day in bed she was rushed to hospital around 10pm that evening
Drowsiness and headaches
"I don’t really remember much ... all I know is what people have told me. I remember the pain, I remember being unable to move around because of the pain. The hospital was good and I was sent straight through to majors where I had a chest X-ray, various tests and was put on oxygen with suspected cluster headaches. I was taken to EAU at around 4am but deteriorated quickly ... I now had to be wheel-chaired everywhere and couldn’t lift my head."
"During the next four days I had various tests done including two lumbar punctures, a CT scan and blood tests. I was put on six different antibiotics as they were unsure what was wrong with me. I remember at one point them telling my mum they were testing me for a brain tumour, eventually it was confirmed that I had viral meningitis."
The journey of my new life begins
"I was put on a ward four days into my hospital stay and allowed to come home the day after. The journey of my new life had begun. At home I had no idea what to expect. I had no ideas of after-effects or support available until I found the Meningitis Now team."
"I read up on what to expect, which made my recovery a whole lot easier. I do not remember around nine months of my life during the time I was ill. I do remember though people not understanding my illness and being quite horrible because they didn’t understand. It hurt to think people who knew me didn’t think there was anything wrong."
My proudest moment
"In May 2013 I ran the Manchester 10k for Meningitis Now. That is probably my proudest moment to date - proving people wrong. Twelve months since meningitis I still struggled to concentrate and still had memory loss. Now, 17 months later I’m fully recovered. I get the occasional glitch but it’s nothing I haven’t learnt to handle. My life has changed for the better and I appreciate life so much more."
Hard for family and friends
"I think it’s been just as hard for my family and friends, knowing the old me so well and having to get to know the new me. If it wasn’t for my family and close friends and the Meningitis Now team I would be a different woman. I can’t thank them enough. I lost a lot of friends along my journey - friends that weren’t there when I needed them most, but the friends I do have now I am even closer with. If people don’t understand don’t think they are horrible, educate them. Because you never know who meningitis will affect next and the education you give them could save someone’s life."