Lauren Sackreiter

Viral meningitis at 22

Viral meningitis

I am one of the lucky ones fortunately and wanted to share my story to help people struggling with similar after effects of meningitis.

I was 19 when I was diagnosed and had been sick for a very long time. I was a cheerleader in college and thought my body was so tired and sore from the long practices.

After the discovery of my meningitis however, it was seen that I had mono for about six months previously which is why my case of meningitis was made worse. Just before I ended up in the hospital, I remember having flu-like symptoms including an upset stomach, sweating, and chills for almost a week. The last morning I spent in my dorm however, I woke up and remember I couldn't walk right. I was falling sideways. I do not remember much from this point as I know I was in and out of consciousness. In fact, I tried to call my family and they could not understand what I was saying because I was making no sense. My dad worked nearby and found me laying in the bathtub for whatever reason and rushed me to the hospital (I had a seizure on my way to the hospital, which is to be expected with meningitis).

After completing a spinal tap I was treated for bacterial meningitis and encephalitis as a precaution, but my test showed I was within the range for viral meningitis.

I was hospitalized for 4 days and do not remember about 2 weeks of my life before this point. I made a pretty quick recovery considering until I went to drink alcohol for the first time about 4 months after recovery. I had my first grand mal seizure. It was attributed to the effects of alcohol however, so I did not think anything of it.
The next one however was different. I was at practice and all of a sudden had what is called an aura. I heard everything much louder than it was, passed out and began seizing. I have had a total of about 15 seizures since my meningitis diagnosis my freshman year and have been on keppra 750 mg 2x a day about four months past the date of my hospitalization (medicine has increased to this amount). I have also noticed a decline in my short term memory and concentration. I have always made straight A's and focused very well but have had much difficulty focusing and motivating myself at times. I make myself do well however, but it is much more difficult.

Another thing I noticed upon much research and trial and error is that for women with seizures post-meningitis, check out your hormone levels. I came off of my birth control and have noticed my body responding much better and am hoping the seizures will go away, but most likely they will be with me for life since it has been three years. I hope this helps someone looking for answers. Do not get frustrated and discouraged and really research and push to find answers in respect to possibly having meningitis or problems afterwards. You know your body, do not be scared to tell doctors about problems you are having! I am still going to doctors to find answers regarding my seizures and problems I have had focusing and feeling like my old self and have become more and more knowledgeable. It is only a matter of time before you get all of the answers, but until then enjoy what can be taken away from you so fast and keep pushing yourself to never give up in finding answers about your body.

MARCH 2014

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