Meningitis in your words

Cheryl Bernadine Repko's story

  • Location: USA
  • Categories: Viral
  • Age: 60+
  • Relationship: Self
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Other
Cheryl Bernadine Repko
In 1985 i was a happy, single lawyer in washington, d.c., when i suddenly fell victim to what was diagnosed as aseptic meningitis.   i thought that was the end of it, but it was only the beginning because i never fully recovered and experienced six more diagnosed meningitis episodes over the following 18 months. 

After much research and weekly blood tests, my wonderful doctors gave me a final diagnosis of mollaret's meningitis. That is now known as recurrent meningitis because it is a chronic disease that strikes full force whenever it wants to. along with recurrent meningitis i was diagnosed with chronic ebv, chronic cmv, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic myofascial syndrome, and a few years later, fibromyalgia. 

Six years after my first meningitis attack i had to leave the work force on disability because the chronic pain and fatigue, combined with the effects of numerous medications made it impossible for me to hold a job. Several years later i was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

March 19, 2024 will mark the 39th anniversary of that first meningitis attack. I have had numerous attacks in the intervening years. I was 34 years old when meningitis first struck me.  i am now 72. more than half of my life has been spent in pain and disability. However, i am positive and hopefull as i begin each day with my numerous hobbies and with the five frisky cats who always give me love no matter how ill i am.

my experience has been life changing in many ways. it took my legal career. i lost the man i wanted to marry. i lost the ability to have a family because of an early hysterectomy. but i didn't lose me. i found new dreams. we must be stronger than our disease and face each day knowing we can endure.

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