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.