Meningitis in your words

Marjorie Lynn Graham's story

  • Location: USA
  • Categories: MRF - Disease
  • Age: 60+
  • Relationship: Self
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Other
Marjorie Lynn Graham

I did not know that the vaginal infection I had at age 19 was Herpes. I had no idea. I went to doctor and he never told me anything.

The reason I found this site is because here I am at age 60 and I have had viral meningitis about 10 times.

I think after the first outbreak of herpes at age 19 I had my first viral meningitis. However my mother and I thought it was a migraine headache. It started as headache and I was sick for a week. In fact it happened again about 6 months after the first time.

Knowing now what I have learned and having much more medical knowledge I would say both times it was viral meningitis but I was not taken to hospital. At that time I guess my parents did not think of it being more than just a terrible headache.

Then at he the age of 25 I had a severe headache and many more things wrong. That was the first time I was hospitalized for this and had lumbar puncture which doctors then told me I had viral meningitis. I was very sick and was in hospital for 4 days.

"Since then I seem to have an episode anywhere between 4 yrs and 10 yrs."

When I have an episode after a long period it is really bad. Then 2-3 months later will have mild episode which is not as bad and recover more quickly.

With the bad episodes of viral meningitis I have headaches sometimes for 1-2 weeks with the headache getting worse each day and nothing I take makes it go away.

When I know it is viral meningitis is when my neck and back start hurting and I get lethargic or can’t walk have fever and vomit. My back hurts from base of skull to my tailbone.

I have been prone to headaches all my life, even as a child and when the headaches start I don't know if its sinus issues, stress or the meningitis coming on.

I finally had blood work that showed I had the herpes virus about 4 yrs ago. I guess I had not always been honest with doctors or been forthcoming about what I had at age 19. No doctor ever ask me about those type symptoms or tested me for herpes

"I have some issues with depression and was on meds for a time"

I am a CT technologist and have worked in hospitals for the last 38 yrs. I started reading and hearing things about that age of 23 and was wondering perhaps that herpes was what I had at age 19 and of course I was shocked and of course did not want to tell anyone because this is an STD. I just had no idea.

I did marry and I told my husband at the time about what I thought about my condition. I never saw that my husband had the virus in anyway and he never told me he had sores or anything. Since the blood work I had done showed the virus and because I have had some mild breakouts (which I now know was herpes) the doctor put me on valacyclovir HCL, which I have taken since I found out for sure that is was herpes that I have. I stopped taking it because I had started feeling very depressed and even had suicidal thoughts.

I have some issues with depression and was on meds for a time however it was only for a year or so and I do believe depression was brought on after the death of my father which was one of the worst things to happen to me. I found his brain tumor when I had to do a CT scan on his brain when we brought him to ER for some focal seizures He lived 2 yrs to the day when the glioma took his life at the age of 61.

I just did not feel like any recent events in my life would be bringing or depression or the terrible thoughts ending my life I was having. I stopped the meds for herpes to see if I would feel different and after being off for 2 weeks I could tell that I felt much better and never had the thoughts of suicide.
However I have had a bad break out of herpes and I also have had an episode of viral meningitis very recently. It was terrible. The previous outbreak was in 2004. I had a headache for about a 1 week, every day and when my upper back and then my neck felt still I knew it was the viral meningitis. I was taken to the ER. I work at this hospital and have for 30 yrs. I am the supervisor in CT.

I saw an ER doctor that I work with and let me just say he is an asshole and difficult and trying to talk to someone like that when you are sick and not thinking and have a headache and feel just awful was not a good experience. I tried to tell him my case and history. My mistake was not bringing the documents I had printed to present to the ER the next time it happened. I should have taken someone with me. I refused the lumbar puncture because I have had so many of them and it would not make a difference in my condition.

He sent me home with pain meds and I was sick just like other episodes of the viral meningitis. Headache went away after about 48 hours after I got very sick and then I was left feeling weak and could not move around very well because my back hurt so badly. Walking jarred my back so bad. I missed 2 weeks of work which is about normal when I have had the viral meningitis in the past. I am not sure I want to take the meds all the time. I can’t live with the bad thoughts that I feel it made me have. I can’t say that I have any residual problems of the viral meningitis except perhaps the headaches. Like I said I have had headaches all my life so to have one is not different then before I had this condition. Perhaps the headaches I have are a residual effect and something I have just learned to live with.

I wanted to tell my story somewhere to someone because I have not read or heard of anyone else that has had the experience I have had with the multiple and terrible episodes of viral meningitis. I wish I could write better and I know my thoughts were scattered but I just wanted to tell my story.

Thank you.

Marjorie Lynn Graham
August 2016