Melissa, Age 30, Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama

I had my daughter in March of 2016. By August, I was having severe delusional thoughts, hallucinations, and aggressive behavior. My parents took me to the hospital and had me admitted thinking I was having hormonal issues after spending the day with me and watching my behavior. The hospital then said I was in a form of psychosis and admitted me to the psychiatric ward. I stayed there for a few days, then had what appeared to be a seizure. The doctors said it was my body giving one last hoorah to save itself. I was then tested by Dr. Charma and he found the encephalitis. It was caused by an ovarian teratoma. I was on life support for a little over a month. I was in the hospital for 2 months. I received IVIG treatments to cleanse my plasma of the antibodies. I was denied physical rehabilitation because the hospital had me on so many medicines that I could not participate in the Physical Therapy there.  By October 20, my mother’s birthday, I was able to go home to my parents with my then 7 month old daughter and lived there until I was able to get back on my feet. I still struggle, mostly silent struggles that no one around me really knows about. I still have some cognitive and behavioral issues that I work on daily. I am just now, this year at the point of working again. I also now have a son. Life is looking up again,finally. This illness tried to kill me but I survived and I will not allow it to ruin anything else for me.