An Adult's Battle With Chickenpox

Art is my passion. I went to school for it, became an art teacher, and now I have my own mural painting business in Toledo, OH.

And to think it all might have never happened because I got chickenpox.

As a child, I was fortunate enough to escape this common virus. The years went on, and it naturally became less of a concern. I was a young adult by the time I got the chickenpox, and that’s when I learned just how dangerous this “childhood disease” can be.

The virus had spread to my brain, causing dangerous inflammation. My only chance of survival was a rare procedure in which half of my brain was removed. The doctors were very concerned that I would become a vegetable or, at the very best, confined to a nursing home for the rest of my life and unable to care for myself. To make matters worse, the virus later infected my left eye which also had to be removed.

I survived the operation, but needed intensive rehabilitation. It wasn’t easy. Walking, talking, even going to the bathroom became difficult tasks.  I had to learn to do everything again. I had to start over. And it was all because of chickenpox.

There was no vaccine available when I was younger, I couldn’t prevent it. But now, no one should have to experience what I went through. If the chickenpox vaccine was available when you were a kid, I hope you got it. But if you didn’t or you’re not sure, it’s worth asking your doctor. Protect yourself against chickenpox.

Despite everything, art never left me. I’m lucky to be alive, and to have my own mural business. I cherish it every day. Don’t let a vaccine-preventable disease stop you from pursuing your passions.

Jeannine Dailey
Toledo, OH