A woman who slept for nearly 22 hours every day after being struck down with meningitis, measles and glandular fever has revealed how she ‘woke up fat’ having gained eight stone.
Misé Coakley, from Whitby, North Yorkshire, was left housebound and barely able to move by the cocktail of conditions that saw her go from a size 10 to a size 24.
The 34-year-old was so exhausted that her family had to carry her from her bed to the sofa for her rare waking hours, and all she ate was crisps, chocolate and diet shakes.
Recalling how she looked ‘like a monstrosity’ in family photos, Misé, who has now slimmed down to a svelte 10st 7lb, said: ‘I just woke up fat.
‘I hadn’t been scoffing thousands of calories a day. I’d just been unconscious for so much of the time – unable to hardly move without falling asleep with exhaustion and eating unhealthy snacks when I could, that the weight had piled on as I slept.’
Misé Coakley, from Whitby, North Yorkshire, saw her weight rocket up to 18st 7lb after she fell ill in November 2010. After seeing photos of herself at a family wedding in America (left), she decided to take action, and has now slimmed down to a svelte 10st 7lb
Misé fell gravely ill with meningitis, measles and glandular fever while working as a deckhand. The conditions left her housebound and sleeping for up to 22 hours a day
Her weight gain began when she fell ill in November 2010 and continued for a further three years – until she was forced into action when she saw photos of herself at family wedding in America at her peak weight of 18st 7lb.
After her father, Arthur Coakley, aged 61, died in June 2009 on board an Air France jet that plunged into the Atlantic, she threw herself into work and agreed to work as a deckhand offshore.
‘I was busy all the time, working like crazy and not dealing with my grief,’ she said.
‘A friend offered me some work as a deckhand offshore and I took it, again grafting all the hours under the sun.’
A keen seafarer, Misé had sailed around Europe for 14 months aboard HMS Endeavour in 2003, and planned to take part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in 2010.
Then, in November 2010, she became gravely ill, developing a rash on her face, which she initially concealed with make-up.
But within hours she was so ill she was sent back to a mainland hospital, where she was diagnosed with a trio of debilitating conditions.
She had turned to work offshore while reeling from the sudden death of her father Arthur Coakley, who died in June 2009 aged 61. He died on board an Air France jet that plunged into the Atlantic
While ill, Misé was unable to stay awake long enough to eat any proper meals, meaning she snacked on small things before falling back to sleep – and not burning off any of the calories she’d just consumed
She had meningitis, an infection of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, measles – a highly contagious infectious disease – and the viral infection glandular fever, which leaves sufferers exhausted.
Treated with a lumbar puncture, where a thin needle is inserted between the bones in the lower spine to treat the meningitis, and given medication after five days in hospital, Misé was told she must rest if she wanted to recover.
Taking to her bed at her mother’s home in Whitby, Misé slipped into a near constant slumber.
‘I’d sleep most of the day, for 22 hours sometimes. I just couldn’t get enough sleep,’ she said.
‘I would crawl around at home, as I wouldn’t even have the energy to walk.’
From November 2010 until May 2011, Misé dozed non-stop and piled on a stone-and-a-half.
After several periods of being homebound, Misé finally felt well enough to get back to normal life. But after three years of gaining weight, she was shocked by photos of her body and sprang into action
‘I couldn’t stay awake long enough to eat any proper, balanced meals,’ she said.
‘I was just eating small things, or snacking and then sleeping – burning none of the calories I’d consumed.’
By May, Misé was determined to return to normal and went back to work offshore again behind the bar.
But, by February 2012, her energy levels were so depleted that she was bed-ridden once more.
Back at the home she shared with her then partner, Misé slept again for almost seven months solid.
‘This time, I piled on two-and-a-half stone,’ she recalled. ‘I wasn’t awake long enough to eat anything properly, so tried diet shakes to just get the nutrients into me.
‘I didn’t have the energy to cook anything properly, and if I did try, I would have to stop and have several breaks even when eating the simplest of meals, like soup or cereal.
‘If I tried to lean forward to pick up a snack or a drink, even that would tire me out so much I’d need to sleep.’
Misé joined Slimming World and lost eight stone, returning to a size 10. She said: ‘I feel amazing, and while I still have to monitor my energy levels, I am now much healthier than I was’
Left alone for 13 hours a day, Misé would be carried from her bed to the sofa, before her partner left for work, and returned to bed in the evening.
By October 2012, despite having piled on four stone, she felt well enough to go travelling around America, South America and the Caribbean with her ex-partner.
But she continued to gain weight while she was away and, returning home in June 2013, she was now six stone heavier than before her illness and felt exhausted.
Again moving between her bed and the sofa, she stayed there for a further eight months until February 2013 – getting fatter and fatter.
‘I was sleeping all the time again. Travelling had worn me out and I had also been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome,’ she said.
‘This time, I had gained two stone, on top of the two stone I piled on travelling. This made me eight stone heavier than I was before I became ill.
‘It was hardly surprising considering I was eating chocolate, snacks and biscuits and barely moving.’
Finally, in February 2013 Misé felt well enough to try and resume a normal life.
Now Misé works as a consultant for Slimming World and hopes to help others lose weight – however they gained it
Looking back, Misé has said that ‘nothing was normal’ and she ‘woke up a different person’
‘Nothing was normal though,’ she said. ‘I was buying myself bigger clothes and even had my favourite vintage dresses made larger, so I could fit in them, but I don’t think I realised how big I’d got.
‘Looking back, I woke up a different person.’
Her realisation came at a family wedding in Las Vegas, USA, when she was in so much pain from her legs chafing that she bought men’s cycling shorts to wear under her dress.
Seeing the family photos afterwards, Misé thought she looked like a ‘monstrosity’ and finally realised that the years of sleep had taken its toll on her appearance.
Vowing to change, Misé found a Slimming World class close to her home and has not looked back since.
‘I lost six-and-a-half stone by June 2017 and by January this year I’d shed eight stone,’ she said.
‘Now I am a Slimming World consultant full-time and want to help other people like me to lose the weight, however they gained it.’
Misé added: ‘I feel amazing, and while I still have to monitor my energy levels, I am now much healthier than I was.’