With glandular fever (aka mononucleosis) turning my usually active life into one of lethargy, long naps, and pain-filled days, it’s not an overstatement to say things have been a wee bit hard recently, especially regarding my normal habits, routines, and New Year goals.
Which is fairly ironic since my New Year plans overall were to get a handle on organising my life and planning ahead. It would seem that despite my best intentions, life is telling me to slow down. So instead of playing catch up with my pre-planned posting schedule and entertaining you with various places visited and changes at home, I’m going to give you a quick rundown of how I really have been these past few weeks. And no, it won’t be the usual “Hanging in there” response I’ve been giving out to those around me (along with whatever kind of smile I can muster up – which I hope is brave – I try to go for brave. But whatever, they get a mouth twitch and sometimes teeth).
The effects of Glandular Fever
For the past 2 weeks I’ve been fairly complacent and unenthusiastic about everything in life (barring an audition for Midsummer Night’s Dream that I somehow managed to haul myself out of bed for in the first week of my illness. As it turns out, I’ll be behind the stage as a production secretary instead of performing on it, but I’m quite happy I’ll be working with awesome theater peeps in March – as I really am hoping to be well by then!).
Since that awful first week, which started off with odd lumps behind the head and a sore throat (which I got cortisone and hystamines for with instructions to return the following week if the bumps were still there), I’ve been unmotivated and quite literally unable to read, text friends, change out of my PJs, or do any of the normal things one usually does (and which I usually enjoy doing, like putting on a touch of makeup, running a bath, and reading in the evenings).
The pain medication I’ve been on has helped quite a bit, especially with the swollen lymph nodes that cropped up in my wrists, behind the knees, and in my hands (which truly made me feel as if a 90 year old man had invaded my body). But, said medication also send me to dreamland in pretty short order and then there’s the (gross!) tummy troubles which I won’t go into detail about because I like you ^_~. Needless to say I’ve cut pain meds out completely since the achy joints are finally gone, as of week 2.
I have been off work for 2 weeks and under strict instructions from my doctor not to participate in anything strenuous, including but not limited to contact sports, jarring my abdomen (no tight waistbands), or heavy lifting. I have to refrain from eating rich fatty meals, citrus, or anything along those lines due to the enlargement of my internal organs being unable to properly process the foods (the main affected organs are my liver and spleen).
Because these organs are so enlarged from fighting the virus, they’re pushing on my stomach making me unable to eat more than a small bowl of oats in the morning (which is a great choice for those out there starting this), a few nuts or a slice of dry toast or cracker bread in the afternoon, and if I’m lucky, half a bowl of soup for supper – with the caveat of no onions, garlic, or cream being in it. During the first week I hardly ate at all, and tried to stay hydrated with fluids – water, tea, re-hydrating sachets, aloe and fruit juice mixes, and iced teas. Turns out, this is the recommended option during the early stages (with the mention of broth soups – but meh). Week two was a bit better, with the above mentioned items tiding me through a day, though I usually skipped supper since I couldn’t handle the acid reflux I was getting (you get super sleepy after eating and lying down is a no no for reflux – you feel like you’re dying. Really. It plain sucks).
As of week 3 I’m feeling a bit more human and motivated (though the energy comes and goes in waves like an oceans tide, or sunlight peeking out on a cloudy day, which is all too quickly gone again). I’ve found a few olives a day help with energy levels (likely due to Vitamin E), and I’m taking a probiotic and liver support to nourish my internal organs, along with drinking lots of water and teas, like ginger, fennel, and rooibos. Coffee is prohibited (and those who know me know how much I hate this, because I love my coffee!) purely since the caffeine has a negative effect on the adrenal glands.
On the plus side, I think getting into shape and eating healthily will be a breeze when I’m well again, since I’ve already lost quite a few pounds due to my stomach shrinking, and I’ve already kick started the healthy eating plan (albeit in baby-sized portions, which I’m confident will return to that of a ‘normal’ adult some time soon). So yeah, the only plus side I’ve found with glandular is weight loss.
How am I coping with Glandular Fever now?
In short, when I have spurts of energy, I feel like me again – but those usually only lasts for half-hour spans, before disappearing again; leaving me wanting to close my eyes and rest. Since South Africa only allows for 3 weeks of sick leave, for every 3 years worked for a company, and I’ve taken 10 days of sick leave already, I feel terrible having to take more … which is why I went back to work this past week.
I hung in Monday and Tuesday, took, Wednesday off to rest and try and recover, then worked Thursday and Friday morning. I was sent home before lunch on Friday afternoon because my manager could see I wasn’t myself.
It’s so busy at this time of year and I feel incredibly guilty taking time off work to come home and rest, and do little else but sleep (I think I could manage fairly well on email and do most of my work from my bed throughout the day, but that’s sadly not an option). Then again, on the other hand, it’s my health – and it’s the only health – and life – I have. So I need to start realising what my friends and colleagues keep saying is true, that “work will wait” (but I love my job!). 😦 I need rest, lots of TLC time, and to just let go and let God handle the rest.
Going into week four will be interesting. I’m hopeful my body will kick out this inconvenience and I’ll be feeling more like myself in short order (trust me, if I knew which idiot sneezed or coughed on me with this, I’d kill ’em. Horribly. Think fire ants and honey, or a vat of boiling oil). In reality, only time will tell at this point how fast I’ll recover, but I promise I’ll start posting more regularly here as my energy returns.
Have you ever had glandular fever? What have you done to cope with the symptoms, and how long did you take to feel like your old self again?