This is a bit of a cautionary tale. I posted at one point in a quick catch up kind of post that back in Feb. I came down with the Epstein Barr virus (or mono) after I had surgery on my finger. I first got sick with pretty intense cold and flu symptoms and a fever, it progressed a week later to a super high fever of 104 with intense back and stomach pain, and a glamorous trip to the Emergency Room. It took another ten days (so, at this point I had been sick for almost a month ) to find out that what I was battling was mono– I had already gotten EBV when I was In high school with “classic” symptoms then: sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, extreme fatigue.
After lots of doctor visits with my PCP and not getting better– I’m talking horrible headaches, stomach pain, and the worst fatigue you can imagine– even when the wind blew against my skin it hurt. Walking was misery. I was so tired I could barely function. I was so miserable, it was terrible. I got a referral to an infectious disease doctor and her recommendation was to put me on steroids—she felt that my immune system was over reacting to the virus and that I needed to “reset” my immune system. I was desperate so I agreed to try it out.
I have been on steroids for five weeks now. If I try to go off them or reduce my dose, my fever and symptoms come back. On Saturday, I woke up not feeling so great– I felt like the first days of when I got mono. And by Monday the fever was back, the chills, headache, malaise, stomach pain– everything. I could barely deal with being alive. And that sounds so extreme and so crazy, I know, but it’s the truth.
In reality, I have not felt like myself since before I cut my finger on Feb 9. I have been barely functioning, struggling through day to day. I sometimes have no idea how I made it through my first semester of my PhD program because there were times I felt like I was swimming in concrete. I struggled every step of the way– Throw into the mix running my business, being a wife and mom– it’s honestly been awful. And I didn’t realize that I was feeling that much better until I felt so thrown back into the horrible– because I had been feeling like what I called “the new normal:” more tired than normal, a little foggy, but functioning.
I am sure that the stress of the past two weeks– intense work stress and end of semester stress along with physical exertion– is what has caused this “flare” to happen. I don’t know what to do. My infectious disease doctor says go on a high dose of steroids to knock it back. I am waiting on hearing what the PCP says. Basically I’m in limbo and feel like total and utter crap.
The good thing is that the semester is over and I have two big weekends left of the craziness of work, and then I can slow down and focus on the next stage of life– and that is what I am trying to hold onto. The past five months have been such a total and complete struggle. I think it’s really helped me put into perspective that your health Is so important and you can’t live a life that is always putting your health in jeopardy. I have lived my life from one stressful roller coaster to another for years, and I think I am finally paying the price for that — and that price is too high for me. I would give anything to not be sick, because being sick is miserable. You feel shut out from life, your relationships suffer, and you easily can dip into a depression as you struggle through the day.
I know this is a sad post and is pretty self pitying but I’m hoping maybe someone else out there will read this and realize that they are not alone.
I’ll keep you posted on what happens next, and thanks for reading.