This last year has been a year of uncertainty and hardships. Towards the end of the year, I was diagnosed with Glandular fever. This unfortunately meant I had to stop working and cancel a lot of my plans/social events. This was a dark few months and I certainly am not over it just yet. Not to mention the chronic fatigue it left me with. But you guys have been so kind to me over the last couple of months.
I explained a tiny bit about the struggles in my blog post last week but said I would fully explain with a blog post purely on living with Glandular Fever… so here it is! So it all started around about October time. I kept getting severe sore throats which would last for around 10 days or so. I mean servere to the point where I couldn’t eat anything but soup, and swallowing was just so very painful. I kept putting it down to some sort of cold virus, (however, I never had any cold symptoms, just a fever that went after a few days), so I ignored it and carried on with life. I felt very tired, but just assumed I had been working too hard or having too many late nights. I also had very swollen tonsils and kept getting headaches. These symptoms came back 4 times over two months. When I came down with another severe sore throat AGAIN, after the third time of having one in just under two months, I decided enough was enough and I needed to go to the doctors.
So, I booked an appointment with my local GP, however they couldn’t see me until a week later! So by that time, my symptoms were nearly gone again. I went into the doctors room and she looked into my throat, and checked my glands however she couldn’t see anything wrong with me. I was SO annoyed, as I knew that something wasn’t right – I thought initially I had tonsillitis. As she couldn’t see anything, she did a throat swab to send to the ENT (Ears, Nose and Throat) department at my local hospital and they would get back to me in a few days if anything came up on the results. As my doctor couldn’t see anything wrong with me, she decided to do some blood tests, then and there to see if anything showed up. So I put on a brave face (as yes… I faint when I see needles or get any type of injection!!) and had my bloods taken.
The next day, I phoned the surgery for the results and the doctor told me that I had been diagnosed with Glandular Fever…aka… the kissing the disease. Yes… I had the kissing disease hahaha! Don’t worry, they only say that as it is passed through saliva, but can be caught from touching an escalator, or using utensils at a restaurant etc. Now I didn’t really know what that was at the time, I hadn’t really a clue. So the doctor explained. Glandular fever is a viral infection that can make you very ill and lasts for a few weeks/months. Common symptoms are a high temperature, severe sore throat, swollen glands in the neck, and fatigue (this is the bit that has affected me the most). The symptoms will last a few weeks however the chronic fatigue can last months even years.
I was devastated but kind of relieved at the same time as I just wanted an answer! I also was relieved that it was nothing more severe. The doctor told me I needed to stop working and just rest, as that is the only answer to treating glandular fever. There is no treatment. This was hard as I had to cancel my social plans and basically everything happening at that time in my life. It was a dark time but my family and friends were so kind and were there for me so much! I don’t know where I would be without them.
One important thing I have learnt in this time of illness was the need to put my health first and rest. Resting is so important, and I learnt that it is not being lazy, but it is listening and doing what is best for your body. Chronic fatigue is an invisible illness and it can’t be seen. A lot of people didn’t understand and still don’t understand that I was ill, as I look and did look physically well. But this Is far from the truth on the inside. Each day is a struggle to get out of bed, it is a struggle to even wash my hair and do small jobs like that. It has left me feeling constantly tired- I wake up each day as if I haven’t even had a nights sleep, and not to mention the constant headaches and the difficulty to think and concentrate. So I have learnt to listen to my body, resting when I need to and pacing myself. This is the only way to manage it. It meant taking each day as it came, always pacing myself and taking baby steps again. It was hard but it taught me to always listen to your body.
Some things which I have found to be so useful during my illness were these things:
One thing I have learnt from this season which God gave to me is that there is a time for every season – good, bad, difficult and happy times. It is during the difficult seasons (when we are in the valley) that we draw closer to God and can use it to praise him more. I have also learnt that in whatever situation I am in, to be content, to trust his timing and give all my troubles and problems to him through prayer. Remember sweet friends… as I keep reminding myself.. God is good and remains faithful always, even when our circumstances don’t seem good.
God offers hope when trusting him is hard. Use what happens in your life to show others the amazing work of God through you!