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Posts Tagged ‘Mononucleosis’

Early morning, it’s bright and sunny.  A perfect morning for a run. Today isn’t just any run and it’s not one that I really wished to miss.  The reason is it was the Vancouver Sun Run and this year is my 8th in a row running it.  I’d love to make it 10 in a row if I could.  Next year will fully depend on my clinical schedule though as I’ll be in my preceptorship at that time.

This year was particularly significant as I didn’t know if I’d make it.  Having mono this spring has really thrown me for a loop.  I started running with one of my running partners (we’ve done a number of half marathons together), and after 3 km she went on without me.  She was doing great feeling strong and fast.  I wasn’t. I couldn’t run right through — as I have always done in past races.  But I kept going, and managed to finish. It wasn’t my personal worst, but it was no where near my personal best.

I’m thankful I finished because this race holds great personal significance — it was the birth of my running, and a lifestyle that’s very different than what it was.  It’s a symbol of personal changes — in terms of what I’m capable of, and who I am at the core of my ‘self’.  And for that reason I realize that even if my partner had stayed with me through the race, I still would have had to fight the fight alone to finish the race.

Now I have to recover, recover the rest of the way from mono and decide: Do I have it in me to train and run my annual half marathon in 6 weeks???

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I have not been doing the things I love or living the live that makes me happy.  Yes, I am working towards a more satisfying career and working towards something that will give me more stability, a future and will give me that ever important ‘job satisfaction’.  BUT, lately I’ve not been doing the things I love.

Partly this is because I’ve had mono and I’ve been doing NOTHING.  My doctor gave me strict instructions that I should do nothing but school since I refused to take a leave of absence (long story, the choice was either a year off or no leave at all).  So, since early March, I’ve been doing just that. Nothing. Or as close to it as I can get.  I still do my volunteering with my running clinic (but no running) and I still try to get out and volunteer at the dance (but no dancing — one cold-relapse was enough thank you, my new dancing soap box is that people should stay away when they’re visibly ill).

Another reason I feel like I’ve been doing nothing is that school keeps me very busy. I’m looking at my deadlines in the next 5 weeks alone and they have me losing sleep (which, when you’re dealing with the after-effects of mono is BAD).   But, that’s the reality of Nursing School and I know that this is a temporary thing, and that I can achieve balance if I am careful.

So, it all adds up.  I’ve been feeling very out of sorts of late.  Saturday I received a phone call. One of my girlfriends had an extra ticket to an event downtown — a socializing event, with art and culture mixed in. The ‘artsy’ side of it (to keep things appropriately vague on a public blog) was the type I’d seek out while travelling but never get involved in here at home.  So, since it was a chance to get dressed up, go out and connect with a different crowd than my usual nursing student friends or dancing or running friends I jumped at the chance.

It was the type of event where people were in jeans and sweats or dressed in vintage, tuxedos and as I was dressed: in a little black dress.  It was a time where everyone was able to express themselves stylistically as they’d like.  I decided that enough was enough I was at home doing nothing for close to 2 months and it’s time to resume life — even if it means modifying my choices due to bouts of exhaustion (and getting help hauling things I’m still not strong enough to carry — like Cat Food or Litter).  So I chose a great pair of shoes and set out.

As I was walking to the bus (so elegant, I know!) a girl looking like she was going to her grad leaned out of the car and yelled at me “I LOVE YOUR SHOES! THEY’RE A GREAT COLOUR!”  That made me smile and walk a little taller with a bit more attitude.  During the event, a woman who was very stylish came up to me to chat. She turned out to be a personal stylist. She wanted to know the designer of my shoes.  I wasn’t able to tell her (though I know they’re a good name — that I got for an AMAZING deal last year).  But that made me smile and, again, walk with that bit of confidence knowing I too was ‘dressed to impress’. It FELT great!

At the event it was fun to explore the artsy side of things, and it was fun to hang with my friends. Interestingly, there was less mingling than I would have expected.  Some was there, for sure, but not much.  There were a few exceptions (that I’m not going to blog about at this point — you’ll just have to ask me if you know me in real life). But, most people seemed focussed on the event rather than mingling and socializing.  But in some cases I think this comes back to my usual rant or opinion that men in this city don’t step up and make moves. I don’t know what it is but they seem to sit back and wait. Perhaps it’s shyness, or perhaps it’s fear of rejection. I don’t really know. But, they just don’t come forward and make the first move.  I don’t plan on chasing, if a guy’s interested he’ll step up.

One guy seemed interested, tried to be around me (the place wasn’t huge but he was consistently in the same rooms as I was for much of the evening), and seemed like a good looking intelligent man. He smiled at me, I at him, back and forth. I made sure to initiate it sometimes. BUT he didn’t ever step up.  He had four hours to work up the courage.  This isn’t a universal thing, wasn’t even a universal thing that night. But, men stepping up and talking to a woman, making the first move, is the exception not the rule (unless alcohol is involved, perhaps).

Unfortunately this seems par for the course here and I don’t know if any woman, who doesn’t want to have to become the ‘chaser’ in the dating scene, knows what to do about this.

So for that night, and for my overall spirits, those boosts of confidence was worth it, and I must say:

Sometimes it's all about the shoes...

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To add support to my comments about being sick and still going out to dances I caught whatever the person had at that party last weekend. Three days after the party, I’m congested, weak again, sneezing like crazy, coughing. Just what I needed, already my immune system is depressed. I suppose ultimately it’s my fault because I knew I was recovering from a long illness and risked going out in public. BUT, I was not infectious as far as the evidence indicates and I was sick and tired of being home alone with no life. I still maintain that if a person is visibly ill it’s disrespectful and rude to expose others. Especially for something as easily transmitted as a cold and the flu.

It could be allergies, given the crazy sneezing, but the pollen count is low so I doubt that — that and I rarely get this type of allergy.

Sigh. Back to the drawing board. I’ll go to the dance on Friday to volunteer — and visit with people — but no dancing and home to bed early. This is getting ridiculous.

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Resuming Life

I am slowly getting better. Kicking Mono is not a fast process.  I may not have any physical symptoms, may not be infectious anymore (the literature disagrees about that, but in all likelihood I’m not infectious), but I am still exhausted.  Last night I went to a blues party and had some fun dances and enjoyed seeing people again. It was fun to laugh and flirt, chat and be social.

This morning I ran with my clinic — I volunteer with them so I haven’t really been able to just sit at home and ignore it. This week I decided I’d try jogging with the slowest group. Was surprising for me — though I know I’ve got mono — to be going so slow. I was going a pace that could walk briskly normally.   I wasn’t able to turn around when I wanted — by that time it was faster to continue with the group than to turn around (not to mention more appropriate from a safety perspective).  But I was exhausted afterwards — I felt like I’d gone running on one of my marathon training runs.   So today I’ve mostly rested as a result.

This whole Mono experience has made me realize a few things:

1. I’m going to be extra careful to stay away from dances if I’m sick. The people I dance with deserve that respect.  I’ve generally tried todo this in the past, but I’m going to be even more vigilant about that.

2. I’m pretty annoyed when dancers go out even if they’re sick on the guise that they’re ‘getting better’. My message to any dancer reading this blog: if you’re visibly sick, there’s a good chance you’re infectious, just because you’ve had it for a while doesn’t guarantee that you’ve stopped shedding viruses.  If you respect me or other people you dance with you would not want them to get sick anymore than you would want to be infected.  So STAY AWAY.  It’s hard to know who gave me Mono (and NO it’s not because I’ve been kissing all sorts of men, far from it in fact). BUT it quite possibly was from a dance event — perhaps someone drank out of my labelled glass.  It could also have been the distraction (mono has a 4-8 week incubation time).  It’s possible to be an asymptomatic carrier — either never showing symptoms or when shedding viruses prior to showing signs of being sick.  So it is possible someone wasn’t yet symptomatic and was at the event, or they may never have shown signs of it. Or they could have had a bad sore throat or what they thought was a ‘bad cold’ and still went to the event.  BUT the point it, it’s bad enough that we’re at risk when out dancing due to people who don’t realize they’re infected.  But, when you KNOW you’re sick I think it’s selfish and rude to go out dancing.  There. That soapbox is done for the moment.

3.  Support and help is badly needed for anyone with Mono.  I still need it for some things.  When I was in the throes of the illness, let me tell you, unless you’ve experienced it you have no idea how bad you feel.  I had no strength in me. I had no choice but to continue with school because a leave of absence means a year off.  That took all my strength to make it through.  I couldn’t cook. I couldn’t clean. Laundry exhausted me and I had to rest after each trip up and down the stairs.  I’m still not caught up on my cleaning and laundry.  I still can’t carry heavy loads up the stairs. I’m too weak.  Mono’s transmissibility is low, lower than that of a cold. It really is only transmitted via saliva and as long as a healthy person washes their hands, doesn’t share glassware or utensils etc with the infected person, doesn’t kiss the infected person and the like it’s okay to be around them.

4. I’m not good at asking for help of this sort, and I didn’t really. Those that I would have though would have offered to help didn’t.  In some cases, couldn’t — and I do understand why (some even explained to me why). But others? I have no idea why they wouldn’t or why they didn’t offer or even give me the opening ‘can I do anything to help?’. A simple question that would have had huge impact.  And those particular cases make me feel pretty unsupported, if I’m totally honest.  But, this being said, for me cleaning my house or my laundry is something fairly personal so most people even if they asked that question I probably wouldn’t have even considered asking for that kind of help.   And I’m not saying I had no help — one friend came shopping with me so my place would be stocked, another brought me orange juice.

So as I head to sleep, I’m thankful I’m on the upswing but I’m not back to normal yet.  Hopefully soon, because I miss my normal life.

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One Year

It’s been one year. One year since my grandma died. I sill miss her, will always have those moments of thinking of her remembering her.  Recently, I’ve been reminded of what I went through as I watch a friend go through something similar.

Today, though I’m dealing with a diagnosis of Mononucleosis (this past Wednesday), and am in a lot of discomfort, I am also taking time to remember.

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