Mono Strikes Back: aka, My Holiday As A Cat

Did you know that once you have mono it’s like herpes? Mono can become active whenever the hell it feels like it? I knew this, as I do believe I contracted it initially from a cousin who hadn’t had it for years. Occasionally, when mono’s active, lucky mono-carriers won’t experience any symptoms at all. Unfortunately, I was not spared mono symptoms like massive fatigue, fever and a wicked sore throat with swollen glands.

How did I get hit with mono? AGAIN?!  

Since the hubs went to Switzerland for a week, I’ve been one busy Momma; carting my children around to their various events, keeping up with my own daily paid & unpaid responsibilities, celebrating a very busy Thanksgiving across the state and singing back home in GR that same weekend… prepping for Christmas, throwing parties, attending parties, etc. etc. Up until the week of Christmas, other than a few bad days here or there, I felt pretty good; I actually enjoy being busy around the holidays. But a few red flags popped to surface over the course of the last several weeks, telling me to slow the eff down that I completely ignored… until it was too late.

Red Flag #1
Bladder infection. Right around Thanksgiving thankyouverymuch I got hit with a wicked UTI that did not go away with the typical antibiotics I usually take for such things. I had to go on 2 antibiotics before I started to feel better… but I never really felt completely better. Even worse? The tests showed that I didn’t actually have a bladder infection at all. WTF?! I still believe the tests were wrong, because at least the painful symptoms of the infection itself went away… mostly.

Red Flag #2
Fever. First week of December, I started fighting a fever, and when the hubs found out, he didn’t pass go, he came directly home to work and kicked my sorry sick ass to bed, where I slept from 9a-1p, then 3p-6p… then went to bed at 9p and slept until we had to get up for school routine the next day at 6:30am. I was still pretty wiped, but I ingested a little extra B12, and the exhaustion went away and I started to feel better. So what did I do? I took extra B12 & coffee in order to attend a friend’s social event that evening. Dumb!!!

Red Flag #3
Missing period. This may be tmi for some of you — but once I was diagnosed with mono in May 2010 — I skipped 3 periods in a row… and I didn’t feel better until I finally had another period. I’m on an IUD, so my periods are fairly light & somewhat irregular to begin with, but mono does affect your blood, and I do believe they are related. The fact that I skipped a period and I was having stomach pains + fever sent me to my OBGYN and my Urologist. Both called for some bloodwork and my urologist put me back on an antibiotic (fyi — antibiotics won’t touch mono). Only thing the bloodwork told me was that I wasn’t having an ectopic pregnancy or a kidney infection… and shocker, I have the mono-virus — which will always show up in my bloodwork whether it’s active or not.

Red Flag #4
Pure exhaustion. Now, let’s face it, as a parent, we’re all exhausted at the end of the day — especially during the month of December. I don’t care how many kids you have, the to-do lists seem endless and once you finally get them to bed, fighting the urge to hit the sack yourself can be nearly impossible. Since you have so many damn things to do, you don’t go to bed, instead, you stay up to catch up with the bullshit you blew off all day doing the December shit. I should’ve gone to bed.

Red Flag #5
Getting sick/hungover after only 3 beers. Ok, so I drank on an empty stomach because I was too busy to eat all day and puked my guts out… and then I went out less than 24hrs later and proceeded to put a little more alcohol on it! My stupidity knows no bounds. I, however, have little regret for the abuse I did to my body that weekend. I had an incredible time with really good people I adore. But, that weekend was very likely the final nail in my mono-infested-coffin.

Red Flag #6 — the official kick-in-the-ass-just-admit-it-you-have-mono-you-idiot moment.
Waking up with a wicked sore throat & swollen glands on Christmas Eve. This hit me like a ton of bricks. I woke up, and I knew… I knew I officially had mono. Just standing up and feeling like I was walking through quicksand made me want to ball my eyes out. Noooooooooooo! I had to sing, solo, at Christmas Eve Mass that evening and I honestly wanted to die. I came super close to sending the hubs in my place. But, I’m a lady of her word, and I should’ve bailed a week or two before if I even suspected this was a mono relapse… which I did… but I was in denial until it was too late. In warm-up, my voice sounded like Roseanne singing the National Anthem. Ok, so maybe not that dreadful, but it wasn’t good. I came so close to telling them to scrap it altogether, that high E loomed over my head, scaring the crap out of me… but it was prelude music, so I figured no one would be paying attention anyhow. I went through with it, and although it wasn’t my best performance, my voice didn’t crack once. High E can bite me.

The good news? 

  • Getting mono over Christmas break meant that the hubs was home from work all but 2 days while the kids were home from school. I was able to stay in bed for a bulk of those days — literally — some days I never left my bed unless I needed to go to the bathroom. 
  • My reference to my holiday as a cat? So true. And my cat totally stalked me like I was some sort of cat-like celeb to her. Picture captured via the hubs below — for some reason pictures + bullets don’t work well together in blogger. Hmph. 
  • My kids have now been exposed to mono twice, and neither have shown any symptoms of being sick at all! In most cases, when kids under age 10 are exposed to the mono virus early — if they show any symptoms, they are very short-lived and more flu-like. The hubs’ brother got mono in high school so the hubs was exposed around the time he around 7. The hubs is annoyingly healthy (his mother breast-fed him, while mine did not… #justsayin!) but I do believe his early exposure to mono when he was a kid has kept him immune from this monoriffic relapse. 
  • Another bright side — having a mono-relapse is teaching my children a little lesson in tolerance and empathy. They have both grown leaps and bounds accepting that Momma can’t do much right now, and they have been ok with that. 
  • I’ve been in this place before, and last time I got mono, even though it kick-started a steady flow of weightloss (I doubt that’ll happen this time — since I don’t have much to lose at this point) I learned the importance of rest & B12… and… unfortunately, not drinking alcohol until I’m better. There goes my tagline for the month. I’ve upped my dosage of B12 that I’ve been taking the last 18 or so months to a super high liquid form of a B12 complex, and it is helping… slowly. 
The bad news?
  • We had planned to visit our hometown for a few days over the holiday break to catch up with friends & family we don’t get to see very often… a few of them recently had babies that we wanted to meet. That was the hardest pill for me to swallow. Missing out on holding and gushing over new babies just about killed me. But, I knew a trip across the state would’ve only prolonged my recovery, or made it worse.
  • I still have a guest room full of presents for Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, nieces & nephews. They still need to be wrapped, and very likely sent in the mail… or something. 
  • The kids are back to school, the hubs is back to work… they are back to whatever “normal” is, and I have to try to assemble some sort of normalcy too. 
  • The looks of sympathy. Ugh. I don’t like people to look at me and see Debbie Downer. Or worse, that I’m just fishing for sympathy. Last time, mono kick-started a drastic change in my life in such a positive direction. I know I won’t be “better” overnight, but when I’m constantly being asked “How are you feeling?” with that tilted head and a sad look day after day, I don’t want to lie, but I don’t always want to get into just how shitty I am feeling on a daily basis. When I’m completely better, trust me, there may be a party with fireworks and beer… lots of beer.
  • My house is a disaster… I’ve had to let a lot go. The hubs & I had it out a few days ago over… who knows. We rarely fight, but this mono bullshit is obviously taking a toll on both of us. He wanted a gold star for “cleaning the kitchen” which meant, loading/unloading the dishwasher. The piles of mail, the Christmas decorations, gifts, boxes, new toys, old toys, etc ETC are stashed all over the house. I’ve had to say fuck it because I just don’t have the energy to keep up with much. Sleep is priority #1 right now. #sorryIsuck 
I am getting better, but at such a snail’s pace. Mono takes a long time to go away. Last time, it took me about 3 months to finally feel back to my old fightin’ self. Oh yes, I just said 3 months. I’m really hoping it doesn’t take that long this time. Especially with Disney 60 days away. Cue panic?! Nah. I’m thinking the mono has very likely been active for about a month, since the first couple weeks I was in complete denial and would just down shitloads of coffee, tea & B12 to get through It worked… until it didn’t. 
My advice to you? If you’re a parent and you start to feel sick, get help. Let the kids watch TV so you can take a nap. Sleep when you can. Go to bed early. Especially if you’re susceptible to something as craptastic as mono. There are no sick days for Momma, but we still need to do what we can to stay as healthy as we can to keep up with our little monsters. 

Did you miss any of my posts over the holidays?
Two highlights to consider: my link-filled year-in-review post: The Big Roller-coaster of 2011 and my New Year post Staying Present While Looking Forward.

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