It happens occasionally– and no. I’m not making this up. But when it happens– man, chronic fatigue syndrome seems to ruin my life.
And no, I’m not just simply “tired” because I work a lot or don’t get enough sleep. And no it’s not because my body “is trying to make up for lost sleep I should have had.”
It doesn’t work that way. And people make a lot of assumptions about it. The truth is, chronic fatigue syndrome is side effect of mono, which can last for your entire life.
When I had mono at 19, I developed two lasting things– enlarged tonsils and chronic fatigue syndrome. You may not know it unless you’ve had mono yourself, but once you catch it– YOU ALWAYS HAVE IT. Like herpes. It doesn’t go away.
Sure, you’re not contagious anymore. Sure, you’ll recover. But unless you’re careful, you can relapse.
And thus has been my past week. Having enlarged tonsils makes me more susceptible to things. On an airplane ride to my cousin’s wedding in Maryland, I apparently caught an upper respiratory infection. The infection led to tonsillitis.
(oh, and I’ve had a tooth ache on top of both of these silly illnesses).
But the real kicker is, when I get so sick like this, I get another unwelcome symptom: the chronic fatigue.
I pushed through the days in Maryland with my illness. I pushed through work the first day I was back. But the second I fell asleep that night after work, I slept until the next day. That’s right…over TWELVE HOURS OF UNINTERRUPTED SLEEP.
No. This is not normal. No. It’s not because I’m simply tired.
I decided to stay home that day and slept the MAJORITY OF THE DAY. At first I assumed it was some of the cold medicine I was taking (after all, it’s been a couple years since this happened to me last), but nope. I couldn’t find a warning on the bottle at all for “may cause drowsiness.”
So Wednesday, I tried to start work again, only to feel like I was in a weird dream and leave at lunch time to– you guessed it– SLEEP SOME MORE.
I am not a napper. I hate naps. HATE THEM. For me to sleep for HOURS and then still go to bed at an EARLY time is not normal. In fact, that’s how my mom first suspected I had mono. I was home for a couple weeks after college broke for summer and while watching TV, I randomly fell asleep. That may seem like a normal thing for some people, but not for me. I don’t just doze off. I don’t just nap. I’ve been a night owl my whole life. I got by in college on a mere average of four hours of sleep a night. If I pulled an all nighter, no one could tell because I’m just that peppy and awesome.
Needless to say, a dozing Nikki made mom worried. She immediately sent me to the doctor and that’s when I found out I had the dreaded mono.
I hate you mono.
Today is my first day back to work since getting my double-illness diagnosis and I’ve been chugging caffeine and sugar like nobody’s business. But right before noon, I could already feel my eyes begin to do the slow drop and smolder burn. The last hour of work I seriously thought I’d fall asleep at my desk.
Because I’m bored? No. Because I didn’t get enough sleep? NO. BECAUSE I AM ILL. Because for a while, I will be tired uncontrollable at inopportune times. I will be like a narcoleptic who can’t help it.
It just really stinks that now with my tonsillitis and upper respiratory infection starting to clear up, I can barely stay awake. I have silly typos and I forget what I’m doing. I’m trying to be optimistic and hoping that maybe the fatigue will stop after this weekend. After all, with all the traveling I do for work, I’d hate to be on the road and…you know…FALL ASLEEP.
Plus I’ve been dying to get back on track with my work out schedule. But how can you get up early to work out if you can barely get up? You can’t.
So I’ll ride it out and try to take care of myself, but if you see me sleeping in weird places like bus stops or the women’s bathroom, be a doll and give a narcoleptic gal a nudge.
Oh btw. It’s my anniversary on Monday. WE MADE IT A YEAR. More on that this weekend :-).
I also have Chronic Fatigue (had it since I was 11) and it sucks! I also have the added ‘bonus’ (ha!) of not being able to sleep even though it makes me soo tired. And you are right – unfortunately it never really goes away. Hope you get over this relapse soon!