Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Health Update: Making Some Changes and Taking Control

I made it through the first two weeks of strep and mono, which the doctor said would be the worst. Now that I'm past that, it's time to start thinking about how I can keep it from happening again.

Mono is brought on by chronic fatigue syndrome, which is one of those issues that is both hard to pinpoint and hard to treat. There's argument over whether it's viral or bacterial--there's even a new study that says it's brought on by inflammation--but what doctors do agree on is that it never really goes away. One website described it: "A person with CFS feels completely worn-out and overtired. This extreme tiredness makes it hard to do the daily tasks that most of us do without thinking — like dressing, bathing, or eating. Sleep or rest does not make the tiredness go away. It can be made worse by moving, exercising, or even thinking."

Just reading that made me exhausted. How on earth do I combat that?

Autoimmune diseases hit  a little too close to home for me. If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know I lost my Dad to multiple sclerosis almost 6 years ago. MS and chronic fatigue go hand in hand, but there's no causal evidence--meaning, people with MS have chronic fatigue, but not necessarily the other way around.

But quite honestly, reading anything about health issues I'm having where the mere mention of MS pops up scares the pants off of me. My dad was sick my whole life. I watched it happen. It was horrible. And I will do anything in my power to keep my son from having to go through that. And I'm lucky that there is quite a bit in my power.

 My first line defense is going to be nutrition. If I can make my body stronger on the inside, everything should get better, right? I know I've been trying and trying to get my eating on track, but I haven't managed to do it yet. It's time to stop trying and just do it. I have complete control over what I put in my mouth--so why am I eating crap?

Step number two: find some balance in my exercise. I've been running for a year and a half. I've crossed heaven knows how many miles, and yet I'm not healthy. It's been a hard pill to swallow, but I'm learning that running alone does not a healthy person make. It took me a long time to come to running, and I'm hoping the confidence it had given me will make me less afraid to try some other new things. Once more, I'm in control of this. Thinking about doing a monthly strength training challenge or taking the leap to do outside of my comfort zone (like joining a rock climbing gym, something I've always wanted to do) looks great on paper, but I have to make it reality.

And finally--I need to chill out. Chronic Fatigue symptoms act out when you are stressed out. And I'm always stressed out about something. I take other people's issues and make them my own. While I may not be able to control what goes on around me, I can control what I let into my life and my reaction to it. There it is again: control.

I'm lucky. This issue I have--it's not the end of the world. I'll get better. But it has still be an eye-opener. It's been frightening to be sapped of energy, and it makes me admire people, especially parents, who have life-threatening diseases. And it's made me aware of how much I can do to fix myself. Now to put it into action.

A penny for your thoughts: what do you need to take control over in your life?


  1. I need control period. My eating is out of control, my exercise is nonexistent. BLAH!

  2. I had mono in college and it was pretty rough! I tend to get strange diseases when I get run down, like shingles. And I have an uncle with MS and while he's gotten it very under control and has lived with his diagnosis for over 15 years without any major decline in his health, it does just terrify me. I try to remember to put stress relief high on my list when things get crazy because I know my body will make me take a break eventually by getting sick if I don't. Hope you are feeling better!