I really can’t tell you exactly how I contracted mono. It’s something that is nearly impossible to trace.
My only viable places of infection are the water fountain at my gym, which I never put my mouth on but did fill my water bottle up from frequently, and the hospital that I worked at. We all know how filthy and germ-infested hospitals can be and I admittedly didn’t wash or sanitize my hands as often as I should have.
Another contributing factor to my mono case is that the time frame just before I got ill was a very stressful time for me. I was still trying to continue my normal daily routine of working, going to the gym, and seeing my friends and family while also trying to plan a move. I was leaving in early May to start a new chapter in Brooklyn. The weeks leading up to that were filled with job applications, getting my paperwork sorted to leave my current job, packing up my apartment, saying goodbye to my work friends and making travel plans to get myself and my stuff to the city.
So, a lot all at once.
The early weeks of my recovery were okay. They went as I expected, I think. I felt weak still. And I couldn’t exercise mainly because of my enlarged spleen and lack of energy. But I figured that would pass soon enough.
I think for me one of the most disappointing and frustrating longer lasting effects of mono is the way that it interrupts your energy levels. And of course, having an enlarged spleen is pretty scary too (this just meant I couldn’t do any contact related exercise and I had to always be protecting my stomach are, so no ab workouts L).
Being a pretty avid runner and gym junkie, I had to go weeks without setting foot in a gym which felt pretty much like a death sentence.
Almost a month on the dot after I got sick the first time, I had a relapse of my original symptoms. Sore throat that made it hard to swallow, pain in my throat, sinus congestion and of course feeling like I had been hit by a train, this time lasting about another week. I traveled back upstate where my doctor informed me that this could happen and was actually quite common with people who had mono. I also learned that I could relapse even up to a year after my original infection (crazy, right?).
I think I will always feel remnants of my mono every time I get sick. Just this past month I found myself feeling symptoms again, from allergies or the wacky weather in New York, I can’t be sure. But it just reminds me that this illness will always live with me.
If I can give any advice to anyone in order to avoid getting mono, it’s to obviously practice good hygiene first and foremost.
But secondly, listen to your body when you start to wear out. Don’t over-do it, because that’s when your immune system becomes weak and doesn’t let you fight off silly little viruses like mono.
It’s ok to take a break sometimes. Slow down and enjoy the little things.
Life is not about finishing first; in fact it might be quite the opposite.
I hope you enjoyed this little mini series.
Read the first two posts here:
The Mono Chronicles, Part 1: The Infection
The Mono Chronicles, Part 2: The Kissing Disease
Leave a comment below if you’d like more like this but maybe another topic.
Thanks for reading!