29 Apr 2008
I stumbled across this picture posted in the practicalfishkeeping.co.uk forums by "JoJoJo" today. A burnt out Jebo R338 fish tank in the living room (original Hong Kong news report). I have posted problems with my lighting hood before, including a "fix". But don't be too alarmed unless you purchased your unit in Asia specifically, where it has been recalled.
22 Apr 2008
More than a page of facts, this post is to share my fight with glandular fever in order to encourage and hopefully help other people through it too.
You probably already know that glandular fever or infectious mononucleosis (mono) is caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus and is often referred to as “the kissing disease”, because the virus can be spread in saliva (though kissing is not the only method of transmission). Most people are exposed to the virus at some stage in their lives without even knowing it. However, the older you are when you contract it, the more severe the symptoms are and the more your body struggles to get over it. I was forced to drop out of university for a year to battle through it. Unfortunately my mother contracted it too and she was admitted to hospital for two weeks – the doctors were even looking for cancer before they finally figured out what was actually wrong with her – Idiots!
No doctor offered me constructive help or treatment – They pretty much said: “There is nothing you can do, just stay at home until you are better. It could take anywhere from two weeks to two years and some people never get better... ”. While this is true, it is probably only true because this is what all the doctors tell everyone who is suffering from glandular fever. A positive mind set is the most important weapon to combat the virus, so don't let doctors rob you of hope. Glandular fever is notorious for “feeding on stress”, “flaring up” or relapsing even years later, during intense periods such as exams, year end, etc. Whatever you do, do not dwell on negative thoughts, even if it’s a medical doctor who is putting them in your head – The doctor can’t/won’t do anything to help you anyway. Your health is in your own hands - The more you can soothe yourself of stress, the sooner you will recover.
As the name is supposed to imply, classic glandular fever presents as fever and swollen glands; lots of illnesses cause this arbitrary disease state, which makes the name pretty silly and the crazy thing is that I didn’t experience fever or especially swollen glands while I was ill. Symptoms include any combination of headaches, sore throat, nausea, loss of appetite, fever, swollen lymph nodes, crippling fatigue and probably more. A blood test confirms the presence of the virus and makes it official...
The disease can linger for as little as two weeks, or remain with you for the rest of your life if it spirals into full blown chronic fatigue syndrome. The fatigue is not mere laziness, but a heavy tiredness that actually results in physical pain.
Glandular fever started off as a throaty cough for me but soon matured into aching muscles, incapacitating fatigue, complete inability to hold down much food, and a horrid tenseness throughout my body and mind as if I was always on the edge, about to jump. Up until the time the doctors figured out what was wrong with me I actually thought I was going crazy, so I was quite relieved that there was something wrong with me, just depressed that there was apparently no treatment or remedy for how ghastly I felt.
But I did overcome glandular fever and I am so glad that I can now look back on the terrible experience and really appreciate that life is so normal again. Fair enough, there is no magic potion that you can take three times a day for a week that will cure you, but I have identified the behaviors that helped me to get better.
Take it easy, seriously...
As inconvenient and frustrating as I know it is, you need to remove yourself from as much as you can, everything if possible. Don’t try and be a hero and carry on or push through. Stay at home in bed and sleep properly until you feel well rested. Ideally, until you stop worrying about everything – though I know that in this state it is very difficult to stop worrying, but you must believe that you are one of the people that will get better – if you do, then you will recover.
Glandular fever is a tricky disease to understand and there will be people who show you no sympathy. Avoid them, and don’t let anyone abuse your “free time”. Encourage the people around you to learn about glandular fever, to help them understand what you are going through and how they can help you. The idea is that you get some time to rest in a stress free environment.
Vitamin B injections
This is as close as it gets to a “magic potion”. I would recommend you go for a vitamin B injection (the big neurobion one) every two weeks (alternating butt cheeks), from the time you discover you are ill, until you have recovered. Vitamin B injections have a reputation for stinging a bit, but in truth they aren’t that bad and wow they make a difference! Whether it’s a result of the placebo effect or not.
Fight with a positive attitude
Perhaps the most common advice concerning glandular fever is “not to fight it”. While I agree with this on a physical level, you must not give up in your mind. Remain positive about the situation and believe that you will recover. But at the same time remember that rule number 1 is “Take it easy, seriously...” Don’t let the idea of maintaining a positive mindset stress you out if you aren’t getting it right, it will get easier and start to come naturally as you keep at it, get more rest and learn to relax.
Even if you are not targeting the glandular fever directly, there is a lot you can do to help yourself feel better. Get enough sleep, drink lots of water, and avoid excessive amounts of junk food and alcohol. All the clichéd good health stuff will go a long way to improving your condition. And listen to your body! Sleep when you need to and only eat what you can manage. Red meat was off my menu and I found that not drinking milk made me feel much better too. So try and weed anything out of your diet that may not agree with you. Treating your symptoms will help too; take a pill for your headaches and antacid for heartburn. Ha ha, and try and shower at least every second day.
As you feel stronger you can try to exercise, but don’t overdo it! You are even weaker and less fit than you imagine. You might not be able to get out of bed the next day, you will feel completely worn out and it will take you a good few days to recover. But don't be discouraged. It was more than a year before I began running around, playing soccer with friends again. But I had to ease into it slowly and could initially over exert myself very easily. I am fine now.
It pains me to admit that most people will not understand and will leave you behind as you place your life on pause while they carry on with theirs. Even your family will not always understand what you are going through, but I hope there will be at least one good person that you can count on to stand by you to help you through the disease. Don’t let relationships stress you out, rather avoid anyone who makes you feel worse – You really need to look after yourself for a while, as selfish as it may sound.
I am very fortunate to have the most amazing girl who could easily have left me for someone else when my life fell apart. But she didn’t and I know it was hard for her, but her companionship and encouragement meant the difference between me staying sick forever and getting going again. I am very grateful to her for helping me through the trials, even when I was completely overcome with irrational paranoia at the mercy of the virus.
I can only pray that you will become desperate enough to turn to Jesus. You can “cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7) . I am not talking about religion. The stress of religion and doing “holy” things because other people think/tell you you should (Isaiah 29:13), will only keep you sick.
The truth is, you don’t have to do anything. God loves you whether you know him or not (Romans 5:8) . No matter what you have done or who you are. God’s love is unconditional, completely independent of your actions. He cares for you and he has a special plan for your life (Jeremiah 29:11). He wants you to know him so that you can walk with him and he can guide you to realise the purpose that he has chosen you for. It is not His plan for you to be sick.
You will find peace, rest, safety and healing in the arms of Jesus. Accept Him into your heart and He will bring you hope and look after you.
Today, I have finished my studies and am working a demanding job as a manager with high stress and long hours, but I have left glandular fever behind... Praise God!
Note: I have recently trimmed out some of my replies to keep the comments from getting too cluttered, but I do wish all the best to all of you and that you will get strong again soon!
Glandular fever links:
glandular fever , mononucleosis, post viral fatigue