I woke up December 31 with a low- to medium-grade sore throat that I still have today. I began struggling to find the energy to do essentially anything. I started experiencing intermittent debilitating headaches, every few days. Within the first couple of weeks, I had a few fevers. Since then, the fevers have become a daily occurrence.

COVID tests came back negative. The longer it went on, the more concerned I became, and the wilder my mind ran with potential diagnoses. (I didn't even bother with WebMD. I was able to come up with enough on my own.) I knew I needed to see my doctor, but thanks to an issue with my insurance, that took much longer than was ideal.

Due to an insurance snafu, I was covered but did not have access to my insurance until two weeks into January. As soon as I possibly could, I scheduled an appointment with my doctor, but the only available appointment within a week was telehealth. I took it. She prescribed antibiotics, in the event that it might be strep, but acknowledged that she couldn't really diagnose it without seeing me. I gave the antibiotics a chance, but there was absolutely no change. So, once the run was complete, I scheduled an in-person appointment. My doctor cast a wide net; she ordered extensive blood work, chest xrays, and another COVID test, among other things. Chest xrays were clear, no pneumonia. COVID test was negative. The blood work came back the following day: I have mono.

For those unfamiliar, infectious mononucleosis, or mono, is caused by a number of different viruses, primarily the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). It is common in kids and young adults. Symptoms include extreme fatigue (check), sore throat (check), fever (check), head and body aches (check), and swollen lymph nodes (nope), spleen and/or liver (not that I'm aware of). It's transmitted primarily via saliva, so, for example, sharing food, or coughing or sneezing without covering your mouth, are good ways to pass it on. That said, if you're careful, it's actually pretty difficult to give it to others. Not everyone carrying EBV ends up with mono. There is no vaccine, and no treatment. According to the CDC, it typically lasts 2-4 weeks (if only), though the fatigue can last several weeks longer. In some cases, symptoms can last for six months or longer (oh, please, no). According to my doctor, it should last 6-8 weeks. (If you're doing the math, I'm into week 6. Fingers crossed I'm nearly done with this.)

It explains everything. It explains all of my symptoms. It explains why no one else in the house ended up sick. More than anything, though, it explains why I have had to so carefully focus my energy on getting specific things done, and why I have therefore had no energy left to focus on producing content. The frustration and guilt I have felt over the last five weeks has been monumental. My first project failed, so I moved on to the next. After the holidays wrapped up, the new year began, and all momentum was lost. I began to believe I was simply failing. To find out that it's not all in my head, and there is a real reason why I've lacked energy, comes as a massive relief. Pulling back from the negative thought spiral is going to take some time, but I'm working on it. I spent the entire time trying to give myself some grace. While it didn't exactly work, I never gave up on it completely, and I am now in a place where I can grant myself that much.

In 2023, I agreed to take on running a tech conference in 2024. I have been putting everything I have into making that happen. In my mind, it has a deadline, and my content creation has more leeway. This may be misguided as the conference is not a source of income for me. Regardless, I chose to prioritise it. I hope that very soon I will not need to pick one thing over another.

I have a few posts in progress, and a few more projects in mind that I want to document. I'm fairly sure I figured out what went wrong with my first project, and I will test that theory as soon as I am able. I have no shortage of topics to cover, but the complete energy shortage has kept that from moving forward. Now that I know what's going on, I can give myself the space to rest and let this run its course. I will keep you posted on how it goes. Thank you for continuing to be a part of this.

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