Before Thanksgiving break I thought I was doing better. I was finding a routine to wade my way through every exhausting day and was up to date on my school work. Emotionally and physically I was still pretty rocky, but I was working my way to a better place. Come the Friday before break, the day of my sorority formal, I started to realize I was sliding down hill. I shrugged it off as the normal fatigue I felt at the end of a buys week, but I knew it was more than that. I wish I had seen the signs earlier, but I chose to ignore them.
I woke up on Saturday with a headache, believing that I had just slept too much. (You can never sleep too much in my opinion, but this is what I do to self justify). I took some Excedrin, chugged a bottle of water, had a little caffeine at brunch, and then moved about my business.
Sunday, I woke up to L4 tonsils (that's when they're so swollen they are literally touching and it's hard to breathe and swallow) that felt like massive swaths of cotton in my throat, a raging headache, a rolling stomach, and my shirt was sticking to me from sweat. I knew that several girls in the house had had viruses, the flu, and strep over the past few weeks, so I assumed because of my weakened immune system I had picked one up. I tried to sleep it off and wait, but it came to the point where I needed to go to urgent care. My Strep and Flu tests came back negative. Well, crap. I prayed this was just a virus.
I woke up on Monday after a night of tossing, turning, and sweating. I felt and looked like crap, yay me. Tuesday, the day I left to go home for break, I broke out into a nasty rash that covered my face, legs, arms, and hands. What was this?
Come to find out I have relapsed with mono. Again. This is my third time with mono. I spent my thanksgiving break alternating between the couch and my bed and being coated in special creams to help the gross rash. I had so much time on my hands to think, but my thoughts were so scattered I couldn't even blog.
Relapsing makes me question so much. Can I handle school? Is the Plaquenil even doing anything? Is this my fault? Did I push myself too hard? Did I stay up too late and force myself over the edge? Will I ever be well enough?
It also reaffirmed my diagnoses with at least Chronic Mono. (yay me right?) I spent a lot of time trying to understand how this happened. I thought back on my time in school and realized that my inability to concentrate, the constant need to lay in bed, and so much more had slowly been increasing, this just so happened to be when it all came crashing down. Great timing, I was at least home with my family where I was close to my entire team of doctors and my parents could help take care of me for awhile. What triggered it? I have no clue, but it really wasn't under control in the first place.
Yesterday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, I got to road trip with my Poppops back to Norman. I have never been so sad to leave my house and so reluctant to return to Norman in my life. Normally I can't wait to go back to school because I just love being at OU so much, but this time I felt like I needed to literally tear myself away from my home in Texas. I left one of my most important pain medications at home so I was miserable, I had to move all of my stuff upstairs by myself because no one was answering my texts and mom Peg wasn't home to give me permission to let my Poppops go upstairs, and I was just overall a black cloud of irritability.
Tonight I pushed through the pain and exhaustion to catch up on the assignment that I missed in my phonetics class. I, of course, napped after a torturous day of classes, but after I holed myself up in the warmth of Gray Owl and typed away on an analysis of a Native language. My fingers ache and have open blisters, my brain feels like it's scattered on the floor, and my body is screaming at me to chill the heck out even though I'm barely moving. I finally packed up at closing time and waved goodbye to my favorite baker, who handed me a gluten free brownie on the way out.
I stepped out into night, one hand holding on to my phone with the SafeTrek app on, the other on my mace, like I would any other night, but I stopped dead. There was complete silence around me. In the soft glow of my favorite coffee shop's window, I took a breath of the crisp night air. There were no cars on the road, no animals moving, no wind rustling, not a soul around, and the silence was incredibly peaceful. A kind of quiet that can only be found in a small town, even though it was fairly unusual in a college town on a school night. It settled something in my soul that I didn't even know was there. A howling anxiety that had been haunting me for weeks that I unconsciously accepted as my new normal.
With the beast quelled within my soul, I feel like I can handle this. A quilt of silent courage surrounds my heart, replacing the grip I was once held in. The path ahead is difficult, but I know I will be okay. My family has told me this several times, reassuring me I had the best care possible, and I completely trust them. Yet, I needed to come to this conclusion on my own in order to settle the restlessness in my soul.
The moment outside of the coffee shop, at 10:45pm on a school night, might have looked normal to anyone passing by, but it was an emotional, almost epiphany-like moment for me. I believe that to be one of the beauties of this life. An ordinary moment for one person may be extrordinary for another.