Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Take that, virus!

My appetite has returned! You will be relieved to hear that I am not craving human flesh. The Epstein Barr virus did not turn me into a flesh-eating zombie, even though I was almost sure it was going that way. Instead, I want lasagne. I am a pasta eating zombie - zombus spaghettius; it's a very rare mutation.

Once I knew I had a virus to expunge from my system (or, in reality, to deactivate seeing as the EBV never really leaves or dies), I used my limited concentration span to consult my resources and come up with a protocol. For those unfamiliar, the main symptoms of Mononucleosis are:

* Fever and aching
* Swollen glands in the neck. This can be seen (and looks freaky) and it feels like your neck and throat has been stuffed with sand. Head moving in any direction is uncomfortable.
* Inflamed throat which not only causes torturous pain day and night but also produces insane amounts of thick mucus which can choke you and/or result in house-shaking snoring - assuming that you've taken enough panadol to not be kept awake by the throat pain. Swallowing is near impossible, even yawning hurts like hell.
* Bone-crushing fatigue.

Obviously, it was less than thrilling to be told that the symptoms may take a month or more to subside completely. It was a very un-funny moment. My doctor also explained that I need to do some serious, hardcore resting up because the number #1 mistake that people with Epstein Barr virus make is to try and 'suck it up' by going back to work or pretending that they can push through the tiredness. Then the problem can become a long term issue called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Number #1 on my agenda is to rest. I turned myself into a cat, sleeping 14 hours a day, waking only to try and eat.

The rest of my 'whack the virus' protocol looks like this:
* Lysine (number #1 virus whacker). As I could not get into the factory to swipe some, I ended up buying (grrrr) a supplement that is designed for cold sores which are caused by a herpes virus. It has 500mg of Lysine per capsule. I'm taking three a day.
* Vitamin C. I'm taking about 2g a day.
* Zinc. 30mg a day for the immune system
* B Vitamins. I'd like to take a full complex but I'm making do with what I have on hand, so that's B12, B3, B5 and B6. The B12 is part of an iron formulation, so I'm also getting extra iron.
* Maca. Dave from Maca Gold is a friend of mine that has also had both Glandular Fever and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. He kindly told me to avail myself of as much of his Maca as I could take. I haven't had time to read the research yet but Dave tells me that Maca is definitely the schizzle for recovering your health after an EBV flare-up. Just a precautionary note about Maca. You have to get the good stuff, the right species, grown at the right altitude. There is lots of cheap-ass Maca out there that is the nutritional equivalent of sawdust. I'm taking two large tsp of Maca a day. That's about 8g.

* Ginger and cayenne tea. Cut up some ginger and steep in a cup with a (very small) pinch of cayenne. This was the best thing for relieving me of the disgusting gluggy stuff in my throat. Also useful as a natural anti-bacterial just in case there are also some other opportunistic bugs hanging around. As soon as I knew the problem was viral I stopped taking the antibiotics just based on a theory that this would be one less thing my body had to deal with.
* Licorice tea. I'm not sure about the efficacy of this, but I 'heard' that licorice is a mild anti-viral and I'm game for anything.

Nutritionally, I've been avoiding all foods that could stress my body. Basically.. no crap and lots of fresh fruit and veges. Also, no coffee :(

I would be taking Olive Leaf extract (anti-viral) and a copper supplement (immunity) but I didn't have any available and, because I work in the industry, I have an allergy to paying retail for supplements. It nearly gives me a breakdown picking up a bottle of vitamins and knowing that the price represents a 500% markup (or more!) from actual cost. But then, that's retail for you, and knowing such things, you should NEVER buy a $1 pie. Ever.

Within 12 hours of starting my regime, my symptoms were vastly improved including the all-over aching, which was the second-worst symptom (the throat pain was the worst). Within 24 hours my sore throat was gone and I was feeling much better. Today, nearly two weeks after the knockout symptoms hit (as opposed to the annoy-the-hell-out-of-me symptoms, which had been going on for more than a month) I'm pretty much right, apart from some random attacks of sleepiness. I'm taking another week away from the office and will probably ease back into some exercise next week. I feel like I'm making a really strong recovery and now I just need to deal with that little issue of 'my stressed out existence' so that I don't get a relapse. No problem. Ditch the stress. How hard could that be?

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