Hey, that looks like MY to-do list.As parents we tend to run ourselves ragged trying to get everything accomplished in one day that should be tackled over the course of a week. There's always something lurking on the ever-growing to-do list and time just slips away. In an effort to get more done, I used to wake up before my daughter and continue to work once she went to bed. I felt like I was on an endless treadmill of taking care of household chores, staying on top of emails and work, and doing all the other stuff moms are responsible for.
To top off my hectic schedule, I've been sick with colds and flus for most of the year. I chalked it up to being a sleep-deprived mom (being woken up every 3 hours at night for 17 long months), who has been exposed to a lot of kiddie germs. Except it was taking me about 4 -6 weeks to get over a cold, when the rest of my family was recovering in a few days. I had seen my doctor for these previous colds and she prescribed a lot of immune supporting vitamins. However, after my most recent illness and the appearance of some new neurological symptoms, I went back to her and suggested we do further tests to see if something more significant was going on in my body.
I am glad I trusted my instincts because it turns out I have a chronic Epstein Barr viral infection. Over 95% of people have been exposed to some form of this virus by the time they are 40, but usually it just manifests as a common cold. The virus is a part of the herpes family and is commonly associated with mononucleosis, Lyme disease, and chronic fatigue syndrome. In my situation, I must have unknowingly had a form of mononucleosis and am now fighting a noncontagious recurrence that has been activated by one of the previous colds, in conjunction with my busy lifestyle and poor sleep hygiene. In order to heal my body, I am taking more supplements and focusing on getting a lot of sleep each night. I have already begun to see an improvement in my neurological symptoms. The bad news is that although I am treating this active infection, I will be prone to it coming back from future colds or not regularly taking good care of myself.
Sometimes I think the universe sends you messages that get louder and louder until you listen. It has been clear for awhile that I needed to slow down, take on less responsibility, and say no more often. I also need to accept that it is ok if my to-do list grows faster than I can cross things off of it. Overall, there are worse things than being prescribed at least 9 hours of sleep per night by your doctor and I am thankful to discover why I was constantly sick. Being encouraged to nap often and focus on my own health will definitely help me to make different choices during my down time.
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