When a bug isn’t just a bug

I’ve been quiet the last couple of months and for that, I can only apologise. I’ve been a ‘bit’ ill with reoccurring gastroenteritis. Sure, it doesn’t sound pretty but it sounds pretty normal right? Wrong. I’ve lost at least 16lbs, dropping at least a dress size (nearly two) and looking slimmer. I’ve shed pounds as quickly as a tree shedding leaves in autumn.autumn tree

That sounds like a brag, but it’s really not. Sure, I wanted to lose a few pounds but not so many and not in such short a time. Losing weight that quickly can be dangerous and my body has suffered the consequences. It was caused by me not being able to eat for a few days each week with even the smell of food making me feel sick. On days when I wasn’t ill I’d only being able to eat small, bland meals. Meals that I’m still eating as it still hasn’t loosened its grip on me.

It’s made me scared to eat normal food. Every time I dared to hope that I was better and ate something relatively normal my world would tumble backwards and toward the toilet.

My holiday, which should have been filled with lovely meals with my family were instead swapped for plain jacket potatoes, bananas and toast. It’s not just me that it impacts, it’s my family and that guilt is rotting away at my inner core.

In the past few weeks I’ve never felt as tired, anxious and fearful. At first, it just started out as a ‘bug’.

The bug

We’ve all had these sorts of bugs before and we get through them by knowing that it only lasts a short amount of time. After that time has passed, we can go back to normal. Except mine came back. Again. And again. And again.

It’s reoccurring nature moved me from normal to abnormal but with the doctors still adamant it’s a bug. A bastarding bug by now that’s unrelenting and a hope dasher.

It wiped me of all energy and all hope of normality. I reached the point at the end of my sick note when I had to return to work. I took some tablets to at least allow me to function, but generally felt like rubbish. My head was fuzzy and I felt sick all the time. Would this be what the rest of my life would be like? Not being able to fully take part in life. Not being my best. Not eating properly. Not enjoying myself ever again. Not spending quality time with my family.

autumn leaves, family

Sure, that’s not a very positive way of thinking and I know that. My journey with thinking more positive is a long one and to be honest it’s one that was flushed away for a few weeks while I wallowed in anxiety and fear about what was happening to my body.

Waking up every morning and feeling like rubbish is seriously draining and it got me thinking. If I were to develop a serious condition, would I be able to cope? Millions of people cope with just that every day. They wake up, they get on with their daily lives in pain or feeling sick all the time and there’s nothing that can be done. But if something so minor as a ‘bug’ was starting to have such a negative impact on my mentality, does that mean I’m not a fighter?

I woke up every morning for days on end with an impending sense of doom – I knew something bad was going to happen and I was always right. It’s a horrible feeling to be right.

Got milk?

At my third or fourth visit to the doctors and starting to feel like a hypochondriac, they suggested that I stay away from milk for a few days just to let my body get over the bug properly as it seemed to be unrelenting. That’s because after gastroenteritis you can develop an intolerance to milk. My blood tests came back to confirm that I was indeed fighting something – at least internally so staying away from milk could help. It also helped to confirm that I’m not a hypochondriac. Something was happening inside.

I was careful with my food, but it still kept coming back – even after a week. While on holiday, I cut out milk completely, swapping milk for lactofree milk (I am aware that this is still milk…) and buying milk-free butter. For those few days, I seemed to improve – although I didn’t really drink a lot of it.

Yesterday, I treated myself to 2 biscuits. Other than that, I had plain food. I thought – you know what? I deserve these after the rubbish food I’ve been eating. Then this morning it came again. Different from ‘the bug’, but I suspect it’s because of the milk in the butter that made the shortbread. When I woke up my hands were itchy again too – something I hadn’t even contemplated as being part of the illness.

It’s then that it clicked. It’s known that milk can flare up eczema for some people and it seems like I’m one of them. Could it actually be that I’m now allergic to milk? It’s the only thing I had that was different and I’d been relatively okay for at least a few days.

It’s different from ‘the bug’, as I can still generally get on with my day. But it doesn’t seem to be acting like most websites say it should. Usually if you’re allergic to something, or have an intolerance you react within a few hours. This is always the morning after. Am I just an oddity? Is it something else? Is it the curse of Dr Google?

Could this be the start of me having to go without milk, or without lactose? And for how long? I flippin’ love pizza, cheese and chocolate so the idea of not being able to eat those things again makes me feel sad. But to be honest, the idea of possibly knowing what it is and being able to stop being ill makes that okay. I can live with that.

Most people would say that they’d do anything for chocolate. Well, I would give up chocolate if it makes me feel better. I will do if it makes me feel better – at least milk chocolate. If it makes me be able to eat a fairly normal (if not carefully selected) diet, I’d do anything at this point.

I don’t know what’s in store next but I hope that I can get some answers soon. I want to go back to being a good mum. Having fun with Georgia and going on walks. Spending our Wednesday’s off out and about rather than wondering when hubby will get home and how many more hours I have to cope.

I don’t want to cope anymore. I want to regain a bit of normal.

Have you been following my updates on Instagram? Here they are to date…I think you can pinpoint where my hope was dashed each time and where I hit the bottom.

Diary from Instagram:

5 weeks ago:

I went to bed at 6.30 last night and was hoping to have woken up feeling better but no. My head is still woolly and I’m ill again. So I’m on a diet of water for today – yummy. 😯

Today I was finally feeling well enough to venture outside! After 3 days of being cooped up like a battery hen in my own home with little else to do but watch TV (that sounds like heaven but it got boring pretty quick), I was so glad to be outside and enjoy some family time, fresh air and of course my camera again.

I’m glad I felt better to go out on Sunday to take this pic – not so glad that the bug I had came back this morning. I have learnt my lesson. Never say “ooh I’ve not been ill in a while” at work. The bugs will hear you and will find you. 😷

4 weeks ago:

Little did I know this was the eye of the storm today with me being ill. I think I’m finally better and have had a good day today recuperating. Everybody keep their fingers crossed! 👌

We’ve had a lazy day at home today as I’m still feeling pants. I know… It’s a boring hokey cokey of illness that I won’t mention again as I’m frankly bored of it and don’t want to get my hopes up. For the record I’m not pregnant!

3 weeks ago:

I know I know… where are all my new lovely pictures? You may have guessed that I’m still not feeling well with the hokey cokey of an illness so I’ve decided not to go to#Blogfest16 in a couple of weeks and am selling my ticket at the early bird price. That makes me really sad as I loved it last year but I’m just not well enough to enjoy myself.

I have no idea what we’re going to do today as I’m still feeling horrid and shaky which is a great feeling to wake up to. We’ll probably stay in and that makes me feel really guilty as we’ve not done a lot of fun stuff together while I’ve been ill and hubby has had to pick up the slack. I just hope my blood results tell some form of story when I get them back to find something that can help, or that whatever this is magically disappears soon.

 I had my blood results back that suggest I’m getting over a virus so here’s hoping that I’ll be on the mend finally! Third time lucky right? My Dr told me I should be feeling back to normal next week so in the meantime I’ve just got to keep it fairly light to give my body time to recover.

2 weeks ago:

So… this morning I thought I was going to be able to do lots of nice things. My body had other plans and decided to relapse! Not quite the same as before as I felt better in myself, but just not quite right. Better go back to eating plain for a bit!

I was ill yesterday. I think I’m okay today but I’ve learnt a valuable lesson about walking before I can run. I have to take things slow – I think the night I couldn’t sleep really affected me and led to me being ill as my body isn’t fully recovered so it forced me to slow down. Must look after myself more (we all should). So tonight? I’m getting my hair cut and coloured.

New hair! I’ve gone shorter. This morning I also found out that I’ve hit the 1 stone mark from being ill and I’m still feeling rubbish. I look pretty pants too as that’s a lot of weight in a month. I just want it to go away and to feel normal again. To not wake up every morning and feel sick and not hungry. To not feel shaky and tired all the time. Sorry folks, I’m trying to be positive but it’s so hard at the minute when you have an impending sense of doom.

UPDATE: Home with this lady after going to the drs. She thinks I have a very susceptible tummy after being ill so I’m going to stay away from dairy and a few other bits for a while. On Monday I have to have another blood sample to check I haven’t become intolerant to gluten as well as send in a few other tests just to confirm it’s not inflammatory bowel disease. Here’s hoping next week at Center Parcs gives my body time to recover more as I was showing positive signs for over a week. I absolutely love my drs though, every person I’ve seen has been so helpful, understanding and has fit me in at short notice. They are super stars.

1 week ago:

We’re on our last day of holiday and going to spend it at the pool and relaxing. I’ll also hopefully get my lab results back as they weren’t ready yesterday. Yes, that means I’m still not very well and we still don’t know why it keeps coming back. It also means we haven’t really eaten out as I’m back on a plain diet. That makes me feel really guilty as I would have loved to go to the pancake house and lots of other nice places to enjoy meals out. But I can’t enjoy eating much at the minute anyway let alone bland food! Fingers crossed lab results say something helpful.

Now… to have words with my stomach about getting better. I’ve got some serious eating to do at Christmas and I don’t want this stupid virus to come back and spoil it. I don’t want to be naive enough to say it’s gone as I’ve said that many a time before and I’ve been wrong. Or I’ve inadvertently eaten something to set it off. Well not this time mate. I’ve got lactofree milk and am sticking to a bland diet for about a week to see if normal service resumes. I can dream right?

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