My chronic disease is an invisible one, which means that there will always be quite a lot of things you don’t see by just looking at me. In summer, I went to my home country where I wanted to meet up with each and everybody. I had a booming social life and was surprised by my own activity level. People who know about my CLL are usually disappointed when we meet, because there is not much to see. I will tell you about the things none of them could see while I was partying.
In July, my family and I went to India. Our trip (maybe my last one to an exotic country as my doctors don’t want me to go on travelling) was great. We all suffered from the famous “Delhi Belly”. I was the last one to end up with diarrhea. While all the other members of the family recovered, I didn’t. That’s why I was prescribed antibiotics after the trip. I had to take them for a week approximately. On the last day of intake, my throat got sore.
I stopped taking the pills which had worked wonders for my stomach and immediately started feeling dizzy. My oncologist warns me that I will have to rely heavily on penicillin in the future. Even now I have to take it as soon as I feel I have a bacterial infection. I guess in this case I should have relied on antibiotics instead of trying to fight infection on my own. I didn’t – I am afraid of developing resistance. A dilemma.
First, I had a temperature which later turned into a fever. I could not stay in bed or at home. It was my son’s birthday and we had promised him a family trip to an amusement park. When we arrived there, I wanted to go to the first aid post close to the entrance. For my son’s sake, I didn’t. I took paracetamol, drank lots of Coca Cola and joined my children when they tried some of the attractions instead. They had a great day. I was completely wrecked when we came home.
The next two weeks were spent in a frenzy of activity: a wedding, a company get-together, BBQs, a birthday, a potluck we organized, some professional and a few private engagements during the day, swimming, shopping, organizing, packing, theatre, taking care of the children and managing their social lives, discotheques and lots of dinner parties and a short weekend trip to the Netherlands…. you name it, I did it! I couldn’t escape most of these activities. Neither did I want to. However, I did not feel well. My throat never got better. I was not feverish anymore, but my temperature was not back to normal either.
The last 48 hours before I left my home country seemed like an eternal party to me. A few days ago, I finally left Austria. I had to get up at 3 o clock in the morning and catch a 5 o clock plane with my four children. I managed to do so. When I arrived, I was knackered – obviously. A good night of sleep did not change my condition. I started to cough. My chest hurt tremendously. I was hoarse first; then I lost my voice. I was feverish again.
This is my current situation. I reckon I will have to take antibiotics at last – my body seems to be too weak to fight this infection. I am in great pain. I cough so much that I can hardly communicate with my children. I have to take care of them alone for another week until my husband arrives. I cannot talk on the phone anymore; I just send messages.
I have been sick for nearly six weeks – three weeks with my invisible stomach bug and three weeks with my equally well-hidden infection. I was out and about all the time. Maybe I would have recovered sooner, had I taken penicillin and stayed in bed. Unfortunately, experience has shown me that my infections will last just as long when I lead an active life as when I am recovering at home. I only remain in bed when it is necessary (which is often enough). No, definitely – I don’t regret my partying. And by the way: I will be back!
Read my lips (you’d better, because I am too hoarse to talk):
When I say that I want to live my life to the fullest I mean it.