Finding The Answers: Mono and My Tonsils

recovering from tonsillectomyMy, my, my. It has been a crazy few months. Crazy difficult.

I haven’t felt like myself for months. Starting in May, around the time I went to Vegas, I began feeling extreme fatigue. I’ve dealt with fatigue several times before, but this was significantly worse. I though it was caused by a vitamin deficiency, so I got all of my lab work done. But everything came back unremarkable, and the rapid mono-spot test came back negative. My doctor ordered additional tests, and there was still no answer to why I was so dang tired.

I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for years, and the summer months tend to be difficult for me. I will get into a summertime slump, and try my best to just make it through my seasonal mental health woes. This summer was difficult, but it didn’t feel like the past few years. I had a hard time staying awake through a full day at work. Despite my best attempts to focus and be productive, I felt like my brain was in a continual fog. I would get home from work, zone out, and not accomplish anything else for the day.

Stress was high because our family knew that a cross-country move was on the horizon. Taylor was transferred to Detroit in March, and it became evident that our family needed to relocate to be with him. I wore myself out trying to apply for jobs for months, and nothing was working out. I was discouraged, in addition to feeling like a blob of fatigue.

In late August, some friends invited me to try a yoga class. I’ve heard that yoga is good for stress reduction, so I figured it couldn’t hurt. I didn’t love the class, but I gave it a good effort. The next morning I woke up feeling toxic. Over the next few days, I started developing swollen glands and a one-sided sore throat. I don’t know if this was caused by the yoga, or the toxins released by the stretches, but the timing is suspect.

recovery from tonsillectomy

As the pain and swelling worsened, I decided to get checked out at urgent care. The rapid strep test was negative, but the swelling was large and abnormal. I was diagnosed with peritonsillar abscesses, which can be caused by both bacteria and viruses. I went through courses of IV antibiotics, antibiotic shots, two rounds of oral antibiotics, and a whole lot of steroids. I spent weeks in pain, in bed, and missing work. I visited with my ear, nose, and throat doctor, who said that if they abscesses didn’t resolve themselves on their own, surgery was the next step.

Over a weekend, things got worse. I was in more pain, the swelling increased, and I was very dehydrated. I went back to urgent care, had another negative strep test, and the doctor diagnosed me with infectious mononucleosis. He ordered a large battery of viral testing, told me to avoid contact sports and saliva contact with people, and urged me to get a tonsillectomy ASAP. A few days later, the results came back. I indeed had mono, even though my earlier rapid strep test was negative. I was positive for herpes simplex 1 virus and Epstein Barr virus, with an active infection for 5 months. The only way to resolve the mono was to get the tonsils removed. As soon as my ENT could get me in, I had a surgery date scheduled.

I will not lie. The tonsillectomy was horrible. I wrote a very detailed post about the nitty gritty of an adult tonsillectomy on my other blog. Two weeks of pain, discomfort, swelling, and misery. But it also was a turning point for me – I knew life was about to get much better. I started to feel a spark in me that had been absent for half a year. After months of unsuccessful job hunting, I started getting job interviews. And then I quickly was offered a job. Things were starting to fall in place for our family to move, and we’re now in the thick of the moving process.

I haven’t been writing about my weight loss surgery much because my other health concerns have been far more important lately. I feel like I’m in my groove as a bariatric patient, and there’s not a lot of new things to write about. I have gained about 15 pounds through this mono/steroids/surgery/moving debacle, and I’m looking forward to being back on a schedule once we’re in our new house. I still feel the effects of mono fatigue, so I’ve been very careful to not overdo it with exercise. I do some moderate walking, but avoid anything excessive. I have far too much stress to manage to push myself physically.

I apologize if my future posts are less frequent. I haven’t give up this blog, but I also have greater responsibilities to fill my time (like my new job). I still plan to lose more weight and document it here. My journey is far from over.

But for now, I’ve at least figured out why I’ve felt so awful for half of a year.


  1. Dana Bezingue says:

    So glad you are on the road to recovery! Best wishes your way!

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