The Meaning of Mononucleosis

By Alexandra Padalino

The date was Jan. 9, 2017. The date I found out that I had mononucleosis. The date that changed everything for a few months. The date that in some, weird, twisted way, I am thankful for.

After feeling exhausted for a week without reason, I decided to go the doctor, something wasn’t right. Never did I think I would be diagnosed with a condition that would put me on the sidelines for an extended period of time.

Per WebMD, mononucleosis, or mono as it is commonly referred to, is defined as “a common illness that can leave you feeling tired and weak for weeks or months. Mono goes away on its own, but lots of rest and good self-care can help you feel better.”

Prior to having mono I was constantly going at 100 miles per hour. I was the college student involved in way too many activities, spreading myself way too thin, with little to no time to relax. Sleep became a luxury, rather than a priority.

I’m sure some of you can relate.

Mono was my body asking me to slow down. As I look back, I realize mono was in some way a blessing in disguise.

While resting for weeks on end, I realized a thing or two. My hope is that whoever reads this and sees a bit of themselves in me, learns from this article and takes a step back without mono forcing them to do so.

Mono gave me the opportunity to think. Not in a day-to-day, what am I doing tomorrow way. When you are left with nothing but time, you think deeply. About your future, your goals and your life in general. Everything you’ve wanted to ponder but couldn’t seem to find the time for is suddenly right there in the forefront of your mind.

Mono helped me to see that I was not pursuing my passions as much as I could have been. Now, my priorities have shifted
a bit.

Social engagements are few and far between you when you have mono. I get it, no one wants to catch the virus that puts them in bed for 60 days. It’s during that time span when you find out who matters. Those who care will call, text and FaceTime. Those who don’t, simply put, won’t.

Friendships aren’t built on seeing each other every day, but rather a foundation that’s unbreakable no matter the time or distance apart.

Naps became my best friend during this time. Remember all those naps that you refused to take as a child? Well luckily, they don’t expire. I cashed them all in and then some. Rest is the only cure for mono, listening to your body is vital in the recovery process. Instead of pushing through times of unbearable exhaustion as I did in the past, I now shut my laptop and my eyes to take a power nap.

Mono taught me that life will go on. Others are willing to help pick up what you have to put down for the time being. Everything that you leave behind will still be there two months later and jumping right back in to your roles is a seamless process once you’re better.

The American way of life is to drink a cup of coffee and carry on. Our way of pushing through fatigue and forgoing proper rest is not conducive to our body’s needs, putting our health at risk.

Invincibility exists in superheroes, not humans.

I appreciate everyone who stood by me through my months of mono. Especially my roommate (sorry I went MIA for two months). As National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player (MVP) Kevin Durant said, “You’re the real MVP.”

Now that I am back at full strength, I have a new outlook and appreciation for each day. Illnesses have a funny way of putting things in perspective and I am grateful for the lifelong lessons mono has taught me.

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  1. Alex, I am so glad that you are feeling better. It’s so nice to see you in the Martire halls again! –

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