How It All Began… Glandular Fever

I have recently been inspired to go back and write about my Glandular Fever and how it literally changed my life. In some ways it was the best thing that could have happened to me, but in other ways it has changed my life for the worse.

Let me take you back to the beginning…

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I was diagnosed with Glandular Fever (GF) in April 2012, but I was ill throughout February and March as well. In fact, in February the doctor put me on antibiotics, hoping that whatever it was that was making me ill would be cleared up with them. Initially, it did help (or so we thought). After a few weeks I quickly deteriorated again, struggling to get to school and on the days I did make it I would be falling asleep in lessons.

This went on for a couple of weeks until it finally came to a head one Friday. I had made it to school that morning, but by lunchtime I was feeling so weak and dizzy I decided to go home early. Honestly, I don’t even know how I got to the train station! Somehow I managed to get back to Haltwhistle where Mum picked me up and took me home. I collapsed on the sofa, in my suit, and stayed there for the rest of the day. By the time my brother and Dad got back I was hallucinating, my temperature had reached 39° yet I was freezing cold, and my brother was claiming that ‘my cells would be denaturing with a temperature that high’! Not helpful Duncan! Any other parent probably would have rushed their child into hospital at that point – no, not mine. They simply put me to bed and hoped I would feel better in the morning!

The following Monday my Mum and I took a trip to the Doctors who decided I needed to be tested for Glandular Fever. A few days later we returned to have a blood test (you can read that story here). Soon after I was diagnosed with GF.

The following weeks were excruciating. I was basically housebound and passed the hours lying on the sofa, or the bed if I was particularly bad. I slowly lost all of my friends… you know what they say, out of sight, out of mind! At least, that’s what I told myself. I didn’t get any visitors – we live in the middle of nowhere so it’s a bit difficult! My best friends were the dogs and my TV shows. I grew obsessed with How I Met Your Mother, 90210, One Tree Hill and the Gilmore Girls (I was already obsessed with Friends!). I felt completely isolated and alone.

I did occasionally get to school but they tended to be short-lived and ended up making me feel worse the following day. Then it came to the decision I had to make… what seemed like the biggest decision of my life. Could I take my exams? In short, the answer was clearly no. I had missed at least 2 months of school and the months I was there, I wasn’t really ‘there’. My options were simple, I attempted the exams and resat any I needed to during the next year. Or I dropped out and resat the whole year.

This decision killed me. On one hand I didn’t want to leave the school – my best friends were there and I didn’t want to get left behind. But on the other hand, I knew I couldn’t do the exams then, and there was no way I was going to be able to continue into Year 13 AND have to redo my Year 12 exams.

There was only really one option. To leave Dame Allan’s and start again at a school closer to me – Queen Elizabeth High School (QE) in Hexham. It wouldn’t be that bad, I told myself – Duncan was already there and I knew a few other people that went there…

Except when I started in September I quickly realised making friends wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought. I was still missing a lot of school due to the GF and it is very difficult to make friends with people when you aren’t actually at school…

Thankfully I did meet one girl who was also new and was resitting the year. She and I got on like a house on fire – we laughed at silly things, we had very similar interests and we instantly became best friends. If it wasn’t for her I probably wouldn’t have made any friends at QE. Sophie was the only person who would text me to make sure I was ok as soon as she realised I wasn’t in school. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated these little texts, they got me through the bad days and made me look forward to going back to school the next day.

At school we were completely inseparable. At first we would sit outside, just the two of us, eating our lunch and talking about anything and everything! Slowly, as we began to make more friends, we sat with them in the café but our friendship never lessened.

That first year of sixth form ended up going quite well; I seemed to be recovering from the GF and I did well in my exams so I continued into the second year with no worries! But this is where it started to go downhill again…


I’m going to leave it there for now, otherwise this post will just go on and on! I will be back soon with Part 2!

You can find more information about GF here.

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