I am not known for my healthy lifestyle. Sure, I’m vegetarian, don’t smoke, do my errands by bike whenever I can wherever I am, drink little alcohol and less coffee, and try not to medicate myself too much, but I work too many hours of the day, don’t sleep enough, often eat crap because I’m too tired or haven’t had a chance to go to the shops, and don’t exercise enough.
But I dream of being healthier, more together, more efficient. Sure, this year hasn’t helped: fire, parental divorce, family illness, money worries, no fixed address, growing LLG, but I know there are changes I need to make. I know this because my body is telling me.
I got sick in May. Properly, comprehensively sick. I wrote a little about it here, but I didn’t come back to it much on the blog. Other people’s illness is rarely interesting and I was in danger of boring myself, let alone all of you.
It doesn’t help that I tend to underplay illness. Lil’sis has MS, and anything compared to what she goes through is pretty small beer. But I was pulled up short by my consultant two weeks ago who told me that when I was admitted to hospital over the May Bank Holiday, after flying in from Madrid in a right state, I was very, very unwell indeed.
A highly inflamed liver and eosinophilia had been discovered. It’s an elevated white blood cell count that is caused by six different things, ranging from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma to allergies. It is also caused by a tropical parasite infection and, after turning me into a human pin cushion in the phlebotomy department over two months, this is what we were left with after everything else was ruled out. It made sense, considering I had visited the Dominican Republic back in April and had swum in a freshwater lagoon. (I know, I know.)
This continued testing and feeling unwell is why I have remained in England since the end of May, instead of returning to my life in Manhattan. Fortunately all the abnormal levels in my blood and liver, which were showing bright red back in May on the consultant’s screen, are now back to black, although I still have residual eosinophilia and am not wholly better. The utterly brilliant NHS Infectious Diseases unit at the Royal Free hospital & the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London have done everything they can for me now, and I was signed off just before London Fashion Week, with an order to not overdo it.
Averaging five hours of sleep a night owing to workload for the past month would have been tricky at the best of times, but now it has pretty much brought me to my knees. I tried very hard to act normal during LFW, although I felt like I had been hit by a truck all the time, and what kept me going was knowing that the moment it was done & dusted I would be flying off to Klagenfurt in Austria, to the Viva Mayr Centre for Modern Medicine on the shores of Lake Worth, for a comprehensive workover, a look at my digestion and the hours of blissful sleep that have eluded me this month.
LLG is a guest of Viva Mayr