My Battle with The Epstein-Barr Virus, & How It Changed My Life Forever

I’ve had a blog for many years. To be exact, 2012 is when I first started blogging. But over the years I’ve taken little breaks from my blog. In the year 2019, and start of 2020, I took a significantly long break, and for good reason. I had a health scare that took me by surprise and changed my life forever.

Now I’ll warn you, this is a long post. But even if you don’t initially think you have all the same health issues I have, you might be surprised and find yourself wondering if some of the health issues you’ve been struggling with might actually be rooted from something deeper.

I would suggest reading this post word-for-word. My goal for this article is to be the first step in your healing process, whatever that looks like, and if anything, give hope that healing is possible; wherever you are in your journey.

My First Case of Mono

Anyone ever heard of the kissing disease? Mono. Mononucleosis. Whatever you want to call it, many of us have had it in our lives, and many of us forget about it once it’s passed. I know I did. I had it when I was 18 years old. The very first boy I ever kissed gave me MONO. Yeah, you heard that right. I was 18 when I had my first kiss. I was a goodie-goodie, ok? *Don’t laugh too hard at me*

Anyways – I never thought that experience would come back to get me more than a decade later. Because once you get mono once, it doesn’t come back, right? Wrong. It’s not “the norm”, but it’s possible. Let me explain…

My Second Case of “Mono”

For a few days in a row, I was consistently getting really bad pressure headaches, which is very abnormal for me. On the 3rd or 4th day, it was so scary that we went into the Urgent Care, ultimately testing positive for mono. We also found out I recently had a case of walking pneumonia that I never knew I had. Lucky me!

I was 32 and had already been struggling with some health issues, even before I got sick. I suffered from chronic fatigue, low mood, chronic bloating etc. Then the Urgent Care mono test came back as positive, and it completely floored me; emotionally and physically.

We were very shocked about the positive mono test, because getting mono for the second time isn’t super common, and we just weren’t expecting that, so we started doing our research.

My Re-Activated Epstein Barr Virus

We later found out that my positive mono test was actually a re-activated case of the Epstein-Barr Virus, and there was a chance that it wasn’t necessarily mono after all. But to be honest, we’re still a bit unclear on that detail. My mono test was positive, and my Epstein-Barr test was in a state of re-activation (confirmed by testing), so who knows — I wouldn’t be surprised if I did have them at the same time.

Either way, The Epstein-Barr virus is much more dangerous to have re-activated. So even if my mono test was a “false positive,” I actually had the worse of the two. Yippee!

What is The Epstein-Barr Virus?

EBV (Epstein Barr Virus) is a ferocious monster, and it’s *arguably* rare to get it re-activated; although some debate it’s not as rare as once believed, and it’s simply under-tested, and doctors are simply uninformed and uneducated when it comes to EBV. Either way, it can wreak havoc on your immune system, adrenal glands, lymph nodes, thyroid glands, and make you feel like you’re dying. For most people, it remains “dormant” in their bodies their entire life, and you’ll never know you have it. But for some of us “special” ones, we get to see it’s ugly face, whether we want to or not.

As I said before, most people know EBV as the virus that causes you to get mono (Mononucleosis), but you can actually get it re-activated later on in life if you’re one of the “lucky” ones like me. And since I already had EBV when I was 18, I didn’t “catch” it from someone this time around. It was already in my body and it was triggered by something like mold exposure, a life-altering event, stress etc. EBV can be re-activated by a “trigger,” and everyone’s body is different, so the trigger event can be different for everyone.

My New Reality

Once the virus had taken over me, I couldn’t get out of bed for a month, I couldn’t take care of my kids, I couldn’t walk, some days I could barely even talk because I didn’t have enough air in my lungs to do so. I wondered if I would EVER be able to function again. I could barely walk to the fridge to eat food. How in the world would I be able to play with my kids again? How could I be the energetic and goofy wife my husband married years ago? Where had my spirit gone? I felt like I had lost everything, and my hope was lost. After all, this wasn’t just a case of mono, we had confirmed I had a re-activated case of EBV, which was much worse.

My Mold Exposure

During my Epstein-Barr journey, I also found out I had been exposed to mold in my past. This actually wasn’t a surprise to me. In fact, throughout my adult life, I’ve only lived in very old houses, and I already knew I was sensitive to mold, however I didn’t know exactly how much it was affecting my body and overall health.

While most of the human population can be exposed to mold and be totally fine (literally ZERO issues) I’m apparently very sensitive to these types of things, so my past mold exposure had taken a drastic toll on my body. And even though I currently live in a brand new home with no mold, my body was still reacting to the toxic mold YEARS after my exposure.

Possible Lyme Disease

And to top it off, my integrative wellness doctor also suspected I might have lyme disease. We’re still a bit skeptical on this one, but we’re taking all of these potential health issues very seriously, regardless of whether or not we’re 100% sure it’s the correct diagnosis. I’ll start the testing and diagnosis process eventually, but I just haven’t gotten there yet.

So as you can see, this was bigger than just mono. Bigger than just EBV. Bigger than just mold exposure, or just lyme disease. It was a combination of it all.

Making a Change

That’s when I knew I had to make a change in order to be around long enough to take care of my family and watch my kids grow up. Because after an overwhelming amount of research, if your EBV gets re-activated once, it can always haunt you, and it can come back at any time if you’re not careful and cognizant of how you’re treating your body.

EBV has been linked to causing several different types of cancer, thyroid disease, adrenal fatigue, lupus, and much more, so if I didn’t take care of myself now, there were far more dire consequences later down the road. I already have thyroid disease, so I didn’t want to give the rest of those diseases a chance. Almost instantly I went into full-on research mode, and told myself I wouldn’t stop until I started feeling better.

I spent those few months researching (and continue to research today) anything and everything I could in order to CHANGE MY LIFE. I researched EBV (Epstein Barr Virus), diet changes, mold illness, chronic fatigue syndrome, you name it.

And Guess What Happened Next?

It made me grow in ways that I could never imagine. So many things I never knew about my health were introduced to me at the age of 32. No doctors I had gone to (growing up, or in my early adult life) ever taught or told me any of the things I was learning about.

Thankfully there are specialists all over the world that have researched, done studies, written books etc. and provide incredible resources for people like me who are desperate to find healing.

I’m also incredibly thankful for my integrative wellness doctor who looks deeper than a “quick fix,” and strives to find the root cause, rather than throw prescriptions my way, hoping that one sticks. He’s also HUGE on diet and overall lifestyle changes, which was nice to hear coming from a doctor.

There were a number of steps I took in order to heal myself, and STAY well. Here are a few things I did to get on the path to healing. I still do these things today, and will continue practicing the below habits for the rest of my life in order to stay healthy.

My Path to Healing:

  • Change my Diet from the SAD (Standard American Diet) to a Whole-Foods, Plant-Based (mostly vegan) Diet
  • Keep a food diary to pin-point my food allergies and intolerances (aka an elimination diet)
  • Remove Processed food from my diet
  • No Processed/Refined Sugar
  • Remove Gluten from my diet
  • Remove Dairy from my diet
  • Remove Animal Protein from my diet
  • Remove Soy & Corn etc. from my diet
  • Make sure to go to bed by 10:00 p.m.
  • Remove alcohol from my diet (I’ve since added maybe 1 drink every other week, but I still limit my alcohol significantly)
  • No Eggs (eggs feed EBV)
  • No caffeine for 4-5 months, then slowly re-introduce it
  • Began taking Supplements & Vitamins (Monolorin, L-lysine, Vitamin b-12, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and more) **supplements and vitamins are specific to everyone’s individual body, so just because I take these vitamins and supplements, doesn’t mean they will be good for someone else to take**

Here Are Some Resources That Helped Me Along The Way:

  • The Epstein Bar Virus Solution, by Dr. Kasia Kines
  • The Medical Medium, by Anthony Williams — **This read is known to be a little “coo coo” to some people, but it opened doors for me (in regards to how a virus can affect other areas of the body, and was helpful when I started researching medical data later down the road). **
  • TOXIC, by Dr. Neil Nathan — This is a book on healing your body from Mold Toxicity, Lyme Disease, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, and Chronic Environmental Illness (Many people with EBV have other issues as well, so this was helpful in regard to understanding the complexity of my health issues as a whole)
  • EBV Support Group (Facebook Group)
  • Epstein-Barr Virus(EBV) “the silent disease” (Facebook Group)

So Where Am I These Days?

I no longer feel like my hope is lost. I’m back to having dance parties with my kids and husband, we laugh, we play, we’re a family again, and I’m back to my normal self.

BUT… I do still have bad days. When I eat processed sugar, if I drink alcohol (even just 1 glass of wine) for more than 1 day in a row, if I don’t go to bed early, etc. — those are all things that make me feel bad again. My old symptoms start to creep back up, and it’s awful. I start feeling out of breath again, I’m more irritable again, I’m dead tired again… it all comes back.

I knew it would, since my research warned me that EBV might not ever go away once it’s re-activated, but it’s hard to face it when I see those horrible symptoms again. But the good that comes out of that lingering virus, is that it keeps me on track to live a HEALTHY lifestyle. I’m eating cleaner than I ever have in my whole life. I drink more water now than ever. Most of all, I appreciate the days that I feel good.

Sharing My Health & Wellness Tips

You know the other great thing that came out of my health scare? I learned SO much over the last year that I can now share my wealth of knowledge with you guys. I’m not going to push any of my discoveries on anyone, but I now feel the duty and obligation to share what I know with my readers, and whomever will listen. I hate that I didn’t know all these things before the age of 32. I hate that it took me getting sick to figure it out on my own. So rather than keeping it all to myself, I will be sharing it with you all!

For more Health & Wellness tips, check out my latest blog posts HERE.

Bonus Content Alert!

How I Accidentally Lost 25 Pounds in 4 Months (The Healthy Way)

As you can tell, I adopted a new way of eating, which ultimately led me to losing over 25 pounds in 4 months. If you want to learn about how I did it (by complete accident by the way) you can read all about it in my article here: How I Accidentally Lost 25 Pounds in 4 Months (The Healthy Way)

3 Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing your story Amy, that took courage and it sounds like you’ve steered yourself back to a good place. Look forward to reading future entries in your new blog!

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