Coping with Glandular Fever – PART 2

So how do you treat it?

The problem with viruses is there’s not much you can do. The immunologist gave me a prescription for 6 months worth of incredibly strong antivirals – 10 days on, 10 days off. He explained that there was only about a 50% chance of these working, depending on whether my cells were splitting or copying each other (they’d only work if they were copying). If those drugs worked then there was a chance of me shaking this off and gradually ramping up the training with a glimmer of hope that I might be fit for June 2016. Was there heck! I gave the pills a good chance but they were actually making me feel worse and after about a month I decided that they were doing more harm than good. It didn’t take a medical expert to make us realise that I was not going to make that Marble Arch start line.

I was recommended that I should see a former GP, Chinese medicine and homeopathic expert who specialises in glandular fever – this chap had helped the referrer’s entire family who had been affected by EBV. Willing to give anything a go to help me recover I drove down with an open mind to Haslemere to see Dr Williams. Yes Chinese medicine techniques do seem unusual and almost illogical to us who have been brought up on modern day science and not to listen to that mumbo jumbo but actually if you think about it those crazy Chinese have been using these methods for two and a half millennia – there must be something in it! I came home with various herbal remedies and natural potions and once I started consuming my daily concoctions, I felt better swiftly. I combined this with fortnightly acupuncture with Dr Curtin at Harley Street – thankfully this was recognised as legitimate treatment by my health insurers!

My herbal & mineral stash that I take daily


This has been my first encounter with acupuncture and it’s really not how I imagined it would be. The needles go in my feet, legs, hands and the top of my head – doesn’t sound relaxing but that is exactly what it is. It’s easy to fall asleep in the 20 minute period whist these little pricks are in you. My initial session, the doctor focussed on my organs that would have been hit hardest by the Glange, mainly my liver. The first needle he puts in my left foot, I couldn’t feel a thing. When the second needle went in the same spot but on my right foot, I felt a sharp pain. When I asked why he said because the liver is on the right side of my body – now I started to believe in the power of these little needles. They say you should never drive a vehicle after acupuncture and I can see why. After that first session I was completely shagged, and struggled even with a walk and a tube home! I slept well that night and the next day felt that little bit better.

Both doctors can see a huge improvement in me and interestingly when they first saw me, they both said separately that I had another 4/5 months to go and should be feeling back to normal in August or so. I’ve got one more acupuncture session booked in and that should be the last one, as my pulse is much more regular than what it was. I’m still seeing my Chinese medicine doctor as EBV is still effecting me and both my glands around my neck and my groin are still swollen – but I am 10 times better than what I was. Now I just need to avoid the booze and slowly increase exercise levels but crucially not overexerting myself and hopefully I’ll be back in business by the end of the summer.

3 thoughts on “Coping with Glandular Fever – PART 2”

  1. Hi Rob, greetings from Sydney and great read on your experience with glandular fever and the things you are doing to overcome it. 11 months on, how are you feeling?

    I’ve been struck down with it before, the first due to overwork + overtraining, and generally just ignoring what my body was telling me and trying to push through. Result has been an incredibly elevated heart rate making proper exercise impossible, weakness throughout, and general tiredness / malaise. That lasted for 14 months as I wasn’t sure what was wrong with me, until I got diagnosed with glandular fever.

    I’m going through my 2nd bout glandular fever, and I think I’ve gotten a bit smarter about how to train around it. Some of the things that I’m suspecting help (but I’m no medical expert):

    1. Training – use a heart rate monitor, and try to keep into Zone 1 – Zone 2 training whilst recovering (my sport is cycling) and long distances – so low stress, high, mileage. I find as soon I start trying to push into Zone 3 or Zone 4, I ‘burn out’ very quickly and it takes a long time to recover.
    2. Diet – I find myself monitoring my diet a lot more closely, and trying to eat lots more dark, leafy green vegetables and fresh fruit. One of the fruit juice mixes that helped me a lot the first time around was a mix of pineapple and carrot – and it tastes great as well. Normally love a pint or two, and have found that I’ve had to cut that out during the duration of recovery.
    3. Rest & Recovery – before gladular fever, I would try to do everything – attend every party, go for every training session, be the first in the door in the office in the morning and last to leave, etc. I’ve now taken a more measured approach and have put a routine in place, and have learnt to say “no” to things more. It’s helped a lot! Reduced my stress, allowed me to conserve my energy, and recover much faster. I’ve learnt its sometimes better to listen to your body and rest, rather than try and soldier on. I think in daily life we tend to over complicate things, and sometimes less is more.

    I managed to get glandular fever the 2nd time around from running / cycle race training, and pushing into Zone 4 – Zone 5 sprints to try and get faster/stronger. I’ve now learnt that the recommended online training plans work well if you’ve built up the base! My plan now is ongoing Z1-Z2 training for another 2-3 months to build up the fitness, with occasional pushes into Zone 3 – Zone 4. Hoping to be back to normal form by end of this year. I know now that patience is key!

    1. Thanks for the message and sorry for the late response, we’ve been rather busy in the past few weeks with the trip!

      To be honest I’m doing pretty well, the fact that I am able to do this expedition when I’m pushing my body day after day must be a decent sign! I have learnt how to listen to my body and when I’m run down and glandy just to stop and rest – that’s the key.

      I agree with everything you say above, and definitely while you have it. As I am currently out the woods I don’t need to be as careful but I am VERY conscious about over doing things and becoming I’ll again.

      Good luck in your recovery and let me know if you want to chat through anything and we could arrange a Skype or WhatsApp. Rob

  2. Hey Rob, I have just come across your blog about Glandular Fever. I know I am many years behind but I wanted to reach out to you as I recently got diagnosed with Glandular Fever and Cytomegalovirus. Diagnosis was early April but I was up and down for 2 months prior to this. My life has been turned upside down and I really worry about my health and the future. I have reached out to a naturopath to help guide me through this illness (as the doc just has given me pain relief). I have changed my diet and am doing no exercise whatsoever (when I previously was working out every day). Things seem to slowly be improving but at times I just struggle seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I know I am being impatient but I was wanting to know how you are (quite a few years on) and if you have any tips for recovery?

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