Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Krysta Weighs In. Chik-V recovery

Published:Monday | October 13, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Krysta Anderson, Lifestyle Reporter

They always say 'once bitten, twice shy', and never in life have I ever taken a proverb quite so literally. In the middle of Operation Birthday Body, I seem to have been bitten by the infamous Aedes aegypti mosquito, placing me in the 66 per cent of Jamaicans that will be infected with the dangerous chikungunya virus. Even now that I'm better, traces of the disease still linger, despite my efforts to fight for my own cause.

Just tuning in? Welcome to Krysta Weighs In, my personal journey and the hurdles encountered on the road to physical and mental fitness, with high hopes of coming out at the end a healthier, happier version of me.

Last time I checked in, I had shared my experience in participating in a 5K for the very first time. On the heels of that great accomplishment, I have been compelled to highlight an unfortunate first for me - my bout with chik-V.

I was in complete denial that I had contracted the virus, so much so that when the initial joint pains hit my knee, making it almost impossible to walk, I thought that the workout I had executed the night before at home was the cause. It was not until my condition deteriorated with other symptoms such as headache, fever and weakness, that I consulted my doctor who confirmed that my symptoms were consistent with the virus. Nothing could have prepared me for what was about to unfold in the days that followed.

It launched a full-fledged attack of brutality on my joints, in every limb of my body. As the pain intensified, so did my annoyance. I felt old, shuffling from one room to the next, becoming as dependent as a child, needing help getting out of bed, using the bathroom, even showering.

Placed on bed rest, I could not sleep because the aches were just too much. I also had to battle the cramping that would occur as a side effect. Between the shivering and the headache came the swelling of the lymph nodes. This was a struggle too unreal.

Just when I thought it could not get any worse, it did - the itching sans the rash. Being sick at the beginning of the week did not bode well for my workweek, and I tried in between to get work done, but that proved to be easier said than done.

Fight with food

Those who have experienced chik-V know that food is the last thing on their minds, so I had to go about this the smart way. After several attempts to find something to fill my appetite, I found comfort in fruits and soups to balance my diet, treated myself to sweet pleasures every now and then, and this aided significantly in my recovery.

A walk to remember

Three days later, I felt ready to stretch my muscles and take a walk. That walk turned out to be a mistake, as it brought me back to an all-time low in terms of weakness.

Tired of the house, I chanced an assignment the same night, feeling better from the day. It was another big mistake. By the next morning, I was back to square one with all my symptoms, adding rashes to the long list.

I was determined to fight this and, by Sunday, I was in higher spirits, but nature called, knocking me 10 steps back in my mission of recovery.

Back at the gym?

Now out of the gym for over a week, I decided to grace them with my chik-V-free presence. My trainer saw the difference in my size: I had officially lost weight (the only positive I could find from the virus). He took it easy on me and I was glad to be back to settle my score with fitness.

By the following week, the workout got kicked up to level two, only to be stopped dead in its tracks by the lingering chik-V aches and pains. You know it's bad when you target only upper body for the workout session and you're home in the night suffering from lower body soreness.

So I have now been advised to take it easy since the virus stays in the system for about a year. Now how does that help me and my plans to amp up my sessions in order to see results by my birthday? I have no idea. But I am a lover and a fighter, so I will get through this. Rome wasn't built in a day, so my dream body won't be either. I just have to be patient, listen to it when it's screaming 'take a break', and press play when all systems are a go.

Join me next time as I hopefully move forward, making strides in putting chik-V behind me, and successfully continue my health and fitness journey.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com