The Healthy Truth: The real struggle of becoming sick

The-Healthy-Truth-The-real-struggle-of-becoming-sickDear friends,

Last week, the unthinkable happened to me: I got sick. Now, you may think I’m being overdramatic or that getting sick isn’t a big deal really, but to me it is. Why? Well, I work incredibly hard not to get sick.


I run my body like a car—I get check-ups to make sure everything is well, I fuel it properly with healthy foods and supplements, and I take it out to get exercise. For all these reasons, I essentially shouldn’t get sick, right? Well, apparently it’s wrong.

Let me give you the back story of my previous week.

Last Sunday (which was an incredibly frigid day), I spend countless hours outdoors roaming the city on a shopping trip. I walked kilometers around Toronto in search for the perfect pair of shoes. Sure, it was freezing, but my long coat kept me warm, my Thinsulate gloves kept my hands toasty, and my head was covered with my hood. Basically, I was well equipped to fight the strong winds. In fact, at some point, I was too warm, so I thought I could remove my hood, but I quickly realized it was far too cold to do so. Instead, I continued to trek the city still feeling warm.

(Side note: Prior to the present illness, I honestly can’t remember the last time I was sick.)

By Monday evening something didn’t feel right. I felt sluggish, my throat was hurting, and I just experienced an overall feeling of unwell. By the time I made it home from work, I didn’t have much of an appetite and I rotted on the couch feeding myself cold and flu medicine in order to prevent whatever was trying to take over my body.

Tuesday arrived, and I somehow managed to get in my car and drive to work regardless of the fact that my throat was now killing me—I could barely swallow—and every part of me was hurting. At work, my evident sickness sent me home very quickly, so I continued to medicate myself in front of daytime TV.

All I could think was, “How could my body betray me? Did I not treat it well enough?” I no longer had control over what I wanted to do because it didn’t matter: my body was now the boss and it was telling me to sleep and do nothing—all things that are quite opposite to my everyday hustle and bustle.

I was completely dumbfounded on how I, a seemingly healthy young person, could become a victim to a virus. Not to say that I am Superwoman who is immune to such things, but like I mentioned, up until this point I had a pretty great track record of avoiding all seasonal illnesses. While others were coughing and sneezing around me, I wouldn’t even steer clear because I knew I had taken all the necessary steps to ensure that I wouldn’t get sick. And, hey, for many years it seemed to have worked out just well.

But unfortunately, my health and wellness streak seemed to have come to an abrupt end last week when whatever was going around Toronto managed to take me as its next victim.

Needless to say, it’s not fun to be sick, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that. You can barely eat, sometimes you can barely breathe or swallow, everything hurts, you’re uncomfortable, and you can’t do anything you enjoy doing as you feel helpless. I experienced that harsh reality of the downfalls of illness last week which really made me appreciate health.
You know how some people say you only appreciate things once they are gone? Well, that basically sums up how I feel about my health now. It essentially took my temporary inability to function to really value the importance of being healthy. I think oftentimes we take advantage of our ability to do things until it becomes halted by something, such as illness.

Did my experience of illness teach me anything? Definitely—don’t spend countless hours walking outdoors when it’s way below zero, nothing is so important that you should put your health at risk, not even the perfect pair of shoes.


In the meantime, I will continue to take my supplements, eat well, and exercise regularly in order to keep my immune system strong—and I will very much be avoiding the outdoors on frigid days as well.

Until next week,

Emily Lunardo

Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.


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