Part 1: A wake-up call to fight fatigue

Five years ago I wrote an article called “Can you put a price on your health?” It was a somewhat rhetorical question, of course. With my fastidious categorising of every line item of my spending, I can tell you exactly how much I spend on my health. 

For me, it’s an average of $4,618/year. That includes GP visits, dentistry, prescriptions and supplements, podiatry, health insurance, as well as things like massages for back pain and fitness, which support my wellbeing.

The question is really, I suppose, how much you’re willing to pay for it. I know a colleague who re-mortgaged his house to fund his cancer treatment, a kind that isn’t covered by the New Zealand health service.

While my health issues – thank goodness – aren’t nearly as serious, they are costing about the same as my mortgage contributions right now.

I’ve had various little problems for a while. None serious enough to worry about, or get to the root cause of. Allergies? Take an antihistamine. Knee pain? Avoid the yoga poses that exacerbate it. Feeling weak? Take an iron tablet.

But since returning to work from parental leave, things have been mounting up. I’ve been getting so tired I go to bed early. 10pm, then 9pm, then 8pm. And the naps I started to take “while the baby sleeps” have continued, long since she began sleeping through the night. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

As a Communications Specialist, it’s part of my job to be across the news and what’s happening in New Zealand. But on the night a state of emergency was declared in Auckland, due to flooding, I missed the entire WhatsApp conversation my colleagues kept up throughout the evening. Because I had gone to bed. At 6pm.

I’ve already been to the GP for my exhaustion, twice, without success. After a blood test and instructions to come back in three months if I still felt tired, I was sent away again, empty-handed and frustrated.

It was hard to pinpoint the exact trigger, but about a week ago my husband let out his frustration. My fatigue is impacting me, my parenting, our relationship – in short, the whole family. I have to do something about it. Feeling like quite the malingerer, I wrote a list of my various ailments. At the first draft, without thinking too hard, I came up with 14.

Photo by Alex Green on

The GP hasn’t been able to help, so it’s time to take matters into my own hands and put a price on my health. I’m feeling fed up, not listened to. In short, I’m desperate, and willing to do what it takes to fix the problem. Which is how I find myself googling “Auckland fatigue specialist” and booking an appointment with a highly-rated clinic. At $199, including testing, it’s not cheap. But it’s time to take charge of transforming my health.  

In this series of articles – The Wellbeing Quest – I’ll be charting my efforts trying to beat my fatigue and other health issues. I’d love to have you on the journey with me. Let’s go!

Next time: Can a barefoot hippie cure me in a week? Join me here to find out.

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