This week is “National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week”. Since diabetes is “invisible” to many, we have been asked to participate with a blog post, tweet, or other indication of support and explanation to try to make our issues more “visible” to the general public.
I usually don’t do memes, but this one seemed important enough to pick up…
==30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know==
1. The illness I live with is: Type 2 Diabetes and Hypertension
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 2002
3. But I had symptoms since: never – both are known as “silent killers”
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: treating myself as an experimental subject and logging numbers up the wazoo
5. Most people assume: that the food they push on me won’t hurt me “just this once”… and they keep thrusting it on me
6. The hardest part about mornings are: getting The Other Half up and moving.
7. My favorite medical TV show is: I haven’t seen in a while, but Discovery Health Sunday’s CME series.
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: loaded notebook computer with broadband Internet access.
9. The hardest part about nights are: keeping my toes from freezing without the rest of me sweating buckets.
10. Each day I take __ pills & vitamins: 17 pills including 3 vitamin pills, but only 1 is prescription.
11. Regarding alternative treatments: I take herbs and minerals for blood glucose control and chronic venous insufficiency, plus fish oil and ground flax seed for cholesterol control. I use compression hose for chronic venous insufficiency. And of course diet and exercise are paramount.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: at least with an invisible illness, you don’t get people trying not to retch when you pass by, or getting those “pity” glances or “she’s such a trouper” glances.
13. Regarding working and career: on the one hand, people see diabetes and hypertension as things that can be completely controlled, so any excursion is my fault, but on the other, the expectations of work prohibit me from keeping them controlled.
14. People would be surprised to know: how complacent I really am, despite my strident words.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: accepting that reality. But honestly, it’s harder to accept that I’m no longer 25 than that I have diabetes…
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: have a night out without having to worry about food.
17. The commercials about my illness: are too generalized; they don’t differentiate between the different types of diabetes, and they make it look like all people with Type 2 Diabetes are in their 70’s or older, and that all people with Type 1 Diabetes are under 10. Type 1 (autoimmune) does NOT go away just because a child becomes an adult (I know 70-somethings with Type 1 Diabetes), and we are now seeing Type 2 Diabetes in children and teenagers.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: enjoying Kosher deli without worrying about the sodium, carbohydrate, and fat levels.
19. It was really hard to have to give up: bread, potatoes, “normal” pasta, and anything with white flour. I am a breadaholic, and most breads are very high in sodium and contain white flour.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: logging everything that goes into my mouth, every blood glucose and blood pressure reading… Oh, was that meant to be serious? I’ve been lax about the gym, but that’s been completely new since diagnosis.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: most of the time I do feel “normal”. It’s the rest of the world that’s gone astray…
22. My illness has taught me: that other people see the positive results of “taking responsibility” as “heroic”. Really doesn’t say much for “most people”, does it?
23. One thing people say that gets under my skin is: “I don’t know how you can do it.” When it’s your life on the line, you do it and are frakking glad for it!
24. But I love it when people: understand and are willing to work with me, rather than (no matter how inadvertently) against me.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: “There is a reason for this; I just don’t know what it is yet.”; “Not surviving is NOT an option.”
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: “It’s not the end of the world, even though it may feel like it. I, and others like me, walk the path beside you and are here to help you navigate the bumps in the road.”
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: how much it has strengthened me – physically, psychologically, and emotionally.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: sat, listened to me, saw my numbers, understood the significance, and did something to alleviate the stressor.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: I’m in disguise as a DOC lemming.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: that I’m less alone than I was before you read it…