Sunday, September 20, 2009

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know

1. The illness I live with is: Type 1 Diabetes

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 2007 (January 24th)

3. But I had symptoms since: For about a month. Type 1 Diabetes is quick to make it's self well known. At least for me.

4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: That I have to stick to a schedule, be consistent and NOT lose my damn meter. (Which is currently hiding somewhere in the apartment, I hope.)

5. Most people assume: That Type 1 Diabetes must be awful. (Usually goes, "Wow, isn't that the worst kind? Doesn't that suck? I couldn't do it.") It's not to me. In fact, diabetes has been a blessing. It's taught me so much and is teaching me, by force, that I must be responsible. Rather ironically, diabetes forces me to be more healthy than I ever would have been without it. Diabetes is just a daily pain in the ass, literally some days.

6. The hardest part about mornings are: Waking up to a low or a high that makes me late to work because I can't drive until it's taken care of.

7. My favorite medical TV show is: Does Bones count? There's medicalish stuff in there.

8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: My insulin pump and meter.

9. The hardest part about nights are: Being visited by Mr. Ambitious (aka, my husband) in the middle of night and then stumbling around trying to figure out where the heck I put my meter and that juice I had stashed by the bed.

10. Each day I take: Insulin and usually at least one juice box (or sugar cookies) for a low blood sugar.

11. Regarding alternative treatments I: Think anyone who thinks I can live without insulin smoked a little too much pot while researching their latest 'cure'.

12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: I'd really rather not be sick. But given the choice, I'll take invisible. That way, people can't make assumptions about how well I can do my job before they see me DO the job.

13. Regarding working and career: Diabetes doesn't hold me back. It does make me feel like I have to work harder to prove that Diabetes won't hinder my ability to do the job, though.

14. People would be surprised to know: That just because I'm not visibly sick doesn't mean I don't feel like a walking pile of crap. High blood sugars make it hard to stay awake, make me incredibly sore, and seemingly attached to the bathroom. Lows are usually embarrassing and irritating. I break down crying, can't talk or feel so floaty I feel I've lost touch with reality. But I usually just laugh it off and take action to correct the high or low. I don't like people worrying. If they're laughing, I can deal with diabetes better.

15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: That eating a huge stack of Oreo cookies with milk doesn't make the world better anymore. ;) Especially if I forget to take insulin with it.

16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: I got married. It still amazes me that Zane married me knowing full well that I get sick often. That despite all the hard work in the world, complications may still claim me early. He never saw me as a diabetic. He always just saw me, Jess.

17. The commercials about my illness: Kinda suck. They're usually about Type 2 (and usually confuse people into thinking that all diabetes is the same)

18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: Indulging my sweet tooth. (I miss my Oreo's.) ;)

19. It was really hard to have to give up: The ability to sleep and eat whenever and whatever I want. I'm only 20 for goodness sake.

20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Blogging. Spending time researching and learning about diabetes and other chronic diseases.

21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Eat "The Sink" (an entire sink of ice cream with four different toppings) at Angies. Just to show Zane I can. ;) I would anyway, but I haven't figured out how to eat it without ending up in a coma for a few days.

22. My illness has taught me: Patience, responsibility, understanding. That consistency is indeed, crucial.

23. Want to know a secret? One thing people do that gets under my skin is: What pisses me off faster than anything else? Taking food away from me. Telling me I shouldn't eat it. Just watch how fast I come unglued on you. People think it's their responsibility to tell me what I can and cannot eat. I've been doing this almost three years, I think I know what I'm doing. I know what those M&Ms are going to do to my blood sugar and my body. How do you know that my blood sugar wasn't low? Very sore spot for me.

24. But I love it when people: Just listen. When people honestly want to learn about my illness and are willing to let me vent at them. The most precious gift friends have given to me, is when they take the time to learn what diabetes is and how it affects me. Then support me, help me and provide a support network. There's nothing more precious to me than someone who honestly cares and understands.

25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: My personal thought: God is strengthening and teaching me by using Diabetes as a sculpting tool. It is not a negative thing, in fact it has helped me become who I am.

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: Get a support network, whether it's a local support group, a Yahoo mail list, a forum or the Diabetic Blogsphere. Find a friend that can learn with you. Diabetes is damn hard on your own. Finally, never keep it a secret. People can't help you in an emergency if they don't know what you need.

27. Something that has surprised me about living with this illness is: That's it's really not the end of the world. Life goes on at a break-neck speed. You still date, you get married, have a career, have a family and you can even grow old. 100 years ago, I would've been dead last year.

28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: Zane called in to work and then took care of me for the rest of the day. Just being held made it that much easier to get through the roller coaster of blood sugars.

29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: It is vitally important to help healthy people understand what it's like to have a chronic illness.

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: That you're freaking awesome, or just rather bored and stalking my blog or Facebook.

1 comment:

tmana said...

It's amazing how many of us with chronic illnesses -- both visible and invisible -- have, or learn, Faith through those illnesses. It almost seems that we are being Taught and Tested to be able to better serve His needs some time down the road...