Hey guys, it’s Invisible Illness Week. As diabetics, we enjoy a certain level of transparency, which can either be a good or a bad thing. Nevertheless, it’s good to put a voice and face to what we’re quietly living with. I’m coming up on the one-year anniversary of my diagnosis, and thought I’d do a little bit of reflection on where I am now.
1. The illness I live with is: type 1 diabetes.
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 2010.
3. But I had symptoms since: earlier that year.
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: finding a place for diabetes to fit in my life. I was 23 at diagnosis, so I already had a life before I became a PWD.
5. Most people assume: that my diabetes will go away if I lose weight. (Are you saying that I’m overweight?!) It also drive me nuts when anyone asks if something is always wrong when I pull out a gadget. The worst offenders are my coworkers at the hospital. (I know, right?!) I feel like I’m constantly having to explain what I’m doing so people don’t freak out and assume that I need medical attention. No, I’m fine, I stick my finger at least seven times a day. No, I don’t need to eat. Yes, I’m fine, I was actually just checking the time. (I like the bright colors on my pump screen, okay!)
6. The hardest part about mornings are: waiting to eat. Breakfast is my favorite time of the day!
7. My favorite medical TV show is: It used to be ER. 😦
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: My Macbook Pro. ❤
9. The hardest part about nights are: working! Night shift bites.
10. Each day I take 1 pill & a billion vitamins. Not to mention infusing insulin 24/7/365 ad infinitum.
11. Regarding alternative treatments I: feel like it’s important to factor things like exercise and diet into your treatment plan, of course, but I kind of have to take insulin. It isn’t a choice.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: I don’t know that I would choose either. I feel like diabetes does a good job of remaining invisible most of the time, but then it makes itself VERY visible at the most inopportune times, and I just feel vulnerable. Then again, I suppose I’d rather only have it be visible sometimes than all of the time.
13. Regarding working and career: I’d like to find a way to use my experiences to teach other PWD’s. I’m starting my RN next fall, and I imagine I will probably become a certified diabetes educator down the road.
14. People would be surprised to know: that I am the ninth type 1 diabetic on my mom’s side of the family.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: that it’s going to be like this forever. That I’m going to have to explain this to my children. That I am most likely going to watch one of them go through the same experience.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: feel normal. It gets easier every day, but I’m still working on it.
17. The commercials about my illness: don’t do anything for me.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: going on unapologetic carb binges.
19. It was really hard to have to give up: the Navy. I was in the enlistment process at diagnosis, but apparently not far enough for them to still be able to take me.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: being open and talking about it.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: eat a whole pizza. Yup.
22. My illness has taught me: to be flexible and to always be prepared.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: “So it will go away eventually?” NO. This is forever. There is no cure for diabetes.
24. But I love it when people: look at me and just see ME.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: from Fred Rogers — “You know, you don’t have to look like everybody else to be acceptable and to feel acceptable.”
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: that they aren’t alone. And there is a very good, very full life, even after diagnosis. (Kerri said it best.)
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: that life does go on. Also, humans are exceptionally resilient and adaptable creatures.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: to be a calm and patient presence in a somewhat chaotic moment, allowing me to tell them what I needed instead of making assumptions.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: my illness may be invisible, but I am not.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: like you like me and may have learned a thing or two. Knowledge is power! While you’re at it, why don’t you do this meme as well!