It is "National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week." And that, my friends, is a mouthful. Holy crap - try saying that 10 times fast.
OK, then. What is a "visible" illness, exactly? I'm trying to think of one - down syndrome is visible, but it's not an "illness" or a "disease", it's an extra chromosome. I thought of my niece with a spinal cord injury, but that's an injury - she's not sick. I saw a show on Discovery about this woman with a giant tumor that weighed over 100 pounds - it was bigger than she was. Nasty. OK, let's celebrate that I don't have that! Or leprosy! Or ebola! Because those would suck. Hmmmm....maybe ALS? That's pretty visible, I guess.
Yes, I get very caught up in semantics.
If you have a visible illness that I didn't think of, and are now mad at me, I'm sorry.
OK, so it's a meme! Which is a strange word that I'm not entirely sure how to pronounce. But that's what it's called, so here goes.
"30 Things About My Chronic Illness" meme:
1. The illness I am living with is: Type 1 Diabetes.
2. I was diagnosed in the year: 2009
3. But I had symptoms since: late 2008.
4. The biggest adjustment I've had to make is: Hard question. Pretty much everything, and yet, not everything. Boy howdy, do I make sense. Food, exercise, and activities have had to change, but the basic who I am hasn't. Yes?
5. Most people assume: It's exactly the same as Type 2.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: Eating breakfast. I never did do it before, and now I am forced to fairly soon after I wake up. It's not really "hard", but it's a nuisance.
7. My favorite medical TV show is: Current one - House, the show about a brilliant doctor who misdiagnosis his patients 3 times before getting the right diagnosis, almost killing them in the process. Former one - Scrubs. Hilarious. Those are really the only 2 medical shows I've watched.
8. A gadget I couldn't live without: My testing kit. It is with me, always. Like God, only in small, gadgetry form.
9. The hardest part about nights are: wondering what my sugars will do that night, and hoping that my body wakes me up if I go hypo.
10. Each day I take: 5 shots, 1 pill, and 2 vitamins. Minimum, assuming the sugars don't need correction.
11. Regarding alternative treatments: If you find one that works for you, great. But sometimes they are really dangerous, and I get angry at the scams. But I love massage, relaxation techniques, and my chiropractor. Just don't ask me to drink saltwater and tell me it'll cure me.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose Well, since the only visible illnesses I can think of are horrific ones, let's go invisible.
13. Regarding working and career: I've been home with my kids for a long time. I want to re-enter the work force now, but apparently job-searching at 36 and job searching at 21 are two very different things. Diabetes won't stop me from working, though.
14. People would be surprised to know: That I'm a one-eyed, one-eared, giant purple people eater.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: That I have to think about this ALL THE STINKING TIME. It regulates what and when I eat, as well as what and when I exercise, and I have to plan everything around it.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness but I did was: I don't know. Eat birthday cake?
17. The commercials about my illness: make me hate Wilfred Brimley. Also they are always on during the day and are geared to the elderly so they make me feel old.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: I miss the general freedom of being able to pop things into my mouth without thinking about the carb content, or eating whenever I want to without worrying about insulin stacking, or hypos, or highs, or my exercise schedule, or the myriad of other things. Freedom, I miss you.
19. It was really hard to have to give up: Dr. Pepper.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Yoga. I love it, it's an exercise that doesn't mess with my sugars, and I never thought I could get this strong or flexible, even though I still have a lot of room for improvement.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again, I would: Sleep in, have a Dr. Pepper for breakfast, swim without worrying that I'll pass out in the pool, and then eat some more sugary crap. Hey, I just have one day, right?
22. My illness has taught me:Everything in the body is connected. I know, obvious, right? But it's really brought home how every little thing you do affects the entire body. You can't just treat the foot without having it affect the brain, and vice versa. It's ALL connected, and always will be. Treat the person first. Also, moderation is crucial, as too much insulin or sugar will do horrible things to you, and this has become a metaphor for me for other aspects of my life. Live within reasonable boundaries, but not horribly constricting ones. Also, cocoa roast almonds are awesome. Atkins makes some peanut butter cups that taste just like Reese's, and some coconut bars that taste just like Mounds. I never would have known about them, and they make me so happy.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: My aunt so-and-so had that. She died a horrible death. Gee, thanks.
24. But I love it when people: Listen, and get a little educated, and try to understand.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote, that gets me through tough times is: Be still and know that I am God. I love this song from Scrubs. Also, the poo one.
26. When someone is diagnosed I'd like to tell them: You are not alone. You can do this. And I would tell them about those Atkins bars, and carb smart ice cream mixed with diet root beer. Delish.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: How much blood sugar affects my mood.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn't feeling well was: Babysit my kids.
29. I'm involved with Invisible Illness week because: It's a good thing.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: Glad you stopped by.