2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: Fall, 1982
3. But I had symptoms since: Summer, 1982
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: A total life regime adjustment, daily injection, every 2 hours checking of blood sugar, daily exercise, and best aid of all: viewing food as fuel and consuming the most nutrient dense food possible.
5. Most people assume: I am fit and healthy and life is easy for me.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: Waking and still feeling great fatigue. INJECTIONS.
7. My favorite medical TV show is: I do enjoy Grey's because I "get" it, thanks to my RN degree.
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: My glucose monitor; goes with me everywhere and some type of food to raise my blood sugar if needed. If you see me carrying a tiny bag (that woudl be my meter), or a big back pack or purse, it's because I've got lots of stuff to pack with me EVERYWHERE!, much like a baby.
9. The hardest part about nights are: After so many years of Diabetes the body oftentimes stops signaling the nervous system to tell a person when their blood sugar has dropped to a dangerous level. Unlike the famous scene in the movie, "Steel Magnolias" where Julia Roberts has the hypoglycemic reaction symptoms of shaking and sweating, I have no inkling that my blood sugar has dropped. I wake every 2 hours most nights to check my blood sugar. Not a good thing.
10. Each day I take Insulin injections & vitamins. Insulin, no life without it. I take a daily morning injection and injections with food or elevated blood sugar; a walking pin cushion. Well, I do take extra supplements to try to strengthen my immune system, worn down by the daily wear and tear of the Diabetes. I take chromium, cinnamon, vit D, C, Vanadyl. cod liver oil, and eat lots of fruits, veggies, and fish, especially Salmon, full of Omega 3's.
11. Regarding alternative treatments: I think massage and cardio exercise are two of the most under-rated therapies for assisting the immune system and cleansing the body of unwanted toxins. But, by far, the best "alternative treatment" for me is that which lowers my stress response, i.e. exercise-weight training, any creative activity such as pottery, decorating, and of course, writing. Listening to music and dancing alone in the house provide huge boosts of healing energy as well.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: Neither! Who deserves to be ill? Life is for living, loving, and laughing. Illness, invisible or not, strikes one down in too many ways. Illness is truly an unnatural state.
13. Regarding working and career: I have not been able to work outside the home for many years. Sadly, when I was working I was often severely penalized by employers for the "bad" days when I couldn't come in to work because I was too sick, blood sugars were elevated, caught the latest virus, etc. Employers ignorant and un-accepting of one's illness can create tremendous pressure on the chronically ill. Did I choose this? Would I choose this? Trust me, even on your worst days at work, you don't ever want to NOT be ABLE to have a job--it robs you of your identity, self-esteem, validation, social interaction, and yes, income. Lack of income makes one worthless in most relationships, fortunately not mine. And what to say when you get the ever so useless and superficial question at social gatherings, "what do you do?" answer "...uh, trying to survive here."
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: Well, my reality changes every year. Every year Diabetes is more and more difficult for me to manage for various reasons.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: I have never been one to think I couldn't do anything, until lately. Lately, for the first time in 20 odd years of having Diabetes, I am SICK OF IT! I question often whether I can take one more day, deal with one more secondary illness, or have one more sleepless night. I feel suffering and fear more of it.
17. The commercials about my illness: Commercials: lame, set up for pharmaceutical companies monetary gain. Most doctors: lame. What I knew the first day I was diagnosed has not changed. I am the master of my illness. I am the doctor, nurse, and educator of my diabetes. No one knows my illness or how to treat it better than I do.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: Yes, you guessed it. Sleeping. Well, I have never missed chowing like others do. I was blessed with the want for healthy food and small portions. I'm tiny and I can't eat much anyway. But, I do really love pie and resent that I can't have as much as I'd like. I also, don't really enjoy being in the room when people are enjoying loads of food, especially PIE.
19. It was really hard to have to give up: Becoming a doctor. I thought the hours would probably take a great toll on me in the years to come. I was probably correct.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: I found working with clay, something I'd never had the advantage of experiencing as a child, to be the greatest gift to my overall well-being. Having my hands in the clay calms every cell of my being; requires much less insulin and brings a smile to my soul. Try it, if you haven't.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Go to work and eat pie! Seriously, it would be nice to leave the house for once without doing the dance of "do I have the: insulin, glucose meter, water, food, or sugar."
22. My illness has taught me: Healthy people haven't a clue how blessed they are; ignorance is bliss. Healthy people haven't a clue about my struggles to manage and survive my illness every single minute. I am never free of thinking questions such as, "what's my blood sugar", "can I eat this or what will I eat at this restaurant", and the worst one is the constant assessment I must do every minute to ensure I don't hit the floor due to hypoglycemia--blind to it most of the time.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: "Should you be eating that?" ha...I should say that right back to them. I know I eat really healthfully and most people don't. I can't afford not to.
24. But I love it when people: Treat me like I am intelligent, with dignity. I like it when people offer me the same food as everyone else and let me bow out if I choose. I like it when people say, "do you need to check your blood sugar" because maybe I do, maybe I'm acting funny or choosing the wrong words and don't have the where-with-all to realize it. I also like it when people offer to help me when I need juice or sugar! without freaking out, especially lately since my blood sugar usually has dropped pretty low before I notice it. I also appreciate it when people don't wig out because I'm injecting insulin.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: Two, of many, I'll share: "Keep Hope Alive" by Martin Luther King Jr. and "If you are going through hell, Keep going!" by Winston Churchill. Never give up on yourself. Believe.
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: You are in charge of how this turns out in the end. Learn about your illness. Exercise and stress reduction are insulin's best allies.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: Every day is different and you cannot be prepared for the bad...when it comes you must be flexible and say, "yes, this is a bad day, but it too shall pass, and tomorrow will be better." I know this has been, and is, the hardest thing for my friends to accept; most of them think I'm just bailing on them. Honestly, the good days are fewer than they were and when I wake to one of those, I jump! What a gift a healthy day is. Additionally, insulin injections are not always so painful! great new tiny needles.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: I'm pretty tired, just lately, of being treated like I give up easily, not a quality I possess. People who don't see my illness, often treat me like I'm weak when I'm having bad days. I am not weak and have a strong resolve, always seeking solutions. I understand, after 26 years of being ill, all too well, what it means to have assumptions of good health directed toward you. It's a difficult life, because people expect you to fit right in...not gonna happen.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: Love, support, and hope for a movement towards better treatment for all of us suffering silently. I'd rather speak than hold my breath, in hopes of bridging the gap. Thank you.