Saturday, September 17, 2011

30 for 30: My Invisible Illness

(aka 30 things for the 30 year old!)

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

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: Dec. 10, 1998.

3. But I had symptoms since: May 1998...I recall getting personally acquanted with every single water fountain/restroom on all 3 floors of the high school. (it was the summer of driver’s Ed)

4.The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Snacks, Eating, and not being my own person anymore.

5. Most people assume: That I’ve got it together by now, & my blood sugars never go over 120 or below 70. (“Do you have it pretty well regulated, dear?”) Yeah, right. (I’d like some of whatever you’ve been smoking) Every day is a constant battle.

6. The hardest part about mornings are: That they exist. (period)

7.My favorite medical TV show is: The Duggars/Greys Anatomy/Private Practice/What Not to Wear/etc....I don’t think I’ve got an absolute favorite, per say.

8.A gadget I couldn’t live without is: You probably think I’d say my insulin pump, or my Dexcom...but I could probably live without those. My iphone is the love of my life, though.

9. The hardest part about nights are: Sleeping on my side...but that’s not diabetes related, that’s pregnancy related. I was a back sleeper for 29 years and suddenly, I had to go cold turkey. (no easy thing) No one ever told me about that little thing known as “Supine Hypotension.”

10.Each day I take (X) pills & 0 vitamins: Well, it depends. I take at least 1 pill, and I’m supposed to take a prenatal(very lax on that one though) & there are the random aches & pains & allergies that I’ll occasionally have to pop some more pills, but yes, one a daily basis, just one. I’m trying to keep the pill brigade to a bare minimum right now. I do pump insulin 24/7, though.

11.Regarding alternative treatments I: if it works for you,& it hasn’t been shown to be toxic/damaging/etc. I think “alternative” treatments may have additional benefits. But you can’t “replace” insulin altogether, & you need to keep your HCP in the loop. I have taken supplements/herbals in the past, but I don’t pretend to speak for the DOC at large.

12.If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: I’m going to go with the invisible illness. If I don’t want to share it, I don’t have to share it.

13.Regarding working and career: I dunno what I want to do exactly...I’m leaning towards something in either pediatrics or research. I’m still very much the naive, impressionable nursing student. I don’t think being a CDE is in my future, I’m not the teaching sort. At this point, I’m just crossing things off my list (of RN jobs I don’t think I could ever do).

14.People would be surprised to know: That “Yes, I can eat that!!!”

15.The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been:
That the “Golden Years” probably won’t be so golden, unless there’s a major breakthrough/cure. I fear the impending complications.

16.Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was:
Every day, I wake up & discover something else that I can do that I never thought possible with diabetes. Fear Factor. Job(s). School. Pregnancy. The list grows as my life goes by, & sometimes I look back & think “I did what?” (in my wild and crazy youth) Diabetes certainly throws monkey wrenches into the above, but it doesn’t have to “stop” any of it.

17. The commercials about my illness: are interesting, I feel a sort of “bond” with some of them in question...but the meter ones make me feel like smashing something.

18.Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: Drinking an extra-large, sugary Slurpee on a hot summer day. I’m sure its entirely possible, but I’ve never been brave enough to try to figure out the bolusing sequence on that one.

19. It was really hard to have to give up: I wanted to enter the military, & well that was obviously out.

20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Cross-stitch. I enjoy stabbing things (that aren’t body parts) with needles. (a sort of diabetes voodoo)

21.If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: I’d eat a zillion carbs, & wash it down with a couple of Daquiri’s & veg out in front of the tv for the rest of the day. (of course, “normal” in this case means no D, & the absence of pregnancy)

22. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: “Have you had it since you were a baby?” (I know its called juvenile D, but why don’t you just ask me WHEN I got it?)

23.But I love it when people: just listen, and don’t judge!!!

24.My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: You can do this!

25.When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: It’s going to be ok, you can do this.

26.Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: that most of the time, I deal with it fine. You get used to it.

27.The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: Brought me soup/liquids & made sure I was doing ok. (& called the doctor for me)

28.I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: It’s going around the DOC!

29. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: Hopeful for humanity. Invisible or not, we all need to be more understanding of others.

30.My illness has taught me: To be prepared for most “disaster” scenarios. Diabetes doesn’t have as much power over you, if you’ve got the antidote to the whatever it throws at you. I try to stay one step ahead of the ballgame, so when that disaster comes, its not "as bad."


Colleen said...

Nice list!
Take the prenatal pill!!!

Jim Purdy said...

I like this one:
"23. But I love it when people: just listen, and don’t judge!!!"

It has taken me many years to learn that most people prefer that others be good listeners, not good talkers.

I'm learning to listen most of the time, and I'm amazed how often conversations end with the other person saying, "I've really enjoyed our conversation." Even when the conversation consisted of them doing 99 per cent of the talking.

There's another advantage: I can get in trouble for talking too much, but it's hard to get in trouble just by listening.