Saturday, September 19, 2009

Visible invisibility

While reading my blog I think it’s safe to say that you can easily draw a few conclusions about who I am. From my profile picture you can see that I am a female. If you click to see my whole profile you will be informed of what activities I like as well as what movies, music and books I’m interested in. You should be able to surmise that I enjoy cooking and watching TV (otherwise, the name of the blog would be a total sham).

But looking at these things and reading the content on my blog there is one thing about me that is completely invisible. In fact, this feature I possess is rather invisible to most everyone in the world except to those I am extremely close to. This mystery attribute is the invisible disease diabetes.

If you scroll down a few posts you’ll see a few blogs about making cookies. I bet if you read those before I revealed my invisible disease you wouldn’t make a connection that I had diabetes. Cookies, that’s the last thing a diabetic should be eating, right? Diabetes is a balancing act. I don’t eat cookies/sweets all day every day. But I will tell you right now, I do love my cookies (and ice cream and brownies) and life is too short not to enjoy these treats, whether I have diabetes or not. It’s just all about moderation.

I write this blog because it is about two things that I really enjoy in life: food and TV. I could write a blog about having diabetes or what it’s like to live with a chronic disease that there is no escaping. However, I feel like if I did that it would be some “whoa is me” garbage and it would mean spending even more time thinking about something that already never leaves my thoughts. Sure diabetes is a pain in the ass (all of the time) and there are times when I feel hopeless that there might not be a cure or it could subtract years off my life, but why wallow in the negative when there is so much positive in the world? (I know it’s cheesy) I’d much rather spend my time writing about my passions with a smile on my face than write about diabetes and be near tears (like I am now) thinking about what a crap hand I was dealt. Life is too short not to have a smile on your face as much as possible.

So, on that note, I bring you my list of 30 Things You May Not Know About My Illness. Soak it up, educate yourself, break the stereotypes.

1. The illness I live with is: Type 1 diabetes
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: June 1999
3. But I had symptoms: for only a week
4. The biggest adjustment I've had to make is: being comfortable with being public with my disease – i.e.: testing in public, taking shots, etc.
5. Most people assume: diabetes is preventable, this is the biggest misnomer due to the fact that mainstream media is usually talking about Type 2 diabetes, which is extremely different from Type 1.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: waking up with a really high blood sugar and you have no idea why.
7. My favorite medical TV show is: ER.
8. A gadget I couldn't live without is: my glucose meter.
9. The hardest part about nights are: waking up in cold sweats and shaking because of a low blood sugar.
10. Each day I take: varying amounts of insulin and take my blood glucose reading 5-6 times a day.
11. Regarding alternative treatments: it would be AWESOME if there was one. Right now it’s just insulin all the way.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: Is there even a good answer for this? Of course I wouldn’t chose either.
13. Regarding working and career: I am scared to death about losing my job because that could mean termination of my health benefits. A) I wouldn’t be able to afford the higher premiums or paying out of pocket for my supplies. B) I could be turned down for medical coverage for having a pre-existing condition.
14. People would be surprised to know: there is not a moment in the day where I don’t think about my disease.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my reality has been: there might not be a cure for this disease in my lifetime.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: train for and run a half marathon (still working on that, but it will get done).
17. The commercials about my illness: are never about MY illness. They create a lot of stereotype that are REALLY annoying.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: Going to 7-11 and getting a Slurpee on a hot summer day.
19. It was really hard to have to give up: going on a youth group kayaking trip to the San Juan Islands just after I was diagnosed. It was a trip I so looked forward to going on with friends and while I still got to go, I couldn’t do the kayaking or physical activity. Maybe one day I’ll make it there.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: does testing your blood sugar count as a hobby?
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: get a Slurpee, duh.
22. My illness has taught me: persistence and perseverance.
23. One thing people say that gets under my skin is: "You can’t/shouldn’t eat that.” Ugh. Or, "You can't have diabetes, you're not fat." Double ugh!
24. But I love it when people: show a true interest in understanding this disease and what I go through every single day.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: Keep on keepin’ on.
26. When someone is diagnosed I'd like to tell them: it is an inconvenience, but it’s not the end of the world.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: how many incredibly strong and passionate people there are living with diabetes (both Type 1 & Type 2)
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn't feeling well was: hmmmm.
29. I'm involved with Invisible Illness Week because: I always take the chance to raise awareness about diabetes in the hope of quelling the misconceptions about the disease.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: like you care and that is amazing.

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