Invisible Illness Week

Although Invisible Illness Week is technically over (I’m new to blogging about my health so that’s my excuse), there still needs to be awareness that many of your own friends and family are living with an invisible illness. Invisible Illness Week was September 12-18.

I’ve seen this list of questions used by other diabetic bloggers and it really brings light to what this particular illness does to us. So here are my answers:

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know

1. The illness I live with is:  Type 1 Diabetes
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year:  August 2011
3. But I had symptoms since: May 2011
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is:  giving myself injections
5. Most people assume:  I can only have salads at restaurants and only need to know if food is sugary
6. The hardest part about mornings are:  making myself get out of bed (my life isn’t centered around diabetes, I wasn’t a morning person before and I’m still not!)
7. My favorite medical TV show is:  House
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is:  my iPhone (there really is an app for everything!)
9. The hardest part about nights are:  giving myself my Lantus injection, it hurts like heck.
10. Each day I take: at least 4 insulin injections and 1 pill unrelated to diabetes
11. Regarding alternative treatments I:  haven’t gotten to the point where they even seem like an option. I’m still stabilizing.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: the invisible one I have although sometimes it seems like it’s very visible! In a perfect world, I would choose no illness at all.
13. Regarding working and career:  my employer was fantastic about the time I had to have off while being treated for DKA. I’m grateful that my illness doesn’t directly affect my work.

14. People would be surprised to know: that I have a horrible fear of needles.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been:  that I can’t eat anything I want whenever I want like I could before.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was:  give myself shots
17. The commercials about my illness:  I can remember are the ones with Wilford Brimley calling it “diabetus” and I don’t recall a single commercial about Type 1, but we don’t have cable/satellite so maybe they’re out there.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is:  being able to order anything I want to eat or drink when we go out.
19. It was really hard to have to give up:  regular pop and fancy ice cream, I never consumed them in large quantities before, but they were nice treats I used to be able to have.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is:  recycle crafting. This is unrelated to my diabetes, it’s just something I finally have time to do. (It’s nice to not be studying my butt off for once)
21. If  I could have one day of feeling normal again I would:  enjoy the treats I’ve given up and not read a nutrition label.
22. My illness has taught me: how to schedule better
23.  One thing people say that gets under my skin is:  “How’s your diabetes?” It’s not a substitute for “how are you?” or “how are you adjusting to diabetes?” My diabetes seems to be content because my pancreas is still not working, but thanks for asking. Seriously, though I’d rather people ask about me as a whole than about my illness. The fact that I have diabetes is not going to change. (I also hate when people ask if my diabetes will go away)
24. But I love it when people: have obviously listened to what I’ve been through
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is:  “Don’t waste days.” My dad said it when he was going through cancer treatment, his invisible illness was much, much worse than mine.
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: there are other people out there who have been where you are and don’t have a problem helping you when you need it.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is:  how ignorant people are in general (I get looked at like I caused my type 1 when people find out.)
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was:  drive me to the doctor, hospital and lab for follow-ups (my mother-in-law was took me where I needed to go when my husband had to work and my own mom was miles away, caring for my dad.)
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because:  it’s important, even when the week is over.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel:  like you want to understand what my life is like.

If you didn’t read my answers above, you really should. I was recently talking with Brad and I about the reaction of many friends and family members when I went into the hospital. (I must pause to preface my next comment, I’m not upset with anyone.) If I had been in an accident or had a heart attack, I think people would have reacted much differently because they understand the risks of those things. But no one seems to understand ketoacidosis or that the state I was in when I was admitted. It seemed to be a little more real to people the week after I got out when they saw me weighing 95 pounds with bruises from the IVs and frequent blood draws, my illness was visible. Now that I’m back to a more healthy weight and my bruises are gone (or at least covered up) the diabetes is invisible again and I dont look sick.

4 thoughts on “Invisible Illness Week

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