Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Invisible Illness Week Meme

Did you know that Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is just a few weeks away?  This year it runs from September 13th to 19th.  I came across a post on WEGO Health about the annual meme 30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know and knew I wanted to participate.

I struggled somewhat as I filled my meme out.  Part of me wanted to type in the safe answers, the first things that popped into my head as I read each item.  But that won’t raise much awareness.  So I decided to really give each item some thought and type in the answers that were most honest.  Some may surprise you.  Some may sound overly dramatic.  Hopefully one or two will make you chuckle or nod your head in agreement or teach you something about diabetes that you don’t know. 

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: 1979.
3. But I had symptoms since: at least a few months before my diagnosis.
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: realizing that sometimes, even if I do everything exactly right, my blood sugars will still go out of whack - and that this doesn’t mean I’m to blame.
5. Most people assume: I can’t eat anything with sugar in it.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: the same things that are hard all day long.  Diabetes is happy to mess with me at any time of the day or night.
7. My favorite medical TV show is: House M.D., although I suppose that doesn't count since it’s completely fictional.
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: literally as well as figuratively, my insulin pump.  Okay, I could live without it if I went back to multiple daily insulin injections (between 5 and 10ish injections a day), but my diabetes control would surely suffer.
9. The hardest part about nights are: getting to sleep despite the fear that my blood sugar could go low and this could be the time I’m not able to wake up and treat it . . .
10. Each day I take __ pills & vitamins. (No comments, please) I take 2 pills a day, plus iron, plus a weekly dose of Vitamin D.  I also do finger sticks to check my blood sugar 8 to 12 times a day and am connected to my insulin pump at all times except while showering.
11. Regarding alternative treatments I: get so angry at “snake oil” cure claims that do harm by spreading misinformation.  There is no cure for Type 1 diabetes.  There is no seed, oil, berry or magic potion that will make my body start producing insulin again.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: an invisible one - I suppose that is partially because I have no idea how it feels to live with a visible one.  I also kind of like knowing that I can chose who gets to know about my illness.
13. Regarding working and career: diabetes was a big reason why I left the stressful and unhealthy environment of my former job.  As for my future, I am hoping to find a job that will allow me to draw on my passion for Health Activism.
14. People would be surprised to know: that I feel broken and I fear being a burden to my loved ones.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: the realization that a cure in my lifetime is not likely.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: live into my 40s and be free of complications.
17. The commercials about my illness: sometimes say “with our meter you no longer have to prick your finger for blood”.  What they don’t tell you is that you have to prick your arm instead.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: just sitting down and eating.  No weighing food, no timing insulin doses, no need for a freaking math degree to calculate carb grams and insulin units.
19. It was really hard to have to give up: the notion that a low or high blood sugar means I failed.  I’m still not 100% sure I have given that up.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: knitting?  Cooking?  Gardening?  I was 11 when I was diagnosed, so there are a lot of them.  However, I have given up playing with Barbie dolls.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: start my day off with a huge bagel, and maybe a donut.  Then I would swim and lay in the sun without worrying about my insulin pump.  I’d eat as much Mexican food as my stomach could take.  And follow it with ice cream.  I’d do this all without having to squeeze blood from my finger onto a stupid strip to see how this day has wrecked my blood sugar.
22. My illness has taught me: that I can be strong and weak at the same time.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: “You’re not supposed to eat that!” Can I give you another one?  Because a close second is “My grandmother / uncle / other random relative had diabetes and went blind / had to go on dialysis / had their foot amputated.”  Really, what would make you walk up to me and say something like that? 
24. But I love it when people: ask questions because they truly want to understand my disease instead of buying into the myths about diabetes.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: It doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be better than it was.
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: you can do this.  Some days it will seem very very hard.  But some days you’ll just be on auto-pilot and everything will become a mindless routine.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: that I’m not alone.  There is a huge community on-line who will love me and support me and know exactly what I’m going through.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: let me know he loves me, in good times and bad.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: I want to do my part to spread awareness of all invisible illnesses.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: a bit self-conscious but very grateful that you took the time to learn more about my illness.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Poor neglected sock . . . .

poor neglected sock

Doesn’t my sock look sad?  I can’t say that I blame her.  She’s been on the needles since May, but as you can tell, she hasn’t seen much action.  Her heel hasn’t even been turned.

She was mildly excited last weekend when she boarded a train bound to New York City and accompanied me to BlogHer.  The other WIPs languishing on my needles were so jealous because she was the chosen one.  But who is laughing now?  Neglected sock returned home having grown barely an inch.  She spend most of her trip tucked inside my purse, which was locked in the hotel room safe.

I know, I know.  It really isn’t fair for me to tease my projects like this.  They deserve better than to be left feeling unloved and unwanted.  But at least they’ve made it on to the needles.  They are fairing better than the piles and piles of skeins and balls of yarn in the craft room – wondering if they will ever feel the glory of becoming a WIP.

I keep telling myself it isn’t my fault.  That nobody can stand to knit during the blistery weather we’ve been dealing with.  But the yarn isn’t buying it . . . and frankly, neither am I.  We’ve both noticed no lack of projects, progress and FOs on our favorite knitting blogs, despite the tropical temps.

Poor neglected sock . . . I have failed you.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Plotting World Domination - Feline Style

Happy Friday!  While Karen is away at some silly conference, I'm taking advantage of the quiet time to take over the world.  (And also, to nap . . . )  I was going to get my BFF Siah in on the domination ploy, but I think that girl may have taken one too many dips into the cat-nip, if you know what I mean.  I've decided it's much better to team up with a couple of other tuxedo cats, so head on over the Tales of Rachel to see what Perl, Casey and I are cooking up!

>^..^<    ~ K.C.

Monday, August 02, 2010

5K Sundae

Yesterday Pete and I ran in our very first 5K.  The race I chose for us to start out on was called the Walnut Beach Ice Cream 5K.  (Get it??  That why the title of this post is "5K Sundae" instead of "5K Sunday".)  Every participant got a free ice cream cone - although I was disappointed to find out that the cones weren't handed out at the finish line.  Instead, we need to bring our race bibs to the creamery, where they'll give us our cones.

We've been using the Couch to 5K program to train, and just finished our last session on Friday.  So we were nervous, but we hoped we were ready.

In retrospect, I'm pretty sure we weren't.  Oh my goodness, it was HARD.  Much harder than our normal training runs.  In the end, Pete ran the whole thing without any walking breaks.  His time was 35:54 and he placed 300th out of 337 runners.  I needed to walk a few times, but I think I tended to psyche myself out and I probably didn't really need to walk as much as I did.  But I let the negative thoughts in my head convince me that I couldn't do it, and at one point I even muttered "I suck" under my breath.  In the end, I finished 322nd out of the 337 runners, with a time of 39:55.

As tough as it was, I have to admit I did okay.  My goal had been to finish somewhere between 40 and 45 minutes.  I just eked in under my goal.  And I learned some great things that I think will help me next time - such as don't listen to the doubting voices in my head.  I'm going to sign us up for a few more 5Ks through out the fall, and I'm hoping to get my finish time down to 35 minutes.

Up next is an informal 5K in Central Park on Friday in conjunction with BlogHer!  I signed up for the 6:15 am slot - which seemed like a good idea since I'm slow, but also seems like a bad idea because I'll be so tired.  I'm not really worried about meeting any time goal for this run, I just want to do it and have fun.  At least I have a cute new top to wear for the occasion!

K.C. looks like she isn't quite sure she approves.  After all, it is blatant self-promotion of my diabetes blog!