Today’s NHBPM prompt is disclosure. How did I decide what to share? What do/don’t I share? The first thing that comes to mind is something I read on Kerri‘s page a long time ago: “Diabetes doesn’t define me, but it helps to explain who I am.” So when people ask me about myself, I tell them about my chronic conditions right off the bat. I am not ashamed or scared to tell them that I have a cranky pancreas and a lazy thyroid. It’s chronic, it won’t go away; if I live with it, I may as well disclose it.
I don’t worry too much about talking about my thyroid, but with personal relationships, I learned the hard way to tell people about my diabetes. Yes, I used to be ashamed of it, or afraid that others would see me in another light if I told them about it. I found out I had diabetes during one of my long term relationships, and then I kept it from the next person I met… Let me tell you it isn’t fun to be reminded that you hid something from them all the time. So from now on, if I meet someone I’m going to be seeing on a regular basis (friends or more), I let them know what’s going on. Mostly because I think it’s a matter of respect, but also because I think people should know how to help you when something goes wrong. And for me, it also makes part of my advocacy efforts, and my desire to educate people. It’s refreshing to know how how many people actually want to hear and learn about anything that is different.
And then it comes work. I usually don’t hide my conditions from my supervisors. Especially with diabetes, I have to respect my eating schedule, I have doctors appointments, etc. I need them to know that sometimes I’ll have a small emergency, like having a low blood sugar that I need to treat. It’s still a struggle sometimes because most people don’t get the concept of “I need to eat something NOW!” But I prefer they know, so they give me the respect I deserve based on the Americans with Disabilities act. Yes, my conditions are considered a disability, and I think it’s important to disclose in some cases.
November is National Health Blog Post Month (#NHBPM). Wego Health is encouraging health bloggers to raise awareness and help others. 30 days, 30 posts. Here I go…
This morning I told my friend Melissa that sometimes I get tired of living. Yes, I know that sounds horrible and that life is a wonderful thing, most of the time. Then I get hit with several chronic conditions, recurrent depression and a whacky endocrine system, and the first I have to do in the morning is feed my thyroid the hormone it refuses to produce, so I can actually function. Then I have to test my blood sugar, figure out what I can eat, try to do good and still see that number raising. Then I have to remember to take my happy pills because everything else goes to the crapper if I don’t. Every muscle in my body hurts, not because I’m a weakling, but because there’s also an auto-immune inflammatory process of unknown cause. It isn’t bad enough to keep me from living, but it exacerbates during the cold months making me wish I could just stay in bed. And that’s just part of it. So yeah, some days I want to either throw the towel or throw a pity party and eat all the ice cream.
And days like this are the reason why I write about my health. When I sit down and put my thoughts into words, it helps me understand what’s going on with me. I stop and think about the choices I made just five minutes ago and how they affect my health. I stop and think that I’m 37 years old, I’ve had type 2 diabetes for 12 years and I’ve actually done my homework because *knock on wood* I’m still alive and kicking, and I have no complications. It makes me realize that I’ve become so acquainted with my depression, that as soon as the early symptoms hit I know what I have to do and I’ve been depression-free for more than over a year. Writing about my health makes me be aware of my needs and responsibilities, but also of my big and small victories.
Mind you, I’m not a model patient, I’ve had really bad bouts, I tend to forget things on purpose. Yes, you can enter periods of denial and it doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived with a condition/illness. So I write, because writing about my health makes my conditions more real, and because it gives me the opportunity to share with others, mostly to tell them that it’s OK not to be perfect, and that we all have bad days. Living with an illness is not easy, so writing is cathartic.
This morning I woke up to an email announcing me that there was a ping for one of my blog posts. I surely wasn’t expecting to be Victoria Cumbow‘s announcing Cranky Pancreas was featured in the Best of the ‘Betes Blogs winners for the month of March.
I can’t take credit for it, though. The category is “Best Post by a Type Awesome” and that would be my husband’s work. He’s always willing to share his thoughts, he wrote about living with a person with diabetes, and I’m glad his post got recognized.
Thank you to everyone in the DOC.