I’m posting this Meme in support of National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week.
1. The illness I live with is: Systemic Lupus. I also have Sjogren’s Syndrome, autoimmune hypothyroidism, and fibromyalgia.
2. The year I was diagnosed was: 1992.
3. I had symptoms since: I was 9 years old. Nobody knew what was wrong with me at that time, except I was anemic and tired. In 1989 I began experiencing additional symptoms that went undiagnosed for several years.
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Accepting my limitations, avoiding sunlight and knowing that my health is tenuous, at best.
5. Most people assume: That aside from gaining weight (from years of chronic steroids) I look relatively healthy.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: Not knowing if I will be able to move without pain.
7. My favorite TV medical show is: House … mainly because it’s smart and funny. But also because according to Dr. House “It’s never lupus.”
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: Well, it’s not really a gadget, but I couldn’t live without my sunglasses. I even have tinted glasses to wear inside when my eyes are really bothered by certain lighting.
9. The hardest part about nights are: Being in pain and having difficulty falling to sleep. Feeling alone and isolated.
10. Each day I take: 14 pills in the morning and 6 pills at night. And every three weeks I go to the hospital for infusions that take all day.
11. Regarding alternative treatments, I: would like to try acupuncture if I could afford it. Therapeutic massage is beneficial when my skin isn’t combating vasculitis.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness and a visible illness, I: have had both and would like to have neither.
13. Regarding working and career: I’m just trying to hold on to the job I have now. I used to think I had a career when I was in my 20’s and 30’s. That was a while ago.
14. People would be surprised to know: the amount of time and energy it takes to do what used to be routine things in life, like grocery shopping and cleaning.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality is: there is no cure for my disease.
16. Something that I never thought I could do with my illness that I did: was be able to travel.
17. The commercials about my illness: do not exist.
18. Something I really miss doing before I was diagnosed is: Spending time outdoors in the sun and swimming!
19. It was really hard to give up: my independence. There are certain things I just can’t do and have to ask for help.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Blogging about having lupus! Also knitting AND painting. I’m a beginner at both but thoroughly enjoy the creativity and challenge.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again, I would: spend the day at the beach, walking along the shoreline and searching for sea glass.
22. My illness has taught me: patience and humility.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing that people say that gets under my skin is: “You look so good today! You must be feeling better!”
24. But I love it when people: ask if they can help, make me laugh, and let me help them when I can.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, or quote that gets me through tough times is: “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on!”
26. When someone is diagnosed I like to tell them: You are not alone.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: how many people expect you to carry on as if you had no limitations.
28. The nicest thing someone has done for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: More things than I can list! I am blessed with kind, thoughtful and caring family and friends.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week because: I have systemic lupus and want to raise awareness about not only my disease, but about all invisible and chronic illness.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: very grateful! Thank you!
Find out more about National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week and the 5-day free virtual conference with 20 speakers September 14-18,2009 at www.invisibleillness.com