30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know

I am posting 30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know in support of Invisible Illness Awareness Week

1. The illnesses I live with are: Migraines, Dysthymia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, & Fibromyalgia
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: M: 1986, D: 1991, R: 2004, F: 2009
3. But I had symptoms since: M: early childhood, D: 1989, R: 1992, F: 1992
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Slowing down & remembering that I can’t do everything any more.
5. Most people assume: that I’m fine.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: that I can’t just get up.  I have to lie in bed and stretch for a while first, then slowly lever myself out.
7. My favorite medical TV show is: Well, it was ER, but that’s over now & I quit watching House last season, so I guess it’s Scrubs, if it comes back.
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: my iPhone (it’s easier than sitting at the computer most of the time, even if it’s slow)
9. The hardest part about nights are: finding a comfortable position to sleep in.  If I sleep on my back, my back hurts.  If I sleep on my side, my knees & hips hurt.  If I sleep on my stomach, my pillow smothers me.
10. Each day I take: 5 supplements.  Once a week I take 8 other pills.  Once a month I take one shot. (I used to take one every week, but my meds just changed)
11. Regarding alternative treatments I: am openminded, but the ones I’ve tried only lessen pain for a little while.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: NEITHER.
13. Regarding working and career:  By the time my kids are all in school, I may not be well enough to work. 
14. People would be surprised to know: how much pain I’m in every minute of every day.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: that nothing will go back to the way it was.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was:  go hiking down to the backside of a waterfall.
17. The commercials about my illness: make it look like if I just took their medication that my "real life" would come back.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: giving in to my whims to just up and do something.
19. It was really hard to have to give up: alcohol and I admit that I haven’t been very strict about that.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: scrapbooking
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Sometimes I do have days where I feel relatively normal, but I treat those like all the other days because I could go from feeling great to bad in about 60 seconds.
22. My illness has taught me: compassion and patience.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: "Oh, bless your heart!"  Here in Texas that means that "Wow, she’s gone done something stupid."
24. But I love it when people:  actually pay attention to the difference between rheumatoid arthritis and "what their aunt/grandma/etc" had
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: It’s not the end of the world.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: that life just keeps going on as if you hadn’t just lost something huge back there.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: watch the kids while I rested.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: I have multiple illnesses and appreciate this intense effort of awareness.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel:  loved ❤