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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 ❤

 

Author:

Lisa Holcomb graduated from Texas A&M University in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in English. She resides in East Texas with her husband, 3 boys, and 2 cats. She writes fantasy and science fiction for both young adult and adult audiences. She has written for numerous blogs, newsletters, and the occasional poetry magazine. She has spent the last couple decades blogging at various websites about growing up adopted and living and parenting with chronic illness, finally combining it all into one blog at http://lisaholcomb.net. Her first full length novel is nearing completion.