National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is September 9-15, 2013.
This year, the campaign organizers at Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness week have provided a 30 Things Template for folks like me that like to share. Here is mine:
1. The illness I live with is: Heart Disease
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 2011
3. But I had symptoms since: Looking back probably two years prior to suffering a STEMI or "Widow Maker" heart attack. I was so tired but I chalked it up to being a working mom with no ability to say no to anyone ever when they asked me to do something. The tiredness was overwhelming.
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Changing my eating and exercise habits. I loved nacho cheese and hated to exercise. Now I have to hate nacho cheese and love exercising. Two years later I am still getting used to this.
5. Most people assume: I am not sick because I don't look sick. I battle heart disease every day but refuse to let it get the best of me.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: Remembering to take all those cardiac meds that my docs say I should take or risk dying. I never was much of a medicine taker!
7. My favorite medical TV show is: Not to age me, but Diagnosis Murder
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: My Samsung Galaxy S4. It tracks the 10,000 steps for me that I make sure to take every day. I challenge you to track your steps and take 10,000 each day! Plus it keeps me totally connected to my social media!
9. The hardest part about nights are: Going to bed hoping I wake up in the morning.
10. Each day I take 7 pills & vitamins. They keep me alive but I have a real love/hate relationship with them!
11. Regarding alternative treatments I: Wholeheartedly am for them. I believe in treating heart disease with nutrition along with my meds--See The China Study and How To Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: Invisible even though folks forget I am really ill.
13. Regarding working and career: I still work hard at my job and I rock at it! I have to have a keen self-interest in keeping my stress level under control. I try not to work more than 40 hours a week and I try to leave work at work. Not always easy--I challenge you to work on this too!
14. People would be surprised to know: That I never saw myself as being an outspoken advocate of heart disease awareness. It is important though:) I know those of you that have known me are laughing that I never figured myself to be this outspoken:)
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: That it is my new reality. You have no idea how many days I wish I could go back.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: Go to the Casting Call for the American Heart Association Go Red Ambassadors. I am so proud to have joined them and be able to tell my story.
17. The commercials about my illness: Are geared towards men and don't tell the whole truth about women's symptoms. Ask me--they weren't my symptoms.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: Living taking things for granted. I can't do that anymore.
19. It was really hard to have to give up: My old life.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Actually an old one. I rediscovered my love for restoring old furniture.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Really, really cherish it.
22. My illness has taught me: Not to take life, health, family and friends for granted. It has taught me to learn to say no when I don't have the energy and to eliminate those that cause drama in my life.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: It isn't healthy not to eat meat.
24. But I love it when people: Let me know that they have made life changes because of what happened to me.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: Stop Chasing Ordinary.
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: Get through the shock and then we will talk.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: The inner strength I didn't know I had.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: Just let me bitch till I felt better about it. I rarely take part in self-pity--my very best friends know this and indulge me on occasion.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: My illness is invisible and if you met me today you would not know I was sick. I want you to know that you might someday have an invisible illness too. If you do, I will be there for you.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: Like I survived for a reason. I survived so I can share my story and educate you. My sincerest hope is you will pay attention to your bodies and be aware of heart disease.