I found out about Invisible Illness Week, which happens to be this week, on Nessie's blog lipstick, perfume, and too many pills. After reading some of the articles and watching a couple of videos, I knew I wanted to participate.
The first way I decided to participate was to fill out "30 things you may not know about my invisible illness."
1. The illness I live with is: Rheumatoid Arthritis
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 2010
3. But I had symptoms since: 2009
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: realizing that I will have to physically pay for anything I do. If I do too much around the house, I might be exhausted for the next couple of days. If I work in the garden, I will be in pain for hours or days.
5. Most people assume: I'm complaining and it can't be that bad.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: still being exhausted after a full night's sleep
7. My favorite medical TV show is: House
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: laptop - blogs are a big part of letting me know I am not alone in this
9. The hardest part about nights are: trying to fall asleep when I am uncomfortable due to pain
10. Each day I take __ pills & vitamins. (No comments, please) 11
11. Regarding alternative treatments I: am completely open and looking, but I have realized that I must also embrace conventional treatments to prevent joint/bone problems in the future
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: I honestly don't know.
13. Regarding working and career: I love the people I work with and being busy. There is also the fact that I would probably be sitting on my ass, bored out of my mind at home if I did not have to get up each day. But sometimes it is just so exhausting and people do not know how difficult it is to get through a full day of work.
14. People would be surprised to know: quite a bit of the time I am trying really hard not to cry because of the pain or malaise
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: more limitations - I already limit myself a lot because of my anxiety and now it feels like there are just that many more things that are off limits
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: keep going - I know that millions of people keep going on with life each day despite their illness, but I was so overwhelmed at first I did not think I would end up being one of them.
17. The commercials about my illness: only show elderly women even though it is commonly women between 25 and 50 that develop RA
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: long walks with my husband, walking the dogs any time I wanted, taking on big projects at home
19. It was really hard to have to give up: taking on big DIY projects at home
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: I have always been a reader, but I have been going through books like crazy lately.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: go on a long hike with my husband and the pups
22. My illness has taught me: I can't control everything and I need to stop trying so hard to be control all the time.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: My (fill in with random body part) hurts sometimes. I think I have that too!
24. But I love it when people: tell me I have a great attitude.
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: Smile, breathe, and go slowly - Thich Nhat Hanh
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: Don't believe everything people write or say about RA. When there is not a cure to an illness, people can basically say whatever they want.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: It has not been that long since my diagnosis, but I feel a push to do whatever I can to get healthy. It may not always be my number one priority, but it is more of one than ever before. Believe me, I never would have braved a swimsuit and got in the pool with a bunch of seventy year old women for an aquatics class before.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: My husband becomes my nurse.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: awareness and understanding is always a good thing
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: like I might have made a small difference