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Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

I am afraid of my body.

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My system (used here to reference my entire being- mind, body, and soul) is a mess. It’s as if my body and mind are two separate organisms who used to be friends but now barely utter a “hello” when they see each other.

I find myself constantly tiptoeing around, afraid to set off the bad temper my body has. I slowly get dressed, pulling on compression socks in slow motion as to not upset my already very sensitive leg muscles. I sleep in compression tights in hopes of not waking up in serious pain throughout the night.

I snack on pretzels all day long, starting early in the morning as I drive to work. I try to have something salty in my stomach in hopes that I won’t find myself vomiting, seemingly out of nowhere. I chug electrolyte enhanced water, even when I’m not thirsty at all, to try to appease my body and it’s abnormal sodium need.

My mind gets angry when my continuous glucose monitor beeps incessantly while I’m trying to sleep. My blood sugars are rising and falling without much warning lately.

The unpredictable nature of my body lately, especially the violent vomiting, has my mind feeling so many emotions. I’m fearful of the intense pain that I’ve been feeling lately. I’m nervous that I could vomit in the middle of the grocery store, without warning, especially since I just got quite ill at work and am still embarrassed. I’m frustrated that others take their good health for granted. I’m sad that this is the body I’ve been dealt with.

But I’m also proud. I’m proud that I am still working full time with additional advocacy work on the side. I’m proud that because of my illnesses, I’m raising two very empathetic children who understand that a lot of diseases are invisible. I’m proud that despite the pain and vomiting, I still make myself go to the gym a few days a week for a pretty intense workout. I’m proud that I’ve created this outlet to share my life so I can connect with others and show them that they are never alone in the battle with their own body.

Family Type 1 Diabetes

Diabetes is Scary

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This photo is of me and my dad (yes, it was the 80s). My dad has had Type One diabetes my whole life.

My early memories of diabetes weren’t good, they were scary. My dad would have low blood sugars a lot and often need assistance. An ambulance had to come to our house more than once. I can remember my dad biting his tongue so bad during a low that there was blood all over his bed.

I used to have nightmares about getting diabetes. My dad used to always tell me there was a “one in a million” chance of me getting it. In 1988, I won the Diabetes Lottery.

Over the years, I have watched diabetes own my father. He had a brief stint working from home when he had passed out from a low, at a PGA tournament. The department of motor vehicles considered it to be a seizure and briefly suspended his driving license. He later decided to work from home full time. That fueled his “diabetes OCD”- the need to eat the same things at the same time every day. He planned any outing around his meals and his diabetes. He could not and would not go off schedule. Dinner was at 6:30pm every single night of my childhood.  Continue reading

Chronically Grateful Rheumatoid Arthritis

Fear

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Day 12 of the #ChronicallyGrateful challenge! What is the Biggest Fear you’ve conquered despite your chronic condition?
  
At the time of my Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis, almost 4 years ago, I couldn’t walk down the stairs. I literally would have to scoot on my butt down the stairs every morning like a toddler. I would go to Target and be stuck in the middle of the store, wondering if I would be able to make it to my car. 

My left arm wouldn’t even come close to straightening. It was bent and locked. I couldn’t wash my face, because I couldn’t reach it. I couldn’t use a drive thru because my arm wouldn’t work. I couldn’t dress myself. 

The fatigue was so intense that I would be sound asleep during a hair cut. 

To say I was scared is an understatement. I was terrified. I thought I would never walk more than a few feet, never return to work, never be able to fully care for myself again. 

Luckily I had a doctor who told me that it would be awhile but that I would get back on my feet (literally). I still struggled even after things got better physically for me. For months, I had a panic attack every time I went to Target. Looking back, I know it’s from the legitimate fear I had of not being able to walk out of the store. 

I still have fears- how long will I be able to work? Will the pain ever go away, even a little bit? Will my kids get this horrible disease? But each day, I face that fear head on. I get up, put my best face on (make up, of course) and go to work. I’m grateful for each day and the little moments during it- making dinner, spending time with my children.