Monday, September 10, 2012

Invisible Illness Awareness Week: What You Don't See And What You Do

This week is Invisible Illness Awareness Week  and it's all about people living with... invisible illnesses, like Diabetes.
All week there's online conferences, seminars and the likes there of - Not to mention amazing blog posts from all around the blogosphere.
It's also about making everyone more aware of what life is like on a daily basis for those that live with an invisible illness.
Looks can be deceiving and there's so many lessons to be learned from what we don't see.  
So be sure to checkout the website and follow the hashtags on the twitter:
iiweekadget dontmissit Get a Blogger Badge
My diabetes is invisible to most, sans the insulin pump tubing peaking from what most people think is a beeper (yeah, I know - it's so 1992,) clipped to my hip.

But for the most part when people see me, they see a brunette with her mother's hazel eyes, her father's sass and a smile that I've been told lights up my face.
What they don't see is that behind the smile is a woman who's brain is always on and continually worrying.
Worrying about calculating carbs, blood sugars gone wild,and diabetes "what ifs" that have been known to stop me in my tracks.
People don't realize that my hands are calloused because of constant blood sugar testing and that my handbag always holds spare insulin pump batteries, glucose tabs, a meter, test strips and a granola bar.
Most never realize that my brain looks at food in the form of numbers and that time goes by in increments of units not just seconds.
They have no idea that under my clothes hide a series of never ending "dead-spots" (areas that no longer absorb insulin) from wearing an insulin pump for 10 years.
Most never realize the apprehension and fear I experience every single time I walk into a Doctor's office.
The majority see me as feisty - And I'm more than OK with that.
But the feistiness comes from always having to pick myself up from my bootstraps whenever diabetes wants to kick me down.
But here's the real kicker - Through my almost 35 years of living with diabetes, I've also developed some wonderful skills because of my busted pancreas - Skills that many might never "see" when they think of diabetes living with a chronic illness in general.
Diabetes has taught me that hope does indeed float and diabetes has shown me that within myself lies the power to learn, to be, to become... And to overcome.
Diabetes forces me to speak up and advocate for myself - And not because I wanted to, but because I have to.
And because of diabetes I now use my voice to advocate for and encourage others to use their own diabetes voices.
Because of diabetes I am part of a tribe of others who live the diabetes life - and because of them I know I am not the only one.

We are not invisible just because we live with an invisible illness.

Alone we trudge up hills, but together we move mountains and change lives for the better - Including our own~


Jaimie said...


NeurosurgeryNP said...

Great post Kelly.

Kirsten Nelson said...

Beautifully written, thank you. I'm sharing this with my daughter after school - D's been making her rather sad the last few days. I think this well bring a smile to her eyes and heart.

laura said...

wow - "that time goes by in increments of units" = me
Great post.

Unknown said...

Great post :-)