Saturday, November 19, 2016

Why Waiting is the Hardest Part


To any doctors out there,

I am someone's daughter. I am someone's granddaughter. I am someone's sister. I am your patient. When you meet me, maybe you don't know that I've been searching for answers for 4 years. Maybe you don't know that I've seen countless doctors who have left me hopeless. Maybe you don't know that 4 years of my life feel wasted due to being unable to work or go to school.  To you I might just be another patient with weird complaints. You have so many patients, and some of them have life-threatening emergencies. While my illness is progressive, it's proven not to be deadly. Therefore in the healthcare system it's no rush. But to me, it's a rush. It's urgent. I fear for how many more days of my life will have to pass me by before I am able to get any sort of treatment. Because to get treatment, you need answers.

As a girl in her young 20s, I've seen a lot happen in the last 4 years. I've seen friends graduate, I've seen friends move into their first apartment.. I've seen life pass by me as if it were on fast forward and slow motion at the same time. I mourn the years of my life that have gone by so quickly yet so painfully slowly. I mourn all the things I've missed out on doing. I mourn the future, because I don't know how many more years it will be before I get the help I need to thrive. I don't know how much worse I'll get before answers are found, and I don't know if it will be reversible. So yes, to me it is a rush. To me it is an emergency. Please understand that. 

I know you cannot put yourself in my shoes. I know you cannot feel the ataxia I'm stuck with, or my tremoring hands and tongue. I know you can't feel my legs shaking under me as I walk. I know you can't feel what it's like to be 23, and 4 years into this mess that has put my life on a long hold. But please. Try to imagine. And try to understand why to me, after my young twenties have almost passed me by, this is urgent.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

World Diabetes Day 2016

November 14th was World Diabetes Day, but for us Type 1 patients, it's every day. Today I want to talk about the people we don't necessarily see or always think about. A Type 1 diabetic needs insulin to stay alive. No ifs and or buts. They will die without insulin very quickly. In developing countries, access to insulin is often impossible, and if it is accessible, will take up a family's entire weekly income. Consequently, according to the International Insulin Foundation, children with Type 1 in developing countries can have a life expectancy as short as a year. I am so grateful to have access to this ridiculously expensive liquid that saves my life every day, and today, I think of those who are not as lucky. Of those who deserve this medication just as much as I do but can't get it. Of the children who will die because of it. And I hope for a future where everyone has access to insulin. Because having to give 7+ injections a day is a curse. But being ABLE to give myself those injections is a blessing.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

10 Ways Having a Pet Helps Me Get Through The Hard Days With Chronic Illness

1. When I’m coming home from a hard appointment or a hospital stay, I know he’ll always be there to greet me.

2. Animals can sense when something is off. They are so in tune with their humans. I can recall so many times when I’ve had tears rolling down my face and my cat has come and plopped himself down on my chest and nuzzled my face.

3. They’re hilarious. Each has its own set of quirks and weird habits that can’t help but give you a few laughs.

4. They never judge. Whatever crappy decisions I’ve made that day, no matter what I look like, no matter if I have mascara all over my face and haven’t washed my hair in days, my pet’s love never wavers.

5. They teach you to find joy in the little things. Like a cardboard box.. Or a string… Or the simple throw of a ball.

 6. Chronic illness of any kind is isolating. There is no doubt it will have some sort of impact on your social life. With your pet, you’re never alone. You have built-in company.

7. Since maybe you don't get out as much as you'd like to, they give you something to take pictures of. You've become their personal photographer.

8. They keep you moving and provide endless entertainment. Even if you can’t move around much, your pet will surely find some way to keep you busy.

9. Your pet can potentially support any special needs of yours. Whether you need a service dog for mobility, a seeing eye dog, or a dog to help you with tasks that are hard for you. For example, a diabetic alert dog notices subtle changes in the chemicals in its owner’s body when their blood sugar begins to drop or rise and will notify them and prevent dangerous hypoglycaemic episodes. An emotional support animal (ESA) is a companion animal who provides support to its owner who has a physical, psychiatric, or intellectual disability, but does not do any specific tasks for them. These are different from service dogs. The point being, these pets are so incredibly special, they put your life before their own. Pets are the best medicine and can be a huge aid for some people.

10. When you feel like you just can’t face another day, you wake up in the morning and see their face so excited to see you, and you remember why you’re here.