This meme is for Kerri Sparling, because I read all the way to the end of hers.
1. The illness I live with is: Good question because I have a list of about 16 of them. But because This is The Pink Tee Shirt blog, I guess I'll talk about Breast Cancer.
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 2004
3. But I had symptoms since: It's hard to tell. Having gone through a divorce and having had a son who participated in the invasion of Iraq, I'd been under mega stress for about 5 years preceding finding the lump in my breast. I attributed all the fatigue and lack of well being that I was experiencing to that.
4. The biggest adjustment I've had to make is: To come to terms with the way that my body looks now and the limitations that have been caused by the treatments I underwent
5. Most people assume: That because it doesn't run in their family they aren't at risk for breast cancer. The truth is that the biggest risk factor for breast cancer is being a woman over 40. Women younger do get breast cancer, and so do men. But the vast majority of survivors are women over 40.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: Well, I'm just not an early morning person.
7. My favorite medical TV show is: St. Elsewhere...does that date me?
8. A gadget I couldn't live without is: My port-a-cath. I don't actually have it anymore. But when I was doing chemo it was a god-send.
9. The hardest part about nights are: That I still experience a lot of fatigue and I get home from work with no energy.
11. Regarding alternative treatments: I found it a bit insulting that for the most part tradidtional medicine phoo-phoo's alternative medicine, but when it comes to cancer, all the brochures they give you advise that you take up navel gazing and basket weaving as a "complementry treatment". I felt like the hat tip to the treatments was a way of saying "you only stand a small chance of surviving this anyway, so do whatever you want." If I ever told a doctor that I wanted to treat a head cold with essiac tea, I'd probably be scoffed out of the office.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: Kerri said "These choices suck. I'd rather not have any illness, thank you very much." and I totally agree with her. In a way breast cancer isn't really invisable when you are in the middle of treatment. It's hard not to be able to pick the pale bald lady sporting a pink ribbon bandana out of the crowd. And having it so very apparent to everyone was very hard emotionally. So I experienced the visible illness. Now that so much time has passed, my friends and co-workers forget that I have lasting limitations. So I'm experiencing invisable illness from it now. I'd much rather go back to the days when I thought that breastfeeding 3 babies would give me immunity.
13. Regarding working and career: For my situation, it makes all of the time I have to spend at doctor appointments and getting tests much easier if I just am upfront about it with the people I work with. They are much more forgiving of my absences, knowing the reason.
14. People would be surprised to know: That having cancer does not make me brave or courageous at all.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: Accepting the way my body looks now.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: Well, survive it in the first place.
17. The commercials about my illness: are way too sappy.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: Bowling. It makes my arm swell, and I don't have enough strength in my arm to do it anymore.
19. It was really hard to have to give up: the self perception of being strong and healthy. 20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Karioke...but breast cancer really didn't have anything to do with that.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Some days I do feel normal, but what is normal now isn't the same as before I was diagnosed.
22. My illness has taught me: Who the people who really love me are.
23. One thing people say that gets under my skin is: "Five years! So you're cured now, right?" Breast cancer is different from other cancers in this respect. It can return, even decades later. There is no point of time that I can claim a cure.
24. But I love it when people: Fund raise for breast cancer organizations on behalf of their mothers or grandmothers. It shows me that there is a person who really loves their family
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: the 23rd Psalm
26. When someone is diagnosed I'd like to tell them: that this is survivable, and they won't go through it alone
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: that people want to blame me for my disease. Like if I got breast cancer because I was too fat or because I drank more than 1 beer a day or microwaved my food in plastic, maybe they could avoid doing whatever it is and be safe.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn't feeling well was: take me into their home and took care of me like I was family.
29. I'm involved with Invisible Illness Week because: I am late for it this year, so I guess I didn't really get involved
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: a little frightened that I've offended you by something I said, or worse by something I failed to say.