At the age of 3, I began having bathroom issues. I was taken to the gastroenterologist, who commented I was the youngest patient he had ever seen with these issues. They preformed a colonoscopy, and discovered colon polyps. Luckily they were benign, another sigh of relief for my parents. By the time I was 6 years old, I had endured 5 colonoscopies. But my parents never took pity on me, they just explained it so simply that I thought all kids had colonoscopies. Little did I know that this procedure is most common in late adulthood. As I grew, I sometimes talked about what I had endured and others were just disgusted that I would bring that up, like it was a bad thing and I should hide it.
Off and on as I grew up, I made numerous trips to the pediatrician for small things like acid reflux, scarlet fever, easy bruising, scoliosis, pneumonia, and frequent ear infections. But I was always fine. As a freshman in high school I suffered from my 3rd case of pneumonia. This time it hit me hard, and my body did not bounce back like it had in the past. I lost weight, had a terrible cough, and fainting spells because I couldn't breath. I was admitted into the hospital for 3 nights where the doctors were convinced I had late onset Cystic Fibrosis. My mom was devastated and could not believe her ears as the doctors discussed treatment plans. By the grace of God, the tests came back negative. I was instead diagnosed with Bronchiectasis, a disease where the lungs are stretched and widened due to scar issue and mucus can block the airways. This can be treated with several different breathing treatments, and I have had much success with them so it is not a major issue for me currently.
Then Type 1 Diabetes came into my life at the age of 17. Honestly out of all my diagnosis, I took this one the easiest because I had grown up with a childhood friend who is a T1D. I was not scared because I knew I would still be able to lead a normal life. But it is an invisible disease where on the outside you appear totally fine but on the inside your are always fighting an internal battle against sugar, carbs, insulin, exercise, and millions of other variables. But it becomes the new "normal" and life goes on. People have a hard time understanding the disease and judge without really knowing it. That's why we must advocate, not just for diabetes, but all diseases.
I am not looking for pity in this post. I do not want people to feel sorry for me because I am living a happy, healthy life. I am exposed to wonderful technology and have an amazing support system. I am lucky.
I am just asking for no judgement. Everyone has their own story, their own private lives where they suffer. I have friends and family who live with a variety of diseases and health issues including: Type 1 Diabetes, Celiacs, Anorexia, Fibromyalgia, Leukemia, Crohns, Multiple Sclerosis, Colon Cancer, Breast Cancer, Depression, Cystic Fibrosis, Autism, Blindness, Deafness, Asthma, and the list can go on and on. All of these diseases suck, but all the sufferers I know are so much more than their disease. They are HUMANS, they are FIGHTERS, and they LIVE LIFE WITH NO REGRETS. So please DO NOT JUDGE. Treat everyone with respect because we all live with something that has changed us. An invisible story that makes us who we are. So do not be afraid to share your story. I am sure it is worth telling. <3
|This is ME. Be proud of who you are.|
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