Monday, September 14, 2009

Invisible Illness Week: Sept. 14-20, 2009

Blogging for II Week

Many are shocked when they learn that I have a chronic illness...three of them actually.   I don't particularly look ill.  That's where the phrase "invisible illness" comes in.  Each year in September, for Invisible Illness Week, bloggers everywhere are posting about their life with an invisible illness--a chronic condition that affects their life every day. 

If you think you don't know anyone with a chronic illness, think again.  Almost 1 in 2 Americans live with a chronic condition--it just may not be one you can obviously see!

I have Dermatomyositis, an autoimmune disease that affects the muscles and the skin.   At various times, I've had sore or weak muscles all over and painful rashes on my face.  I cannot be out in the sun much, as that will lead to a flare in the illness.  So, I've learned to wear sunscreen almost daily and to wear a hat when I know I'm going to be in the sun a lot.    I'm hoping that we'll be able to get disease under control and I can stop taking the nasty medications for it.  One night each week, I take 6-8 pills and then try and fall asleep before the nausea hits.   The following day, I'm generally tired.  The second day after taking them, I generally get a headache.  (Hey, at least it's predictable!)

I also have Interstitial Lung Disease, another autoimmune disease that makes my lungs weak and susceptible.  At the moment this is under control (in remission) and I'm taking no medications for it.

And I also have Raynaud's Phenomenon, which seems to go along with autoimmune problems.  My body doesn't always regulate temperature very well.  My hands and feet have poor circulation particularly, and my toes have begun to get numb places due the damage to the nerves.

So as bad all that sounds, I'm doing really well!! \o/  God is so good!!!  He is faithful and merciful.  I've come a long way since first being diagnosed (see my post for last year's Invisible Illness Week). 

While I wake up stiff and sore each morning, I'm able to walk around and do normal things without breathing difficulties.  I'm able to lift and carry most things.  I can hug and laugh and love on my family.  I can teach and we can go on field trips.  I am able to live each day!  I now find joy in even the smallest things.....a hug, a sunrise/sunset, a rainbow, a butterfly, etc.  I no longer take things for granted, especially such things as health and the ability to walk and breathe.   I can do all this because of my God.....He is my strength, my resting place. 

(If you want to read more about my story, see the post I did last year for Invisible Illness Week.)


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