Sunday, January 8, 2023

I've missed you!

Image of me that has been changed by an app to look like a painting.
During the past few years, I've been away from my blog. I've written several posts in my head, but unfortunately those posts have not yet made it to the internet. I've been dealing with depression, anxiety, health issues, teaching during a pandemic... but I've also had the joy of family, friends, students.

I've been reignited by the HealtheVoices conference, podcasts, and Instagram posts to continue my advocacy work. I don't report on policy or pharma. I want to share my story.  The story I was looking for when I was diagnosed. The story that many of us are looking for. Medical information is everywhere. The patient story is what I needed to hear back in 2008 when I was told I had Type 2 diabetes. The patient story is what I need to hear when I had my first stroke that was different from other strokes I've heard about.

This blog is a patient's story... My story. And like any good story, this one leaves you with a cliffhanger... 

(to be continued)

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Want to Follow Me?

 Until I get my blog up and going again, please find me on Instagram!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Why am I here?

Why am I here?

I've been thinking a lot about this question lately. Especially since my stroke in February. We all question our purpose, but when faced with a situation that could be fatal. I don't like to think about it, but even though I came out ok from my stroke, the fact is that I could have died if it had hit a different part of my brain. I am thankful every day that I am still here, but that still brings up the question...

Why am I here?

This is a question I have been asking myself. Is there a purpose for my life? I'm meaning beyond the raising my children and being here to see my grandchildren.

I believe the answer is yes. My purpose is to share my story. To let someone know they are not alone. And if someone feels alone, my hope is through my words I can help them feel less alone.

Why am I here?

If someone needs a friend or a listening ear, my contact information is in my profile. Please use it. I am here for you. THAT is why I am here!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Uninvited Guests

This is a post that has been going around in my head for two months now. I know I want to... need to... write this. Not just for others, but mainly for myself. I need to get my thoughts and emotions out. That is the reason for my blog. To explore what I'm dealing with as a person with chronic illness. If by sharing I help one person who is also struggling know they are not alone, I have me my purpose.

People dealing with a chronic illness know that, quite often, the medical file usually doesn't stop with one diagnosis. Whatever the cause - genetic, autoimmune, illness, or just pure luck - rarely do we see a person with only one condition in the world of chronic illness. I started my journey in March 2008 with one condition - Type 2 diabetes. Just this year I have added to the list.

In the last few years, I found out I have a fatty liver, a cyst on one of my kidneys, and plantar fasciitis. Earlier this year I finally got an answer to my chronic pain - fibromyalgia. Thankfully it hasn't caused too much trouble in my job as a first grade teacher.

On February 19, my left thumb started to feel numb. I thought that was strange but didn't think much of it. Maybe I'd call the doctor the next day or so if it didn't go away. The next morning, I notice my left upper arm felt a little numb. Not totally numb. I could still feel pressure. Probably best described as the numbness you feel when the dentist first gives you a local injection to fill a cavity. Within less than an hour, my entire left side had this sensation. Off to the ER I went! (Thankfully it was a snow day so I didn't have to request s substitute or write sub plans!)

After tests and doctor appointments over the next several days, it was determined that I had a right thalamic stroke. In other words, stroke in the right side of the thalamus, near the center of the brain. This area of the brain affects sensation which explains why my left side was experiencing diminished sensation (numbness).

I am now officially a stroke survivor.

Chronic conditions are like uninvited guests. You don't want them, but sometimes it's next to impossible to get rid of them. I still have diminished sensation on the left side of my body, most noticeable on my face and upper arm. I may need to learn to live with this for the rest of my life. If you can't get rid of the uninvited guest, you might as well make friends!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

What to Do?

There are some days that life, or at least a part of life, gets overwhelming. The world might feel like it's closing in around you. You might not sure what task to tackle next. How do you get out of the rut in order to help yourself while also living up to the expectations of others?

If you're expecting a magic answer here, you might want to hit Google again. You won't find it here. Some days I feel pretty darn lost. Then again there are some days where I feel I've found my path and faced in the right direction. Then some days I feel a mixture of both.

In a month we will be ringing in the new year. It's hard to believe that it's almost 2019! It's the time when so many make resolutions, knowing the odds of breaking them are not looking good.

I should probably take a step back, take a deep breath, and remember it's still the end of November. I don't need to take that magic cure-all pill. I need to look at my life, my health, and my goals to see what is really important in my life. I need to decide which direction I want 2018 to take. But, again, before getting too into that, let's make it through the month of December first (as well as tomorrow, the last day of November).

Focus on the Thanksgiving message: counting blessings! Once I force myself to see everything I have going for me, it helps me to see where my life seems to be heading. It helps me to tweak my goals and life plans as I work toward being a healthier person in general.

Think about what you want for you. Not what others want for you or what you think you "should" do.  Tweak these goals as you accomplish the little steps, keeping in mind your overall goal... a long and healthy life.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Sharing My Story

In July of this year, I was invited to Boston University to discuss Bridging the Chasm between Pregnancy and Women’s Health over the Life Course.  I was invited as a woman who had dealt with gestational diabetes (five times) and currently lives with Type 2 diabetes. I saw a need for education and care about my gestational diabetes beyond the birth of my children.

It is known that women with gestational diabetes have a much greater chance of developing Type 2 diabetes. I learned that in my research as a young mother, wanting to be proactive about my health. Yet I wasn't tested until March 2008 for Type 2. This was at my request. It was not the suggestion of my doctor. This was 3.5 years after my fifth child was born. My oldest child was 15 years old. Why had I not been tested before this?

In this picture I'm sharing my "why". Why did I feel the need to be at this conference? I felt the need to give a face to the patient. I was and I am the patient. I want to make a difference, not just for other mothers dealing with gestational diabetes, but also for my children. Some of my daughters may want to be mother. Do they face the same fate?

After my experience, I am now feeling drawn to help women with gestational diabetes to receive the post-natal care that they deserve. Yes, pre-natal care is vital for both mother and child. However mothers also need after care well beyond the birth of their child. Some referred to the time after childbirth as the fourth trimester. Ideally this care would last for the rest of a woman's life. Mothers need to receive healthcare so they can be there for their families.

As a busy mother, wife, and teacher, finding the time and balance to accomplish this is sure to be a feat. I want to step up my advocacy. Raise my voice. Help more people. I don't know how long it will take me to climb this mountain, but I know it starts one step at a time.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

WEGO Health Awards: Endorse me?

I've been nominated for a WEGO Health Award for my blog. Just getting nominated is such an honor. Now I need endorsements to reach the next level. Please click below and find the button on my nomination page to give me an endorsement.

While you're there, check out the other advocates and categories. Endorse away!