Living with heart disease presents definite challenges. In many ways, these challenges are made more difficult by the invisibility of heart disease. Heart disease doesn’t often leave visible scars or leave us with other signs signs of disease that are visible to others. To most people, we look “normal.”
September 28 through October 4 (2015) is Invisible Illness Awareness Week. One of the suggested activities for the week is the “30 Things” meme, in which we share 30 things about our invisible illness. Below is my “30 Things About Heart Disease” meme:
- The illness I live with is: coronary artery disease.
- I was diagnosed with it in the year: 2004.
- But I had symptoms since: I’m not sure because the symptoms I thought were due to reflux, turned out to be a heart attack.
- The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: learning the right way to take care of myself rather than living in fear of another, more serious heart attack.
- Most people assume: heart disease is a men’s disease.
- The hardest part about mornings are: they’re mornings. What else needs to be said? :-)
- My favorite medical TV show is: Grey’s Anatomy.
- A gadget I couldn’t live without is: my computer.
- The hardest part about nights are: making myself go to bed at the same time every night so I get enough sleep.
- Each day I take 19 pills vitamins. (No comments, please)
- Regarding alternative treatments I: believe we should use whatever works for us.
- If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: I really can’t choose.
- Regarding working and career: I’ve been fortunate to find a job I love and can do from home.
- People would be surprised to know: how much different the symptoms of heart attack and heart disease are in women.
- The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: that I’ve had to slow down, get more rest, and truly take care of myself.
- Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: go snorkeling on a Caribbean cruise.
- The commercials about my illness: are still more focused on men, neglecting women and heart disease.
- Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: traveling to back-to-back events with a proper rest break.
- It was really hard to have to give up: part of my independence.
- A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: yoga.
- If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: _rejoice_22. My illness has taught me: more patience that I thought I was capable of.
- Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: “Eliminate stress.”
- But I love it when people: put aside misconceptions realize that there’s far more to heart health than stress reduction.
- My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: “Hope is the companion of power, and mother of success; for who so hopes strongly has within him the gift of miracles.” by Samuel Smiles
- When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: learn all you can so you know the truth, not the stereotypical misconceptions.
- Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: how many people don’t learn about their own health issues.
- The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: love me anyway and reassure me that I wasn’t a burden.
- I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: if we don’t stand up for ourselves, we can’t expect others to do it for us.
- The fact that you read this list makes me feel: grateful.
More Helpful Information:
“Our 30 Things Meme.” InvisibleAwarenessWeek.com.
From my heart to yours,
Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate and the author of Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches. A co-founder of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and the American Headache and Migraine Association, she received the National Headache Foundation’s Patient Partners Award and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society. Teri can be found on her website, and blog, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.