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Stop Apologizing For Being Sick

To all of my fellow chronic illness warriors, this one’s for you!

I have a bad habit of apologizing for the inconveniences that come with chronic illnesses. Whether it be food choices, low blood sugar emergencies or fatigue preventing me from doing simple things.

I pride myself in being the one who gets it all done, a “by any means necessary” woman if you will. I also believe that for the chronic illness warriors, too often we feel like we have something to prove because being sick can feel like an inconvenience. Not to mention the diseases where, “you don’t look sick”.

In 2012 I was diagnosed with diabetes, and in 2019 Graves’ disease. Can we talk about both? Ugh, diadamnbetes, I absolutely hate it. Did I imagine being diagnosed at 33? Absolutely not, but I was. Woke up one day and could not see! I’m not talking about foggy vision, I’m talking blurred and fuzzy to the point that I couldn’t see my tv from my bed, nor drive. One of the scariest things I’ve experienced. You don’t realize how many things you take for granted until one of those things is compromised in an instant!

Thank God for the optometrist who on a whim asked me had I ever been tested for diabetes. He could have easily told me I needed glasses, and dismissed my concerns which happens way too often, but he didn’t. He immediately sent me to the lab. I had my blood drawn and my fasting blood sugar I believe was 300 plus.

It was the beginning of a very interesting journey.

A little history. I’ve never been overweight, and I don’t say that to be cruel or in a braggadocious manner. I say that because obesity is a contributing factor and at almost every doctor visit I heard, “you’re so small”. I do my best to eat healthy. I try to incorporate exercise so how did I get it? Did genetics play a role? According to studies, type 2 diabetes has a stronger link to family history and lineage, as does race. I was gestational diabetic all four of my pregnancies, but with every delivery, the diabetes went away. I was pissed when I was diagnosed because I watched most of my family members struggle with the disease, and the outcomes weren’t good. My biggest fear was and still is, what is referred to as type 3 diabetes or Alzheimer’s disease. I watched it absolutely destroy the minds of both my mother and grandmother.

What am I doing to manage diabetes?

Please pay attention to how you don't hear me refer to these illnesses as “my diabetes” or “my graves” because it ain’t MINE!

Eating healthy. Listen, you don’t have to believe me but we could heal/cure a lot of diseases by being mindful of what we eat. Can I share a transparent moment? When I lost my job and the money ran out, eating healthy became more difficult. A $5 biggie bag was cheaper than $30 of groceries to meal prep. The “people” know what they’re doing. This garbage they make cheap and easily accessible is poison. I said what I said, but on the flip side, I get it!!!! Sometimes situations don’t give you a choice. Not to mention, our healthcare system is designed to keep us sick. It isn’t designed to prevent, keep, nor make us healthy. It’s the very reason why they’re so quick to write a prescription. Speaking of prescriptions, I also take three, yes three medications as well. Okay, now that my rant is over, let me get back on topic.

I do my best to manage my stress level and get adequate sleep because I’ve noticed that too much stress and not enough sleep separately or combined affects blood sugar levels.

I’m also in the process of reversing my type 2 diabetes by adapting a whole food plant based diet, atleast 90% of the time so I can give myself the freedom to enjoy some of my favorite foods. As I begin this journey, I’ll be documenting my successes and sharing on the blog and via social media so y’all can stay updated, and encouraged!

Graves’ disease; A disorder of the immune system that causes the thyroid gland to make too much thyroid hormone — a condition called hyperthyroidism.

Knew nothing about the disease before being diagnosed. For years I had symptoms of “something” and bloodwork was repeatedly done to check my thyroid levels but they were always borderline, never anything blaringly obvious, until one day the symptoms were too loud to ignore. From intense fatigue to fast heartbeat to weight loss to heat intolerance to diarrhea for over 30 days straight. Yeah, that was NOT cute! I made a YouTube video about it. Here’s the link:

I was asked who in my family suffered from an autoimmune disease and my response was, “I have no clue” because black folks don’t talk! If you know, you know. We are by far the most secretive when it comes to our health! Well, the older generations are. I encourage you, share share share because we need to know what to look out for. The treatment I received was radioiodine therapy and was put on Levothyroxine which I’m told I’ll have to take the rest of my life.

How am I managing? More of the same, more stress management because that too plays a role here. Side note, there’s a reason why stress is referred to as “the silent killer”. Seeing my endocrinologist regularly and making sure routine labs are completed timely to check levels and make adjustments to medication as needed.

Everyday I awake, I win, and I’m not nor are you defined by an illness. I am however still learning to give myself grace on the days where the only thing I can do is get up. I remind myself on those days that this too shall pass. I’m a true believer that I’ll be completely healed. Me, Jazmine, that’s what I believe. I trust God with my whole life.

For those of you struggling. Feeling alone. Feeling like a burden. Feeling like giving up. I encourage you to keep going. To not give up. If some days all you can do is get up, you win! I see you, and I love you! You got this, and God got you!

Before I go, thank you to all of the friends and family members who take on the role as caregiver. Thank you for seeing us. Thank you for checking on us. Thank you for going to doc appointments, for sitting with us in er visits and hospital stays. Your love, comfort and commitment doesn’t go unnoticed!

Until next time…🦋

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