Adrianne Flaye is Chronic illness sufferer and this is her story of getting through it and persevering.
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 3 years old. I grew up with it. I dealt with it very well until I was a teenager. That was when I started ignoring it completely. I rarely tested my blood sugar or corrected my high blood sugar. I hated feeling like I had to stop what I was doing with my friends to sort out my health.
It’s very common for teenagers with type 1 to go through this, especially due to puberty which makes controlling your blood sugars even harder. It wasn’t until I started getting sick, that I really realized that I was doing myself harm. In 2012 I started having chronic kidney infections which are dangerous for people with t1d. They lasted from April to Sept, but I noticed that I still had really bad kidney pain after sept. I kept going back to my doctor expecting to find out that I had another kidney infection, but they couldn’t find anything. Slowly the pain spread from my lower back throughout my whole body. During a hospital admission in 2014, they finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.
It was hard to deal with. I had to stop working full time and I couldn’t do anything I used to. My mobility was slowly declining even though I was really looking after my health, managing my medications, and doing my physiotherapy. luckily I started seeing my partner at the same time. He was my biggest supporter and helped me with everything.
I kept declining over the years and seeing more and more neurological symptoms, and then I was diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder this July. We knew this diagnosis was coming, but it still had been hard to process. I can’t leave the house without my wheelchair. Basic activities are either not doable or have to be paced out or modified so it’s more accessible to me.
This for anybody who is going through anything similar. I have seen (and made friends with!) some amazing people who are also dealing with similar things. This peer support made something that felt impossible to live with, become more possible, and in fact incredibly normal. I’m not someone who is really into inspirational quotes and that sort of stuff, but the thing I have found that helps a lot is, finding people with similar situations. People who are just living normal lives with their disabilities and/or chronic illnesses, because representation is really important! It helps you realize that you aren’t alone.
Finding those groups and people online really helped me embrace my disabilities and made me feel like I was a part of an amazing group of people and now I’m very proud to be disabled. I think sometimes people mistake that as “I don’t want to be better”, but that’s definitely not the case. If I could improve, it would be excellent. But if this is as good as it will ever get, I know I will still live a wonderful life. Just a bit different than the average person.
I think it’s very healthy to go through that grieving process of losing the life you had before the chronic illness. I too felt very sad and occasionally still do. You should definitely allow yourself to feel those feelings, but you shouldn’t remain in that headspace. As cheesy as it sounds, life does go on, so find the support you need, try and find those things that make you happy! Everyone is different. It’s something to take pride in.
The interview took place on 8/1/18
Let’s inspire the world – Wasilly