31 facts about my invisAbilities

By Brittainy Braniff, Brock InvisAbilities Chair

1. I don’t remember being diagnosed; I was only two years old.
2. Although I’ve had T1 diabetes for 19 years, it saddens me that most of my family doesn’t really know much about my illness.
3. I love my insulin pump. I could go back to needles but it would be a struggle; the pump makes my life so much easier.
4. I am incredibly embarrassed about the scars and scar tissue bumps on my arms and stomach from the thousands of injections and insulin pump sites.
5. I hate waking up in the middle of the night shaking and sweating with low blood sugars. I often keep juice boxes under my bed.
6. My insulin pump alone cost $7,000. One month’s worth of insulin pump supplies cost $300 (not including the insulin itself.)
7. My grade 9 teacher ripped my pump off of me because she thought it was an iPod.
8. I have been hospitalized over 25 times since arriving at Queens; a few of the triage nurses know me by name.
9. Dropping a to a part-time student during a stressful time, resulted in my AMS benefits being cancelled.
10. I try to pretend I am doing just fine, which has meant that sometimes I am ill and no is around to help.

11. I celebrate my diabetes anniversary every year and am a veteran of my invisAbilities.
12. Being told you are the 1 in 30 diabetics that also has celiac disease is infuriating; realizing I could have other worse autoimmune disorders makes me feel lucky.
13. The House of Commons tried confiscate my insulin pump because they could not recognize it as a medical device.
14. The diet required for managing my celiac disease results in costly, alternative foods with complex carbohydrates. Gluten-free foods can cause my blood sugar to roller coaster for a few days… Top three foods I wish I could have Subway, cinnamon buns, and grilled cheese.
15. I like to make and mail personal cards to cheer my friends up.
16. Managing two unpredictable autoimmune illnesses has resulted in me being diagnosed with a general anxiety disorder and mild depression.
17. Being anxious creates digestive problems, being stressed causes my blood sugars to skyrocket…it’s a vicious cycle.
18. I have no problem advocating that I have diabetes and celiac disease, but I find it extremely difficult to disclose my anxiety and depression.
19. I use to draw daily and my anxiety has restricted me from doing so. My hands often tremble when I hold a pencil or even type on the keyboard
20. I carry a syringe in my purse, just in case something happens to my pump. This has caused a ton of awkward stares from the security personnel.

21. When I’m nervous I tend to clean the entire house, just to keep my hands busy.
22. My biggest pet peeve is when the media does not discuss the difference between T1 and T2 diabetes. They associate both with unhealthy lifestyles. They are not the same, and therefore should be identified as different illnesses.
23. In grade 4, I went to all the classes in my school and talked about diabetes. I collected 5,555 nickels. I was thrilled; not realizing it was only $277.75 being donated to The Hospital for Sick Children.
24. I could sleep all day and still wake up restless.
25. My life is a math equation. Every time I eat I have to calculate carbohydrates. I take 1 unit of insulin for 5 carbohydrates. I’ve become really good with my five times tables.
26. Just because I am smiling and socializing, does not mean that I am feeling well.
27. I feel guilty when I feel bad for myself or use accommodations.
28. I enjoy cooking/baking non gluten-free items for others.
29. Autoimmune disorders usually cluster in twos; hopefully I already received my share.
30. If you stuck around to finish reading this, it means the world to me. I enjoy teaching and hopefully helping others.

31. My illness is invisible. I am anything but.