Patient Blogs | Type 2 Diabetes
How Having a Chronic Illness Affects Your Life

Growing up as a young child, you don’t have a care in the world. You never think about what happens if you get sick – what you would do, how you would manage it, or what would happen to you. However, as you grow older, you have more responsibilities that prepare you for the world and adulthood.

My journey to my illness came at the age of 29 years old (two fibroid surgeries, a hysterectomy, and type 2 diabetes were the beginning of my chronic illness and pain). This is when I learned I had two health issues.

One was fibroids, which caused my menstrual cycles to be very painful. I was also bleeding a lot, which later in life made me anemic. My cycles were so bad from having fibroids that some days, I would wake up to get ready for work and I couldn’t even walk. It was like I had little aliens invading my body and there was nothing I could do about it. I had fibroids for many years.

My second illness was gestational diabetes. I found out I had it when I was pregnant with my son.

Being pregnant and having fibroids was very painful and presented a lot of health challenges. The same blood supply that was keeping my son alive was also supplying blood to my fibroids. As a result, when he grew, so did my fibroids. They were fighting for space. My stomach was so big, that they kept checking to see if I was having twins. Once they ruled that out for good, they thought I was going to have a huge baby because of my diabetes.

Luckily for me, my son was only 7 pounds 6.5 ounces (however, I was in labor for 23 hours). After he was born, I tried to deal with the pain of having fibroids. Unfortunately, the pain only intensified as time went by. I learned that the reason why I was in so much pain was that one of the fibroids had died inside of me and it was causing me major problems (there were two inside my uterus the size of cantaloupes). I had to decide to have them removed via surgery or continue to deal with the pain.

Regrettably, the pain was too much. Some days, I would be incapacitated because I couldn’t walk. Two years after giving birth to my son, I had my first fibroid surgery. The surgery went well, and once they were removed, I got my quality of life back.

Fibroids affected my life by not letting me walk some days. I was always in chronic pain. I put on excessive weight from the fibroids. I dealt with the embarrassment of people always asking if I was pregnant and always having to take time off from work because the pain was too great. Family and friends always thought I was overreacting. They thought that the pain couldn’t possibly be that bad and questioned why I always had someone pitch in to help me with my son.

Twelve years later, I found out the fibroids grew back. Because I knew how bad things could get for me, I was much more in tune with the problem. I was at work sitting at my desk, and a sharp pain shot down my leg; all of sudden, I couldn’t move.

My job had to call the ambulance to take me to the ER. I was so ashamed and embarrassed that my co-workers and boss saw me like that. At the hospital, they ran a CT scan and saw that I had 10 fibroids this time. I was devastated. I knew that I needed to act much faster this time around and I did. I found a doctor who could fix my fibroid issue.

In December 2018, I had my second fibroid surgery. However, this time when I woke up afterward, I instantly knew something was different because I had had the surgery before. Unfortunately, my cries went unheard, and I ultimately needed 12 ER visits (the first one was 3 days after the surgery).

Due to complications and infection, I had to find another doctor to figure out what was wrong. It was an infection from the surgery and several fibroids that were left inside of me. They caused additional problems, which caused my anemia to get worse.

Subsequently, in March 2019, I had to have a hysterectomy (which saved my life). I share this story with you all because the most important lesson here is to know and listen to your body. Your body tells you when something is wrong.

Listen to your body’s warning signs and act accordingly, because it could be the difference between living and dying.

Lastly, although chronic illness can affect your life and even turn it upside down, it can be managed if you seek help and listen to your body.




Photo Credit: mapodile/ E+ via Getty Images

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Robin Dorsey

Robin Dorsey

Diagnosed since 2006

A native of the Washington, DC, metro area, Robin Dorsey has lived with Type 2 diabetes for 15 years. She's the award-winning host of The Impact with Robin Dorsey, which airs on DCTV public access and will soon be on Fairfax Public Access (FPA) TV. The show profiles nonprofit organizations, community outreach efforts, extraordinary individuals and celebrity red carpet events. She founded her own publishing company, Dorsey Publishing, and is the co-author of A Mother & Daughter Memoirs of Love, Desire, Pain and Inspiration. She wrote the book along with her late mother, Renita T. Mock. Robin is an Ambassador for the American Diabetes Association (ADA). In addition, she has her MBA and provides subject matter expertise to the federal government. She has administered federal contracts for over 20 years. Her ultimate goal is to make a difference and to help “Stop Diabetes.” She is a proud mother to a handsome son, Darius, who is her biggest supporter and helps her maintain her diabetes.

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