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Lessons from Living with a Chronic Illness

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Living with a chronic illness definitely reminds you that you are alive. There are times when you feel the world is against you. Other times, you learn to appreciate life and the simplicity the world holds. Diabetes surrounds me in my life. I read about it, study it and live it. So much so that there are moments I forget that other chronic diseases exist. Until an article like this pops up.


Sam is a mum who lives with ulcerative colitis, which is the inflammation of the large bowel (colon and rectum). Symptoms of ulcerative colitis include diarrhoea (sometimes bloody), fatigue, abdominal pain, weight loss and poor nutrition. People with ulcerative colitis go through periods being symptom free and periods of ‘flare-ups’, when symptoms are at their worst. There are no known triggers for flare-ups and no known causes of the illness itself. Treatment of ulcerative colitis aims to reduce symptoms of a flare up through medication or surgical removal of the large bowel.

Almost makes diabetes seem like a breeze to manage!

Anyway, this particular blog post made its way onto my Facebook wall as a friend had liked it. All I can say is that Sam is a real inspiration. Her raw and honest account of her experiences of living with a chronic illness different to diabetes and parenting made me reflect on my own fears of starting a family. I have so many horror stories in mind of pregnant mums with diabetes who went through multiple complications during pregnancy and birth. I have seen the look of exhaustion and sleep deprivation in new parents even without diabetes.

But I realised…

I also have many wonderful role model super mums around me with and without diabetes. There are many mums with diabetes out there who have had a successful healthy pregnancy who have given birth to perfect little bundles of joy and cheekiness. I have seen the look of adoration and love parents have for their kids, which makes my heart melt into goopidty goop. I also have access to amazing healthcare with healthcare professionals I trust with my life. Most importantly, I have a strong support crew around me. Just like Sam.

The optimism and positivity that Sam shares is almost bittersweet. I can’t imagine acknowledging those feelings of being ‘not good enough’ to your children could have been easy. And I’m sure every parent would have had that thought running through their head at some point. But the difference is in the beauty of her reflection from it and the hope and love it radiates through a blog post. So here’s to Sam and to her hard work in raising awareness about inflammatory bowel disease while juggling her ulcerative colitis and life. And also to her hashtag #StopPooBeingTaboo. Best. Ever.

Here’s the link to her article: Chronic Illness and Parenting

To find out more about ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease: Crohn’s & Colitis Australia

Disclaimer: Although this has made me feel a little more at ease about having children in the future. This does not mean that you will be seeing a mini-me anytime soon! Please stop asking when it’ll be my turn…I’m looking at you mum!

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Pancreatically challenged, diabetes advocate, PhD student and dietitian - working to positive changes within the diabetes community and healthcare setting. Although diagnosed at age of 19 with T2DM, the type of diabetes I have is under constant debate. Finally pumping as of March 2014.

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