Hi babes, I hope you all are having a great Monday and start to the week so far. It has already been a busy start for me. We had a funeral this morning for Nathans Uncle and spent most of our morning with family and then both came home and got back to work. I was able to get a work out in tonight which was much needed.
I have been really excited to get this post up because after sharing with you all about my Rheumatoid Arthrtis journey I got such a positive response and connected with so many new people, sharing the same or similar situations and that was incredible to me. One of those lovely people was my girl Paloma. She lives here in the valley and we truly just connected. Her smile is contagious and I love her positivity when it comes to her life but especially with her Diabetes. She said to me when we met….
” I live my glittery, girly, fabulous life and just happen to live with diabetes”- Paloma
This resonated with me because I relate to it so much.
Palaoma approached me with doing a little Q&A to interview me I was completely flattered and of course said yes. We are sharing our different autoimmune diseases and what we actually thought of each others diseases before we really knew more.
A little about Paloma is…
Paloma: “I’m Paloma! I’m a full-time influencer and diabetes advocate. I’ve lived with Type 1 diabetes since 2013. I have a background in the fashion industry, so I created my business to be a blend of two major parts in my life: diabetes and style. In addition, I share my life in Arizona with my husband and kitties!”
You can follow her over on the glitterglucose.
Paloma: Becca and I decided to team up to share our experience as young women who live with autoimmune diseases. We have many similarities: we are both Arizona natives, bloggers, 28 years old, and we don’t let our auto immune disease dull our sparkle!
Paloma: Becca could you tell us what Rheumatoid Arthritis(RA) is?
Becca: It is a chronic inflammatory disease that can cause debilitating pain, muscle soreness, joint stiffness and even deformity in the joints. However, it doesn’t just affect the joints. Also, it can affect all major organs, bone structure, tendons, and much more! Pain and stiffness can occur in one, two, or even every joint in your body. Sometimes those joints will swell, causing fluid build-up which I experienced in my knees as a young child and more recently in my adult years. Unfortunately, I have problems in every joint in my body, from my fingers, toes, knees, elbows, hands, wrists, and even my eyes!
I would say it’s the worst in my knees, ankles, and eyes! The stiffness is uncomfortable and at times makes difficult to perform every day activities like working out, standing for long periods of time, walking, and even things like brushing my hair.
Paloma: Thank you so much for painting such a clear picture of what it means to have RA. It is just a reminder that everyone deals with something and it’s not always visible. When I look at Becca I see a young, beautiful woman who I would assume is perfectly healthy. By the smile on Becca’s face and her fabulous Instagram account, I would never assume that she has to deal with daily struggles that can even turn debilitating.
Paloma: When you look at me you might not know that I also deal with a chronic illness. There are days when diabetes takes over and I don’t even get out of bed. I try to minimize those days by taking great care of myself and trying to stay mentally strong, but I’m not embarrassed to say that there are days when I do feel completely defeated. The important part is that I keep moving forward, stay positive and enjoy the good days to the fullest.
Anyone else surprised to hear that arthritis isn’t just a condition that affects old people?? When I hear the word “arthritis” I automatically picture an old person who uses a cane. Becca, is this response common?
Becca: Yes! When people hear of RA or when mentioning my own experience with it, they are confused. Many times, their immediate response is “isn’t that for old people?” Ha!
RA is more prone to happen when you’re older as our bodies naturally strain from the wear and tear of all that we do over the years but it is NOT just for old people! In fact more and more kids are being diagnosed. Understanding the possibility that anyone at any age can develop an autoimmune disease, arthritis being one of them is something that is so important.
Another thing I want to touch on is if you have one autoimmune disease you are more prone to develop another.
Paloma: What do you think when you hear “diabetes?”
Becca: When I hear diabetes truthfully, I thought of an overweight person who ate too much sugar and had a poor diet most of their life!
Paloma: I used to think the same when I heard diabetes! Diabetes is always the butt of a joke about weight or the caption on a picture of cake. What I have, actually has ZERO to do with diet or lifestyle. Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the pancreas stops creating insulin. Since the pancreas isn’t doing its job, I have to act as my own pancreas. I manually give myself insulin through an injection or insulin pump throughout the day and when I eat. I manage my blood sugar with a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) or by pricking my finger. It is A LOT of work to be a human trying to mimic a failed organ!
Paloma: Do people generally understand RA or think you are being dramatic?
Becca: haha sometimes my mom actually thinks I am being dramatic but I know it’s because she wants me to push through it. Luckily, for the most post part those who’ve seen me during a flare up and are really close with me know the days I’ve struggled so they get it. As for everyone else I think they generally understand but I am not sure.
Paloma: For me, I don’t think people get it at all. Those who don’t understand diabetes assume that with a better diet and exercise that it will all go away. It’s almost like people blame me for feeling sick because they just think “well if you had only taken care of yourself.” That is the biggest myth I wish I could debunk. Only 4% of the diabetic population is Type 1. There is no cause or cure for an autoimmune disease.
Paloma: How is RA integrated into your blog Becca?
Becca: I think RA coincides more so than ever with my blog, and more than I originally expected it to. I think my RA flare-ups came back during a time that was maybe meant to be. I started my blog to inspire others…to cook and to celebrate life. But I quickly realized I was missing a huge part of what has inspired me. I hope to help others lead a healthier and happier life. I think having a blog allows me to have a platform to reach more people and connect with others who may be going through the same troubles but feel alone!
A little story that already proved this to be true for me was, just a week after launching my blog I was contacted by a friend whose younger sister was recently diagnosed with RA. Not knowing anything about the disease and feeling lost, she and her family reached out to me and I was able to shed light on what can be a scary diagnosis. After giving suggestions and a background of what I did to heal, my heart was so full knowing she felt a little more at ease moving forward and a little less overwhelmed. THAT is what it is all about to me.
Paloma: For me the whole reason I started my blog was to connect with others. It can feel pretty lonely to have a condition that is so misunderstood. I have learned so much and received tons of support from people all over the world! Now I feel confident to share who I am beyond diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes is a huge part of me but not all of me.
Paloma: Lets share what living with an autoimmune disease has taught us.
Becca: The biggest thing RA has taught me is that, you are nothing without your health. You can have a lot of wonderful things in life but none of it matters if you aren’t healthy and can’t enjoy those things to the fullest. It truly sounds cliché when they say “you don’t know what you have until its gone” but it’s true. Not having mobility of your limbs is humbling and awakening, it makes you appreciate every day and celebrate every milestone. I think that’s why I love celebrating and have loved it from a very young age. It has also made me have more empathy for others and their own personal struggles.
Paloma: Living with Type 1 Diabetes has taught me discipline and maturity. I literally make life saving decisions every minute of the day! Besides that, I have learned the power of community. I have seen all my family and friends come out to support me through diabetes charities, wear my clothing line that raises awareness and even correct others when they make a diabetes joke!
I hope you guys enjoyed the little Q&A and got a little more insight into our stories. As always thank you for reading, and always being so sweet and supportive.