I Have Asthma and Diabetes, but I Am More Than an 'Asthmatic' or a 'Diabetic'

It is too easy to myself identify as my illness. To describe myself as an “asthmatic” or as a “diabetic.” A friend said to me, “You are not your illness.” Wise woman. I try to call it “the asthma” and “the diabetes.

The illness can take over all of my thinking time and all my activities can be about being ill, e.g. constant medical appointments, if I let it.


I can spend so much of the day checking how I am going, monitoring medication, and in doing that, I forget to do things that are more life-affirming.

I am ill. But I am more than a chronically ill person. I am still a wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, friend, swimmer, a sewer, a church member etc.

So, now I talk about the asthma and the diabetes. They are not mine. It is not my asthma, nor my diabetes. Each of them is a dreadful illness. Each of them can be life-threatening if not managed properly. Each contributes to the other. Each chronic illness has had quite a severe impact on me, my friendships, my family life, what I can and cannot do – virtually every aspect of my life.

By calling them “the illnesses” I feel a little more in control, not that the asthma is particularly well controlled. I feel a little removed from them. I feel a bit distanced and put them aside for a few hours of each day. The illnesses don’t get to take over 24/7. I have some mental respite some of the time.

I much prefer to be called a mum, wife, aunt, swimmer, etc. than an illness. I am not just the asthmatic in the group. I am me who happens to have to manage the illness called “asthma.” I, Rosemary, am dealing with “the asthma.”

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via isaxar.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Asthma

an older couple hugging in the park

Learning to Be Dependent After Developing Chronic Illness

This is something I am struggling with at the moment and I wonder how everyone else manages this. I am 68. I have been ill for three years now. It isn’t what I had planned for my life but illness isn’t what anyone wants nor expects in their life. I am no different to anyone [...]
woman pouring pills into her hand from bottle

Prednisone: The Marvelous Monster in My Life

I have very mixed feelings about prednisone. It is a wonder drug. But I hate having to take it. The only warnings I got when I had my first experience with prednisone was that I must taper when coming off it. Well, I have now had loads of prednisone over the last three years since I acquired [...]
medical alert bracelet

The Ambulance Ride That Convinced Me to Get a Medical Alert Bracelet

I just took the plunge and ordered my first Medic Alert bracelet. I have always been an independent person, and that can be a great thing. However, the unsettled feeling I had on my last emergency ambulance ride when the double doors closed and it was just me unable to speak and the medic, was [...]
rainbow over the ocean after a storm

Learning to Live With the Extremes of Chronic Illness

I am so weary, so very weary. I spend a lot of time on my iPad these days, possibly more time than is best for me. I spend a lot of time sitting in my recliner chair and trying to maintain a positive state of mind. Today I found the perfect description for me. Image [...]