My name is Becca and I was diagnosed with diabetes January 18, 2008. In many ways, two years doesn’t sound like a long time, but it’s been enough time to change my life quite a bit. I’ve enjoyed reading other blogs in the Diabetes Community and thought I’d enjoy sharing my challenges and adventures too. So, here I am!
The year before I was diagnosed was quite exciting in one respect – I was losing weight like crazy. I actually got down to the lowest weight I had seen since elementary school. That I loved. I chalked it up to becoming a vegetarian and working out regularly. However, despite those things I didn’t *feel* good. I got shaky a lot before lunch and every afternoon I was completely exhausted. I had some other related signs and actually did a free screening at work for diabetes but the results came back negative. Given that I wasn’t feeling great, I decided to go in for a checkup. At the time I didn’t even have a doctor. I had been to the doctor only a handful of times ever. I looked through Baltimore magazine and found a “best of” that was in my insurance plan and made an appointment. The Friday I went in for my appointment, the doc did a full exam and then sent me off for x-rays and blood work and set-up a follow-up appointment.
Later that evening I was heading to a party and got a call from the doctor. He told me that I was diabetic, my blood sugar was over 600 and I needed to get to the hospital immediately. I didn’t really understand anything about diabetes and ended up stopping at Taco Bell to grab a bite before going to the hospital. Really. When I got there my blood sugar was over 700. I spent the next 8 hours with an IV hooked up with insulin in it where they proceeded to bring my blood sugar down. Around 2 AM, I was down to ~100. They told me to go home and see my doctor the next week. No education or anything. The next afternoon a friend purchased a meter for me and brought it to my house. I was already over 400, so went back to the ER. This time I was admitted and kept overnight and given some education. Other than the day I was born, it was the first night I had ever been admitted in a hospital.
It actually took a couple of weeks before a diabetes specialist was able to see me. It really wasn’t until then that I got real treatment. During that next year I had more medical appointments than I had in my entire life prior. I was originally diagnosed Type 2 and was then changed to Type 1. Now I go to the doc every 3 months at a minimum. While my weight has gone back up, the doctors wanted to deal with getting the levels right before addressing. I’ve finally stabilized and am starting to lose weight again…this time healthily.
In the 2 years since then I have learned a lot. A lot about my own body. A lot about food. A lot about diabetes and what I have control over and what I don’t. I’ve learned what I feel like when my levels are going up or when they are going down. I’ve learned things like stress and sickness can throw my numbers out of whack. I’ve learned this is a disease I have to accept and deal with and am the only one that can do so.
This past summer I got a “pump” and that has meant additional adjustments, but also really helped with getting my numbers where they should be. Still, it’s a new thing to always have something attached to my body. I have to incorporate it into my wardrobe (still haven’t perfected wearing it with dresses easily). The disease is visible beyond the pump attached. If you look at my fingertips, you see tons of black dots from the testing I do several times a day (minimum of 4). If you look at my belly, there are often bruises from the pump-site that I have to change about every three days. When it’s time to eat I have to test, estimate the amount of carbs I am going to eat and enter this into my pump. When I’m going to work out I have to stop the pump a couple of hours ahead of time and test after. And such and such and such.
There are days I hate diabetes and that I get mad that I have to deal with it non-stop. To have one day without it seems like a dream. Hopefully with continued research and advancement, there’ll be a cure one day. Until then it’s mine and I own it. This blog will be my outlet to talk about it. Decorations to come.