Serious Business

“I never realized your diagnosis was so dramatic.”

“It didn’t really hit me how sick you were until I saw you at your dad’s funeral. You looked so small.”

My offline friends have said those things to me when they realized how serious diabetes is.

When I say that in August of 2011 I nearly died, I’m being 100% serious.

My immune system attacked my pancreas and I basically experienced organ failure. The best part is… the symptoms were all there and we didn’t catch them. My doctor didn’t catch them! She’d already called in a prescription for nausea medication to the pharmacy while waiting on the results of the pregnancy test that ultimately saved my life.

When those test results came back and Dr. P walked back into the room with her face very serious and sat down next to me on the exam table, I knew something was wrong, but not how wrong. Before anything else she wanted to know if I was there alone. I wasn’t. They sent a nurse to the waiting room to get my mother-in-law, who also knew that there was something seriously wrong. When she and I were talking about it recently she said to me, “I’m surprised they even let me drive you to the hospital instead of sending you in an ambulance.”

I was hospitalized for three days, I was hooked up to monitors, tubes and tested regularly. But when people hear I was diagnosed with diabetes, they didn’t (and still don’t) realize how serious it was.

I’m lucky that I was diagnosed. I’m blessed to have a husband who made me call the doctor instead of letting me sleep. I’m grateful to be alive.

Diabetes is serious. Sometimes I joke about it or I try to make living with diabetes look easy, but I work harder to stay healthy while living with type 1 than I work on anything else in my life. Diabetes doesn’t give vacation time. Continue reading

What you should know

My heart hurts each time I hear a story about someone passing away because they had undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed, type 1 diabetes. There are a lot of things being passed around the online diabetes community trying to alert parents to the symptoms of diabetes that they should recognize, this is important to me. It’s also important to recognize these symptoms in adults because diabetes (in general) does not discriminate on age, weight, race, general health, anything.

People have died because someone (themselves, parents or doctors) thought their diabetes was just the flu or something else. My doctor thought I was pregnant. If you see these symptoms in someone yourself or a loved one, go to the doctor:

  • Extreme, persistent thirst.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Extreme hunger.
  • Explainable weight loss.
  • Fatigue or extreme tiredness.
  • Unusual behavior including mood change and irritability.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Yeast infections.
  • Vomiting.

My mouth was always dry and a craved a cool, clear glass of water. I remember filling a glass, gulping it all down, then refilling it. I thought it was dry mouth from allergies. And because I drank so much, I was going to the bathroom all the time. I was exhausted all the time, but I thought it was from getting up to go to the bathroom from drinking so much and not getting enough sleep.

I remember being out and not being able to read a menu because everything was fuzzy. Then I couldn’t eat my meal despite being extremely hungry because with every bite I thought I was going to vomit. My stomach was upset all the time, then the morning I got out of the shower and immediately threw up, I decided that I must have the flu. I thought I would rest, stay hydrated and push myself through it, but I honestly forgot when the last time I felt well was.

Brad convinced me to go to the doctor.

He saved my life. Continue reading