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.

Vacation with, not from, diabetes

Diabetes still scares the crap out of me at times. I’m afraid of the damage that was done to my body when I was living with an a1c over 11% and had no idea that part of my body had quit. Elevated blood sugar levels like what I had, can damage organs.

Insulin is not a cure. Cinnamon is definitely not a cure. The pump and monitor that I wear all day, every day are not cures. My devices are tools for helping me fill in for an organ that most people don’t even care that they have… until they don’t have it.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month and the one thing that I want from everyone in my life this is to know the symptoms of diabetes. I’d love it if everyone took steps to understand what life with diabetes is like or to spread awareness or even donate to research or charities that help people… but knowing the symptoms may help save a life.

  •  Urinating often
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Weight loss – even though you are eating more (type 1)
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)

Want to do more than just know the symptoms?

Last year, I posted on a day in my life with Type 1. If you want a glimpse into just a few of the ins and outs that’s not a bad place to continue learning.

American Recall Center asked for my input on what I want people to know about living with diabetes and put it with the input of other bloggers with diabetes and some facts.

Find out about your risk for Type 2.

Do the Big Blue Test (for people who have and don’t have diabetes)

Sign up for the Type 1 for a Day texting program

3 thoughts on “Serious Business

  1. People act like Diabetes is like a paper cut; it’s no big deal, millions of people have it and nothing happens to them!

    Diabetes can be FATAL, It can be a silent killer (but very PAINFUL, Ask me I’ll tell you-it happened to me). You can lose limbs, just from a scratch!

    When someone is sick and around a diabetic, well, that diabetic usual goes to the hospital…They have NO IMMUNE SYSTEM! You say it’s ONLY a cold…that cold WILL turn into pneumonia.

    Please don’t wipe your nose or your mouth and then expect us to shake your hand….
    We DRAW BLOOD several times day to test, we DON’T need to have your bodily fluids tainting our blood. Besides for that, would you want me to wipe my nose or mouth and try to shake your hand? Probably not! It’s just rude.

    You have us over for the Holidays are MAD because, we don’t eat your food! We CAN’T!!! We HAVE TO count carbs, NOT calories…carbs. WE CAN DIE from your food, IF we don’t count the carbs. Be mindful of diabetics….Ask us what we can have, or we WILL continue to bring our own food. No hard feelings, I just LIKE living, that’s all!

    JUST SAYING……………..

    • The paper cut is a good analogy, after getting out of the hospital it was just “Oh Rachel just has diabetes.”

      Although I don’t agree that all of those things are guaranteed to happen to a person with diabetes, a “simple” cold that most people bring to work with them can last twice as long in someone with diabetes and can completely wreck blood glucose control as well as turn into pneumonia. We are so much more susceptible to infections that can lead to serious consequences. Our immune systems are broken… I think I’d like to wear a sign that says, “My immune system hates me.”

      Also excellent point that food is about the carbs, not calories! It also doesn’t make a bit of a difference if something is sugar-free or not. It’s about the carbs and not the sugar.

  2. Pingback: When People Take Solace in My Illness | ProbablyRachel

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