Around this time last year, my body was going through some major changes and I didn’t even know it. I went from weighing 200 pounds even to going down to 130 pounds in less than 6 months. I seemed to have lost weight without even trying. I found it kind of odd at first because by that time I slacked up on my work outs, but I just attributed it to my continuous healthy eating habits. I started to notice significant hair loss as I briefly mentioned in my post titled “The Big Chop Experience.” There was literally hair everywhere no matter how gentle I was with it. I remember seeing large globs of it on the shower floor as I washed my hair and standing in the mirror only to see bald spots. I wore wigs for months to cover it up, but I didn’t feel like myself. I eventually cut it all off. I was devastated and was looking for answers. I was growing my hair back from cutting it off a few years back and felt like all of my work toward growth was in vain. I eventually figured that maybe I was losing hair do to a lack of protein, so I supplemented thinking it would fix the problem, but it didn’t.
I started to notice an increase in my thirst almost overnight. I was always thirsty and my tongue felt like a desert. I found myself standing in the kitchen at two in the morning with the refrigerator door wide open, drinking anything and everything straight from the jug. I remember going through a gallon of Tampico in less than a day after I drank all of the water in the house. Of course, after drinking everything in sight. I remember driving to the nearest gas station every day at lunch and after work for large cup of ice and a large slushi to relieve my extreme thirst and even then that was not enough. I also experienced increased urination because of this.
Among all of these things, I was extremely tired, fatigued, and exhausted, which is why I began to slack up on my work outs. I was literally falling asleep at work in mid-sentence with customers on the phone. I set a timer on my phone just to take naps during my lunch break and once I got home from work. I was still losing weight and beginning to look sick. The new clothes I bought were falling off of me and my collar bone and ribs were showing. Things were getting bad and I was completely confused.
In October of 2016, I went to my yearly appointment with my gynecologist. She mentioned to me that I had high sugar levels in my urine and they may possible mean that I might be a diabetic. She wanted to do some blood work to confirm. Jokingly, I told her that I went to the movies the night before and had a big slushy. I was really confused after hearing this. I looked great and in my opinion. I felt great, especially after a good nap. I wasn’t sure what to make of all of it. I started to Google search everything that had been going on with me and all of the symptoms that come with diabetes. This only made things worse. Google had me thinking I was going to be on my death bed soon.
Instead of going in the following day fasted for blood work, I came in about two weeks later. I didn’t expect to get a phone call for another couple of days. My doctor called me about two hours later with my lab results. She said that I tested positive for diabetes and my blood glucose level was at 330. I still didn’t know what that even meant. I felt fine. She kept asking me how I had been feeling. I responded by telling her that I was pretty fatigued, which had been the norm for the last few months. She urged me to make an appointment with my PCP immediately. I was scared at that point. Like most, I was pretty ignorant to what diabetes was and how dangerous it can be if not cared for properly.
When I contacted my doctor’s office, I was told that I would not be able to see her until mid-January and it was only October. I ended up making an appointment with a nurse practitioner. I was extremely nervous for my first appointment. I had no idea what questions to ask or even what to expect. At the time I was told that I had type 2 diabetes and all I needed to do was diet and exercise. Because of my high glucose levels, I was issued a glucose monitor and placed on Metformin the same day. I explained that I ate right and lost a significant amount of weight, a total of 65 pounds in six months, but the nurse could not come up with a reason as to why this happened. She brushed me off and told me it must be in the family.
The following week at my next appointment, I was placed on insulin that I had to inject once before bed to help regulate my glucose levels, which is called basal insulin. My blood sugar levels were in the high 400’s and 500’s. Days later, I was to the point of injecting insulin 4 times a day just to keep my sugar levels regulated. I learned that every time I ate no matter what I ate, my levels would rise. I carried needles and syringes with me everywhere I went and had to inject prior to each meal. It was painful and embarrassing.
I finally ended up seeing my PCP, who later did more research and blood work to find out that I was actually a Type 1 diabetic. She explained to me that I have a rare case of adult onset type one diabetes. Type one is usually found in adolescents. The cause is currently unknown. In most people with type 1 diabetes, the body’s own immune system, which normally fights harmful bacteria and viruses, mistakenly destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Being a type one diabetic has nothing to do with your weight or how many cupcakes you eat at a time. It is an autoimmune disease. Once I found this out, I was partially relieved, but still wanted answers. I researched day and night. I bought books on amazon, read articles, and joined Facebook groups and Instagram pages just for adults with type one diabetes for comfort.
Over the past few months, I have gained back several pounds. All of the new clothes I purchased for my small frame are now fitting snug or not at all. I lost a significant amount of hair prior to diagnosis and have been wearing a low hair cut since December. I have been through several up and downs since diagnosis and have been to several appointments. I lost my sight shortly after diagnosis and had to wear glasses. Now my sight is back as I have my blood sugar levels under control. I am now using an insulin pump which looks like a small cell phone and holds enough insulin that my body needs for 3 days. I am attached to my pump 24/7 and change out the tubing every 3 days.
I have to calculate my carb intake to regulate the correct amount of insulin I need for each meal. I prick my fingers around 10 times a day if not more. There a many instances when I have extremely low blood sugar levels and that’s when things can get scary. I start to get cold sweats, I shake uncontrollably, and I can feel nauseous. It’s almost as if I lose all control of my body. Because of this, I keep snacks, juice boxes, glucose tablets, and candy on my person at all times to keep myself leveled. I also keep an emergency glucagon shot with me at all times in case I can’t raise my blood sugar up on my own. It was upsetting to know that I would never be able to just eat whatever I want, whenever I wanted. I have to plan each meal accordingly by counting carbs and taking the right amount of insulin at the right time. Sometimes I splurge with my food and make sure my math skills are up to par when adjusting my insulin.
I battle with depression on and off. Some days are harder than others, but I push through and I am thankful that I am alive. When I was first diagnosed, I couldn’t handle the news. I couldn’t find the strength to get out of bed, let alone leave the house. I felt sorry for myself. I cried so many tears and tried so hard to understand why something like this would happen to me.
I’m going to be honest and say that for a moment, I lost my faith that God is healer. I had to reevaluate the situation and realize that I am a King’s kid. This is not the end. It’s only the beginning. After time, I got back on my feet and decided to live and not die in my situation. I put a smile on each day and pray for my healing. I try my best to make light of my situation by encouraging others. The God I serve is a healer and I claim total and complete victory over my life in Jesus’ name. I feel like this happened for a reason and my trial is a testament. I choose not to allow the devil to take my joy. I am living on purpose.