Overcoming the Impossible: My T1D Story

Overcoming

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.

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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.

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My Trader Joes Experience

My Trader Joe’s Experience

 

I’ve been meaning to get this post up for a while now, but just haven’t made the time.  If you know anything about me, you would know that I absolutely love to eat and especially love to eat healthy foods.  A few months back, I heard about the opening of a health food store called Trader Joe’s and had been meaning to make a trip for some time.  I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with Whole Foods.  The hate only comes in when it’s time to check out and I’m ringing up five items for $100.  I heard that Trader Joes was very reasonable in price and I’m all about staying on a budget.

Last Saturday I took the girls to Trader Joe’s and I must say that it was love at first sight.  The prices were very reasonable.  There were fresh fruits and vegetables and lots of quick frozen foods that were also healthy alternatives.  I found a few great snacks and even some toiletry items as well.  When it comes to the kitchen, I’m what you would call a semi- homemade type of mom.  I don’t like to spend a whole lot of time slaving over the stove, so any quick alternative makes me happy.  I grabbed lots of frozen vegetables and some were even grilled and pre-seasoned.  As far as snack foods go, I picked up some blue corn chips and mango salsa, organic cheese cracker sandwiches, all natural frozen fruit popsicles and some breakfast bars.  Trader Joe’s was definitely home of the nut butters.  I am all for a great tasting peanut butter and almond butter, but this time I picked up a jar of sunflower seed butter and some Cookie & Cocoa Swirl peanut butter.  Yea, so, those two jars are pretty much gone and it’s only been a week.  I guess I’ll have to double up next time.

I picked up some Trader Joe’s brand shampoo and conditioner and some tooth paste.  From my many binge sessions of watching YouTube, I’ve heard that this particular brand of shampoo and conditioner were amazing.  The exact name is called Tea Tree Tingle.  I would say that it is comparative to the Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat shampoo and conditioner.

I initially only went in this store looking to pick up a few items to try and ended up spending close to $100 on a basket full of items.  Nothing on my receipt was over $5.  I was pretty surprised and satisfied as a mom on a budget.  I still have food in the freezer and in the pantry that I haven’t even touched.  I think this was definitely a mission accomplished.  Of course, this store is not a complete replacement for the usual Wal-Mart run, but it’s definitely a nice getaway from the norm.

If you’ve ever made your way over to Trader Joes, let me know what your experience was in the comments below.