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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