I think we all remember the first time we were diagnosed with either Type 1 or type 2 diabetes. I felt like my whole world was crashing down with so many questions after hanging up the phone from hearing those words, “You have diabetes”.
I was working an hour drive from home, so 2 hours in the car daily. I would have to stop on that one hour drive to use the bathroom. I would be so thirsty I would NEED to stop for a drink, usually a 32 ounce diet soda – not the healthiest choice, drink ALL of it, THEN eat the ice because I had cotton mouth even after all that liquid.
I knew something was wrong. I went to the doctor and they dismissed it as “the renal threshold of the kidneys is low." Okay, well…what does that mean? The issues continued and fatigue set in. I dismissed the fatigue as work related, the long drive, the stress of my job at the time, we all seem to find excuses to get us through to the next day.
My husband and I had an appointment for life insurance, the nurse came to our apartment to do the paperwork and we had to do a physical. The agent called a couple days later and said I needed to go to the doctor for further testing, that my sugar number was “off the charts”. I scheduled yet another appointment. With the results from the insurance physical, my Dr. said I had Type 2 diabetes even though he said I did not “fit the category”. I was in the normal body weight range, I exercised regularly, I ate clean on most occasions, and I was 25 years old. I was prescribed oral medications and sent on my way.
Fast forward, the oral medications were not controlling my sugar. I was on the worst roller coaster ride of my life, fighting fatigue, trying to eat low carbs and no sugar, my mood swings were horrible, and I was not well.
Another doctor appointment…..this time he decided to run a T-Cell test to determine what exactly was happening. The T-Cell test came back that I had minimal Beta cells working and they would soon be “caput”. “Type 1 diabetes is a chronic T-cell mediated disease that leads to the destruction of the insulin-secreting islet B-cells resulting in absolute insulin deficiency and hyperglycemia” – www.immunology.org …finally, an answer to move forward.
My life in that long few months was forever changed. I started on insulin shots and tested my sugar 7 times a day. A new routine had to be established and I had to completely envelope myself in my care to avoid long term health issues such as neuropathy, eye problems, and heart disease to name a few.
I decided I could be proactive or reactive with this disease. Fast forward to today…..I have two amazing children ages 20 and 18, I have been teaching exercise for the past 20 years and love helping others be healthy and negotiate their own obstacles, I am the Chapter Lead for Kentucky #insulin4all T1International where we advocate for accessible and affordable insulin. We have a choice: let the disease control us, or we control the disease. Be healthy, be strong, be a fighter….because your life is worth it!!