Join me in the fight to create a world without type 1 diabetes!
But even before all this, the December before I had contracted the chickenpox and the flu. Both of these combined, attacked my pancreas and turned my immune system on itself making my pancreas not work as it should. So, while my grandmother was in the nursing home fighting Alzheimer’s and my mom concentrating on her, chicken pox and the flu were ravaging my body i was on a downward hill spiral.
So the next semester starts and for some reason I am eating like I cannot get enough food, drinking so much Five Alive that I feel like I cannot get enough, BUT above all that I am losing weight and I am looking GREAT! But I cannot stay awake in classes and I have to go pee at least every hour on the hour. I would wake up in the middle of the night and my legs were in such pain and cramped up so much that I would start crying when I stood up to get my feet planted on the floor again, instead of straight out. This is what happens when your body does not have enough potassium, magnesium and electrolytes.
As the months pass I go from a size 16 to a size 8, I look like skin and bones. My muscle mass was nonexistent and I have very little energy. It is all I can do to stay awake and throw a basketball. Which I could not hit the back board or hoop anymore.
My grandma at the time is on a spiral downhill, and eventually passes away and we have her funeral and drive her to Indiana to be buried next to grandpa. On the way back I got to drive the car for the first time. But man, my aunt and uncle were so mad because I had to make them stop every hour on the hour so I could use the bathroom. It was rough. I drank so much water I thought I was going to float away.
So we get back and home and I return to school the principal calls and talks to my mom and tells her to take me to the doctor. So my mom takes me to a local clinic and that MD finds nothing wrong with me. Obviously he didn’t do a glucose test. Remember my mom was concentrating on her mom during this time and she thought that I was just going through a change and losing weight because of growing up.
My mom, however, decides to take me to an MD in Amarillo. So, my aunt is still at the house my mom drives me in to the doctor and they sure like to poke and prod and harass people, especially me as all I wanted to do was sleep.
So, we leave the MD office, mom and I spend the day in Amarillo puttering around and when we finally get home, about midnight, my aunt tells mom that I am not to eat anything and that I have to be back in the MD office at 8am to do one last fasting to confirm some results. UGH, really? All I want to do is sleep and nobody wants to let me sleep.
Remember this was 1996 and cell phones were not readily available.
So, again we leave for Amarillo and arrive at the MD office, they take another blood sample and come back into the room and tell my mom that I must be admitted to the hospital across the street immediately. So I was admitted and that was the first time I had ever been in a hospital and it was one of the most horrible experiences of my life.
One nurse was burned into my memory because this nurse almost got kicked in the head by me for “fishing” for a vein in my foot. I had one IV in each hand, and they wanted to put another in my foot. Well since my veins were collapsing that IV wasn’t going into my foot. They told my mom that they wanted to put one directly into my chest and she said no that the infection rate was too high that the two in my hands were to be enough. (My mom had been a nurse when we lived in California).
Well, least to say, two IVs were all that I needed and my body started to recover. Two weeks, lots of training (if you could call it that), and nurses that I really didn’t like because they were coming every 4 hours to poke my fingers; oh my goodness I am going to have to do this for the rest of my life? I cried and cried. I couldn’t believe that my body failed me. I was different, no longer normal.
Well, before being diagnosed I was a shy person, after being released my attitude changed. I became very vocal, opinionated and was not taking crap from anybody. Having been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes made me more aware that I had to do certain things to stay alive. I got lazy and I came to a point in which I just stopped testing my blood sugars because I didn’t care. When I moved to Dallas to attend UT Dallas and was living alone I started testing again and I had to change MDs and I started doing better, well kind of. Over the years I have gained weight, I have tested my blood sugars more, I have changed the types of insulin I take and now nearly 18 years later I have been doing lots of reading and educating myself.
Last year, I spoke about getting a CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) but unfortunately with my current insurance I would have to pay too much to get it. One day, I will get it though. It is one time on my wish list that I want. I spoke last year about the artificial pancreas and was excited about that. But after doing more research, I have decided this is just not the route for me at this time.
In conclusion, I am not asking you to donate your entire check or life savings, I am only asking you to donate what you can, support those of us who want to feel that “normalcy” again without having to inject or poke our fingers to ensure that our blood sugar isn’t too high or too low. All we want is to be just like you!
If you have more questions please visit http://jdrf.org/ and visit their About JDRF page. There are videos and stories of other Type 1 Diabetics just like myself posted. Every donation helps.