My story starts in October of 2008.
I woke up one day and noticed I had a light blind spot in my left eye. I thought maybe I slept on it funny, and after a few days it would go away. After 2 days of it not going away I decided to go to the emergency room. They had no idea what it was so they referred me to an Ophthalmologist. After he examined me he looked at me very strangely in disbelief. He said “I’m not really sure what this is, considering your young age and the fact you have not been diagnosed with diabetes”. He then referred me to a retina specialist. After he examined me, he looked at me with the same strange disbelief. With no medical insurance, he decides to send me for a simple fasting blood sugar to check. It returns with a 270. He still did not want to believe that at 34-years-old I could have diabetic retinopathy and have never known I had diabetes. He then sends me for an A1C. It returns with a 10.1. WOW!! So now he has his diagnosis. He starts me on scatter laser treatments and an injection. This helps greatly and everything seems to be back to normal.
With no insurance, I decide to research my condition on the Internet and see what I can do on my own to help with my blood glucose levels. I order some free meters online and change my diet. In one month of only changing my diet and stopping regular soda to diet soda, I lose 55 pounds and have a blood glucose in the mornings averaging 150.
After being diagnosed with diabetes I now have to find a doctor for a lifetime of treatment. Good luck finding one and any type of insurance on your own!! I end up applying for a charity assistance program from a local hospital system. I begin seeing my doctor who starts me on Glyburide 2.5mg and Metfomin 1000mg per day. I am told this is the normal base start for a diabetic. After 2 weeks I start having an average morning blood glucose of 100. Then to my dismay I start having trouble keeping my blood sugar up. I start hitting 40’s and 50’s. What is going on?! I talk to my doctor who stops the Glyburide and increases my Metformin to 2000mg per day.
My doctors are perplexed that I have my blood sugar so well under control with only Metformin. After 3 months I am sent for a new A1C which returns with a 5.1. WHAT!! They are all amazed that with only 1 medication and diet change that I have successfully controlled my diabetes and yet I have diabetic retinopathy and neuropathy in my feet.
I have recently had a new hemorrhage in my left eye that was extremely bad. It has caused me to have surgery to repair all the damage to restore at least some of my vision.
In retrospect, I only had 2 signs I had diabetes, that no one in their right mind would relate to diabetes unless they were educated about the disease. I drank a lot of fluids every day, and I urinated a lot. Who would know this unless they knew diabetes?
I think these small hints of this disease need to be related to the general public a lot better so that no one else ever has to go through the fear and anxiety of waking up one day with the worst outcomes of diabetes, never knowing they had it, and no medical insurance.
I now control my diabetes, it doesn’t control me!