For me, I always knew that I would be dealing with the D-word sooner or later. My mother is a type 1 diabetic for many many years. My younger brother was diagnosed with type 1 when he was only 17. And then came my turn, and for some reason, I never had any symptoms such as dry throat, excessive thirst, fatigue, etc. Nor had I lost weight.
It was actually a routine medical checkup with blood work to follow which showed my A1Cs to be in the 10mmol/l range (180mg/dl). I didn’t really go into much of a denial phase. Because I had a family history, but I was a little disappointed to get it at 27 years old! Oh well.
I treated it in the beginning with oral medications, and diet only. According to my Endocrinologist at the time, he labelled me as a type 2. I eventually started taking oral medications such as Actos and Amaryl. I had very good control using Actos, but little did I know that in 6 months I am going to wind up at the hospital complaining of severe chest pain. So this is what happened on one evening. During this period, I realized that some side effects of Actos such as Congestive Heart Failure are nothing to scoff at. I also gained a tremendous amount of weight even though I wasn’t eating very much, nor was I eating a lot of carbs. It was really just water retention but made my face look all bloated.
All during this time, I was hardly checking my blood sugar because I was deathly afraid of the pin pricking. I would literally sit there with the lancet for at least 30 minutes before I had the courage to press the button it. I am now much better at doing, but I wanted to highlight this point that even if you hate needles, there will come a time when that fear will go away. It will. You just need to be patient and take baby steps towards checking once a day, and then twice, and so on. But don’t give up. Because the mental pre-conception of what the pin prick pain might feel like is overly exaggerated in our heads while the actual pain is almost non-existent. Just have to persevere.
So after the trip to the emergency room, I was cleared of any problems and saw my family doctor who recommended I go off of Actos. He then put me instead on Metformin and Amaryl. Metformin caused me upset stomach everyday but I lived with it because I didn’t really any any other alternatives. Unfortunately, my BG control was not very good with these medications. So after a year of hard thinking, I asked my new endocrinologist to put me on insulin injections. He did, and I still struggled to reach my A1C target of less than 7.0%. I was taking NovoRapid at every meal, and Levemir at bed time.
Fast forward another 2 years, and I have recently started using an insulin pump. Life is definitely easier with the pump, but since it has been less than a month since I’ve started using it, I am already seeing improvements in my blood glucose control. I guess we have to tinker it to get the basal, insulin sensitivity factor, and carb ratios better to get finer control.
Take it from me, dealing with diabetes is a lot like going to school. You have to learn new things, and slowly understand that diabetes is not a death sentence. A lot of people have it, and there is no shame in having it. The only shame should be when you refuse to accept it and let it go out of control. I hope this inspires someone to get better at taking care of their diabetes.