From Diabetes Diagnosis to Motherhood
"I was 21 years old when I was diagnosed as being Type 1 diabetic. I had been sick for two weeks - tired, frequent urination, thirsty, weight loss - the whole nine yards. No one in my family is diabetic so that never crossed my mind. I went to my gynecologist and she ordered some lab work thinking that my hormones were out of whack. This was on a Monday and I did not do the lab work until Thursday. By Friday I was so sick and just wanted to sleep. I could not hold my head up I was so sleepy and sick.
I work in an ambulatory surgery center and went to the recovery room to talk to one of the nurses and she sent me to the doctor. I got to the doctor and I had yeast in my mouth so he said that I had esophagitis and sent me home. Well, as I was checking out of the hospital the phone rang and it was my gynecologist and she wanted to speak with the doctor ASAP.
They sent me back to the room and told me that I was diabetic and that he was admitting me into the hospital. I did blood work when I got to the hospital and they sent me to a room. Before I got settled in the room, two nurses came in and told me I was in Ketoacidosis and that I would be going to ICU and my family could wait in the waiting room.
I had never been so scared in my life. I was lucky and I thank God for that. I have recently had a little baby girl and I did great through the pregnancy. I would like to say thank you to Dr. Cheryl S. for her aggressiveness with the blood work and also for her care through my pregnancy. Diabetes is a hard disease. I am now 24 and I have good days and bad but my suggestion to any diabetic is to stay positive and to take care of yourself."
Kacie C., Texas
47 Years Living the "Sweet Life"
"It was two days before my tenth birthday (47 years ago) and the big joke was that this year it fell on Friday the 13th. The "curse" was that it wasn't even the 13th and I was feeling horrible. I had bad pains in my legs, I was always thirsty, and I couldn't stay awake. The good part was that I'd lost some weight and had yet to go shopping for new clothes.
I awoke Thursday morning to my mother telling me I didn't have to go to school. Was this an early birthday present? No,we were going to find out what was wrong with me. We had a 2PM appointment at The Joslin Clinic in Boston and I had been instructed to eat lightly. Light it was-I ate jello all day. In those days there was no such thing as "sugar-free" foods or soda. Little did I realize that this would eventually lead to my blood sugar being 660 mg.at my initial clinic visit.
This was the prelude to my life with diabetes. I went through the early years of my disease being guided by renown physicians like Elliot P. Joslin and Dr. Priscilla White. However, it didn't negate the burdens of having to boil one's urine in Benedicts solution to determine how much insulin to take nor did it alleviate the spurs on the steel needles that had to be boiled weekly along with the glass syringes. There were few choices in foods and fewer choices in insulin regimes.
How things have changed! How lucky to be diagnosed with diabetes today, rather than years ago, with all the knowledge and alternatives presently available. There are food options, pump options, groups to speak with, acknowledgment of a disease one can live with as opposed to one that you die from. The changes that have occurred over the past 47 years are vast and new discoveries present new options to "we" diabetics frequently that were never thought of years ago.
Never did I think that the approach my parents used with my diabetes-acting as emotional outlets as opposed to emotional corks-would lead me into my present position in life. I am a Board Certified Diplomat in Clinical Social Work and counsel many diabetics and their family members as to the psychosocial dynamics of this disease. It's interesting how the treatment approach to this disease has changed...but the psychological impact hasn't. This is the dynamic that is so challenging: why is it that some are able to cope and deal while others aren't? Why is it that some are willing to calculate and bolus while others deny and invite complications? These are some of the questions that have challenged and intrigued me- motivated me to speak with and work along with other diabetics. My belief is that we have choices. My choice in dealing with this disease is to control "it" and not allow "it" to control me. I have two and a half years left before receiving my 50 year medal from the Joslin Clinic. I remember on Day One being told of this medal and what it represents. I believe that all of "us" should strive to achieve a healthy life...a life that is fulfilling and fulfilled. A life that is sweet from life's gifts rather than sweetened by our body's deficiencies. We have that choice."
Marjorie S., New York
A Lifetime with Diabetes
When I was 11 months old, my parents were told I had "TB" (tuberculosis), but they did not think that I did. Finally my third doctor, who had Type 1 since he was thirteen, asked my parents for a wet diaper, from which to do a urinalysis. It came up positive for diabetes, and he sent me to the hospital immediately and told my parents that I had a 50/50 chance of living through the night!
I recovered after a month in the hospital, and my parents had to adjust to the routine of giving their infant daughter a shot. In those days shots were given through glass syringes and large steel needles - one to charge the bottle of insulin and one to administer the injection.
I am now approaching 50, and I have given birth to three healthy sons, and just recently became a grandmother.
I was only hospitalized when I was initially diagnosed, and my parents kept the whole family on the same diet. In those days a safe diet was very limited in choices, but I was fortunate enough to be under the care of numerous endocrinologists, some of which were very famous. My case was actually written up in medical books, for being diagnosed at such an early age was very unusual.
I thank my parents for taking such good care of me, because I did not suffer any of the possible conditions such as: blindness, kidney failure, etc. I am a relatively healthy person, and I enjoy not having to use glass syringes these days, and I love the new blood glucose meters, that do such a better job than urine tests. But most of all the choices in insulin is best.
I look forward to a day when no one will have to inject themselves.
Ileana T., Colorado