Thursday, May 6, 2010

Introductions, of all kinds.

I am 30 years old, and I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes 4 days ago.

This was a shock on so many levels.  My doctor decided to test my fasting blood sugar when I had cracks at the corners of my mouth (this is usually a type of yeast infection, and yeast loves high blood sugar).  I came back to her office for those tests with a fully healed mouth, which made her think that the blood sugar probably wasn't an issue... but she wanted some "baseline" test results anyway.

Thank goodness she went forward with the tests.

She called me back in to discuss the results.  I half expected her to say I might be pre-diabetic.  I did not expect her to tell me that I had a fasting blood sugar of 342 (anything over 170 indicates the possibility of diabetes, but 342 is really high!).  She said she felt the need to make sure that was a "real number," and ordered another blood sugar test plus some other related tests.

I then spent a long weekend camping with friends and psyching myself up to deal with my likely diabetes with diet and exercise, which can sometimes be a successful method of managing Type 2 Diabetes even without medication... and I certainly knew that it must be Type 2... even though 30 is pretty young to be getting Type 2 unless there are other significant factors that didn't really apply to me.  But Type 1 just happens to kids.... right?

Wrong.  Late Monday afternoon, my doctor called me with the results.

"You're diabetic... and I think it's type 1, but I don't know why."

Cue confusion, tears, and denial.  I'd cried when I heard the first test results and felt that I'd come to terms with the likely diagnosis... but here was something I hadn't prepared for.  I thought I'd be taking a pill and changing my lifestyle for the better, but now I was being prescribed insulin and a glucometer.

And I'd be using them for the rest of my life, barring medical breakthrough.

Flabbergasted, I started googling when I got home (as did my husband and my mother, who is a nurse)...  Oh, it's not so uncommon for adults to develop Type 1?  That's news to me.  But still, most of the information out there is geared toward parents of children with type 1, or adults developing type 2.

I'd like this blog to contribute to the gap that exists.

How does it feel to be diagnosed with Type 1 at 30?  Unbelievable.  Scary.  Out of control.  Confusing.  Overwhelming.

I think I had a little more knowledge of diabetes and its treatment than the average person, but I still feel totally lost... and I keep having thoughts that I logically know are wrong.  Such as, what if I did this to myself?  What if herbal supplements wiped out my pancreas?  Too many vitamins?  Or could it have been drinking, my yo-yo weight, or some medicine I didn't take correctly?

That irrational guilt crosses over into other areas, like feeling terrible that my husband and family will have to deal with this along with me.  I even find myself worrying that I'll bum people out with the news.

Even though I know it's not my fault... that doesn't necessarily mean I feel it's not my fault.

This week, I've bounced back and forth between areas of the grieving process.  A good amount of depression, a healthy dose of anger, occasional denial, the rare instance of acceptance, and certainly some bargaining.

One of the worst parts is that I've been in limbo.  I know I'm diabetic and I've gotten all my "gear," but my doctor recommended I not start insulin treatment until my "training" tomorrow morning.  I could have had my mother help me and get me started, but I also saw the value in waiting so I could get comfortable with it over the weekend, before doing and glucose monitoring it at work.  (I don't have to worry about insulin at work just yet, though.)

I am so eager to start being proactive in taking care of my body, and I'm interested to see how different I feel.  My GP is starting me on what seems to be a very conservative treatment plan, and I imagine that's partly so my endocrinologist can make the decisions on how to really tackle this.  But jeez, something will be so much better than nothing!

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