Before and After

Posted on: February 16, 2008

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the differences in my life before and after I was diagnosed with diabetes (type 1). Especially today. One of the symptoms of diabetes is that you feel very tired all of the time. And its not so much of a sleepiness-tired, it is more of an exhaustion tired. I think today I realized just to what extent I really suffered from this. I could fall asleep doing almost anything – babysitting on Wednesday mornings for two young girls in my neighborhood, I was so fatigued that I would have to take a break from playing with them and on occasion, I would fall asleep! Not for any long periods of time, but I always felt guilty and it is never, ever good to fall asleep while you’re babysitting. I remember watching the Super Bowl with my father and sister last year, and after half-time I was so tired that I couldn’t keep my eyes open, and I fell asleep on the couch. When I got up, instead of getting up like a normal person, I was still so groggy/tired that I rolled off the couch onto my hands and knees and (slowly) got up from that position. I remember my father and sister thought something was wrong with me (if only they had known) but I just figured I was still “waking up” from my little nap. We laughed about it then, but in retrospect, it was such a serious sign! It was so easy to attribute this fatigue to burnout from school and activities. I also think that I was somewhat desensitized to it, and I didn’t realize (or refused to realize) how bad the situation truly was because I had had these symptoms for so long. Other times, it would just require such a great exertion of effort on my part to even physically move. I remember in particular I found it physically exhausting to move when I was doing my volunteer shift supervising the Kid’s Club area at the gym – I always wanted to color with the kids so I could sit down and wouldn’t have to move. I sat down whenever I could. When exercising over the summer, if I wasn’t taking a class at the gym, I would use the treadmill – and I found it too difficult to run, so I would walk at a fast pace instead. I felt lazy for walking instead of running like I would at school. Additionally, pretty much any time that I tried to study, I would fall asleep – in the library, in the study “lounge” in the basement of my dorm, anywhere.

Of course, there were the other classic signs, but I found other ways to rationalize these: weight loss – I had just moved to college and started exercising more regularly; extreme thirst – no rationalization for this, really; peeing ALL THE TIME – I was drinking so much water! (hah). There are more, but those aren’t necessarily directly related to diabetes. For instance, I often wake up in the mornings with excruciating leg cramps, and I could not for the life of me why I was experiencing these. It wasn’t a potassium deficiency because I ate at least one banana every day (and still do – I love bananas!), it couldn’t be dehydration because I went through like eight water bottles per day – but it was dehydration. See, I didn’t get the leg cramps during the day because I was constantly drinking water. But I wasn’t drinking water at night, so I would be going without water for hours, yet I would still wake up in the middle of the night to pee, sometimes more than once. Hence, dehydration, and consequently the leg cramps. Dang, they hurt soooo much.

Things have changed so drastically since then. I’m still realizing how sick I was, and how much different life is now. Today I came to an acute realization when I was thinking about the physical exhaustion I experienced before compared to my level of energy now. I think that this is sufficient musing for now, but I will definitely be following up with more posts related to this in the future.

À bientôt!


2 Responses to "Before and After"

This is brave of you to write and yet the honesty and personalness of it is so powerful. I am so proud of you because after all do we not all want to live healthlier lives, but i know sometimes it is scary. The pain is scary, and we just want to believe that it is school or we are just a little stressed. But this is a post of hope. Because you are facing your diabetes and you are going to live a healthly life. I luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuv u~barbaraanne

Thanks for the info. you are very helpful.

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February 2008
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