TypeofL1fe

Posts Tagged ‘type 1

So today is World Diabetes Day, and I figured I should probably do something, even though (or especially because) I haven’t written here for weeks… oops.

In a lucky stroke of impeccable timing, I serendipitously happened upon this video on the New York Times Health page.  It’s snippets from a day in the life of a normal 16-year-old girl, recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.  It gives a pretty good overview of things, albeit at a very basic level.  The one thing that was weird to me was that she used blood samples from her forearm to test her BG – not her fingertips, which I can’t say I’ve ever heard of anyone using anything other than their fingertips.  I think I may have come across a booklet or two that mention using one’s palm or forearm, but by and large, the common practice is to use one’s fingertip.

Anyways, it was interesting to see, and kind of touching.  Seeing another young, newly diagnosed diabetic hit home a little bit.

Back to WDD: this year’s theme is “Diabetes in Children and Adolescents,” addressing the growing numbers of youth with diabetes.  Check out the website for more information about the campaign and need-to-know facts about this disease.

Fun Fact: According to the WDD website, November 14 is designated as World Diabetes Day to commemorate the “birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, first conceived the idea which led to the discovery of insulin in 1922.”  And how very grateful I am for that.  It absolutely dumbfounds me that this discovery took place less than one hundred years ago.  Sometimes I wonder how close to death I really came, because I know that I was not in a good state when I was diagnosed.  And because of the serendipitous (love that word!) nature of the circumstances leading to my diagnosis, I wonder if and/or when something else would have happened to send me to the hospital.  It’s scary to think that I might not be alive today if things hadn’t fallen into place the way they did (although I might rather argue that it was more of a disruption), because as hard as that is to believe, it could have happened.  It speaks a lot to the fact that there remains a lot to be done in the realm of diabetes awareness and education, even (and especially) today.  So do your part, and spread the word.  And if you don’t know much about diabetes, investigate a little!  Satisfy your curiousity.  Even just a little bit of knowledge helps. 🙂

Kerri Morrone, over at Six Until Me, has designated today, April 14, as Type 1 Diabetes Awareness Day. I had planned to relate my diagnosis story today, but I am running late, as usual. I have a post in the works, and I had hoped to finish by today, but no dice. I’m in the last home stretch of the semester, with two weeks of classes to go, followed by one last week of finals. And of course, various papers, tests and homework assignments have piled up and I feel like I am in too deep to redeem myself. But I have to do something, and so all there is left to do is work, work, work. So, I promise that I will publish my story within the next few weeks, once the frenzy has subsided. Until then, I strongly encourage you to engage in some self-education on the subject of diabetes. Do you know someone who has it? Have a question for them? Ask!!! I know I would much rather be asked a question about something than to let common misconceptions remain intact. Do some digging: inform yourself, read blogs, ask questions – it’s what the day is all about.

Some good places to start:
http://www.diabetesmonitor.com/
http://www.diabetes.org/home.jsp
Here’s a good analogy…

P.S. On an unrelated note, April 14 is also the date that the RMS Titanic hit an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean and sank. I was mildly obsessed/fascinated with reading about the Titanic as a kid (no idea why), and just wanted to remark on the date.  I know. I’m weird.

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!