Tag: diabetes diagnosis

This Is My Life Support, This Is Type 1 Diabetes

This Is My Life Support, This Is Type 1 Diabetes

By: Katharine Orona

Instagram: @this_is_type_1_diabetes | Blog: thisistype1diabetes


10 years ago I was only a few weeks away from having my life turned upside down and changed forever. I was only weeks away from being diagnosed with an incurable disease, one I didn’t bring upon myself, and one I knew nothing about.

I was about to be diagnosed with Type 1 (LADA) Diabetes.

I had been the picture of health. Perfect blood work results at every checkup, thin, and young. I was 26 years old, about to get married, and recently promoted at work. It was then that I thought I had everything under control and everything seemed to be perfect.

I had all the classic symptoms but didn’t know what they meant: extreme thirst, frequent urination, and rapid unexplained weight loss (at 5 feet tall, I went from 106 lbs to 90 lbs in less than 3 months). My doctor knew right away it was diabetes when I went in with my symptoms. I went to the ER, was immediately admitted, and spent 5 days at the hospital.

After that it took me 5 years to come to terms with my disease.

5 years to go through anger, denial, and grief over losing a life I had known for 26 years. 5 years to decide I was ready to start using a different form of treatment, an insulin pump.

I was so resistant to this technology. I saw it as life support, I saw it as a restriction, I saw it as something I would have to conceal and be ashamed about. When I was finally ready and took the plunge, I loved it from day one. To my surprise, it was freeing, not restricting.

life support

It is life support, but I am thankful for it.

However, I still felt the need to conceal it. I dreaded being asked questions about it or having people wonder why I was wearing a pager (90s folks you know what that is). I felt embarrassed that I needed something to live that other people did not. It took a long time to own it.

A few years later when I was pregnant with my son and my doctor suggested a continuous glucose monitor I went through the same feelings all over again. Another medical device? More things that will make it harder for me to pick an outfit that can conceal that too? But, I knew I had to do it so I did.

My son was worth every awkward stare and every question I faced.

These are tools that I use to make my life a tiny bit more normal. They keep me alive. When my son was born 5 weeks before his due date, and I later made the connection, I realized that he was born on the 6th anniversary of my diabetes diagnosis, at the same hospital I spent those first 5 days after diagnosis.

That fateful day in 2007 that I thought was the worst day of my life, turned out to be the best day of my life 6 years later.

Today I can finally say I not only wear my medical devices with pride, I rock them.

And no matter what method of treatment you choose, know that it’s keeping you alive and you are stronger because of it. Feel comfortable with whatever makes you different. Because it makes you YOU.

As Dr Seuss once said: “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”


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Fertility, Diabetes, & My Miracle Baby

Fertility and Diabetes –

Fertility and Diabetes –


Dear Diabetes,

I lived my life for 33 years with an ease I never understood that I had before you showed up. I had fun and carefree late nights, spontaneous days, and memories that will last forever in bright vivid color.

I met my husband, got married, and decided it was time to really start our family. Then came the word infertility. We decided to start this journey with fertility drugs and were ready.

Then I began to experience symptoms. I began to lose weight. I was SO tired. Then came the water. Drinking and drinking, I just never could get enough. I knew something was wrong but thought it could be just the side effects of the fertility drugs.

I called my OBGYN and she suggested I take a 2 hr glucose test in their office just to rule out diabetes.

My ovulation test indicated pre-ovulation the day before my 2 hr glucose test. We started trying to get pregnant that night. Then the morning of my 2 hr glucose test I was ovulating.

We were planning on trying again when we got home at the end of the day. It was a normal day. My husband went to work. I played with my niece and painted her nails. Then I got the call.

You have diabetes. You must go to the ER now.

This wasn’t suppose to happen. I cried to the doctors that I was ovulating and there might be a chance I was pregnant from the night before. All precautions were taken as I started learning my new normal. I went into the hospital seemingly healthy and left battered, bruised and broken.

The color of the sky, the color of my niece’s nail polish, the color of my world.. was gone. Spontaneous days were now filled with planning. Carefree nights were taken over by you.

The hope of having a child was blurred. The world felt like stone.

Three months after you stormed into my life my A1c was down from 10.7 to 6.1. I was still tracking my ovulation, but was not taking any fertility medication. One day my test said I was ovulating. Two weeks later another test said I was pregnant.

You made life so hard for me. I worked so hard to keep the growing child inside me safe from you. Nine months felt like nine years with you by my side. My due date was October 23rd, also, my first diaversary.

At 38 weeks and 6 days, I gave birth to a beautiful 7 pound baby girl. The moment she looked up at me and all I could see was her BLUE eyes.

Ever since I saw those blues eyes, color has tried to slowly make it’s way back into my life.

I see it every time she smiles with those little white teeth and cherry red lips. I see it in her soft light brown hair that goes in a wave over her ear and I see it in her rosy cheeks. I see life again.

Everyday is not going to be easy, but everyday I’m going to fight.

Because I have snuggles to give, monsters to chase, graduations to see, wedding bells to hear, and grandchildren to love. And if you would excuse me, Type 1 Diabetes, I have a little toddler’s nails to paint.

-Becky


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type 1 diabetes symptoms

A Brave Girl Beating The Odds and Urging Others To Recognize Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms

A Brave Girl Beating The Odds and Urging Others To Recognize Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms

June 2015, Father’s Day weekend. That’s when I first noticed something was seriously wrong. I watched my then 6 year old, chug bottle after bottle of water, pee 3 times an hour and beg for more to drink. She had been doing this for about a week. It’s summer, it’s hot, she’s just thirsty.

I noticed she had thinned down a bit when she came strutting in, in her new bathing suit saying how skinny was. She’s just growing, I told myself. Dark circles plagued her eyes. She’s been sleeping so much though. Her “diva” like ways had become not so cute anymore. She was just being plain mean these days. She had the sweetest smelling breath, too. She must be really brushing those teeth good!

I was able to explain away every sign, not knowing it could pertain to Type 1 Diabetes symptoms.

Fast forward to Father’s Day. We took my husband out to eat at our favorite hibachi restaurant where the serving size always required a left overs box. Not this time. Mady had polished off a man size plate and only had a bite of chicken, a pinch of noodles and a few veggies left. Odd. She’s a growing girl. I told myself this a thousand times.

Monday rolls around, Madysen was feeling ill. Complaining of her belly and head hurting and saying she couldn’t even walk. Okay, little diva. Whatever you say. I’ll just carry you to the bathroom, I guess. She was still using the bathroom regularly, so I kept giving her bottle after bottle of water and gatorade and told myself that it will pass soon.

Around 1am Tuesday morning, the vomiting started. Uh oh, she has indeed picked up a stomach bug. Dang it. Again a few hours later, I was taking her back to the bathroom, her vomit was bright pink this time. Hmm, Okay. Around 7am I noticed her breathing was rather labored. She was having an asthma attack. I ran and got her rescue inhaler. A few pumps and nothing. Crap. She (barely) sat up in bed, looked over at me as I was changing out of my pajamas and said, “Mommy, put some pants on. We need to go to the doctor. NOW.”

Except, I had trouble making out what she had actually just said. Her words were so mumbled and forced, I wasn’t sure what she had just said but I heard ‘doctor’ and ‘NOW’. That’s all I needed. I loaded her up in the car and rushed to the Emergency Room, which was only 5 minutes away.

Once we arrived, they triaged her and vitals looked good. I told them all her symptoms and they didn’t bat an eye. Just the flu, probably. Sweet Relief.

No one had the slightest idea that this could be Type 1 Diabetes symptoms.

They took us back to a room and told us the doctor would be in soon. Still, even though she could barely form a single word, she was still chugging that water. Within a few minutes of the nurse leaving us to wait, Madysen wasn’t breathing right again. Her eye was twitching and her hand squeezed the water bottle so tight, water went everywhere. I yelled for someone to help.

A nurse came in, and then doctor rushed in, took one look at her, laid her bed down, and then he called for a crash cart. Crash cart. I rolled it over in my head a few times. Crash cart. CRASH CART! Why a crash cart? Panic set in.

The realization of my deepest fear hit me like a ton of bricks. She had stopped breathing. I text my husband, who was home with our other two daughters. I told him to get here now. Seconds later, my daughters lifeless little body was being rushed across the hall to the trauma room. Nurses flying by me, rushing to help. No pulse. She’s not breathing. We need to intubate. Cut her clothes off. These words were flying through my brain and I stood there in shock.

My husband made it to my side and there I stood in total disbelief at what was happening. Watching every available nurse and doctor working feverishly to stabilize my baby. She still wasn’t breathing. The doctor came buzzing by me and I heard him call out, “Type 1 Diabetic, sugar 601. Get med flight here now.”

Type 1 Diabetic? It all made sense now. How did I miss that? How all of these Type 1 Diabetes symptoms could easily be misdiagnosed.

Her body was failing. After a few failed attempts at intubating, they finally got it. By then I was a crumbled, crying mess, sitting on the floor of the ER trauma room and my baby was in a coma, not breathing on her own.

Shortly thereafter, a helicopter landed to take us to Children’s hospital. Once we got to Children’s, which is 2 hours away from where we live, they ran multiple tests on her. Our family and close friends came, we prayed, we pleaded and begged, God just let us keep her. You name it, we said we would give it up, just don’t take her. Madysen remained on the ventilator, it was keeping her alive, breathing for her for many hours.

Finally, she started generating a few of her own breaths. She was fighting. My baby wasn’t giving up. She isn’t going down without a fight. We were standing over her, holding hands, praying to our Almighty, then, a miracle happened. She started fighting the breathing tube. One answered prayer. 15 minutes later, they came in and took the tube out. She was breathing on her own but she still wasn’t waking up.

We tried and tried for a response from her. Hours passed by, no change. We prayed over her again and asked for another miracle. Just wake up already, Mads, I kept saying over and over. I wanted nothing more than to see those big brown eyes.

A few minutes later, I bent down, I kissed her sweet little cheek, I told her how proud of her I was and how much I loved her. I promised her we would get through this. I laid my head down next to hers and she whispered a sweet mumbled, “love you.” I once again found myself a crumbled mess on the floor next to her bed, crying, thanking God for another answered prayer.

After the visitors left, we settled down to rest. My mind was racing. What will tomorrow bring? Will she be okay? She WILL wake up, she HAS to wake up. The doctor told us there weren’t any signs of brain damage. Everything looked good. But she still wasn’t awake. She was in a coma. Now we wait.

5am Wednesday morning, the sweetest sound I have EVER heard broke my drowsy state. “Mommy, why are you all the way over there?” My heart felt like it was going to explode. Tears filled my eyes. She’s awake, she’s talking, and she was seriously confused as to why she had tubes and wires coming and going from all over her body. My girl was going to be okay. I took my first real breath in what seemed like forever.

The next two days were filled with questions and carbs and formulas. How in the world will I ever remember all of this?

Life as we knew it had forever changed and became one big math test. I hated math.

It’s been 14 months since diagnosis and Madysen is thriving. She hasn’t let T1D slow her down. She has accepted that this is life. We are a T1D family. A family that wants others to be aware of Type 1 Diabetes symptoms, for it, could save lives.

June 23, 2015, Madysen was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.
June 9, 2016, on her 7th birthday, Madysen was diagnosed with Epilepsy. She is an inspiration to everyone she meets, and has the best support team from our family, friends, and our community.

She is my hero. My fighter. My warrior. My brave, brave little girl.

Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms in Both Children & Adults:

  • Frequent Urination
  • Weight Loss
  • Increased Thirst
  • Fatigue and Weakness
  • Blurred Vision
  • Irritability and Mood Changes

Other Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms Resources:


Diabetesorg/Webmd


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