Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes as an Adult: The Day That Changed My Life Forever

Diagnosed With Type 1 Diabetes as an adult

Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes as an Adult: The Day That Changed My Life Forever
By: Valerie Abner

I’m approaching my 2nd Type 1 Diabetes birthday and just turned 41. Yes, I’m one that was fortunate enough to be diagnosed at 39. I’m the mom who was saved by my mom and my son’s broken leg.

Here is my story on how I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as an adult:

July 6, 2021 . . . it’s the day that my life changed forever.  It’s the day that I now like to call my birthday.

It all began with what I thought was a stomach virus on July 4th.  I was on the couch all day.  The next day was a Sunday and just as anyone recovering from a virus, I was weak, but feeling better.  We went to a nearby park for the afternoon.  My son was playing on the playground and fell from the fireman’s pole, fracturing his leg in two places.

After leaving the hospital we had to get pain medication and when we arrived back at home, I was sick all over again.  I vaguely remember falling asleep on the bathroom floor.  Monday morning came and again I was weak, but feeling some better.  My husband had to go for a meeting and my mother came to stay with us, mostly to care for my son.

The symptoms were just the same.  I thought maybe I was dehydrated and began drinking Gatorade, and lots of it.  It was just after lunch when I lost control of myself.  I was dizzy, confused, lethargic and completely out of my mind.  I could not catch my breath.  I somehow got back in the bed when my mom found me and called for an ambulance.

I knew nothing.  Not even enough to know that I was in serious danger.

At the age of 39… Who would have ever thought that I would be diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes as an adult?  I spent the next week in ICU being treated for diabetic ketoacidosis or DKA.  If it wasn’t for my son’s broken leg, my mother probably would not have been at our house. Today, I’m grateful for both.

I was on numerous shots for the first 4 months.  My body went into a chemical imbalance and then I fell into depression.  I could not eat or sleep.  I was nauseous.  My legs ached and I could not function on a daily routine.  I was losing weight.  I would pray each day just to get me to bedtime and at bedtime pray just to wake up the next morning.

It was horrible.  The worst feeling in the world.  It was on my September 2015 visit to the endocrinologist that she realized I would not make it without the insulin pump.  I’m currently using an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor.

Oh, how I am so thankful for so many things.  I am thankful for broken bones. Without that I may not be here today.  It was through those life events that called out for help on the day that I would need it the most.  I am thankful for the Lord above that knew that I would be needed for so much more.  I am thankful for a family that loves me and has fought this battle every step of the way beside me.  I am thankful for every day that I’m alive.

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4 thoughts on “Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes as an Adult: The Day That Changed My Life Forever

  1. Just imagine how a young little kid feels when he gets type1 diabetes. For the rest of his/her life they will have to live with it. Consider yourself lucky to get type1 later in life..

    1. I don’t think she should consider herself lucky because she got it when she was an adult.. I got it when I was 4 and I honestly didn’t know any other way so I now consider myself lucky I got it as a kid and not an adult.. It’s hard getting it at any age really..

  2. Ivan, I was diagnosed at 45 and do consider myself a ‘lucky one’ every day. My grandmother was diagnosed at 41 (‘generic diabetes) in 1961. She was not so lucky. Lucky enough for it to be 1961 and to have exogenous insulin, but before many of the new contraptions and gizmos available to all type 1 diabetics. The way I see it: we are alive and lucky enough to be diagnosed/affected after 1922, regardless of our age.

  3. “I knew nothing. Not even enough to know that I was I serious danger” this explains DKA / Type 1 diagnosis perfectly!! Thank you, I often look back and feel sort of Dumb because I allowed myself to become so sick but I seriously lost my ability to think or reason. I love how you talk about thinking you were starting to feel better at times (same here, looking back it was because I hadn’t eaten) I made the same mistake with Gatorade, that was the last drink I had before ending up in ICU, thankfully I spilt half of it ❤️ It was red. Good luck, take care 😊

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