February 23, 2016

Trying to Gain Control

I am Amy, I’m 22 and was diagnosed with type one diabetes at the age of 12 after waiting two years for my diagnosis. My diabetes started differently to others as the first symptom I had was a so called ‘bruise’ on my foot which wouldn’t go away. I thought I had banged my foot in the pool as I was on holiday at the time but it kept getting bigger until it eventually covered half my foot. My parents kept taking me to the doctors about it but they had no idea what it was and just brushed it under the carpet until later when I started developing other symptoms such as rapid weight loss and urination at night that my mom insisted they did a blood test; I think in her mind she knew what it was. The bruise on my foot turned out to be what I call a Diabetic foot. It’s not the usual type where there is pain, discomfort or lack of sensitivity, in my case its where there has been a build-up of tissue because my blood sugars were so up and down.

Diabetes hit me really hard. Not at the beginning but after what they call the honeymoon period where your body still produces little bits of insulin. My body completely changed after I was diagnosed and I think the shock of that became overwhelming. I was told being diabetic didn’t have to change one aspect of my life and as long as I did my injections and tested my blood. I would be able to live the ‘normal’ life that I did before, eat what I want, continue all my activities and go out with my friends. They were wrong. After a year by body stopped producing insulin altogether and completely relied on the insulin I was injecting which at that time was mixtard 30 twice a day. From that I began putting on weight because I was hungry all the time from by bloods lowering. Even though I knew my insulin was working and I was getting better, the weight thing got the better of me and I stopped taking some of my injections only taking it when I felt I desperately needed it.

The doctors believe I developed diabetes because I caught a virus from some puppies I came into contact with whilst on holiday the previous year. They believe they hadn’t had none of their shots and from that passed on a virus to me that shut down my pancreas. My fault really as I’m a complete dog lover and can’t resist animals. I would still do the exact same thing now to be honest and don’t regret a thing. They came to this conclusion as I have no relatives or anything that have diabetes so did some other tests from different parts of my body.

Looking back now I realise how silly it was and I’m still trying to gain control as I write this. I have been in hospital with DKA twice and as other diabetics know, it’s the worst feeling. I had dramatic symptoms not being able to walk and losing my hair as well as weight. I would be in the shower washing my hair when clumps of hair would just come out in my hand. Even though I only spent 24 hours on a drip it took me 3 months to recover fully from that. I realise now that it’s so much better to be healthy and strong and live a long time. I have been on 4 injections a day for the past 6 years now, taking injections with every meal and although I have improved my levels majorly, my doctors are considering me for a pump to further improve my blood sugars, however, I don’t know how I feel about that one.

It took me until recently to realise that diabetes doesn’t define who you are but just explains you that little bit more. I think I have been in denial for a really long time but now I admit who I am and accept diabetes, I’ve become free with myself and can finally begin to embrace life. I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way but I hope I can help others by sharing my story.  Being a diabetic allows you to meet so many different people with different stories, I like to consider us a little community with true understandings and nothing but love of each other.