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The date December 15 sticks in my head like an anniversary or the birth of a child. However, this day gave me less than joyful news: it was the day that I found out I had diabetes!
There were many things leading up to this discovery, including major weight loss due to loss of appetite, sleeping all day and night and my vision had gotten worse throughout the days. Another symptom included uncontrollable headaches which were the worst!
Read more: How Diabetes Affected My Family
It noticeably started when I found that I began having an uncontrollable itch or “pulling” sensation down below. I experienced a very cottage cheese-like discharge (I know, disgusting!) I went to the doctor and because I hadn’t made any changes in my routine, I ask to be tested for everything.
I was told that it was a yeast infection as most women commonly get but while I was there I wanted to be tested for everything, just to be sure.
THE DOCTOR INFORMED ME THAT THEY FOUND I A LOT OF SUGAR IN MY URINE.
I didn’t know what that meant so I wanted to get the results of my tests before jumping to conclusions. Besides, the doctor did not seem worried. She gave me a 7-day pill treatment for possible UTI along with a 1 dose pill treatment to clear up the yeast infection following blood work to make sure everything else was normal.
That afternoon, I went home and told my family that I had a sweet pee, you know, like sweet tea and jokingly asked if they wanted a glass. We all laughed and didn’t think too much about it.
Almost two weeks after my visit to the doctor on December 14th, which also happened to be my 40th birthday, I had a nose bleed and fainted. I called the doctor that day to make an appointment the following day. At the time, the itchiness had not gone away and I had been concerned after taking the medication as I was still experiencing discomfort and now, nosebleeds.
Read more: Diabetes Discovery: So, This is My Life Now
What I remember most about that day was that I had a panic attack so severe I scared myself into thinking I was going to get the worst possible news ever! The longer that I sat in the waiting room for the doctor, the smaller that room became. I filled the time with thoughts of cancer, HIV, Herpes – basically, any horrible diagnosis that could be thought of, I was having. I could no longer breath so I ran out the room and told the nurse that when the doctor is ready, I’m outside getting some fresh air.
There is one tiny detail I left out of all this – I had started drinking four and five large 24oz of water each day! My family was cheering me on for the new habit I had formed over the last few months. I, too, thought “Wow, go me!” for wanting to only drink water. I even bought a special cup to keep water in.
Moving along, the nurse found me outside and requested that I come in to speak with the doctor. The doctor came in and told me she reviewed my lab work. Then, she delivered the craziest news that I never thought I would receive: “You have diabetes.”
She looked at me and went on, talking for what seemed like only a few seconds because I had missed every word she said after the announcement. What I remember was that she came armed with all these print-outs and said, “You need to sit down with your family and tell them about the dangers of your condition.”
WHAT WAS SHE TALKING ABOUT WHAT DANGERS AND WHAT CONDITIONS DO I HAVE? I thought to myself as I was holding papers that I didn’t remember reaching for.
While driving home, I thought about how I had just turned 40 yesterday and that this doctor, who wasn’t my regular doctor because my regular doctor was out, had made some sort of mistake or something.
I’m skinny and don’t have poor eating habits. In fact, I’m drinking so much water and my skin looks great! The paperwork work discussed what to do in case of a diabetic emergency so I knew I would have to sit down with my family and read the paperwork she had given me together.
That night, my 11-year-old son, 18-year-old daughter, my husband and I gathered on the living room sofa as I told them what the doctor had said, “The doctor said that I have diabetes and here is what we need to know in case of an emergency: I need orange juice and hard candy, I guess.” Everyone was silent and just looking at me as if they were expecting more information. I didn’t have more information and I didn’t even know what I was saying while I was saying it.
My daughter, in her normal fashion, began to cry while my husband quickly grabbed his phone to do what he normally likes to do when he doesn’t know something: “Google it”. All the while, my 11-year-old was looking at my daughter for her reaction.
We placed the paperwork, information and emergency instructions on the refrigerator and by the end of the night, I had 7 bags of Life Savers and each one of the 6-pack of orange juice. The next day was Saturday and we were all in for a shock.
To be continued….look for my story “Starting Treatment”.