Origin Story

Well, it sounds cooler than “diagnosis story.”

So how does a twenty-eight year old find herself suddenly joining the ranks of diabadasses? (And, hey, isn’t Type 1 supposed to be a kid’s disease? Short answer: no.)

Well, it was not so sudden. Frankly, don’t wait to go to the doctor as long as I did, okay? Okay.

So for Halloween in 2015 I get to go to Walt Disney World with my beau. We have a blast, return home, and boom. Con crud. My headcold quickly becomes a sinus infection. Antibiotics and like an extended out-sick weekend later I finally climb out of bed and try to work full days. I lose a significant amount of weight from being sick, and while that’s frustrating I’m pretty sure I’ll gain it back.

I resume eating regularly and as much as I can, but I never regain the weight. Actually, I keep loosing it.

Fast forward past Thanksgiving, past Christmas, past the New Year. Aside from moving to my own apartment just before Thanksgiving I honestly I don’t remember a lot of the holiday season that year. It’s fun but I’m also a bit drained. I keep losing weight, keep trying to eat more, and keep trying to figure out my deficiency. Vitamins? Veggies? Sunshine? Maybe it’s just stress from moving and setting up my own place?

Now we’re in spring and I’m drinking so much it’s like I can’t make my throat muscles stop swallowing. I’m getting worried. Soda, water, juice, whatever I can get and more of it please. This leads to frequent bathroom stops. Like a lot. And one day I’m driving to work and suddenly realize that my left eye is distinctly blurry even with my glasses. Right eye too, but not as bad.

I see my eye doctor. Whoops, it’s been two years, not one, since my last appointment, so my prescription needs have indeed changed. Okay. New glasses rush ordered before my trip back to visit my parents and brother in my home state and I’m fine.

I also get a blood screening, but it was free and I got what I paid for: a nice hematoma that hurts for a week solid and a long wait for results.

Visit to Oklahoma before my birthday and I still can’t stop drinking. Family and friends notice I’m thin, but I still haven’t realized the visual difference although I’m not happy with the numbers on the scale. It’s a nice trip and a lot of fun but I’m also ready to be back home in my own apartment. Plus I have exciting plans for my twenty-eighth birthday: Rapunzel party!

That was a wonderful day, but looking back at that picture of my face is painful now. (Though sometimes I miss the blue hair.)

Also the strangest thing happens. For a week or two, I don’t need my glasses or my contacts, which I have worn since I was like twelve. My vision improves to the point that I’m safely driving and reveling in how well I can see street signs unaided. In my delight I also think, what the heck, I just bought new glasses, whut!

My birthday gift to myself is the adoption of my first pet, an eleven-year-old tabby whom I lovingly call the Old Man. He immediately has transition stress and health concerns and mine take a backseat while I watch over him.

Meanwhile I’m still not realizing quite how thin I’m becoming but I notice my clothes don’t fit anymore, including undergarments. My legs cramp so bad at night and I think I need potassium but have no bananas or other ideas so I make the worst mistake of my life: never eat a spoonful of straight table salt. Eughhh. I still get a headache every single time I think about that night. The Old Man looks at me like I’m an idiot and he is clearly worried.

Sometimes I look back and wonder just what my thought capacity was in those days.

The blood test results come in and it’s not looking good. My blood glucose is over 300 and my a1C is like 13 or 14. That’s high. That’s way diabetic high. But, I think there’s a possibility it could be a false positive. I hold out hope. Just a little.

Finally I find and choose a doctor and make an appointment for myself. The day before my appointment I feel condemned and confused. There’s no way the blood work is a false positive. I also am just desperate for an answer, any answer with a remedy. It’s an incredible struggle to walk two short blocks in to work every day.

July 6th, 2016 I leave work early hoping for an answer. I don’t even care if it is diabetes. I’ve already been reading up and refreshing my sixth grade knowledge of Type 1 Diabetes from the research paper topic I chose. And I go prepared. I have a whole, long list printed up nice and neat for my doctor explaining my symptoms of the past several months. Turns out they’re all classic symptoms, and not just the thirst and bathroom stops. (Weak grip, slippery fingers, tight skin…)

He listens patiently and openly. Then after a few minutes, he confirms everything with a nod and saying, “You’ve got a little diabetes.”

Honestly I don’t remember how I reacted. Acceptance and shock at the same time. I know I’m going to hate this later, but I want my medicine. God please let me have something to make me feel better.

Then he asks, “Are you squeamish about needles?”

I hesitate with embarrassment, but I have to admit that yes, I am. “A little.”

Does it matter? Yes, but not now.

He talks me through the process and gives me my first dose of artificial insulin on the tiny bit of body fat I have left on my abdomen. Then he writes out a prescription for more and for a glucose monitor.

I am numb when I call my beau from the parking lot.

I know I cried, but I don’t remember when, on the phone or after. Really all I can think is I have to handle this. Think and feel later. Follow the steps now.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I had just become a diabadass.

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