My T1D Diagnosis Story

4/2/2020 • T1D

I found out I was diagnosed (Dx’d, for short) on December 27th of 2015, just a few years ago. I was 22 years old at the time, and as I mentioned in my last post, I felt like I was just starting to figure out how to be an adult, and then, boom. It felt like it all changed.

I was home for the holiday break and in the days leading up to landing myself in the hospital, well, I just didn’t feel right. The symptoms came on subtly, but quickly. I just attributed each abnormal feeling to jetlag and exhaustion from the year, but it turned out, that all of the signs were just those that come with having an extremely high blood sugar level. I remember feelings of confusion, irritability, extreme headaches, and just feeling like I could faint. I realized I wasn’t quite right when I noticed how much water I was drinking. I just couldn’t get enough to drink and I was making frequent trips to the bathroom at least 5x per hour.

My mom, a nurse of nearly 30 years at the time, recognized the symptoms, and after telling her what was going on, immediately took me to the hospital. For a healthy individual, glucose values range between 80-110mg/dL. At the time, mine was 537mg/dL. Boo. I’m not a person who scares easily, but at that moment, I was terrified. As a kid, I had more than my fair share of hospital visits. I grew up with osteogenesis imperfecta, often called brittle bone disease, and throughout the course of my childhood, had broken 14 bones in total. So, I was used to the setting of a hospital and doctor’s room visits, but this just felt different. Bones heal, but this felt and was forever.

Beyond the initial diagnosis, the rest of the hospital visit was equally as challenging. For the remainder of my 48-hour stay, the nursing staff focused on bringing my sugar down to normal levels, all while helping me better prepare for my new future of giving myself multiple daily injections of insulin, teaching me how to treat hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) events, and educating me on what type 1 diabetes is and how to try to best live with it on a daily basis. It was a lot. Before this, I really had no idea what diabetes was, the differences between type 1 and 2, and what it would mean for my life ahead.

Almost five years later, in many ways, I feel like I’m still figuring it all out, and it feels like it might continue to be that way for some time to come. I’d love to share more on daily routines in the future, but in short, insulin brings your sugars down and food (carbohydrates) brings your sugar up. It’s this difficult, time-delayed balancing act that exists each day, every day.