Life in LADA land

Living Philippians 1:6 with type 1.5 diabetes

What? Me? Diabetic? part 1

on March 18, 2012

There was nothing subtle about how diabetes entered my life. The best description is that it whacked me over the head.

On Thanksgiving in 2010, I got really thirsty after our family feast.  I didn’t really think much about it, since after all, it was Thanksgiving, and I had just eaten an enormous amount of food, including several kinds of pie. I figured there was just more salt in the food than I realized.  But, the thirst did not go away in the days following, and on our way home from Missouri to Ohio, my distance vision suddenly blurred.  That was pretty scary, I have to say.  I had studied Nutrition in college and graduate school, so I recognized the symptom of thirst as being an indicator of diabetes.  I didn’t remember the blurred vision symptom, but it turns out it is pretty common too.  So when we got home, I did some reading and confirmed both symptoms. I saw an opthalmologist first, to make sure there was nothing intrinsically wrong with my eyes.  When all he found was a dramatically different prescription for glasses, he asked if I had any other symptoms. I reluctantly told him of my thirst, and he quickly recommended I see my primary care doc.  I had already made that appointment.  Meanwhile, I had cut way back on my carbohydrate intake, and the thirst was more tolerable, though my vision didn’t improve.

So I saw my doc on December 20, 2010 (which I now “celebrate” as my Diaversary) and when he checked my fasting blood glucose (BG), it was around 275.  He was floored and looked (frantically, it seemed to me) back through my records to see if he had missed any indications that this was coming on in previous visits.  He hadn’t.  He was incredibly supportive and sympathetic, which was really wonderful.  We have always had a good rapport, but this new development has really made me appreciate him and his concern for me and my welfare.  He pulled out a glucose meter and test strips, and said he wanted me to start testing about 4 times a day.  He put me on Metformin/glypizide, assuming I was a type 2, which at age 54 and just over 200 pounds, was a reasonable guess.  He wanted to see me back in a month, and to see the practice’s diabetic educator as soon as possible.

The meds did little to lower my BG over the following weeks.  So, we added Levemir, and lo and behold, my morning BGs came down nicely, but for the rest of the day, my BGs were still high.  So, by March, I was on not only Levemir at night, but short acting insulin for each meal.  No more Metformin, but Victoza entered my life to add to the injection fun.  The life of injections, finger-pricking, record-keeping and carb-counting began in earnest now. It seemed like I had gotten caught up in some kind of bad dream, and I think it didn’t really hit me at that point that this was the way life was going to be from then on. I realized later that I really did not feel well during those days. My energy was very low, and I felt like I was just going through the motions of my work and home lives, as if I was outside looking in on myself.

The parallels between life with diabetes and life as a Christian were beginning to take hold of me, but I was really preoccupied with just dealing with regulating my BG, and didn’t have the energy or perspective yet to deal with anything else. I just tried to lean into my faith as the support for getting through the bad days (and there were a lot of those). And I had plenty of friends around praying for me. One very sweet man at church promised to pray for my “delta” cells to start functioning again. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it was my beta cells he needed to pray for. I figured God would know the difference!

Well, this is probably way too long for a post.  I’ll come back in a day or two with the rest of the story (my apologies to Paul Harvey, for those of you who remember him!). Then we can  get on to talking about everyday life in LADA land.

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