Diabetes & Health

All About that Diabetes

Happy Friday Everyone!

I’m sorry it has been quiet on the blog this last week. We have been packing and cleaning a lot because Seth and I are moving most of our stuff into our new place tomorrow. Hopefully with a few friends and a big u-haul we can get us moved rather quick!

Today I wanted to share my story about being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Please feel free to ask any questions that you may have. Many diabetics don’t like talking about their diabetes, but if I can bring awareness by sharing my story and opening it for any questions then I will. 🙂 This will be a two-part blog, so stay tuned for the second part next week.

My story starts when I was younger. Growing up I was sick a lot with strep throat and the flu. I even had a case of the shingles, which is crazy because I had never had chicken pox before. Fast forward to Thanksgiving break during my freshmen year at OBU, I came down with a terrible case of the flu. I was so sick that we stayed home on Thanksgiving Day because I could barely move. Getting the flu was probably the culmination of sickness going around school, not getting enough sleep as a freshmen in college, and not eating or exercising like I should have been. Once I got back to school, I tried really hard to eat well, continue to exercise 3-4 times a week, and get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. I made it through finals week and spent my two week Christmas break relaxing and spending time with family.

As a Freshmen at OBU, you have to take J-term which meant me having to go back to school at the beginning of January. I felt good going back! I felt refreshed, relaxed, and ready to start classes again. I made it through J-term with an A and even was selected to go to a National Conference representing OBU in New York City at the end of January! When Spring classes started everything was going well until the second week of classes. I stopped going to class because I couldn’t get out of bed and I constantly felt dehydrated.

I ended up going to the doctor because of how I was feeling. The doctor thought that I was depressed; therefore, I was put on an anti-depressant to see if I would get any better. It defiantly did not get better.

By mid February, I had missed most of my classes, lost 12 pounds, and stopped going to work or hanging out with any friends. I was miserable and the only way for me to get through a day was by sleeping. It was like I was a zombie.

My mom thought I needed to come home so she could take me to Urgent Care in Broken Arrow. I remember that day like it was yesterday. It was February 25th, rainy and cold. My mom went into work early to finish a last minute deadline. I drove 45 minutes to her work in Broken Arrow & before we went to Urgent Care we stopped at Panera Bread so I could get a blueberry muffin because I was so hungry.

After scarfing down the blueberry we made our way to Urgent Care. My mom had to fill out my paperwork because I could barely keep my eyes open – I was very lethargic. As the nurse called my name we made our way back into the waiting room. I told the Physician Assistant how I was feeling: drinking water all the time, going to the bathroom 8-9 times throughout the night, feeling tired, and sleeping most of the time. She mentioned that checking my blood sugar was a good idea, but it was very odd to my mom because no one in our family is diabetic. It’s something that we had no idea about and hadn’t considered.

The PA checked my blood sugar and it was so high that the meter would not even read it. The meter just read HIGH in all caps. The PA preceded to tell us that we must immediately go to St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa and that a team of doctors would be waiting for us.

As my mom was driving us to St. Francis I could see tears coming from the sides of her eyes. She knew what this meant for me. She knew that my life was about to change forever.

The next few hours were a blur. As soon as we got to St. Francis they took me back and had me lay down. The ER nurse tried 5 different times to get an IV in me, none of them worked because my veins had collapsed from being dehydrated. The head ER doctor had to come in, put my bed in an upward slope (were my head was lower than my feet) and put the IV in my neck. Once the IV was put in, my mom and I were taken to a dark room so I could rest until my room was ready in the ICU.

I was taken into ICU because I had gone into DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) which is a life threatening condition that develops when cells in the body are unable to get the sugar (glucose) they need for energy because there is not enough insulin.

When the sugar cannot get into the cells, it stays in the blood. The kidneys normally offset this by filtering some of the sugar from the blood and remove it from the body through urine, which is bad news.

Because the cells cannot receive sugar for energy in this state, the body begins to break down fat and muscle for energy. When this happens, ketones, or fatty acids, are produced and enter the bloodstream, causing the chemical imbalance called diabetic ketoacidosis.

That evening of February 25th, I was wheeled up to ICU. At the time, my dad was working in Washington D.C. When he heard what had happened he was on the next flight out and got to my hospital room around midnight.

I feel like this is an abrupt ending, but I don’t want this post to be too long. Next weeks post will include details about my recovery period, training, and my acclimation to the diabetic lifestyle.