I went to 5 doctors before I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes

I went to 5 doctors before I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes
  • When I lost weight, I was easily fatigued and had blurry vision, I didn’t know what was going on.
  • I went to five health professionals and they didn’t know what was wrong with me either.
  • My husband rushed me to the ER and blood tests showed I had type 1 diabetes.

I wasn’t surprised when I came down with a stomach bug over Thanksgiving in 2005. I worked non-stop for the last six months to get my master’s degree. In addition to taking two graduate classes, both in the evening, I was teaching an entry-level writing class for mostly college freshmen. Thanksgiving was the first break I had in months.

I thought that I would recover quickly, as I always had. But I did not gain back the 5 pounds I lost during my illness. Despite eating thousands of calories a day, and consuming much of it in the form of juice to quench my incredible thirst — I kept losing weight. I went from a size 6 to a size 00 in about six months.

The symptoms began to accumulate seemingly without explanation.

I also started experiencing chronic sinus infections that never completely went away, even with strong antibiotics. I went to the doctor each time, coming out with the same diagnosis and a new prescription.

My symptoms progressed. I began to feel depressed about my weight. I bought padded bras to make up for the breast tissue I was losing and layered all my clothes to look bigger than I was. My classmates and students whispered about me, and the teachers looked at me with growing concern. The strategic wardrobe he had begun to wear was fooling no one.

My GP referred me to a dietitian. He was excited to see her, hoping that she give me some answers. Instead, he told me to eat more calories, and he wasn’t sure how he would handle that. Despite being very skinny, weighing less than 100 pounds on my 5-foot-8 frame, I was usually bloated from all the juice I was drinking.

Around this time, I also had my annual eye exam. The doctor handed me my prescription, I picked out new glasses and ordered contacts. However, when I received them, my vision was still blurry. I went back to the doctor several times, complaining that I couldn’t see well. He was exasperated with me, as much as I was exasperated with him.

I also decided to see an ENT specialist for my sinus infections. This appointment was not only expensive but useless. I left with no answers and more dismay.

I saw 5 medical professionals and got no answers. I was starting to lose hope.

I became more and more depressed and wondered what was wrong with me. I remember lying in bed one night, looking at my wedding photo. We both seemed so happy and healthy, and now I was wasting away, and no one seemed to be able to help me.

My feet were also numb most of the time, but I guessed that was from my long walks around campus. He was also weak and needed daily naps. I also remember some nights that I wet the bed. I had to urinate frequently, of course I was drinking water and juice.

I visited my GP again. It was my 18th date in a year and a half. He said I was a hypochondriac or anorexic, and he sent me on my way.

Then I saw my gynecologist. He looked at me and said he thought I needed a specialist. I left, exhausted, and took a nap on my couch. My phone was ringing, my husband and I used to have a check-in call during the day, but I didn’t hear it. The next thing I knew, I was getting into our car and driving to the ER.

It was there, after several blood draws, that I was diagnosed Diabetes type 1. My blood sugar level was seven times higher than normal and I had diabetic ketoacidosis. The doctors told me that I was very lucky to be alive, as my body was in a state of toxicity. I was dying.

I finally had a diagnosis: type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body stops producing insulin, a life-sustaining hormone. Every medical professional I had ever seen had evaluated me based on the scope of his specialty, without taking into account the big picture.

Common early symptoms of type 1 diabetes are blurred vision, chronic thirst, urinary problems, weight loss, mood swings, and more. These can be confused with symptoms of other common illnesses, such as a urinary tract infection, depression, or an eating disorder.

Undiagnosed type 1 diabetes can quickly become fatal. If my husband hadn’t taken me to the emergency room when she did, she wouldn’t be alive today.

Medical professionals and ordinary people need to know the symptoms of type 1 diabetes and act accordingly, and quickly. Doing so can save a person’s life.

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