It's my D-Day – and I won't cry, even if I want to
Three years. Wow, three years? That’s how long I’ve lived with diabetes. Today is my D-Day (some people use the term Diaversary which I also like). So now, I’d like to tell you the story of how I discovered I was diabetic. Pull up a chair, a healthy snack and a diet soda because this is going to be a wild ride.
In either December of 2006 or January of 2007, I thought I had a hernia. I had some pain in my side and a little lump. Nothing to fear really. Sis has had two, as has my father and my maternal grandmother. I was really busy in my professional life at the time and just didn’t see a way to get it taken care of as I couldn’t just take a week off. I was the boss yo! Ok, so I only had two employees working for me but I’m one of those people that checks e-mails and makes phone calls on behalf of work even when I’m sick because I feel a giant sense of responsibility. Anyway, back to my story. The pain continued to get worse and finally I saw my primary care physician (PCP) in March. She was in agreement that I had a hernia so she referred me to a surgeon. I went for a surgical consult and the surgeon was doubtful that what I had was a hernia so he recommended an ultrasound. So, I had one. They found nothing except for a few small ovarian cysts, which looked normal & healthy. I was starting to feel agitated because I knew something was wrong. I had started consuming large quantities of water – I’m talking a gallon a day just at work. I’d also been peeing – a lot! I mean, I was drinking A LOT of water and that has to go somewhere right? I’d also been dropping weight but eating like it was going out of style. I look at this now and wonder how I didn’t figure it out sooner. Although in my defense I have pretty much zero family history of diabetes to speak of. Sure, both my grandparents were diagnosed with type 2 in their late 70’s but that’s fairly common these days. I also have a great uncle and a second cousin (on opposite sides of the family) who are Type 1. So, frustrated, I returned to my PCP on April 27, 2007. I have to say, I love my PCP. She knows I am in tune with my body and she trusts when I tell her something is wrong. That day we talked about how I just knew something was going on. I left a urine sample and a blood sample for analysis and went on my way.
That evening was a Wednesday and on Wednesdays, my ex-husband had his weekly meeting with the fire department. I always went to a local bar in town to sing with my friend Chad Hollister (he’s fabulous – have you checked him out yet?). This night was no exception and I was also going to be meeting Mamacita there. Right as I was about to leave, my cell phone rang. I recognized the number as someone calling from the local hospital (is it bad I know that number?) so I answered. The man on the other end of the phone informed me he was a doctor at the hospital and needed to speak with me about some tests they’d run. He asked if I had a family history of diabetes. I told him no. He said they needed me to come down to the ER and be hydrated as my sugar was very high. I asked him what the number was and almost guffawed on the phone. You see, my ex-husband’s family is filled with Type 1 diabetes. His grandmother and all four of her children are PWD. So, I knew a bit about “normal range.” He told me my blood sugar was at 530. Now, let me remind you that the desired range for BGs is 80-120. I thought for sure they’d mixed my blood/urine up with someone else’s. I told him I would be right down. I called my ex at his meeting and told him what was going on. I told him it was no big deal, I would go by myself but if he hadn’t heard from me by the time his meeting was over he should meet me there (there was no cell service at the hospital at that time). I also let Mamacita and my parents know what was going on but the whole time I was in denial – no way did I have diabetes!
When I got to the hospital, they were waiting for me. They checked my sugar again and after not eating anything in over 6 hours, my numbers were still above 400. My heart sank. I told them I had a bunch of Nilla Wafers with lunch. They informed me that a person with a 100% working pancreas would never have sugars that high – no matter what they ate. They hooked me up to IV fluids and I just sat there. Alone. Scared. Denying, denying, denying. My ex showed up about two hours or so after I got there. A doctor came in and told me that I was diabetic. They didn’t know if it was Type 1 or 2 and I would have to make an appointment with an endocrinologist as soon as possible. Then they sent me on my way. I cried all the way home. I was in complete and utter disbelief.
I went to work the next day and talked to my boss and coworkers about what had happened. They sent me home for the day. My dad was home from work that day so I headed over to his house because I was in no mood to be alone. I called the endocrinologist the doctor at the hospital had recommended and they were able to get me in that day. Thankfully Sis is a nurse and since Mom was nervous (and out of town) she asked me to take Sis with me. Thank God! She knew the questions to ask and also worked great as a health advocate. That day (April 28, 2007) I learned how to give myself injections and started on this long journey of learning about diabetes and fighting for my health. I still think of that day and how scared and naïve I was. I wouldn’t wish diabetes on anyone – ANYONE! But, I am proud of how I’ve grown as a PWD. I’ve surrounded myself with an incredible team of doctors and specialists. I have educated those around me. I take responsibility for what is happening in my own body. I am incredibly proud to be a person with diabetes. I feel no shame in saying that. I didn’t ask for or do anything to deserve this disease, but I own it.
Many things happened in the days that followed that made me so thankful for my diagnosis. Those things are still painful to write but I plan on doing so anyway in the coming days just in case there’s one person out there who’s feeling how I felt. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and there’s always a silver lining – sometimes you just have to look harder and/or wait longer to find it. My life today is phenomenal and I wouldn’t trade it for anything – and I remember that I couldn’t say the above if I hadn’t been through what I have.
In the next few days I’ll have posts from Mike, Adriana and Allison on their D-days. We all have different experiences and I want them shared with all of my readers – whether you’re a PWD or not. This week has been emotional and the people close to me understand. While I choose to celebrate this day, it’s hard to do so without looking back and seeing where I came from. It also makes me think about how much time, money and effort I have spent to get here. I have my days where I feel like I’m being followed by a massive black cloud but my D-Day will always be mine and I can choose how to handle it. I choose to celebrate. Celebrate my knowledge. Celebrate the journey. Celebrate that I have made it through one more year with diabetes and I am a better person because of it. XO
P.S. – that lump never amounted to anything. There were more ultrasounds and CAT scans etc. Basically, it was just my body’s way of telling me it was broken. Just so you know 🙂