Tuesday, November 5, 2019

My T1D Diagnosis Story

I don’t talk about my diagnosis story much because it’s a little different. It’s not very dramatic. But I guess everyone’s story is a little unique.

My mom has had Type 1 Diabetes since she was 8. I spent my whole childhood with diabetes in my house. I was familiar with most of the things diabetes entails. I loved when I went on walks with my mom and her blood sugar would go low (that sounds bad in retrospect) and she would pull out her glucose tabs and offer me half of one. I thought it was the best tasting thing... how times have changed! Haha.

Fast forward to age 11. I knew my mom occasionally peed on these sticks in the bathroom (what I know now are KetoStix) and I decided one day that I wanted to try it and see what colour I’d get. After, I called my mom to the bathroom and innocently said, “Mom, what does this mean?” Her response was to do a double take and make me do it again to make sure it was right. And then she told me not to worry about it.

I can’t imagine what my mom went through. When she was pregnant with me, she was told there would be a 5% chance I’d end up having Type 1 Diabetes. This must have swept the rug from under her. Because I imagine that happening with my future child, and it’s like a pit in my stomach. Because you don’t want this life for your kid.

She called my pediatrician, who told her to to call the diabetic clinic at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, and gave her the number. After explaining the story, my future pediatric endocrinologist called her back. He told her what she didn’t want to hear; I would likely be Type 1 Diabetic. And she asked him if there was anything she could do to stop it, to which he said no. She was told to check my blood sugars periodically, and she did.

I don’t remember too much from that year, apart from having to test my blood sugar every once in a while. Which was like torture to me at the time. My parents decided that I didn’t need the stress of knowing I was going to become diabetic, so they didn’t tell me. But I think a part of me knew. But at the time, I was just a kid focused on the moment and the only thing that bothered me was having to test my blood sugar.. and maybe the thought of doing that all the time like my mom freaked me out a bit.

Now I was 12. My mom was still in continuous communication with the pediatric endocrinologist. I was more clued in, and the waiting game was coming to an end. Talks of me starting insulin finally started. To me at the time, having diabetes wasn’t real until I started to have to take insulin. I mean, it makes sense now. Having diabetes would be easy to ignore if you weren’t having bad symptoms and you didn’t have any work to do.

This stupid part will always stand out to me. Obviously I didn’t want to take needles. I didn’t want to “start having diabetes” and I was scared, but my parents told me that if we go to the doctor and it’s bad news, I can get a cell phone. My first cell phone. And thank you mom and dad, because that was a great distraction, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

We went to the appointment, and I remember my heart racing. It was bad news. I was “finally diabetic”. And I thought, “Okay... That sucks.. but I guess I’m getting a cell phone.” And my mind started to picture what cell phone I would get and what my ringtone would be. And then they told me that I was meeting with the Diabetes Educator and starting insulin injections right then and there. I thought I’d at least have time in between this appointment and then? But I listened and I gave my first injection, and learned how to do the rest. And I remember that room clear as day. I remember the scary things they taught me to do. I remember the realization that I’d have to do these things all the time now.

And so that’s my diagnosis story. I don’t tell it often.. maybe because I feel like it’s weird in some way. It doesn’t sound like other peoples’ diagnosis stories. But that’s okay, because it’s the truth, and it’s mine, and it happened to me. Plus, life is weird anyway, isn’t it?


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  2. Great post! Thanks for sharing, so very brave of you!

  3. A cell phone !! I love it. I was at DisneyWorld, proving that is not always the happiest place on earth.

    1. Oh, the cell phone was so exciting! Haha. Can you believe you're probably the 3rd person to tell me they were diagnosed at Disney?! I think I need to start counting! (PS- I hope you can still enjoy Disney!)

  4. Love this. My Dad was diabetic before me. I was diagnosed at 13 because I started to have symptoms and basically just said one night “I think I have it.” To put a stop to that talk they checked my sugar and with a nearly 300 level we had to wait until morning for a doctor’s visit to confirm it. I learned shots immediately following it and went home with a new disease and also strep throat! No hospitalization. No drama. Just a simple diagnosis and a lifelong quiet struggle!

    1. Oh wow! Thank you so much for sharing a quick summary of your story with me. Sounds very familar! "A simple diagnosis and a lifelong quiet struggle" is so right.