My name is Alisa and I live in Southern California. I am 25 years old and new to a lot of things. I am newly married, new to blogging and most of all fairly new to having Diabetes. I was diagnosed on October 11, 2007. I guess you could say I am in my toddler years of Diabetes. I have learned the basics, but I am just beginning to understand how complex not only life, but life with Diabetes is.
My story began in October 2007. I was in my senior year of college with a lot on my plate. I was a full time student, with a full time job. Any free time I had was devoted to studying, sleep and spending time with friends and family. Needless to say I was wearing myself thin and I was exhausted. I thought I was taking pretty good care of myself considering the circumstances. Then everything began to unravel very quickly…
In the beginning I remember feeling generally ill for about a week. I was incredibly fatigued no matter how much sleep I got, and I remember my stomach felt constantly sour regardless of what I ate. I scheduled an appointment with my general practitioner for the following week hoping that she may be able to come up with some explanations for my recent down turn. On October 10, a few days after scheduling an appointment with my doctor, things seemed to be getting progressively worse. On top of the other symptoms I had been experiencing I began to notice a huge change in my appetite. On this day in particular it felt like regardless of what I ate or drank I never could quite satisfy my appetite or quench my thirst. After what felt like a day filled with binge eating and water drinking I decided to go to bed early.
When I woke up on October 11, 2007 no one could have prepared me for the day that was ahead. I still felt the same way as I had been for a little over a week, but this day felt different, because I had acquired a new symptom. I have always had 20/20 vision, but on this day my vision was blurry, really blurry. I have never experienced an imparement in my vision. I went to work as usual thinking that it might get better as the day wore on, but it only got worse. I could only see something clear if it was right in front of me. I remember sitting at work and someone asked me what time it was. I could not read the time, even though the clock was hanging on a wall four feet away from me. On any other day telling the time in that situation would have been a piece of cake. When the panick began to set in that things were getting worse I decided to leave work early to go to my local urgent care.
While sitting in the waiting room a million different explanations ran through my head for why I was feeling this way and why my vision was blurry, so I braced myself for all of them. They had me provide some urine and took my basic vitals. Then after about five minutes in the room a nurse came back and asked if she could check my blood sugar levels with a glucose meter. I told her yes, and asked her if everything was okay. She had a very panicked expression on her face when she got the results. She told me the doctor would discuss the impacts of the findings with me. The doctor came in a short while after and said, “Based on the tests we did you have ketones in your urine and your blood sugar levels are in the high 400′s. With that being said it looks like you are a diabetic!”
I just sat there dumbfounded because diabetes was not one of the things that came to my mind when trying to brace myself. I broke into tears and listened as the doctor advised me to set up an appointment immediately with my doctor and the in-house diabetic nutritionist/nurse. She prescribed me 500 mg of Metformin a day to take with my meals, and she gave me a One Touch Blood Glucose meter. Then she sent me home as if I had a general cold, or the flu. I remember feeling so alone, and I had so many questions that I needed answered. After a week of being on metformin my diabetic nurse and doctor came to the conclusion that my intial diagnosis as a Type II diabetic might have been incorrect, because my blood sugars were not stabilizing and because I did not necessarily fit the Type II profile. I was in my early twenties, 5’9 and I weighed about 150 lbs. From that point I began injecting myself nightly with Lantus and with Novolog at meals.
The following weeks were met with appointments with my: general practitioner, diabetic nurse, nutritionist and endocrinologist. The surge of information and all of the doctors appointments hijacked my life as I knew it. I cut my work schedule to part time and worked out my absences in school with my professors. I was scared to eat much of anything and learning how to check my blood sugars and give myself shots daily scared me. I remember almost fainting after giving myself my first insulin injection. With all of these drastic changes I fell into a slight depression. I became very aware of my mortality and being diabetic took over my life. I was no longer Alisa, I was the “diabetic.” I felt that diabetes had not only robbed me of my independence and freedom, but that it had also taken over my identity. No one would ask me anymore “Hey Alisa! How are you doing?” The conversations started out more like, “Hey Alisa! How is your diabetes doing?”
As the years have worn on I have grown out of my depression and have accepted a new outlook on life. This can be attributed to my friends, family and most of all my loving husband’s support. Thank you for always encouraging me to try harder and for serving as a constant reminder of why I fight the good fight in the first place. I have evolved as a person and I continue to learn and evolve as does this disease. I hope that I can share with you my struggles, the things I have learned and continue to learn and most of all my understanding of what it is that you, or your loved ones are going through as a result of having diabetes. A slogan that my husband came up with back in the first year of my diagnosis was: “I have diabetes, Diabetes DOES NOT have me!” As corny as it sounded back then it has served as a constant reminder that I am always in control, even if I have to fight my disease for it.