First off, I want to let you know this is just a draft. I wrote it around 11 last night because I was inspired. I had to jam pack everything I wanted to say into 2 pages because if I didn't I'd have about 300 pages of dribble that no one would read. I'm not sure if I worded thing right or if there's not enough detail.. Which is why I'm posting it. I want feedback! Should I add some stuff, take some stuff out, leave it be? Just remember, I'm not a writer so my words may not be elegant, but they're how I feel. Be kind, but let me know what you think. Thank you!
Diabetes Saved My Life
I never looked at diabetes as a death sentence. Two years ago I never would have imagined that my life would center around insulin injections, blood sugar monitoring and exercise. I was 23 years old, I was invincible.
That all changed on the afternoon of July 3, 2009. My sister came over and found me on my bathroom floor, keeled over in pain. I remember feeling as if my insides had exploded and the sharp pains that I had felt every once in awhile turned into what felt like a million stab wounds. I hadn’t eaten all day, but the pain made me so sick. And all that was coming out was yellow stomach bile and some sort of tarry black substance. We later found out that I was vomiting up the poison in my body.
As my sister drove me to the hospital I kept imaging the unnecessary issues I was causing. I was convinced it was some sort of stomach virus and the doctor’s would send me home. That didn’t happen. I remember laying on the waiting room floor of the emergency room, the pain never really going away, like it had in the past. And I could hear my sister shouting that I needed to be seen. When they finally brought me in the back they parked me in the hallway with the Tupperware bowl I had brought with me. Leaving me there, rocking back and forth on my hands and knees right at the entrance. Doctors and nurses walked by without even a glance and when my mother finally arrived they took me into a room. I don’t recall any of the hours spent in to emergency room. There was a lot of pain medication and tests that were done. That night they admitted me.
Twenty-two gallstones had fallen over the course of a few years and had poisoned my body beyond repair. On the Fourth of July I was scheduled to get the stones removed as well as the gallbladder. What my family hadn’t been expecting was the turmoil yet to come. Once they were inside they saw all the damage that had been done and decided that removing the gallbladder would be dangerous. So, they took out the stones and placed me into a medically induced coma. For ten days my family sat by me while my life was measured by the beeps of machines. My pancreas had become so narcotic that it was beyond any repair and I had developed Type 2 Diabetes. My life was literally hanging in the air. My family was given the odds of me waking up and they didn’t look good. Thirty percent. I had a seventy-percent chance of dying.
On July 13, 2009 my life took another turn. I woke up. One day I was in a coma at a Warwick, Rhode Island hospital and the next my mom walked into my Massachusetts General ICU room (they had transferred me days before in order to get better treatment) and I was sitting up and talking to her. To say it was a miracle is not enough. Waking up was the first hurdle I had to leap over. In the days that I was asleep I lost a lot of muscle mass and I hardly remembered what day it was. I was in ICU on a lot of pain medication for days after I woke up. At one point I had to see the hospital psychiatrist because I was suffering great paranoia. Physical therapy started and I had never been so discouraged with myself. In my mind I fought the facts. I wasn’t helpless. I had only been in a coma for a few days, I could get up and walk around with no problem at all. I was wrong. When my PT asked me to climb two tiny stairs and I couldn’t raise my foot high enough to get up one; I broke down. All the tears that I didn’t have the energy to cry came rushing out of me in sad, hard sobs. I truly felt like my life was over.
I stayed at Mass. General until July 17, 2009. When the doctor’s told me I’d be able to go home I felt a mixture of joy and sorrow. I wanted to go home, but things were different now. I wasn’t going home the same girl I had been two weeks before. I still had my gallbladder and the pain that went along with it, but now I was going home a diabetic. I had no idea what that meant. In the hospital I had doctors and nurses coming in and giving me my shots and testing my blood glucose and doling out my Metformin. I couldn’t go home. I didn’t have the slightest idea what I was doing! But, the nurses still packed me up and sent me home with enough information to get me started.
The first night home was one of the most surrealist moments I’d ever had. I’ll never forget walking into my house and going into my room. Not only did it look like a hospital gift shop had opened in there, it was void of the smells and noises I had grown used to. I was scared. So scared that when it came time to give myself my very first insulin injection, I panicked. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t do it! My sister came over because my mother didn’t know what to do. But, they both refused to do it for me. They told me I had to learn. It was something I had to do on my own. So, I did. I swallowed all of the fear I felt, took a deep breath and did it.
Now, almost two years later I give myself shots every day. I’m conscious about what my body is telling me and I’m hyper aware of anything that is abnormal. I was sick for a very long time. My coma was not the end of any of my medical problems. Mere weeks after getting home I was back in the hospital (and was in and out for 5 months) with pain. I had major surgery that has left me with a scar I’m self conscious of. And some scars that aren’t visible and I rarely let anyone see. But, the one thing that I do know and I’ve shared with anyone who has asked; I am not a victim. Diabetes will not take over my life. I am a fighter. A survivor. And I have my family, friends, my late father (who I believe kept me alive even with that horrible percentage) and diabetes.
I came out of this with my life, so some insulin and daily testing isn’t going to bring me down. I read a quote somewhere that inspires me on a daily basis. It makes me put what I’ve been through into a clear perspective’ “There’s a day that you realize you're not just a survivor, you're a warrior and you're stronger than anything life throws at you.” I am strong. Anyone living with diabetes has to be strong. Just always remember that your life is worth fighting for.
Next Discussion: How low do you go? »