I wrote something about my diabetes...

By melissa5786 Latest Reply 2011-05-30 13:15:46 -0500
Started 2011-05-27 07:46:56 -0500

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.

52 replies

crosslady2010 2011-05-30 09:04:07 -0500 Report

Wow!!!! You are truly an inspiration! At such a young age to go through that… Wow!!! I have Type 2 but I also have Heart Disease. I understand what you mean feeling confused about everything. I only wish some of the doctors would try to be empathetic to what we are going through! My first Cardio Dr. did not understand my fear of getting my meds mixed up… or being scared of not taking the meds correctly. I fired him!!!! You are such a cool young Lady! I want to share with you one of my favorite quotes, "If one advances confidently in the direction of his/her dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he/her has imagined, he/she will meet with a success unexpected in common hours!"~Henry Davi Thoreau~ God Bless You Melissa :)

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2011-05-28 20:39:59 -0500 Report

Thanks for sharing. Definately not too long. Considering all you went through it is a very short and concise piece of writing. So sorry you were left sitting at the door and passed wihout much thought by the Drs. I am thankful my ER took my condition seriously from the moment I was wheeled in. Don't be too self conscious about your scars. Mine remind me I'm a fighter like you.

melissa5786 2011-05-28 21:05:50 -0500 Report

Thank you. I've gotten better with the large one on my stomach, but my central line scar bothers me sometimes because it's hard to cover up.

nzingha 2011-05-28 15:34:39 -0500 Report

wow…at 23 you went thru all that… and here I am feeling sorry for myself ! Your story is inspiring . I know how hard it was to start taking the insulin. The first time I had to do it…like a month ago now…I was on a tour of a medical ship and had to excuse myself to do it before eating. Needless to say it was the most difficult thing to inject myself as I am so scared of needles…and having to go to the bathroom to inject myself 15 minutes before eating .Now its easy as 1,2,3 and I make a big dramatic production of it and my son thinks I'm a drama queen and missed my calling..said i should be on stage..! in this life u do what u have to do to survive . stay strong!

melissa5786 2011-05-28 15:43:25 -0500 Report

Aw! I used to tolerate needles, but I didn't like that. But after all the IV's and blood being drawn and nurses giving me shots; I've become so immune to it that I don't even feel it any more. At one point I had 3 IV's in each arm, that was painful and the worst thing ever. Getting my central line taken out was kind of painful, too. They had to put me upside down in the bed for 30 minutes, talk about a head rush!

Thank you. I hope I can inspire people to never take their lives for granted. And that no matter what a person looks like on the outside you NEVER know what kinds of crosses they are baring. I don't want pity or someone to say "poor you." I just want people to take my story as it is. My life. And maybe learn a little bit about me and find some spirit in themselves to pick up, move on and take it one day at a time.

graciepoo 2011-05-28 12:47:17 -0500 Report

At 23yrs. of age life isn't even real then. I can't imagine, WOW!!! I remember @23 I was newly married (for the 2nd time) had a child on the way and life was INVINCIBLE! THANKS for sharing.. GOD BLESS YOU SWEETIE for sharing your life. You take good care & make sure your take life one day at a time.

Pynetree 2011-05-28 10:24:23 -0500 Report

Nice work Melissa. I liked this.
My mantra is similiar - "My Diabetes is a LIFE sentence, NOT a Death sentence"
I am living with it…and willbe for the rest of my life. But it will not take my life now!
So thanks for sharing. Stay strong and focused.

CaliKo 2011-05-28 08:59:59 -0500 Report

Thanks for sharing, what a lot you have gone through at such a young age. You are truly remarkable. Keep up the great spirit of determination.

CaliKo 2011-05-28 09:00:23 -0500 Report

and kudos to your sister, too.

melissa5786 2011-05-28 09:05:11 -0500 Report

I have the best family in the world! I never would have gotten the strength to move on from what happened to me without my mother, my sisters, my brother and my best friend!

GabbyPA 2011-05-28 08:49:09 -0500 Report

What an incredible draft. You will have a great final at this rate. I knew you had gone through a lot, but not this much. The best part of it is your title. I feel very much the same way, even though I did not suffer what you did prior to diagnosis.

You have a great piece here and it's from the heart. That makes it wonderful.

melissa5786 2011-05-28 09:02:03 -0500 Report

Thank you so much! The title is my mantra. Diabetes saved my life and I tell myself that every day when I wake up and give myself my morning insulin.

Kuai Princess
Kuai Princess 2011-05-28 07:11:02 -0500 Report

Melissa, Thanks for sharing! My father went through a similar experience about 10 years ago at the age of 70. He was on a ventilator for 3 weeks and no one thought he would make it. When we brought him home it was 24/7 nursing care. His Doctors did not expect him to survive. . . But he did, and celebrated his 80th birthday last year. He of course has diabetes now, and says he doesn't know how my sister and I have done it every day for the past 30 + years. . . And I agree. . . What doesn't kill you makes you strong. Diabetes can be a gift when you embrace it. . . I love your attitude!

melissa5786 2011-05-28 08:08:53 -0500 Report

Thank you! It's a miracle we both survived! I had ventilators and heart machines. I went into renal failure and that's when they thought I wasn't going to make it.. I also had tubes down my throat, attached to my stomach that was pumping out the poison that ate away my organs. They had to change it at least twice a day… It was horrific. I'm glad I don't remember any of it first hand.. I feel so bad that I had to make my family see it every day, though!

Kuai Princess
Kuai Princess 2011-05-28 23:06:45 -0500 Report

Well, I’m just glad you made it through . . . and I believe there is a reason why . . . that only the journey of a life time will fully tell!

MrsCDogg 2011-05-28 06:41:57 -0500 Report

Thanks for sharing your story. It's very well written too BTW. My husband has said that he doesn't think he will be able to give me my insulin if the time ever comes that I can't do it myself. So, we will see if that time ever does come.

melissa5786 2011-05-28 08:10:09 -0500 Report

Everyone knows how to do it for me, if they ever need to, and I know most of them will. But, my mother hates the fact that I went through this and I'm sick now. Sometimes I think she rather pretend it doesn't exist. Even though she is proud of the "new" person I've become, she just wishes I didn't have diabetes to go along with it.

DJackwon 2011-05-27 22:39:42 -0500 Report

I agree with Jeffrey, I wouldn't change a thing. It was well written, and touched the heart. I do not feel like a victim either; I feel like a survivor of cancer, and diabetes. It's not a walk in the park, but I firmly believe in remaining positive. Well done!

- Debbie -

melissa5786 2011-05-28 08:15:01 -0500 Report

Thank you! I always say I had two paths to choose from the moment I was told every detail of what happened to me. The first road led me to depression, anxiety and pity. A road that didn't look to healthy or happy. Or I could suck it up, deal with it, learn everything I could, ask as many annoying questions as possible and hold my head up and and tell the world my story. I, of course, took path two.

I do have days where I ask myself why this had to happen to me. I cry at night when it's been a particularly rough BG day. Out of all my closest friends I'm the only one dealing with a chronic illness. And sometimes I feel horrible when they accommodate nights out just for me. I'm young. I was always healthy and now this? It's not fair. But, I've learned that life isn't always fair. I learned that when I was 7 and my father died. And I learned it again when I was 23. We get thrown curve balls every day. It's whether or not we decide to field them. Thank you for reading my story.

jeffrey9127 2011-05-27 20:25:09 -0500 Report

Hello Melissa, You write very well. You did a very good job of keeping each paragraph on topic, and you conveyed your emotions in such a manner, that it was pleasing to read. Great job! You should be well pleased with your writing ability. Don't change a thing!

tweetydele 2011-05-27 22:25:31 -0500 Report

what a story and how brave u r. my goodness im not sure i could have gone thru all that and come out the person u r. good luck to u my dear and may GOD BLESS U

AuntieM234 2011-05-27 17:43:56 -0500 Report

Dear melissa5786: Bravo!! If anything is wrong with what you wrote my eyes were blind to it! How very moving! I was moved to tears reading your story. A story of courage, illumination, resignation, triumph, and thankfulness rather than a "poor me" story. You sound much wiser than your years! I agree wholeheartedly with nanaellen … "Wait, you're only 25???" When I was finished reading the story, I was thinking, "This young lady should be giving inspirational speeches!" You have been blessed with some fine qualities. I would be proud for my 10-year-old Granddaughter to use you as a role model. Keep that chin up high missy … you can accomplish anything! This is a 69 years of age Grammy's perspective. ;-)

melissa5786 2011-05-27 19:47:08 -0500 Report

Thank you so much! Everyone always says I'm wise beyond my years! I don't see it, but I guess it's a good quality to have! I don't see the point in dwelling on the negative. I'm always a positive person. I was the "favorite" patient during all my hospital stays :p and my roommates liked me, too!

nanaellen 2011-05-27 16:58:41 -0500 Report

Wait your only 25???? LOL Don't change a thing!! It's a perfectly written story!! Ellen :)

melissa5786 2011-05-27 19:45:36 -0500 Report

Yes, I just turned 25 on May 7th. I was only 23 when this all happened to me. Thank you. It's a lot for someone so young to go through, I heard it from all the doctors and nurses that helped me. My age was a big factor in surviving, but it's still hard to believe that I'm so young and already had a life changing this like this happen to me.

MewElla 2011-05-27 13:58:48 -0500 Report

You are a true survivor and I am so proud of the way you shared you story with us all. It really touched my heart and made me realize when we reach the bottom, we have to pull onto the rope and make our way UP, just as you did. What an inspiring story…God Bless You, my friend.

LabRat90 2011-05-27 13:22:00 -0500 Report

You are so strong! I challenge anyone to write a more inspiring story. Diabetes will not defeat you or me.

melissa5786 2011-05-27 13:39:15 -0500 Report

Thank you! That's the positive attitude I want to wear with my disease. I won't let it take me down and I never want it to discourage anyone else who lives with it.

Harlen 2011-05-27 13:11:33 -0500 Report

You are wonderfull I am so glad your still with us the world would be a dimmer place with out you in it.
Thank you so much for sharing this whith us ,It means a lot to me.
Do you think that pump would help you ?I know it has saved me a lot of pain
Best wishes

melissa5786 2011-05-27 13:14:35 -0500 Report

Thank you. My blood sugars are in pretty good control with the 70/30 I take twice a day. I use Humulin Regular to cover me at lunch and dinnertime, but I hardly need it. Right now my injections are working out well for me and my doctor told me I didn't need to consider the pump yet as long as I keep my A1C in check.

Jim Edwards
Jim Edwards 2011-05-27 09:15:47 -0500 Report

Thank you for that writing. I first saw it and thought it too long to bother. I began to read it and I was hooked. I truly think that ER's do not take diabetes seriously, but I would have thought that throwing up blood would have STATED you right through their hoops. Recover well my friend, Jim

melissa5786 2011-05-27 09:25:07 -0500 Report

I know it's long! I'm sorry :p I agree, The hospital I was rushed to was the same place that misdiagnosed me in 2007. It had been my gallbladder all along, but since they treated me for food poisoning and acid reflux I went home and stones continued dropping and eating away my insides.

I do have to say though, that when I was rushed back after my surgery with a low of 22, they moved me along very, very quickly.

Jim Edwards
Jim Edwards 2011-05-27 09:35:06 -0500 Report

I "enjoyed" it. It is a wake up call. There is a lot of educating information in there. I have a had time believing that you survived to write it. Heck, you will have to have someone throw you a birthday party for your re-birth date! Heal well.

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