My (short) diabettic road thus far

By Diabrettic Latest Reply 2012-04-02 16:23:55 -0500
Started 2011-12-22 18:55:37 -0600

First of all, hello to everyone. I am new to this forum as I am newly diagnosed. I look forward to listening, learning, and sharing all things diabetes related.

It all began in the middle of last month (Nov). I randomly received a free cholesterol/glucose screening in the mail from a local pharmacy. My health insurance through my company wasn't going to be activated until December first, so I figured I would take advantage of the freebie. I fasted for about ten hours before the test. My fasting glucose came back 299 mg/ml. The pharmacist said I need to see a doctor because obviously that is not normal. I'm 29 years old with no family history of any diabetes. I'm 6'2" and I weigh 165 lbs.

I had been experiencing dry mouth, frequent urination, constant thirst, weight loss, all the tell tale signs, but I was foolish and in denial about my health. Not to mention uneducated about diabetes.

So I see an Urgent Care doctor because I still have about 2 weeks before my insurance kicks in. He basically tells me I have diabetes and that I don't fit the profile for type 2. He gives me some dietary tips and sends me on my way. I immediately purchase a glucose meter and begin monitoring my blood sugar very closely. I quickly realize that my blood sugar in general was out of control, but especially after meals. Postprandial spikes as I now know they are called. I was getting up to the 600 range. I became very nervous. I started reading about ketoacidosis, and all the other horrible things that can happen from such elevated levels. I immediately cut out all sugar and had hardly any carbs. I was basically eating nothing but string cheese and peanuts, and drinking only water. I'm thinking to myself if I can just buy some time I can get all this straightened out once my insurance kicks in. As you probably could've guessed, a few days later on the string cheese and peanut diet I was feeling horrible. I was denying my body/brain vital fuel it needed to function properly. What did I know? I was winging it at this point. I began losing more weight, and turning pale. At my girlfriend's sister's constant pleading, I reluctantly agreed to a visit to the ER.

I was scared to death that they were going to hospitalize me. It was, at that point, 8 days until my insurance kicked in. I started pounding water and was able to get my sugars down to 260 prior to seeing the ER doc. He gave me an IV, and ran my blood followed by insulin injection. He diagnosed me as type 2 and put me on 500mg of Metformin 2x a day. He then told me I had ketones in my blood and urine (+3) but was not acidotic. I got smarter with my diet and began to exercise daily.

Fast forward to December 2nd. I made it! My insurance was activated and I began seeing a nurse practitioner. She did a metabolic panel and thank god everything came back normal (besides the ketones and high blood sugar). My A1C came back 14.3. She told me I was type 1, and within a few visits I was shooting 20 units of lantus before bed, and 4 units of Novalog before each meal. Plus the metformin twice a day.

Now the adventure had really begun. The insulin, while very effective in controlling my postprandial spikes, had presented a whole new set of challenges. I quickly learned that if I didn't have enough carbs in my meal, I would go hypo. I would shake then sweat, followed by headache.

The next 2 weeks went by. I was beginning to adjust to my new routine. I was learning what to eat with my insulin. I was learning when to snack in between meals. I started to feel normal again. I started gaining some weight and my body was getting stronger.

The day before my first appointment with the endocrinologist, the insulin turned on me. Around 2 to 3 hours after my shots my blood sugar would crash. Only this time I was not having symptoms. I chalked it up to maybe I just wasn't on the right dose yet, and was extra careful about checking my sugars before/after my shots, and during/after my workouts.

Today I met with the endocrinologist and she started talking to my about type 1 and how I was going to manage it. I had a list of questions for her. I realized that even though I had requested a C-peptide test I had never gotten the results. She quickly left the room and had the lab fax it over. The results came back 1.23 ng/mL. This means that my pancreas is producing insulin. At least a small amount. She immediately takes me off of the Lantus and only wants me to use the Novalog on a sliding scale. She then increases my metformin to 500mg 3x daily, and writes me a scrip for Glyburide, an oral pill taken 2x daily.

I feel like I'm a walking experiment. I don't know what to make of all of this. My body responded so well to the insulin injections that I thought I was type 1 like I had been told. Now I don't know what is going. If you've read this far, I thank you very much for your time and would appreciate any insight, opinions, comments into this bizarre disease.

32 replies

pixsidust 2011-12-30 11:28:19 -0600 Report

Getting your medicine right is like a dance between dance partners who do not know the dance or each other. You try to meet it toe to toe. It goes one way and you try to meet it. It makes a turn and you try and turn with it. As your body changes over time so will your med combo's. It is alright that you do this dance and your doctors have to see how you respond. Diabetes is certainly not a one shoe fits all. There are no easy answers and no exact script or formula.

First I want to tell you I am glad you are alive. Diabetes can have a domino effect folding us up like a house of cards. It affects everything. Many Diabetics die from a Heart Attack but here we are conversing. Whew! Thank God! You have had hardship but are here to tell of it!

You mentioned no one in your family had a history of Diabetes. Did someone die of a heart attack? They could have had it and no one knew.
I had a coworker who died who was diabetic and no one knew until her funeral that she was. Her heart just stopped.

Take the time to browse your grocery store and read the labels as you buy. Plan your meals and snacks and keep food on hand that you can have.

Carry your meter everywhere, along with your meds, and glucose tablets or hard candy for those hypo times. Take along some snacks. Sliced apples with cinnamon sprinkled on them in a baggy. Sugar free chocolate pudding cup, carrots, and other tasty treats. Put them in a masculine lunch bag with your other equipment.

What are your other blood lab results? triglycerides? cholesterol? Blood pressure?

Here is the discussion I posted at my almost one month mark of diagnoses. I hope it helps you…and stay linked in with us!

Diabrettic 2011-12-30 17:29:08 -0600 Report

Hi Pixsidust, thank you for your advice. After reading your article I've become a big fan of you. It seems like you grabbed the bull by the horns immediately following your diagnosis. I would like to mimic that. Diabetes is a pain in the butt but it is manageable, and I choose to believe that if I take care of my body and folllow my doctor's orders I can live a full life free of complications.

There hasn't been any heart attacks in my family either. The story about your coworker is very sad. How someone could keep a secret like that is hard to believe. When I was first found out I was diabetic a few weeks back I was very secretive about my diagnosis. When I started on the 4 insulin shots a day and had a few hypo episodes, I realized that not being open about it was doing a disservice to me, and to diabetics everywhere. I realize how important awareness is now. Now I wear a chain around my neck that says I'm a diabetic. It helps me feel better about the possibility of passing out, and it also serves as a constant reminder when I'm craving my old go to's (alcohol, cigarettes, sweets, carbs), basically all the things I had to give up cold turkey a little over a month ago.

As far as my other lab results, I was very fortunate. Despite having the ketones and the 14.3 A1C, I was relatively healthy. My cholesterol is 141, tryglycerides = 81 mg/dL, blood pressure is 117/80. I've been really watching my diet and exercising everyday. The doctor says in 3 months she wants my A1C down to a 10. I want to beat that.

jayabee52 2011-12-30 15:50:07 -0600 Report

I really LIKE your metaphor of the dance Christy. I may have to borrow it sometime!

Diabrettic 2011-12-30 16:57:26 -0600 Report

I like that metaphor too! My partner has two left feet at the moment.

jayabee52 2012-04-02 16:23:55 -0500 Report

your computer "stuttered" that's all! LoL!

you can click "edit" under the posts you want to edit and while the posting comes up with white print with blue background (is highlighted), just post a period in the highlighted area and click on "edit poat"

Old-n-Grey-n-Wiser 2011-12-26 15:03:25 -0600 Report

DiabĀ­rettĀ­ic, You go down this unknown road the same as you would any new road, slow and with caution, when you feel as you are getting lost stop and ask for directions, this could be a very long road to get to the place you want to be, but there are no short cuts. Just go carefully ans safely and you will make it through this journey. Remember stay on the Main road, no side roads where you can find trouble.

Diabrettic 2011-12-26 16:27:41 -0600 Report

Thanks, Tom. I'm generally a slow, and catious guy in all aspects of my life. I will definitely heed your advice.

Old-n-Grey-n-Wiser 2011-12-26 16:30:39 -0600 Report


sadi23 2012-04-02 16:08:47 -0500 Report

My Lupus Doc said just about the same thing you did, about how we are the exsperts…So speak up whe you feel your doc didn't hear you or you feel you need more info or tests, we have to be our best support & information, education or it will be so much harder & take so much longer, waist of time…Like your relationship with you doc, don't have to like him/her but you have to be able to talk & feel they are doing their ever bst for you, or move on, to the next…I know i have to…Teri

cindygal1 2011-12-25 19:31:49 -0600 Report

Just take your time and follow your doctor's advice, my husband and I are both are diabetic, we are type 2 so far i have both of under control, I have found a new sugar that you can use it is truvia you can fine it at Walmart or Krogers it has worked great for myy husband. You will fine out what is going on, the doctor will get your medication straighten out, get more exercise. You need to eat more protein, fine yourself and book on Diabetic's and read it. I would like to be your friend, Pleasse add me to your liist. Cindygal1

Diabrettic 2011-12-26 16:26:17 -0600 Report

Thanks, cindygal1. I tried truvia for the first time last night. I had apples with it while everyone else had pie. It's not bad! Thank you for the advice.

lifedriver 2011-12-24 11:05:13 -0600 Report

Welcome, I know you sometime feel like your treatment is trail and error however, at times it is the only way to pin-point the correct treatment plan. As you are now aware we must stay knowledgeable and therefore we are in control and your doctor will strive to perform his/her job better. Learn from people on this site and you will have power in the control of this Disease. Watch what you eat and when you try something new be sure to check your BG levels to see what happens…LIVE

red flower lady
red flower lady 2011-12-23 13:35:18 -0600 Report

Thank you for sharing. You will find out that we all have basically gone through this and yes it is frustrating. You just have to be an active participant in this journey and sometimes it seems as if you know more then the drs. I ask for copies of all labs ( if they try to charge me I just tell them that I paid for this test and the lab should be sending me the results as well as paid for that office visit and it works). Keep good records of your readings and what you are eating as well as the meds you are taking during those times because you will be asked by all drs. Also, your insurance should pay to send you to classes and a dietician. There are also free workshops in the community, but you have to do the leg work to locate them. Just take it one day at a time and if you don't like or feel comfy with your drs you can change them.

I just want to say that if you feel over your head talk to someone (here or even your diabetes nurse through your insurance. You call the insurance and ask them for the info and they will hook you up):) Good luck and congrats for taking control of it.

Diabrettic 2011-12-23 14:46:58 -0600 Report

Nice to meet you, red flower. I would love to go to classes. What a great idea. I'll mention that to my endo on Monday. Maybe she can refer me.

Young1s 2011-12-23 11:38:34 -0600 Report

Well, thank you for sharing that. Your assessment of being a walking experiment is so true. We all are. I think it just seems more so in the beginning because we're newbies. But, I'm learning from those who have been dealing with D for years now, that our bodies are ever changing so must we also be ever adapting to what will be. As the doctor(s) are figuring out what meds will work for us, we are figuring out everything else, bit by bit and morsel by morsel. So yes it's a real pain in the butt. But no matter what age (or type) we are when we find out, it forces us to grow up and become more accountable for our actions. Welcome to the DC family.

Speaking of which. Please press upon your D team to figure out what type you are. If you don't fully understand what you have, how can you be expected to care for yourself properly?

Diabrettic 2011-12-23 12:51:18 -0600 Report

Thank you, pc. You are right about the accountability. Long gone are the days of casually eating and drinking. Boy did I take those for granted. This has all been very transformational. My relationships are changing. The way I think about things has changed. I feel like I've gained some perspective as to what is truly important.

Thank you for welcoming me. I have another app on Monday and I will press them for a proper diagnosis.

'Second Chance'
'Second Chance' 2011-12-22 22:37:25 -0600 Report

Hi Diabrettic, how are you, your article was very interesting!!! You are in the right place, we all have the same disease. But that's okay, we will, and we can help each other!!

Diabrettic 2011-12-22 23:47:40 -0600 Report

Hi Second Chance, thank you for the feedback and encouragement. Knowing that others are going through the same struggles and have braved diabetes for a lot longer than I have is comforting.

Caroltoo 2011-12-22 22:31:01 -0600 Report

Most of us are walking experiments until we find out what works for us. You have had a challenging time of it with all the different doctors and treatments and concern about insulin. If I were back at that point, I would start keeping records of my pre-/post-prandial readings and how much medicine of any variety you are taking at what times w/r/t your pre/post readings. You should also log your food intake and begin to learn what your body reacts to.

Most of us go easy to none on white rice, potatoes, flour, and sugar. And aim for the lower glycemic index fruits and veggies, also with some grains for our carbs. You do need them, but don't need the ones that cause your sugar to spike. Its a good thing that your pancreas is still producing insulin. With proper diet and exercise, you may be able to coax it into more complete activity and more insulin production.

Starting with this disease is confusing and frustrating. We're here to be a sounding board and offer support and information. Use us for that. You have survived some tough weeks and extreme situations…things will get better as you learn more about how to care for yourself.

Diabrettic 2011-12-22 23:56:12 -0600 Report

Hi Caroltoo, thank you for those helpful tips. There is so much to learn. So much trial and error. I really thought that the doctors would give me all the information I would need. I was wrong about that one! Thank god for the internet and all you fine people. I'm really glad I found this place. Just reading experiences from other daibetics as well as all the helpful articles has already made me feel that the tools I need are out there.

Caroltoo 2011-12-23 12:56:53 -0600 Report

Part of the issue is that while our docs may be experts on the disease, they aren't experts on us. Within certain general parameters, each of us is different and that, I think, is where the real challenge comes even for a well trained doctor. It's like: none of us are "textbook" cases we are real individuals.

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