Supposedly, I have diabetes. Do I sound convinced? Not really. The reason? Before I had a physical, my doctor and his office did not tell me that I would need to be fasting before a blood draw. They didn't even tell me that there would be a blood draw.
Should I have known these things as common sense? Not really. I have been to the doctor for physicals and some of them have involved lab work and some of them have not.
So, I went to the doctor, he spent a few moments with me, and I was sent off to the lab. I was asked if I had fasted before they took my blood, and I said that I had not. The lab tech told me that it didn't really matter, they would "adjust for that", and then they did my blood draw.
About a day or so later, a nurse from the doctor's office calls to tell me that I still have asthma and that I now have diabetes, based on the results from my lab work. She stated that the doctor was going to write some prescriptions for the asthma medication that I was on, and that he was also going to be writing a new prescription for Metformin, a medication that assists with blood sugar/diabetes.
I got real firm real fast. "No. I am not accepting that I have diabetes. I did not fast for the test, in fact I had juice and cereal for breakfast."
She got firm right back with me. "Well, doctor says...."
I cut her off right there. Let me explain something. My mother is a doctor. I don't see doctors as being superhuman or super smart. I see them as a degreed professional practicing in their field of study. Do I hate doctors? No. But I surely am not going to accept the results of a test that I was literally not prepared for. Especially with a mother who has always told me to question something if you don't understand, or if it does not seem right or correct.
I took a breath before I spoke. "I am not accepting that I am a diabetic. I was not prepared for the test. I would like to be retested and prepare for the test properly. This feels like a crap shoot."
I could literally hear her overly dramatic sigh over the phone. "I will relay your opinion to Doctor and see what he says." She snipped.
"No, that isn't my opinion.That is fact. No one told me to fast. After I fast, I will accept the results of the test."
So, the nurse hung up without so much as a goodbye.
That was my introduction to possibly having diabetes. It was not great.
I decided to ask about my medical history from my mother. Guess what? There are a lot of incidences of diabetes in my family. My grandmother had diabetes, my maternal side of the family is full of people who have or, in the case of deceased family members, had it. I am embarrassed to say that I knew prior to the conversation a lot of family members had diabetes, but I stupidly had never connected that to me as having a risk factor.
My paternal side of the family was pretty much an echo chamber of my maternal side. Diabetes all over the place, like paper from a ticker tape parade, it was everywhere. This broke my heart.
I have always had a sweet tooth. Sweet treats have always been my favorite thing in the world. Second favorite? Carb rich treats like chips and such, but they never held the sway over me like sweet foods did.
That scared me into becoming proactive about this diabetes thing.
The first thing that I did was create a little timeline of events in my life that could be related to diabetes. I didn't do this as a request from the doctor, but for my own peace of mind, to know what my life could look like, good and bad.
The first possible incident that I could remember happened before I was of school age. I remember vague parts of it, but my mother used to tell it to friends. We were at an amusement park. This would have been in the early to mid 1970's. My siblings and I, on a beautiful spring day walked up a grassy hill to a picnic area where we were going to have lunch. My stepfather installed and maintained massive commercial air conditioners for amusement parks. As kids, we loved it, because the amusement parks would always swing him unlimited access for his wife (my mom) and the kids. That meant we could go as much as we wanted to. A lot of the time, especially when we were living in California, we would go all day. It was an awesome part of my childhood that I love thinking about.
So, one of these times, there was this hill. Our stepdad would tell my mom where and when to meet him. She would have lunch in the baby bag that she carried for all of us, as well as other little snacks and things. On this particular day, we had been to a petting zoo, we had fed ducks at a pond, and a bunch of other things that were physically more active than standing in line or riding a ride. My mom said that she noticed that I was profusely sweating, and it was a lovely spring day with a good breeze. She said that I then told her "I feel sleepy, Momma" and when she looked at me, she said I was very pale, sweating even more, and my eyes were very glassy.
Before she could say or do anything else, I fell to the ground. Luckily, my stepdad was there, he picked me up and we went to first aid. I was "diagnosed" with being dehydrated. The people at first aid gave me and my siblings cookies and drinks, and then we continued the rest of the day with me parked in an oversized stroller along with my siblings.
My mother would tell that she was beyond scared when that happened. She would mention how she was scared that I had juvenile diabetes. Whoever she was telling would always comfort her, and I would always get a little hug, and then be sent on my way.
I remember when that happened. I remember the feeling weird, the sweating, the clamminess. I remember all of it because it was something that was outside of the normal way I felt. I then thought about all of the times that I had those feelings, and a few times, my legs failed me, and I found myself on the ground, and at least 1 other time, I lost consciousness.
I had to accept what it looked like. I have diabetes.
However, my experience with my medical staff has been the same as too many other people. A lack of information about the disease, a lack of resources to deal with the disease, not even getting help with how to do a finger stick to get my correct blood sugar. I have become my own advocate, and you should do the same for yourself in reference to your health.
Hi, my name is Dixie
I have diabetes and this is the place where I share all of the discoveries that are part of my journey.