Prolonging check ups could cost you. This is my diabetes story.
Each day, I read stories on my online support group page about their experiences with being diagnosed with diabetes. Many of them were diagnosed years prior, but it’s not until now that they choose to do anything about it.
And I can actually relate.
I had my three kids within a six-year span. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes with my first and third pregnancies. After my daughter was born and I returned for a six-week check-up, the doctor told me that my blood sugar was still very high and wrote on my chart that I was diabetic. I completely denied and rebuked that disease and continued on living life, eating a low-carb diet. That low-carb diet was everything in moderation: no high-fructose corn syrup, using only applesauce as a sweetener in cooking small portions of grains and pastas. I’ve actually continued to eat that way up until my diagnosis.
When I was pregnant unexpectedly with my second son, I went to the same hospital where I had my daughter. The different doctor told me that I was diabetic based on my chart and I argued with her that I was not. So to prove that I wasn’t, I checked my blood sugar for the first couple of months. Once they saw that my blood sugar levels were in range, they left me alone and that was that.
With my third pregnancy, I went to a different hospital and was diagnosed with gestational diabetes once again. This time I was not able to keep my fasting blood sugar down and had to go on meds for the first time. I remember being so depressed that I ended up having to talk with a psychologist who diagnosed me with generalized anxiety disorder. I ended up having to go to the ER 5 times before the doctor eventually took me off my meds because my blood sugar was too low and I was not eating enough and experiencing severe dehydration.
When I finally had my last son, I went for my six-week check-up and my a1c was a 5.3. No diabetes. I was free..
So I thought.
In 2018, I’ve started getting hives for no reason. I would go to sleep each night and wake up with horrendous hives on my arms and legs. As I went through the day, it would go away but return the next morning. At this time I was fully focused on my businesses—I ate very little and very late, along with my husband. Many times eating late because he got off from work very late. We ended up eating take-out or cooking something very quick before midnight. When it seemed that my hives were not going away, I went to urgent care for help, as I had not been to my regular doctor in years. I avoided the doctor because I did not want to deal with needles of any kind and I did not want to be diagnosed with any horrible disease.
The urgent care doctor diagnosed me with idiopathic chronic hives. I was given a prescription for a 5-day supply of prednisone and was on my way. During the time that I took the prednisone, I was finally getting relief. The hives actually disappeared. I did not gain any weight because I was intentional on not putting foods in my body that would encourage weight gain.
However, six days after I had completed the medicine, the hives returned. I ended up seeing a dermatologist that recommended stronger allergy meds. It did not work. I had a small victory after doing an elimination diet, which concluded that soy and gluten were making the hives worse, so I eliminated them. Unfortunately, I still had some issues, so after counseling from my mom, I decided to go to a new primary care doctor. After taking my initial examination, my heart rate was high and needed to do an EKG and further tests showed that my iron and ferritin levels were very low, inflammation was over 60%, my blood sugar at the time was 144. I was given iron pills and was recommended that I would be seen in six months.
So each day I woke up and before I went to sleep I took my iron pills with an orange or orange juice. Still ate very late and eating little during the day. I started feeling a little better each day. In addition, I wake up with less hives in the morning.
Six months later, a week after a major business event I’ve hosted, I went to get blood work done and returned to see my doctor. Good news, my iron and ferritin levels were in range! But before he closed my folder he noticed that my blood sugar was high…..
The everything became a blur for me….My husband was in the exam room with me and he was just as in shock as I was. My doctor told me that I needed to do another test and if it remains high, that it means that I was diabetic. I told him that we can get this done right away. After I went to get the additional lab work, I cried the entire day. I barely ate. I just cried.
The following day, as I was preparing for a business meeting, the doctor called.
Friends, it’s never good news when the doctor calls you.
Ten minutes before my business meeting, he told me that my blood sugar was 298, my a1c was 10.8 and that I am diabetic.
I died that day.
I still went to my business meeting on time. Not a good idea to conduct any business after news like that. While standing at the receptionist’s desk, janitor asked how I was doing. At that moment, I burst out crying. The receptionist and the janitor was trying to ask questions, but I never told them why I was crying, Instead, I asked where the restrooms were. I went to the nearest restroom and cried uncontrollably for 15 minutes before regaining my composure. Thank God that the lady I was meeting with gave me grace. I went through with the meeting and shortly after, I went to see the doctor to get my medicine prescription and started my new normal.
When I think about how everything transpired, I now wonder if I really did have diabetes the entire time but was just controlling it. When I proved to the doctors the first time that my numbers were in range. I left it at that. In fact, I avoided that hospital altogether. I put my health on snooze for years of not getting my normal check-ups because of fear. Fear of pain and needles. This was a dangerous decision on my part and I deeply regret it. I don’t want the same thing to happen to anyone else.
DO NOT PUT YOUR HEALTH ON SNOOZE!
The longer we put off that doctor appointment, the worse your health can get. It’s best to catch chronic and/or autoimmune illness when it first hits so you can get treated right away. When you put off that appointment or follow up, check up for your ailment, you are in denial. Fear and denial can be deadly. For some, it took a heart attack or another illness as a result from diabetes. Unfortunately for some people, they’ve put their health on snooze for too long, until it was too late and they are not able to tell their story.
WAKE UP, FRIENDS!
Make that appointment to the doctor. Get that health screening. If you’re afraid, take a loved one or a friend with you. God has given us only one body and we are to be good stewards of the body that we are blessed with. Diet and exercise are extremely vital, but so are annual checkups.
Until Next Time,
The Genetic Diabetic