I’m afraid that my diagnosis story isn’t very exciting. It doesn’t contain a list of symptoms that plagued me or a trip to the hospital due to a horribly high glucose reading. As unexciting as my story may be, I hope it doesn’t keep you from reading this because my diagnosis story is fairly common. This might be your story too!
Diabetes joined my life in June of 2005. Needless to say, it was a huge shock. My paternal grandmother had diabetes late in life and I have a sister-in-law who was diagnosed with type 1 in junior high school, but I didn’t really know that much about the disease. Disease. I have a disease! It was discovered with a routine blood test by my gynecologist. She called me on the phone and dropped the bomb, “you should see your regular doctor as soon as possible”. I didn’t have a regular doctor! I felt fine! I made an appointment.
Maybe it’s a mistake. How many out there thought that at first? Go ahead, raise your hand. “Surely this can’t be correct.” “Maybe they called the wrong person.” “Doctors don’t know everything, do they?” Well, it wasn’t a mistake. I have diabetes.
I didn’t have any of the classic symptoms; at least I didn’t think I did. My new doctor asked me things like:
Doctor: “Are you thirsty all the time? Do you drink lots of water?”
Me: “Well, some but it’s dang hot outside! Doesn’t everyone drink lots of water in the summer?”
Doctor: “Do you find yourself having to use the bathroom often?”
Me: “Uh, well didn’t we just discuss the fact that I’ve been drinking a lot of water? Hello! Aren’t you paying attention?”
That first appointment was a dismal failure for several reasons, most of which I lay on the doctor. She didn’t make it seem as if this was any big deal. She told me to lose some weight (which immediately made me feel as if this was all my fault). She told me to change my diet (with no direction; no hint of how I should be eating). She told me to buy a glucose meter. She shoved me out the door. No education. No referral to anyone for anything. Kate was flying solo without a clue.
I thank my gynecologist for checking my glucose levels; otherwise I could have gone years without knowing I had an issue. I’ve read that many, many doctors aren’t doing that very simple thing to help diagnose people with type 2. I can thank my own curiosity for finding the education that my doctor didn’t offer me. I used the internet to find answers to my questions. I felt horribly alone but I eventually found the DOC (Diabetes Online Community) and that became my support group. Blogging has become my therapy.
Too many people are unaware of how serious type 2 diabetes can be. Too many people are treated the way I was when I was first diagnosed; dismissed with little education and no sense of urgency. It seems strange to say that I was lucky, but I was. Not because I have diabetes but because I found out fairly early and I, eventually, figured out how to manage the beast. Although I probably had diabetes for several years prior to my diagnosis, it was found before things got too out of hand.
My diagnosis story may be boring but it’s a common tale.