Friday, January 08, 2010

My diagnosis story

I almost always find diagnosis stories to be interesting.  Even for type 2 diabetics like myself, diagnosis tends to result from some sort of crisis, whether it be a life-threatening high, the onset of complications, or just a doctor's visit resulting from persistent fatigue or other early symptoms.  I was a little luckier.

About six months before I was diagnosed, I began experiencing the classic symptoms of thirst and frequent urination.  Like many folks, though, I didn't really think of the thirst as being unusual - it was the bathrooms trips that kinda bothered me.  Did I secretly suspect the truth, down in my heart of hearts?  Yes -- or, rather, no: the 'truth' I was hiding from was my suspicion that I was developing prostate problems.  The thought scared me, though - my dad had had prostate surgery - and I took no action.

A couple of months before diagnosis, I had an opportunity to join a weight loss program at my workplace.  I made some pretty big changes: I quit drinking sugared soda (boy, had I been guzzling that!), generally ate more sensibly, did some exercising, and lost about 20 pounds.  (Alas -- they haven't stayed lost.) Guess what?  I also quit living in the bathroom, and I now know that I pretty much stopped having symptoms.  So, when I went in for my physical, I just expected a pat on the back and encouragement to keep going.

Since I have a T-2 father, the doctor must have ordered an A1c as part of my blood work. (The prostate was fine.)  A couple of weeks later, when I got home from work on a Friday, I had a letter (!) informing me that I had diabetes and that I needed to make an appointment for a follow-up.  (I learned later that my A1c had been 9.5.)

Now that I can think back on the months before diagnosis with some knowledge, a number of things make more sense.  Not only had the amount of fluid I was drinking been pretty extraordinary, but my eating (before beginning that diet) was completely out of control -- I must have been eating hundreds of carbs a day.  I'm blessed that I didn't eat my way into serious hyperglycemia.  There were other things, as well, that might have tipped a more knowledgeable person off to what was happening in my body.

How did I react to my diagnosis?  That's a topic for another day.

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T Minus Two by Bob Pedersen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.